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Panama

From Costa Rica we headed down to Panama. By this stage we had had enough of the rainy season. On our first day in Panama the streets of David were ankle deep and running like a river. From David we headed down to El Valle and then to Panama City. I have always wanted to see the Panama Canal and it was a really interesting afternoon at Miraflores Lock watching the massive oil tankers and container ships negotiate the narrow channels. The ships are lifted and lowered 26m from the Pacific to the Atlantic through a series of 3 locks that use the huge, fresh water reserve in the middle of the canal to flood each lock, raising or lowering these massive vessels like toy boats. Alongside the ships electric trains ensure the ships stay off the side, as many of them are Panamax - the maximum beam (or hull width) possibly allowed through.

Panama Canal ship locks hull Miraflores Lock oil tankers container ships jungle

From Panama we caught our first flight since landing in LA as we had to fly over the Darien Gap, the heavily-jungled mountains between Panama and Colombia that has no roads, but a lot of gun-weilding drug traffickers. After some discussion we decided to miss Colombia and head to Ecuador instead. And that is where we are now, and where the next email will start.