Panama
Distrito Arraiján

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  • Day2

    Miraflores - Panamakanal

    December 6, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Heute morgen gings gleich nach dem Frühstück zu den Miraflores Schleusen am Panamakanal. Beeindruckend mit welcher Präzision und mit welcher Schnelligkeit die rießigen Schiffe hier abgefertigt werden.

  • Day16

    19. Panama - Panama Canal

    September 7, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    We spent a few hours at the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal today. It was fascinating.

    The concept of the canal was first explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century, but it was concluded it was not possible. In the late 1800s, the French commissioned de Lesseps (the designer of the Suez Canal) to build a canal, but inadequate design (the hard rock & jungle of Panama posed different challenges than the desert of Egypt), cost overruns, and rampant disease/death of workers caused the project to fail.

    The US was very interested in having a canal constructed, but could not come to an agreement with the Colombians, under whose rule Panama fell at that time. Therefore, in 1903, the United States successfully backed Panama's efforts at gaining independence from Colombia, and an agreement between the US & Panama for construction and administration of the canal emerged soon thereafter. The project started shortly thereafter, and was completed in 1914 (at the start of WW I).

    The 80 kilometer interoceanic way, as its called, operates through a system of locks that raises ships from ocean level to that of Gatun Lake, which, at 27 meters above sea level is the highest point throughout the crossing, and then lowers them again. I've never been that interested in engineering, but being here and seeing this massive project in person was inspiring.
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  • Day179

    Canal de Panamá

    February 12, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Der Panama-Kanal ist wirklich ein Bauwunder - es ist eine künstliche ca. 80km lange Wasserstraße, die Panama City an der Pazifikküste mit Colón an der Atlantikküste verbindet. Beim Schiffsbau der Container-Riesen wird weltweit darauf geachtet, dass sie die richtigen Maße für die Schleusen des Panamakanals haben (305m lang, 33,5m breit). Ein Schiff braucht insgesamt etwa 11 Stunden um den Kanal und seine drei Schleusen (Gatún, Pedro-Miguel und Miraflores) zu passieren. Die erste Durchfahrt eine Schiffes fand schon 1914 statt, seit 1999 ist der Kanal in Besitz Panamas und 2016 wurde die Erweiterung des Kanals fertiggestellt. Luis fährt uns heute zur Miraflores-Schleuse - hier gibt es ein Besucherzentrum (20$) mit interaktivem Museum und Aussichtsplattformen um das Geschehen im Kanal perfekt zu beobachten. Wir schauen den riesigen Containerschiffen zu, wie sie hoch- und runterfahren durch den Kanal, denken uns Geschichten aus, wo sie wohl herkommen und hinfahren und wieviel Cocain wohl in wie vielen Contaniern ist. Mit den Jungs hab ich ne Menge Spaß und die beiden sind meine persönlichen Guides, da sie gestern Abend auf Arte in ihrem Luxushotel eine Dokumentation dazu geschaut haben :). Am Nachmittag machen wir uns wieder auf den Weg in die Altstadt, trinken Kaffee, kaufen einen Panamahut und Mitbringsel für Marcs Freundin (denn er fliegt Donnerstag wieder heim), die Jungs schauen bei einem Bier Fußball und ich schreibe ein wenig mein Tagebuch und später spielen wir noch eine Runde Tischtennis in meinem Hostel.Read more

  • Day110

    "Panama Canal" Miraflores Visitor Centre

    November 15, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    Bereits gestern konnten wir bei einer Überquerung einen kurzen Blick auf den weltberühmten „Panama Canal“* werfen. Heute an unserem letzten Reisetag mit Betsy haben wir das „Miraflores Visitor Centre“ besucht. Wir konnten ein mittelgroßes Containerschiff beim Schleusen in Richtung Karibik sehen. Das ist nicht viel spektakulärer als im Nord-Ostsee Kanal.

    Wikipedia:
    * Panama Canal ....

