Panama Canal – Miraflores Locks
My parents came to Panama City this last week for a visit. I’m pretty sure they came to see the Panama Canal, but we just happened to be here too.
Our building has both apartments and a hotel. Since our bathroom doesn’t’ have walls, and sometimes smells weird, they stayed on the hotel side. We did have them up to our balcony for appetizers and to see the boats waiting to enter the Panama Canal.
On the first day of their visit, we went to Casco Viejo which is the old part of town with lots of doors.
Since I didn’t read the guidebook first, every church we went into I thought was the cathedral. This statue was particularly interesting.
After walking around town, two things happened.
- My hair became extremely crazy.
- I became a cooling tie user
The cooling tie is a product (I bought mine from REI) that you soak in cold water and wear around your neck. It stays cool for hours, and so do you. At least this is what our friend Brian and my parents have told us. I have mocked them for years for their cooling tie usage. But when it’s 101 heat index, it was time to don the cooling tie. And I have to say, it really did work. Jeff still had some dignity and refused to wear his.
It was around this time, that Jeff may have become nervous about the upcoming week.
The next day we got up early and took an Uber to the Miraflores locks. This is the locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.
The viewing platform was crowded but we found a spot to watch a ship filled with windmill blades transit the Miraflores Lock.
Ships take a LONG time to get through the locks.
Like a really long time.
The boat was still in the locks when we realized we would all have heat stroke if we had to watch it go through completely. Inside the visitor center, they had a great museum that explained the history and workings of the canal.
But the best part was where we could pretend to actually drive a ship through the Panama Canal.
This is what this guy’s hair looked like six years ago when Jeff and I visited.
Next, we went to the IMAX theater for a really good movie about the canal that was in 3D. Morgan Freeman was the narrator. Between his soothing voice, heatstroke and comfy chairs it was hard to stay awake.
And then we were all canaled out and headed back to Panama City via Uber and went out to dinner.
Other interesting things:
There is a really fun website that shows the boats going through the canal, and ports around the world.
Here’s a webcam to watch boats go through the Panama Canal in realtime.
This book is excellent. My Dad and I both read it and learned a ton about the history of the canal.
The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough
If you are going to visit the locks this site has all the info you need:
I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I am recommending cooling ties. This is the one I bought and really liked.