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Day 51 – The Canal (Panama, Panama)

23 Nov

After a vegan breakfast of some fruits that we found in the fridge, we went to pick up our laundry in a crumbling building that was located a couple of blocks away from the hotel.  A smiling man greeted us in a long dark room without windows, full of aging top-loading washers and dryers.  It was definitely not the cleanest laundry; the walls and the tiled floors had seen better times and all kinds of junk and machine spare parts were scattered around.  But the service was dirty cheap, only $1.80.  Can’t beat that price…

We took a cab to Miraflores Locks that are part of the famous Panama Canal.  It was an impressive site, the observation platform was right in front of the locks, so that tourists could observe huge ships approach and pass through the canal that stretched in both directions as far as eyes could see.  We watched the gates slowly open and the water level subside, while a huge white cargo ship was slowly moving forward, being dragged by four specialized vehicles.  What an engineering marvel!

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Miraflores Locks

The rain started again and we went into the building to watch a short documentary about history of the canal and visit a couple of exhibitions in the museum upstairs.  There was also a good restaurant with a nice view of the locks.  For the next hour, we enjoyed some good food and watched another huge cargo ship pass by.

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Miraflores Locks (Panama Canal)

Back at the hotel, Vadim met his new Spanish teacher and spent a couple of hours conjugating verbs in all tenses (an ambitious start!).  The teacher also gave him a tiny English-Spanish picture dictionary.

In the evening, we took a walk down Avenida Central, a long pedestrian alley full of clothing, jewelry, electronics and other shops, most of them selling cheap Chinese manufactured goods.  Vadim also wanted to take a peak at a nearby gym, but we only saw few wrestlers training inside.  On our way back, we stopped at one aging supermarket and stuffed a couple of plastic bags with water, chocolates and fruits.

We went for dinner to Café Coca Cola, a traditional eatery full of local people, and had some inexpensive seafood with rice.  It was fun for us to observe the locals and it was interesting for them to see gringos.

We spent the rest of the evening back at the hotel, reading and “Skyping” with friends.

Routes taken: None

Miles ridden: None

 
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Posted by ginsad in Panama

 

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