    Koordinaten: 8°59′55″ N 79°35′28″ W
    Höhe: 20 müN

    Editiert am ......
    Text von Wolfgang
    ÖFFENTLICH
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  • Day3

    Panama Kanal

    August 6, 2018 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Gestern waren wir noch schön was auf einer der vielen Dachterassen in der Altstadt was trinken - schöne Bar + ein wunderschöner Blick! Langsam haben wir das Verkehrssystem hier verstanden und kommen sicher zuhause an.
    Wir verbringen einen entspannten Morgen und haben jetzt auch unseren Trip für die nächsten Tage gebucht. Das heißt übrigens bis Samstag kein Internet und Handyempfang, dafür wunderschöne Inseln, leckeres Essen & (hoffentlich) nette Leute!
    Danach sind wir das erste Mal mit der Metro gefahren (zur angeblich größten Mall Südamerikas) um dort zum Panama Canal umzusteigen. Hier gibt es ein gut gestaltetes Visitor Centre mit vierstöckigem, interaktivem Museum und einem Film. Der nur 80km lange Kanal wurde innerhalb von 30 Jahren gebaut und hat bis jetzt ca. 1 Millionen Schiffe sicher durchs Land gebracht!
    Jetzt warten wir auf das nächste Schiff, das durch die Schleuse fährt...
    - Lisa
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  • Day43

    Panama City

    December 10, 2019 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    - ganz anders als alle lateinamerikanischen Städte zuvor
    - Großer Kontrast zwischen modernem, stark amerikanisiertem Stadtteil mit Manhattan ähnlicher Skyline und gepflasterter Altstadt, die durch viele Gebäude von französischen Architekten teilweise sehr europäisch wirkt (Frankreich hat nach Bau des Suezkanals den Plan für den Panamakanal entworfen und zunächst mit dem Bau begonnen und im Zuge der Anwesenheit auch viele Gebäude wie das Hotel Central erbauen lassen)
    - nur circa 30 min von der Stadt entfernt sind die (je nach Seite betrachteten ersten oder letzten) Miraflores Schleusen des Panama Kanals, wo man aus nächster Nähe bei der Durchfahrt der Schiffe zuschauen kann
    - die enge (zeitweise nicht unbedingt freiwillige) Verbindung zu den USA (v.a. wegen des Panamakanals) ist weiterhin durch die Verwendung des Dollars (der einheimische Balboa existiert nur in Münzenform), die vielen Hochhäuser, amerikanische Fast Food Läden soweit das Auge reicht, aber auch vergleichsweise wirklich gute Englischkenntnisse spürbar
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  • Day46

    I see the Panama Canal!

    February 17, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    But I can't attach any photos because my phone storage was full so they are all on my camera.

    But I have videos which I am going to make all of you watch! Ships slowly going through the canal on a loop I think!

    We hired a van today and went to a view spot to check out the city. Then to the old city to walk around. It was so hot and humid that I went through two litres of water!

    The old part of the city is lovely and they are doing alot of restoration work.

    We also drove by the very poor part of Panama City where we were advised never to walk at any time of the day.

    Next was the Panama Canal and it really was exciting watching the huge cargo ships go through the locks. What an engineering feat.

    China and America are the countries that use the Canal the most and it can take between 8 and 10 hours for the ships to pass through the canal. It generates about $2.4 billion in income each year!

    Then onto the biggest shopping mall in the Americas and the 14th largest in the world! And it was packed. So easy to get lost!

    Have to fill in time tomorrow before my flight so might go back.

    Then the farewell dinner and I am so overjoyed never to have to see most of these people ever again! Thank goodness for the nice ones who helped make it bearable.

    Finally back to the hotel. Wonderful air conditioning, wi fi and peace - what more could I want!

    Have the dreaded task of packing tomorrow.

