The other highlight from trip was the visit to the Panama Canal. A friend of a friend turned up at the hotel on our last free afternoon and he offered to take us over to the Miraflores Locks. Which meant not paying for a taxi and having a local to his knowledge about the area with us. Lucky us
At the locks there was a sort of musuem, and we decided to pay for the exhibits. It ended up being a good choice because they had some pretty cool displays about the history of the canal, the machines used and how the locks function. We could even go inside the cockpit of a ship with all the different buttons, levers and a video that played to simulate our trip through one of the locks. Except the video was playing faster than real time and it was destabilizing if you just looked out of the corner of your eye
It costs a ship ALOT of money to pass through the canal, something like $400 000 for the passage. But this saves the shipping company money in the long run because the passage takes 8-10 hours instead of many days to go around the tip of South America. Here’s a video showing how a ship goes through the canal. In 1999 the Canal came under the control of the Panamanian people instead of the USA, and apparently the volume of ships has increased since the change of hands. They are currently building a new set of locks parallel to the present set, which will allow boats to travel through carrying 12000 containers instead of 4500. That’s one huge boat.
We were able to watch a ship go through the Miraflores lock, and I admit that I found it rather fascinating In fact, we had to get back to the hotel for another session but I wouldn’t have minded staying to watch a car deck ship go through haha.
The other highlight was all the interesting people I got to meet who work all over the Americas. My roommate was a sweet lady from Arkansas, and I really clicked with another young lady working in Belize. I had fun dancing in the worship time with some other ladies from the Caribbean – they know how to move – and a family working in Venezuela with a really cute boy about the same age as Jo jo here. There were a whole bunch of Brazilians and some of the Indigenous peoples of Panama. I had talked to one lady who was painted all over, and the last day she even offered to do body paint for me. I have a temporary bracelet around my wrist to show for it
A whole bunch of Canadians came down to the conference and talking with the Calgary contigent, I must confirm the loss of my Calgarian accent…I’m rather a Franglophone now haha. And to boot, I was unable to speak to the resort staff in Spanish – it all came out in French, alas!
The Friday morning we had to get up really early again to drive to the airport for a 7 AM flight. We got to pass through three different border crossings, several security lines and after a delay in Miami finally into Canada with my Panamanian coffee Which by the way is some really good coffee. It had been really warm in Québec, so it was not as much of an adjustement as it could have been. Going from 40 degrees with humidity to 25 is better than 40 to 15 degrees.
That kind of sums up the highlights of the trip. Thanks for reading!
À la prochaine!