Leaving the cool mountains of Boquete for the tropics of Panama is real transition. We have some friends in Panama City who thought we needed to experience both the shopping and the jaw dropping experience of the Panama Canal. They were amazed that we came to Panama, moved to Boquete and never even went to the Panama Canal. I had to explain we lived in Arizona at least ten years before making a trip to the Grand Canyon, I am not sure that comparison helped or made us really look odd?
I must attest that regardless of preconceptions until you visit the Panama canal you cannot even imagine the scope of the canal or the achievement of it’s construction. The canal is amazing and all we visited was one of three locks, it alone is almost one mile from end to end.
View toward Panama City
We had dinner at the restaurant at the Miraflores Locks, in fact the only way we could drive into the locks area was to let the security guard know were were going for dinner. Dinner was excellent but the view and activity was by far the highlight of the meal.
The magnitude of the lock is difficult to appreciate. This ship is bigger than a row boat, MUCH bigger.
The lock gates hold back an ocean of water (well sort of) This view of from the restaurant shows the 1913 Miraflores Lock building and one closed lock gate.
After dinner we were drawn back outside to view the shift into dark with the lock gates open.
As a child I remember a book about the little engine that could, well four of these little engines pull and restrain the largest ships as they make their way down the narrow path between the seas.
A Hyundai car carrier passes a Dole banana boat each demonstrating in part the critical nature of the Panama Canal to the world economy. The canal is the second most important component of Panama’s economy and part of why Panama is evolving into a first world country.