See what they did there? That’s a palindrome. Go ahead, read it backwards. Pretty cool, aye?
Let me preface the story of my visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal by telling you, I am pretty certain I have Adult ADHD. I have a very short attention span and can be distracted by…oh look a chicken. Sorry, I get distracted if the wind blows. Or if I see a chicken. I mean no disrespect when I say this but I found miraflores locks boring. B.O.R.I.N.G.
Now I did it alone, well the taxi driver that I mentioned in earlier post promised me a tour of several attractions for 40 dollars, and also promised a lesson in spanish along the way. What he didn’t say was that he was just going to drop me off and I was on my own. No big deal. I am woman, hear me roar.
We arrive at Miraflores Locks and he says, ‘okay, have fun.’ With a bit of hesitation I hop out of taxi with his promise to come back and get me after he gets gas and has some lunch. Eek, I hope he comes back! I follow the crowd to the locks entrance where I pay the 8 dollar admission fee. As I’m forking over the dough, I’m thinking what exactly am I paying for here. No clue. Going to be a surprise.
As I enter Miraflores, the usher tells me that the English version of the movie on history of the canal is about to start, and points to a line. Oh ugh. No. I’m on vacation, I can’t sit and watch an educational film. I should be drinking piña coladas on the beach, right!? No, I should watch the movie and learn something but instead, I hop out of line and follow another crowd into an elevator. I end up on an observation deck, where I wait, and wait, and wait for something to happen. Tried taking pics but everything was going so slow that they all looked the same.
Finally, some movement. The ship that was already in the locks begins its exit and the next in line starts to make its way to the locks. Veryyyyy slowwwwly. And then it happens. The ADHD kicks in and I’m looking for quickest exit. Well, a quick stop in the gift shop, and an even quicker check of the start time of the next movie because I feel guilty. But the taxi waiting for me outside combined with a bit of a hangover has me running for the exit.
I mean no disrespect by this post. Truly. I understand the man power that went into building the canal and the thousands of people who died building it. I say all of this to tell you it’s a good idea to plan your visit. Probably not a great one to go with a random taxi driver, as I did. Instead, go on a tour with the specialized guides that are everywhere or maybe listen to the movie. I don’t know. There are several boat tours that take tourists right up to the locks. That’s more my speed and was the plan for later in the week so I didn’t feel too bad leaving.
As I walk out, my driver runs up to me, ‘señorita! Señorita! You okay!?’ Oh yes, of course, why do you ask?, I say. ‘Because that was too quick! You were only in there for 15 minutes!’ I couldn’t help but laugh because I thought I had been watching the ships for close to an hour. Oh well.
My trip took a few turns and unfortunately, I did not get to do the boat tour. I left Panama without much more knowledge of the canal before I arrived and felt quite guilty. So I did what I do best and hit the web for the readers digest version of the history. Found some pretty interesting facts:
Over 13,000 ships pass through every year and each pay a toll. Smallest amount ever paid was 36 cents by a man who swam across it. And largest amount was over 375,000 by a cruise ship. Yowzers.
If you play Trivia Crack, like I do, you’ll want to know this. I bet it’s a question. Jimmy Carter signed the treaty to give control of the canal from the states to panama in 1977. Seems like that would be a question, doesn’t it? Panama has had complete control since 1999 and just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2014.
The history of the Panama Canal is actually quite an interesting story. Wish I stayed to learn more. Damn you, ADHD!