To state the obvious, you can only see so much of a place when time is limited. While in Panama City on a layover that spanned two nights and one full day, we managed to set foot in three major locations of interest. Casco Antiguo and the archaeological site of Panama Viejo featured in the World Heritage post. The other sight on our itinerary was the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal.
Seeing a grand achievement of human endeavor always earns top marks in my book, so the Panama Canal was pretty high on my wish list. At the Miraflores Locks, you do not actually “see” much of the canal, per se, but you do get to observe the slowly-progressing passing of a ship, opening and closing the gates, changing water levels, and more, all loosely narrated by public announcements. There is plenty of other relevant historical and functional information available throughout the visitor center. Since every tour guide worth their salt can predict when a ship would be passing the locks based on the standard operations schedule, the place gets pretty crowded at peak times.
Here is the extent of the view northward towards the canal proper from the observation deck.
And a sequence of shots at different stages of a car-carrier ship passing through the locks southward.
Look closely at the last two shots and you will be able to recognize the difference in water levels relative to the banks of the channel.
Many of my other shots from that day were taken through the car windows as we were driven around on our tour of city highlights.
The view towards Casco Viejo from the causeway of Cinta Costera.
A different angle from another stretch of the same causeway that puts the modern “downtown” in the background of the historic center.
A more distant view of the modern skyline from the Amador causeway.
A couple of stationary different-focus-length perspectives of the same skyline from the edge of Casco Viejo called the French Square.
Those are northeast views from where we are standing. Turning 180 degrees around, we can see the eye-catching building of the Biomuseo as well as another standout, the Amador Convention Center.
And turning more due west, from the same spot we can see the Bridge of the Americas, which connects the Southern and Northern continents.
From the moving car again, a different view of the Biomuseo.
Driving along the Pan-American Highway also known as Avenue Balboa.
One of the many monuments to the student uprising of 1964, which eventually led to the renegotiation of the control over the Canal Zone between the US and the Panamanian state.
And just because all NY/NJ metro-area residents are familiar with the name, the monument that commemorates George Washington Goethals, who was the chief engineer and administrator of the Panama Canal between 1907 and 1916, and later the first consulting engineer of the Port Authority of NY/NJ.
As you are driven around the city, you cannot avoid seeing the less attractive non-touristy segments of it. Here are a few glimpses.
And a few more stationary photos from the terrace of our hotel, in daylight and nighttime versions.
I frequently come back from my explorations wishing that I had more time in a given town. Panama City is certainly one such case.