Finally, my first Panama post! You may not have been waiting around my blog. Impatiently. But I couldn't wait to start sharing. Panama was our 9th trip to Central America. Obviously, there's something about the beautiful beaches, the avian skies and rolling jungles that we love. A lot. We started this year's adventure at The Bridge of the Americas. It spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Here's more info for avid readers. Skip it if you bore easily...
The Bridge of the Americas crosses the Pacific approach to the Panama Canal at Balboa, near Panama City. It was built between 1959 and 1962 by the United States at a cost of 20 million U.S. dollars. From its completion in 1962 until the opening of the Centennial Bridge in 2004, the Bridge of the Americas was a key part of the Pan-American Highway. The Bridge of the Americas greatly increased road traffic capacity across the canal. There are two earlier bridges which cross the canal, but they use moveable designs and have limited traffic capacity. The earlier spans include a small swinging road bridge (built into the lock structure at Gatún) and a swinging road/rail bridge (constructed in 1942 at Miraflores.) The Centennial Bridge was constructed to eliminate this bottleneck and reduce traffic congestion on the Bridge of the Americas.
The bridge is a cantilever design where the suspended span is a tied arch. The bridge has a total length of 1,654 m (5,425 ft) in 14 spans, abutment to abutment. The main span measures 344 m (1,128 ft) and the tied arch (the center part of the main span) is 259 m (850 ft). The highest point of the bridge is 117 m (384 ft) above mean sea level; the clearance under the main span is 61.3 m (201 ft) at high tide. Ships must cross under this bridge when traversing the canal, and are subject to this height restriction. (The Centennial Bridge is also a fixed obstacle, but its clearance is much higher: 80.0 m (262 ft)).
The bridge is an impressive sight, and a good view can be obtained from the Balboa Yacht Club, where many small boats tie up before or after transiting the canal. Throughout the day and night numerous vessels pass under the bridge, either entering or departing from the Panama Canal. There are wide access ramps at each end, and pedestrian walkways on each side.
The first thing we did after surviving late night customs, was hail a taxi upon arriving in Panama City. The driver needed to make 3 stops, just to clean his windshield. Only in Central America!
When we arrived at the hotel, we showered in a dark bathroom (no light bulbs) and went to bed. With the air cranked on high. I woke up semi-refreshed at 7 am, ushered the heavy curtains to the right, slid open the door to our balcony and wham! I was accosted in a delightful way, by humidity and a chorus of birds. It was so humid that the lens of my camera fogged immediately. As you can see in the two photos. Top and bottom.
We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. But just for one night. It was a little rough around the edges. But that being said, after my husband went down to check out the breakfast situation, he took one look at me in my fat pants and said I better dress up for breakfast. No way Jose! But, even though the hotel was nothing special, the dining experience was kind of fancy. People really were dressed up for a breakfast buffet. Not me.
Our foggy view of the Canal.
My husband snapped this photo of me (taking photos) with his I-phone. Suddenly, after years of waiting to get smart phones, he's a great photographer too. I love this photo.
I tried out my fish eye lens.
And of course, if there's a portal of any kind, I photograph it. I love this one too.
The first morning is my absolute favorite time of our travels. Because, after an exotic breakfast, you have the whole trip just waiting to unfold. And Panama was a great trip. More on that over the coming year. And beyond...
But for now, be sure to stumble over to The Chorus of the Crows for some drunk ramblings. You'll be Mad if you don't!