There are no words to describe the beautiful Trump Ocean Club Panama. This hotel is one of the nicest I've ever stayed in. Sure, we still haven't perfected using the elevators. And I don't they wanted us to call the two lobbies "peanut butter" and "slur," but they more than make up for these confusions with the stunning views, perfect beds, and awkward tub placement. This was definitely a memorable hotel stay.
On our final day in Panama we got on the Panamar, a boat, that would take us through the Pacific coast locks. The views were beautiful, as I've grown to expect from this Central American country. The ships we saw were gargantuan, also a sight I've grown accustomed to. It was a great way to culminate my first jaunt this far south in the Western Hemisphere.
25 January 2016
In 1513 the first European crossed the isthmus of Panama and gazed out at the Pacific Ocean. The concept of connecting Europe to Asia was by no means a new concept, but it wasn't until 1845 that the Panama railroad saw that dream though. In 1880 the French broke ground on the newer dream: the Panama Canal. Problem after problem led to 20,000 lives lost and bankrupt investors. 24 years later the United States took over the project, rethinking the plans. Instead of trying to cut right through Panamanian mountains and jungle, they built 2 sets of locks to bring the ships up, and then lowering them when they were deposited in the opposite ocean. Today they are constructing one more set of locks that, when finished, will allow ships to use the canal that previously would not fit. The view of the massive ships being raised, lowered, and transported is a reminder of both the ingenuity and tenacity of the human species.
24 January 2016
One of the benefits of traveling with 300 people in the construction business is that marvels like the Miraflores Locks suddenly become a perfect location to host a dinner. We were lucky to have access to the entire museum, approval to enter the restricted area of the locks, and our third delicious meal of the trip. We took our first gander at the canal since flying in, and dipped our toes into the rich history of one of the most taxing creations in modern history tonight.
Panamá Viejo boasts the location of the first European settlement on the Pacific coast. It is marked by a movement away from the hub style design of traditional European cities, because it gravitates toward the grid designs of most modern American cities. Although the settlement was destroyed in the 1600s, many structures still stand, and they provide stunning views of the beautiful, comparably futuristic, modern Panama City. The stroll through this area, that still provides a feeling of community, left me with a satisfied feeling unique to exploring the roots of society.
23 January 2016
After being attacked by pirates in 1671, the Panamanians' settlement was destroyed, forcing them to relocate. My first morning here, we traveled to Casco Antiguo, the second city, that was modeled after the original settlement, but was much easier to defend because of the natural barriers surrounding it. The architecture is a unique combination of antique brick walls, French inspired, and Spanish inspired structures. Stunning modern buildings find themselves nestled between tiny apartments with gaping windows, which is anchored by a crumbling memory of a building built 400 years ago. I was lucky enough to be able to stroll through these streets, simply taking in the views, getting lost in the historical vibe.