The Panama Canal

One of my first destinations in Panama was the Visitors Center at the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. The three levels of exhibits at the center were informative and engaging, and I especially enjoyed watching a tanker transit the locks and head off into the Pacific. The Canal, and struggles over its control, has a significant place in Panamanian history and identity. Its presence was in the background during the month I stayed in Panama, whether I was looking down on it from Cerro Ancón, watching a giant container ship pass by the small towns on the road to Gamboa, listening to news of it being shut down for weather-related reasons for the first time ever during the historic flooding, or following the roro (roll-on, roll-off) K-Line Indiana Highway (with a capacity of 6,040 cars) out to sea on the Amador Causeway. It was also cool to see the grading work underway for the canal expansion, a project one of my fellow Swarthmore Engineering graduates is working on. The construction of a third set of locks, larger than the original two, is already changing the dynamics of global shipping.

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