Saturday, January 23, 2010

Panama: Day 9

Jean Pierre drove us to the Amador Causeway for lunch at Lenos & Carbon. This is Tom's fish (grilled red snapper). So good that only bones were left. Our table was just inside the wide, breezy veranda.

The causeway road is 2 lanes wide (one in and one out) connecting 4 small islands that were once a part of Ft. Grant, built in 1913 to protect canal access during WWI and WWII.

Today, visitors will find a number of restaurants, shops and a marina. Closer to the mainland is the Frank Gehry-designed museum of biodiversity currently under construction.

In the old Canal Zone, many of the US military buildings have now been converted into educational institutions or private enterprise.

A new (wider and deeper) channel is being dug for the Canal itself, so that it will eventually have 3 shipping lanes. It continues to operate 24/7 with thousands of ships passing through every year.

Everything from enormous ocean-going container ships to cruise liners to small tugs fill the 3 locks that span the canal, crossing from the Atlantic to Pacific - or the reverse. Cuts the shipping time by 14 days (around the Cape), is much safer for shipping and provides a steady income for the country year round.

Last stop was the American cemetery outside the city limits.

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