Today I unfortunately had an early afternoon flight - I would much rather have arrived in Panama earlier! However, everything ended up working out. I took the free hotel shuttle again and had an easy flight before arriving in Panama around 1:00pm. I Ubered into the city where I saw all of the incredibly tall buildings Panama is famous for. Some of them were so cool and unique! After the long Uber drive into the city and my hotel, TRYP, I quickly dropped my bags off in my room and immediately took an Uber to the Canal. It was about a forty-five minute drive from my hotel, so I got to the Miraflores Locks Museum around 3:00pm, giving me a good two hours to explore.
It was such an interesting place! There is a museum, as well as a film, and an outdoor viewing area for boats passing through the Miraflores Locks. The canal is composed of three sets of locks, which helps to raise ships from the ocean up into the lake that composes to the canal and then lowers ships again to the other ocean. The Miraflores Locks is one of those three sets of locks. Did you know that it can cost $300,000 - $400,000 for a large ship to pass through the canal one time? After doing the museum, which was relatively quick but very informative, I headed to the film which was once again very informative. It was really interesting to learn about the United States’ role in the canal, and how we turned over full control of the canal to Panama beginning in 2000.
After the film, I headed outside to watch a boat go through the lock. It was a pretty long process, probably taking around thirty to forty-five minutes per boat. The structure and the boats are both so large, it makes sense that it takes so long when you think about how much water has to be moved every time the process occurs. I stayed watching the boats pass through until it was time for the museum to close.
I then took an Uber into the historic city center. It was way cooler than I was expecting! There was a very European feel and the buildings in the area were all so beautiful. I walked through Plaza before walking through the area to go inside many of the different churches that were luckily open late. While inside the last church it began pouring rain so I decided to take an Uber to my close by restaurant.
My Uber driver was pretty funny, as I got the typical “Forest Gump” response when I told him I was from Alabama. Apparently it was his favorite movie! Forest Gump, along with Sweet Home Alabama, are what I get 90% of the time I tell people where I am from if I get a reaction at all. After the quick ride, I went to Santa Rita. It is the top ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor, and it did not disappoint! The prices were reasonable, but I had a really great dinner. I had quite possibly the best croquettes I have ever had, as well as yummy tomato bread and freshly mashed potatoes. It was quite the satisfying dinner!
I then headed back to my hotel, where I went to take lots of pictures from the amazing roof view of the city and its incredible buildings. I then headed back to my room to get a good night's sleep before heading to Colombia!
22 countries down, 174 to go.