50 States/50 Countries – Panama

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken…The Panama Canal.PICT1472 (2)

The canal, a 48-mile narrow waterway connecting a series of lakes and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with locks on both ends to account for the different water levels, significantly reduced shipping times and eliminated the need to navigate the treacherous Cape Horn.

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The construction of the canal was completed in 1914, 401 years after Panama was first crossed by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. The United States spent almost $375,000,000 (roughly equivalent to $9,169,650,000 now) to finish the project. The canal was formally opened on August 15, 1914, with the passage of the cargo ship SS Ancon.

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We visited the canal in December 1973, taking a train from Colon on the Atlantic side, riding alongside the waterway until we reached…

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Panama City on the Pacific side, viewed the locks, ate at a MacDonalds (where there was no cue and the hamburger buns were weird),

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and then returned back to Colon. Only later we discovered the train often was filled with bandidos and very dangerous.

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Another exciting adventure in Central America…Rich

 

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