Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hats off to Panama

Panama City

After a night in Portobello, the following morning was taken up with a bus into Colon to get the paperwork for the bikes which took several hours. Once back in Portolbello it started to chuck it down with rain so we had a very enjoyable and wet ride to Panama City. Lots of people mentioned Hotel Montreal as a place to stay but once I found out they wanted $33 for a night, the next on on the list was Hotel Buena Vista on the same street and for $17, we got a double room with a/c and secure parking. Dodgy lift though.

After months of Indain and Chinese food deprivation, we were thankfully able to sort that problem out in Panama City. Its a pretty modern place, full of huge skyscrapers and new developments all over the shop but still retains the old town sector for that colonial charm. We got ourselves along to the big ditch, the Panama Canal which is fairly impressive to watch. It takes on average, about 8-10 hours for a ship to cross from one side to another across the various locks. For some reason I was expecting the tankers to shoot up 20 odd feet as soon as the locks are opened but in fact, its a fairly stately affair. The visitor centre is well organised with videos and an informative display of how the whole shebang works.

Miraflores Locks

Next stop was Boquette, a swiss alps sort of place in the hills. The temperature plumeted and suddenly we were caught in yet another rain storm with serious mist. I´d like to say the scenery was great but we didn´t see too much on the way up though the next day revealed lush greenery and a town surrounded by mountains. There´s a lot to do here including rafting and hiking etc but as we´ve been delayed so much we are pushing onwards to Costa Rica.

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