A ship approaching the Miraflores lock...
Well, it's been almost two years to the day since I've done any international traveling and the time has certainly come to change that 😊 As hard as it was to do, I decided to quit my job last month and spend the first part of the summer backpacking around Brazil with my old roommate (Sahil). But before any of the festivities could begin, I purposefully decided to take a 12-hour lay-over in Panama City on my way to Brazil in order to lay witness to one of the seven modern wonders of the world: the Panama Canal.
I admit that, before this trip, I knew next-to-nothing about the Panama Canal other than the fact that it connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. So, here's a brief rundown on the basics: the Panama Canal spans 48 miles and was built between 1904 and 1914 under the tutelage of US President Teddy Roosevelt. Today, the canal can fit ships that are up to 110 feet wide (known as "Panamax" size), which pass through three locks in either direction.
The central lock, which is where I was located, is called Miraflores and is also home to most of the canal's 'tourist'
Ship before the water drops
attractions (a museum, film, cafe, etc.). While standing outside at Miraflores, I was lucky enough to witness two ships passing through the lock simultaneously. What was most interesting, and surprising, about the whole process was how the water levels rose and fell in order to allow the ships to move between the gates (which you can hopefully see in the photos). I'm still not 100% sure what the reasoning is for this nautical rise-and-fall but it was definitely an extraordinary event to watch...
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