2019 Winter December 23 Monday

 79  Degrees this morning, 90% Humidity.  (Panama City, Panama)

Heat around 84 degrees yesterday here.  No rain, although cloudy and high humidity.

Went on the Panama Canal cruise yesterday.  Actually, it was a “partial cruise”.  We took a bus part-way and came back on the Panama Canal for several locks.

It was fascinating and interesting, as well as amazing.  Of course there was a lot of hurry up and wait.  

Some really interesting facts, I”ll try not to repeat too many:

-The highest fee fro a single trip across the Panama Canal was $1,000,000+.  Still a bargain for the ship!

-A ship may wait as long as 24 hours just to get on the schedule 

-A Panama Canal pilot has to ride on every ship (including our little cruise ship).  

-The Panama Canal uses the same gravity technology  successfully as when the canal was built (starting operations in 1914) 

We went through two locks and it was amazing as we dropped 32 feet in about 8 minutes.  (we took pictures of the drop just to document it).

We had to have a partner ship (I assume due to the cost of operating the locks).  Our partner ship was  carrying frozen nitration gas which could “vaporize” if something went wrong.  They didn’t say how far the “vaporization” spread, but I assume the danger wan’t all that great.  

The cruise ship we rode on paid a fee of $4400 regardless of the number of passengers.  The maximum capacity of the cruises ship was 350 people  and it probably wasn’t even half full.  

On the bus ride to the Canal, we drove close to a  “protected rain forest”.  I don’t believe I was ever near one before and I would have liked to stopped and looked at a true jungle.  

I thought about the original construction crews on the Panama Canal, and I had to wonder how in the world they could do it.  

The narrator said at one point, the construction company building the canal (I think this was the original French), they started the rumor that there was gold in the Panama
Canal to attract laborers!  (No gold was ever found.)

On the way back we drove through the original United States Assault on Noriega Headquarters exactly 30 years ago.   

Everyone who has discussed it in Panama, refers to “Bushes” invasion.  Of course, (according to history), most Panama citizens supported his removal.  

Two days of really interesting tours/trips etc!  

That’s it for now, Monday, December 23, 2019.

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