Our flights from Great Falls were all just fine. We went to Denver, Houston and Panama City. We were a little late coming out of Houston as there was huge rain storms, and had a little turbulence. Made it to our hotel about 930 there was one other guy with us from Grand Junction.
It was so nice that all the arrangements are made and we can relax. Someone met us at the airport, shuttle to the hotel, tour guide met us at the door with our room keys and offered us a late dinner from room service. Felt like we were royalty. Neither of us can ever remember having room service!!!
Our morning started with a nice breakfast at the hotel. At 9 we were on the bus to visit the Old Panama archaeological site. There are about 35 in our group. We drove along Panama City’s bay front. Population in the city is 1.5 million. Crazy. As you can see by the pictures there are skyscrapers all over. Being Sunday there was less traffic and less people around. There is one main thoroughfare thru the city that is closed every Sunday from 6 am until noon. This is so people can ride their bicycles and get exercise.
We spent a few hours at the ruins of Panama Viejo. We walked up 115 stairs to the top of the bell tower. What a great view of the area. You could see the line of ships holding for their turn to go thru the canal. And all the city skyline of skyscrapers. There were many remains of churches on these grounds. They have preserved it in just the last 5 years. It was very warm. 91. And humid. We were supplied with lots of cold water.
Back to the hotel for lunch. Didn’t think we’d want to eat, but glad we did. It was a very tasty variety. Chicken, beef, rice, salad. The seasonings and spices they used are wonderful.
After lunch we were off to see the canal. Along the way our guide gives so much history and interesting facts. The city goes from rich high rises, to a little fishing village all in the same area. The fishing village was here for years and they will not sell and move. They have a perfect spot and she said in the last 15-20 years many investors have come to Panama. Downtown apartment that was $500 a month in 2000 is now $2000 per month!
We visited the Canal Museum at Miraflores, this overlooks the canal locks. What an interesting area. We watched a film, then had a private area on the 3rd floor for viewing ships going thru. We had to wait a bit. One lock had 1 small tour boat, then 2 smaller sail boats, and lastly a huge freighter. They waited until all were in the lock and then lowered the water and opened the gates. What a fascinating thing to watch. The ships are coming from the Pacific and going to the Caribbean ocean. All the water inside the canal is fresh water. This was our first look. We will see the new set of locks tomorrow and also go in a boat thru them!
Had a Panamanian buffet for dinner. Nice selection. Fried plantain. Tamales. Panamanian chicken soup-good for hangovers! Strange we have not seen anyone have a drink or beer yet! A special treat of Caribbean and South American dancers before our dinner.
Then we had not had enough walking so went over to the mall. It was dark but safe area. Just wanted to see what it was like. Beautiful clean an upscale stores and restaurants.
Stay tuned as we learn more.