    In one of the shots you can see the ships heading for the canal.
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  • Day170

    Panama Canal, Panama

    April 5, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    I couldn't resist. Just for all you who pretend like you don't like engineering when you really love it; I present seventh of the industrial world.

    Let's not get overly technical. After all, when ash turns to dust it is just a dirty great big hole in the ground full of water - right? Wrong. Because ash is still ash and that canal brings you more presents than santa ever has, more petrol than you could stuff down the guts of your V8 and of course a mountain of food - literally. Yes, the Panama Canal is unanimously the frieght pedestal and icon of the world. But it wasn't always so...

    Back in the day when Panama wasn't Panama and Colombus was gallivanting around disrupting all the native americans, a trail was being founded. A simple, very much unbeaten path was etched into the dense jungle in a tiny little corner of what was then known as the 'New World'. It didn't take long for the natives to lead the white man along this trail to a peak on the isthmus of the Americas - a point from which the proximity of two oceans could be truely comprehended. It didn't take long before this path was traversed by mules (and later - briefly - camels, who weren't genetically fit for the jungle) laden with goods as they established the very first trade route between the east and west coast of the New World.

    As trade on the route began to gently gather momentum, boats began shortening the walking distance by transporting goods up the rivers from what are now Panama City and Colón on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Panama respectively. It wasn't until the Californian gold rush in 1849 did the true significance of the route hit home. When transporting gold through Mexico became a little too notorious (sifty Mexicans) a railroad was proposed through Panama - the narrowest part of the isthmus. The meagre 80km length of track was constructed in only a few years in 1855 following the original trail essentially to a tee. This railway (and the sea passage either end) stood for some time as the fastest route across the Americas.

    Many scientists, presidents, politicians and explorers dreamed the idea that would change the world: a shipping passage through a continent. However, it was the French who dreamed with any reality. Their history with the Suez Canal deemed experience enough for what surely would be a shorter, easier to build canal. That all sounds fine and dandy but drinking red wine and twirling your moustache doesn't move mountains, as they soon found out. Starting in 1881, the French spent 13 years, 22,000 lives and 287 million dollars digging what could not be considered much more than a dirty great big hole in the ground. Rain, rock, malaria, yellow fever and of course, distrupted cash flow were to blame for the failure a project that employed people from every corner of the Caribbean and beyond. The French ultimately threw in the towel in 1894 and spent years afterwards pointing fingers in what in known as the Panama affair.

    Decades later in 1902 the United States saw value in creating the shipping route. They managed to pry the land and the reminants of the dirty, great, big hole in the ground off the French for a petty $40 million dollars. However, apparently the US and Colombia weren't getting on too well at this point and unfortunately for the US, Panama was still under the rule of Colombia. So when Colombia opted not to ratify a canal agreement it ironically left the US up shit creek without a canal. I think we all know the US wasn't going to just roll over - they did what they to best and funded a war: Panama's civil war. A war which appeared to be already brewing as Colombia struggled to control a territory isolated by hundreds of kilometres of inhospitable and rather quite deadly jungle. The war didn't last long - Panama got their independence - and while Panamanians were still singing from the rooftops the US already had turned first earth on the Panama Canal. Of course, the US funding had come with that teeny weeny little treaty declaring them every right possibly required to build and operate a monstrous canal. Panama and eventually Colombia both ended up getting a lousy financial compensation, 10 and 25 million respectively.

    Let's just take a moment to pity little old Nicaragua - the poorest country in Central America. They were supposed to have the canal. When you subtract the width of Lake Nicaragua, the width of Nicaragua is comparable to that of Panama. The US came within a whisker of purchasing the land there before being deterred by risks posed seismic activity. Sorry Nica!

