Second Destination on My Dream Trip Around the World
04.05.2015 - 04.05.2015 27 °C
My flight from Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City to Panama City's Tocumen International Airport lasted in total, about 19 hours, due to two 7 hour layovers - the first in San Salvador, El Salvador and the second in San Jose, Costa Rica (therefore, I actually had three flights). The actual flight time was approximately 4 hours. The flight cost me about $600.00 and covered a distance of 1335.05 kilometres. Since I spent most of the fourth day if my journey travelling between destinations and sitting in airports, all I can think of doing now is heading to my hotel, the Marriott Panama City, and calling it a night.
Today is the fifth day overall of my voyage around the world and my second day in Panama. However, because the majority of my first day in the narrow Central American country was spent in transit, today is the first day where I will actually be able to explore this beautiful nation and experience its culture and history (that is why I have designated it "Day One" in this entry). In particular, I will be spending most of my time in the Panama's capital and largest city, Panama City, home to nearly 900,000 people. Currently, I'm on my way to the Panama Canal, which is undoubtedly the most famous site in the country. When I arrive, I will board a boat which will go through two sets of locks: the Miraflores Locks and the Pedro Miguel Locks.
My bus has just reached the point where all of us passengers will board the boat that will take us through the canal. Standing before the canal, I can appreciate what an engineering marvel it is. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that it was built in the early twentieth century - a time when the lack of modern technology would have made this feat considerably harder then, than it would be today. I cannot describe how amazing it feels to experience the famous canal from the perspective of a vessel travelling through it. This way, I can truly appreciate all of the intricate mechanisms and the accuracy required to get a boat from one end of the canal to the other, and thus, from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, the two bodies of water linked by the canal. All in all it is a really great sight! Now that my tour has concluded, I will head back to my hotel in Panama City and enjoy the pool and have dinner before heading off to bed.
The Bridge of the Americas (right) is a road bridge that spans the width of the Panama Canal and therefore, connects the North and South American Land masses.
Today, I will be visiting Casco Viejo, the city's historic district and a UNESCO world heritage site, only a short taxi ride away from my hotel.
It took longer than I expected due to rush hour traffic but I have finally reached my destination. The seventeenth century architecture sharply contrasts the ultra-modern twenty-first century skyline only kilometers away. Some of the main sights include El Palacio de las Garzas, the residence of the President of Panama and the National Theater of Panama. I've also seen several old, yet beautiful churches and bustling plazas. Walking through the streets of Casco Viejo, I feel as though I am being transported back to the time when the area was fist built and would have the entirety of Panama City. At lunchtime, I found a quaint café, its outdoor patio alive with activity, and quickly stopped in for an authentic Panamanian meal. My stomach full, I am ready to head to Playa Bonita, a local beach, for some fun and relaxation in the sun.
The water was warm, the sand was white and the weather was perfect, but it's almost time for dinner, which means I need to catch a taxi back to my hotel.
For my third and final day in Panama City, I will not be travelling too far away from the Marriott Hotel. As my hotel is located in the heart of downtown, just a few steps out the door, and I am greeted with a panoramic view of skyscrapers with the Pacific Ocean as their backdrop. I have passions for photography and and architecture. What better way is there to combine the two than to photograph skyscrapers? It is the most relaxing and fulfilling way I can think of to spend my last day in Panama. Unfortunately, after a few hours of photography, the day is drawing to a close. Following dinner at Madrigal, one of the highest-rated restaurants in the city, I have returned to my hotel room where I have finished packing for tomorrow's trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Panama City was a blast!