Blogs from Panamá, Panama, Central America Caribbean - page 2


Before leaving Panama City we visited the small neighborhood of El Chorrillo where Noriega was once powerful. Our local guide Victor gave us a personal tour of the El Chorrillo district and painfully told the sordid history of these times. For years Manuel Noriega, Panama’s corrupt and brutal dictator, had been an ally of the US. The US did not trust the Panamanians and yet they used Noriega as a CIA asset and a key player in the shadowy network of anti-communists, tyrants and drug runners. The controversy was that the people of Panama were afraid of Noriega and fearful of him and his people. In fact Noriega killed those who tried to overthrow him. “It began with Bush”, Victor said, “who paid Noriega as a contact working with the CIA, despite his being a drug ... read more
Restoration for El Chorrillo
Struggling neighborhood of El Chorrillo
Murals located around El Chorrillo reflect frustration and anger

This is the day!! Breakfast at 6, on the bus at 6:30, on the boat at 6:45! We were to have our luggage outside our door by 11:30 the night before to be picked up by the bellboy and loaded on the bus to be driven to Colon, where we'll exit the boat. Luckily, we left the knapsack to pick up after breakfast and noticed that our luggage (and that of other travelers on the same hall) had not been picked up! Took the bus out to Flamenco Island and saw the sunrise over the Pacific. What, Susan, you have that wrong! No, the bay curved around so that the point we were on was actually facing East. Boarded the Islamorada, a 100 year old boat that used to belong to Al Capone! From url= read more
Mike Touching the Wall

Day 2--first full day here--After watching a cruise ship, the Coral Princess, float by, started with breakfast at the hotel and an orientation meeting where we met our guides, updated the schedule, and learned the ground rules. Basically, no one in Panama pays attention to time but we are to be on time for the buses. This morning we went to Panama la Vieja, the original part of panama city, the section destroyed by Morgan when he sacked the city (more later). First, a trip through the Panama , Canal Museum, then a short time to wander, then a walking tour of the old city and some plazas, ending at the French Plaza and a bus trip to lunch. We were divided into 3 groups today because the old city cannot accomodate a big bus. Notes ... read more
Light House
Altar de Oro
French Embassy facing French Plaza

Spent last night at the Dulles Marriott so we didn't have to try and get to Dulles at 8 am on a Monday--worked very nicely. The shuttle had us there in no time, we checked our bag and got our boarding passes (scored TSA pre-check!!) and made our way, via the new underground trains, to the gate and the plane. The plane was not packed to the gills and we ended up being the only two in our three-person half-row. Flew Copa Airlines and it was very pleasant--good food, nice stewards, videos in the seats, etc. Stepped off the plane into the walk way and felt the 91 degrees, got our luggage and found the transport to the hotel--was a 40 minute drive so we were even more glad we arrived in time to take advantage ... read more
Panama City skyline
Front of Hotel
Hotel Hall

So, for those not in the loop--We're going on a Road Scholar trip to the Panama Canal March 25-30 ( for details. Mike's got a camera and Panama Bird book; we've decided on clothes, etc. to take--Susan still needs to get a hat. Think we'll make it with one suitcase (it is only 5 days, after all!). We leave March 24, spending the night before at Dulles. Good news--our flights are close enough to the Road Scholar-provided ones that we'll be able to ride to and from the airport and hotels in Panama City with the group and won't have to arrange our own transport. The dollar is the reigning currency in Panama and we've tested our ATM cards to be sure they work and we know the PIN! Still need to call them and warn ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama Canal February 18th 2019

Well, it's a month away but we were able to choose our seats on the plane to Panama City from Dulles, got a reservation for the airport hotel the night before the flight down, have the Panama City hotel information, and am gathering other things (mainly making lists, of course). Read the book about the canal construction and got very good feedback about the trip from a colleague at another Virginia community college. As usual, taking a few minutes to refresh myself with the blog page and how it works. Created a 'trip' for the week; still not sure how that works, different from just posting.... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama Canal January 17th 2019

The idea of the Panama dates back to 1513 when Vasco Nunez de Balboa first crossed the Isthmus, the narrow land bridge between North and South America. A water passage between Atlantic and Pacific ocean. The European's recognized the potential for a canal and several proposals were made. By the late 19th century technical advancement and commercial pressure allowed construction to begin. Canal engineer Ferdindale de Lesseps led the Initial attempt to build a sea level canal. They failed by financial loss and personal losses from tropical diseases. Interest from the usa once France abandoned the project. The usa success was more converting the canal to a lock system and managing disease spread by mosquito's. On January 7 1914 the French crane boat Alexadrie Lavalley became the first to transverse and on April 1 1914 the ... read more
Panama city in the back ground

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama Canal December 15th 2018

Thurs 13 – Sun 16 December - Day 48 of tour but Day 60 total - Panama City to Brisbane by 18 December 2018 Today we headed to David where we had a short flight to Panama City. In the minivan on the way to the airport, we watched the beautiful sunrise thinking that this might be the last sunrise I see for a while! As usual, Alfredo had organised a seamless negotiation onto our flight, and no sooner we were up in the air with Panama Air, we started our descent. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we knew this was going to be the most developed city we had visited during our whole 60 days away. Even the minivan that picked us up was new and had a covered trailer for our ... read more
Balboa beer the local beer of Panama
Our final dinner in Panama City (1)
Panama City Christmas Lights (1)

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá December 12th 2018

Nach den ganzen Reisestrapazen in Südamerika war es nun an der Zeit mal ein wenig zu relaxen und für längere Zeit, nämlich ganze 5 Tage, mal am gleichen Ort zu bleiben. Ich habe mich dabei für Panama entschieden. Nach einem relativ kurzen Flug von Lima war ich dann auch schon in Panama und erfreut dass es nicht regnete, denn der Wetterbericht für die nächsten paar Tage zeigte durchgehend Regen an. Panama Stadt ist ein Paradies für Architekturinstressierte, denn in der Stadt wimmelt es nur so von Hochhäusern. Doch auch die Tierwelt kommt nicht zu kurz. Wenn man der schönen Meerpromenade entlang läuft, muss man nicht lange warten und man sieht Kormorane, Pelikane und viele andere Vögel. Aber am berühmtesten ist Panama natürlich durch den Panama Kanal. Dieses Bauwerk ist extrem wichtig für die Schifffahrt, da der ... read more
Panama Kanal
Historischer Stadtteil und Hochhäuser im Hintergrund
Casco Viejo

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City December 2nd 2018

Friday morning we awoke early to find we were alreaady entering the Panama Canal. On Deck 3 forward they were serving coffee and a crowd had gathered to watch as we approached the first set of locks. These are the Gatun Locks and there was a cruise ship ahead of us. We watched as the Norwegian Jade gradually rose in front of us. It was a slow process so after coffee I retreated back to the cabin to watch from our balcony.I was not feeling the best and once we were through the first set of locks and into the large lake I went back to bed while Fletcher headed upstairs for some breakfast. I could still see the passing scenery through our floor to ceiling windows.Traversing the canal takes all day so we discovred back ... read more
One of the tugboats
The Norwegian Jade in the first lock
View of the lock and the "mules"

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