    It didn't take long for the US to get the job done. They picked up the remnants of the French project in 1904, half sunk excavators and all, and even took their advice. The French had been trying to build a sea level canal, meaning ships could literally sail directly from ocean to ocean (or ocean to sea if we're being geographically pedantic). Their work had proven this an implausible solution and they had therefore proposed a lock system to lift ships 28m or so over the mountains. This reduced the required excavation significantly. Less convenient for the ships, but a mighty lot easier for the man on the shovel. The filling of the locks was impressively designed as gravity operated: no pumps are required to fill the locks with water. Water from the upstream lakes is carefully used to fill and drain the locks layer by layer - a process that recycles 60% of the water each time. If they didn't do this, in the dry season I imagine they'd run the lake level down so far as to potentially prevent ships from crossing!

    Ten years on in 1914, 401 years after Balboa first crossed the continent on foot, the first ship sailed the canal. It had taken two dams, one bridge, six locks and the creation of the worlds biggest man made lake (at the time): Lake Gatán. It had also in its wake, broken the dreams of two more engineers and conveniently sourced and mitigated the spread of mosquito borne disease. The damage was another 5800 lives, 375 million dollars and, oh yeah - that problem of how you get across it. The pivoting bridge originally constructed with the canal was rapidly overwhelmed by traffic, creating traffic jams not unlike that of the Kopu bridge on Boxing Day. It took almost 50 years for the now iconic Bridge of the Americas to be constructed as the first undisrupted passage over the canal. Woops!

    Boat traffic through the canal soared in size and number - a testament to the projects success - and US citizens flocked to region to operate and maintain the canal in a US sovereigned area that would later become the 'Canal Zone'. Although it was largely an expat community, this influx of culture is very much a part of Panama today. As the Canal Zone grew in size and wealth (although the US claimed they were operating the canal at cost), unrest grew in Panama. Numerous negotiations over countless Presidencies were had regarding the operation of the canal until a full blown riot in the Canal Zone forced the hand of America. On the eve of the millenium, Panama was handed complete control of operation and maintenance of the canal. Today a third set of locks have been constructed adjacent the original two, a project proudly completed by Panamanians themselves.

    Panama however, jumped at the opportunity to profit from the floating gold mine that passed their shores. Prices escalated to the whopping $300,000 average price for a standard container ship, and up to $800,000 for the biggest of supertankers! Don't worry, if you want to cross in your 50 foot yacht, a little over a grand should secure you that slither of water behind the superfrieghter carrying your new tv. At 35-40 ships a day, that's a lot of money. In fact, that's 4% of Panama's GDP, directly. Indirectly, the Panama Canal is estimated to make up 40% of Panama's GDP. Not Panama City. Panama. The country! So now when you dart back to that skyline photo of Panama City I posted in my last blog, you can picture those buildings as stacks of ships. Better yet, stacks of ship's canal fees. 'Cause that's what they are. Not coffee beans and sure as hell not banana dollars. And if I haven't got you a soft spot for Nicaragua yet, not only did they narrowly miss a gold mine, they're now paying Panama to ship their worthless bananas to you and your smoothie loving mates.

    Reducing the two week journey around Cape Horn to eight hours was undoubtedly the most significant advance in trade since the invention of the ship. Watching said ship pass effortlessly through said canal with inches to spare is priceless. Thank school for engineers. Thank Panama for your bananas.
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  • Day2

    Miraflores locks, Panamá Canal

    May 27, 2018 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    A trip to the visitor centre here, which is superb, showing the history of the Panamá Canal.

    There's viewing platforms to watch the ships transiting the locks on the Pacific side. These ships are Panamax size to fit into the locks.

    A new set of locks were built in 2016, one at the Caribbean side and one at the Pacific side. for Neo-Panamax sized ships, roughly one and a half times bigger.

    When the canal was finally built by the Americans in 1904, part of the deal was that they would own the canal and a 5km strip of land either side. However after protests in 1977 by locals, there was a phased handover to the people of Panamá, finally getting full ownership on 31st December 1999. However, part of the deal is that the Panamanians would never have an army, the Americans would come in and protect it if need be.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Distrito Arraiján, Distrito Arraijan

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