I slept through most of our Copa Airlines flight between Montevideo and Panama City. I was awake when we made an unscheduled stop in Cali, Columbia due to needing more fuel because of heavy headwinds. Then we finished our flight to Panama City arriving an hour late at 8:00am.
We put our carry-on bags in luggage storage and hired a friendly cab driver to take us touring for the day.
Our first stop was the Miraflores Visitor Centre where we watched a big ship go through the Panama Canal locks. It was $20 US per person to watch this and there is a small museum. I thought it was expensive but John was very excited and it is not something we would do every day.
We next went over the bridge that crosses the canal and links North and South America.
Our next site was the Amador Causeway which was built with the debris dug up while building the Panama Canal. This picturesque causeway connects a number of islands.
It was so hot out. Every time we got out of the air conditioned car, I would just melt.
When the sun was at its hottest, we were travelling through the highly trafficked Casco Viejo which is the historic part of town.There were many beautiful plazas and colonial buildings painted in bright colours. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There was a large police presence. Then our cab driver pointed out the president of Panama walking down the street talking on his phone.
Our final stop was Panama Viejo which is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was where Panama City was originally founded in the early 1500s. The population grew to over 10,000 people. However they were attacked many times by pirates and natural disasters. Finally in the late 1600s Captain Morgan (you know the pirate on the rum bottle) attacked the city and burned it down killing thousands of people. How does a jerk like that end up being imortalized on a rum bottle?
After that the city was unsalvageable so they rebuilt it a few miles away where Casco Viejo is located. Meanwhile, the ruins of the old city are very picturesque.
On the flight home from Panama City to Toronto, for some reason unknown to us, we were in business class. As we had booked economy using points there was no basis for us to be in business. We kept thinking that we would be outed as "economy class freeloaders" but all went well and we enjoyed our pampered flight... the first time John has been in any class above economy. I could get used to this... economy is really going to suck next time.
After two months of travelling, it was great to be home.