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Yahoo Panama Is Nothing More Than A Canal

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Written by Matt   
Friday, 02 February 2007 14:04
I made the decision to call Panama Yahoo home, cialis first and foremost, because it had a canal. I spent the last months before my flight envisioning every facet of my life as it would revolve around the famed waterway. I visualized meeting friends at the canal, eating meals alongside the canal, perhaps even jumping in the canal for afternoon dips. But what I realized though, very quickly into my time here was that the so-called world famous Panama canal was just that—a canal. It wasn't a mall, it wasn't a resort, it wasn't an amusement park. And for this, I felt deeply misled.

In school, my teachers and textbooks would always speak of the canal as if it was a magical place. To them, it was right up there with the likes of the Parthenon and the Mayan temples and the Great Wall of China as mysterious sites where inexplicably good things would happen to you. (Looking to cure yourself of polio? Want to acquire a new wrist watch?) The harsh reality set in when I realized that the Yahoo Panama Canal museum didn't even have an arcade.

If you are unfortunate enough to live somewhere famous, you'll understand where I'm coming from. People in Egypt for example, have the pyramids. When their guests arrive at the airport, that's all it is. Pyramids, pyramids, pyramids. When can we see the pyramids? How should I dress for the pyramids? Similarly, people in Niagra have the Falls to worry about. Living near a well-known landmark is not nearly as easy and carefree as it seems and it is my belief that anywhere you find a famous attraction, not far from it you'll come across a large group of people who have been the victim of that attraction, almost rundown by its grandness and splendor: forced into this substandard orchestra always playing second fiddle.

When people hear I live in Panama, it's always followed by “do you live near the canal?” and subsequently “how amazing is that?” People assume that because I live near the canal, I live a lifestyle of equal pomposity; my days filled with adventure, my nights with mystery. My apartment thought to be amidst a monkey jungle and my meals likely served with the dirtied end of an elephant tusk. When in reality, the only thing mysterious about the way I live is my ability to competitive swim faster than some fish.

Upon visiting the canal, you can partake in a number of boring activities. There's an observatory deck where you can hang your arms over the ledge and watch boats pass through the locks, an event slightly less stimulating than a snail fight. The savvier traveler might opt for a tour in which you can actually transit the canal in a boat—the sole purpose of tours like these being to heighten the post-trip dinner-table story, because the transit itself is incredibly boring. There are two secret tours that very few people know about, one which involves going under the canal and another which allows any tourist to board one of the canal's famous tugboats. But in reality, unless alcohol or drugs are involved, a visit to the Panama Canal is very humdrum.

Lastly, there is no better place to be mistaken for a tourist than the canal, where you'll consequently be gypped for a five-dollar cab ride. Anyone who tells you that visiting the canal is fun, should be immediately asked what insane asylum he or she escaped from. I'm not going to be like every other guidebook and spray-on tan it for you: the canal museum is about thirty-minutes-interesting. It's a nice museum, well designed, fairly interactive. But not unlike any other museum, it gets incredibly boring after an hour or god forbid should you go a second time. The gift shop is laden with canal paraphernalia in case you ever happen to need a Panama Canal sweatband or Canal Authority license plate frame. If tricked into taking a visitor there, I'll usually spend my time outside in the parking lot looking for rocks that resemble famous people.

Recently a few friends were visiting from the states and instead of coming to my league soccer match they opted to go on a tour of the Panama Canal. I was at first angry with my friends. Then I was angry with the canal. But afterwards it struck me: if it wasn't for the canal, my friends may not have come at all.

Comments:

I wanted to place a comment about your report, on Yahoo Panama Is Nothing More Than A Canal, however I could not help to notice that you purposely left out the “Post a comment” link. I am sorry that your expectations about neither the canal, nor the idea of drinking from its sacred waters with the promise eternal youth where not met on your visit. The Panama Canal is an engineering master piece, and from a historical point of view it is the beginning of an integration of cultures for a better cause. Maybe I am more able to view this, as many of my ancestors came to Panama and died so young cooperating on that project, which also meant for them a better life so far away. My 89 year old grandfather still speaks proudly of his work days there and I get shivers walking through that “boring” museum and looking into the eyes on the photographs those who came and left their homes, cultures, love ones behind. Next time you visit a land mark, try to not get enticed by the silly souveniers, opt on buying a book or picking up a free booklet, really get you moneys worth out of your entrance, this way you will look really smart before some girl, or impress your friends. -Wendy

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Viewing the Canal
written by YeahDogg , May 18, 2007
I hear you Wendy. However, having grown up in NYC most of my life. I can relate to not being impressed with the hype of so called man made marvels of engineering. The truth is, ITS BORING!...I lived not far from the statue of liberty, empire state building, and the Brooklyn bridge.... I would see them in the distance practically every day.... and never once stopped to look at them for more than 15 seconds mostly because I was too busy looking at the people walking by them and using them. I wonder, if absolutely nobody was at the panama canal, and you knew that in advance, and, you knew if you went there you would be the only person there... Would you really go? would you really care? I think such places are simply a central meeting place for people to look at other people yet having the excuse of saying... "Yeah were going to look at a canal"....I think there is value in learning about the people who built the canal and understanding the culture of the country in which the canal is built. However, it seems quite clear to me that while many people, particularly Americans, are just "itchin" to "GO SEE THE CANAL"... My guess would be after about 60 seconds and for the older slower folks maybe 120 seconds, they would be thinking to them selves; "OK, seen the canal, this is boring i'm ready to go back to the hotel and get zooted now, let me get one of these over priced souvenirs and git the hell outta here."
I will be arriving in panama for the first time in September... The start of a year long tour of South America. I plan to spend 3 months in Panama. I am sure during my stay I will have occasion to do a panama canal drive by and some helpful cabbie will exclaim; "Look the panama canal!" I will look out the window and go, "COOOOoOL".... and then ask, Hey, I been reading about these places where they got something called "happy endings" you know anything about that? take me there.


YeahDogg
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Boring?
written by panama ed , May 27, 2007
Some folk come off the 12 hour Canal tour, they say it's just amazing. Just last week I saw it happen.
What some find interesting leaves others cold. I spent years around the Canal, it's well worth a day to see it and come to understand it's importance and both the simplicity of design and difficulties of it's construction.
It is just a canal, but it represents the blossoming of the modern industrial age, which makes it an important moment, a day well spent.

Oh, I do like the new format, big step up.
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The Panama Canal
written by Karena , May 27, 2007
I hope someone like you doesn't decide to "live" or "visit" Panama again! I know what it's like to live outside a big city and be mistaken for one of "those" people. I live outside New York City and do not wish to be associated with THAT city, at all!!My husband and I will be retiring to Panama this year and look forward to be coming a "Panamanian". We do not need people like you "visiting" Panama at all. Apparently, you weren't "taught" about the Panama Canal and what went on behind the scenes. I personally know people who worked their tail feathers off to get the Panama Canal functioning as it is know today. Go to your "all inclusive" resorts. That's where people like you belong!!
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Transit the canal!
written by panajane , June 17, 2007
Transiting through the canal is a bit more exciting than the museum or just peeking at the canal at Miraflores. It's a long ride, but you get to see so much wildlife, navigate through the lake and it is an amazing thing to be IN. Looking at it from the outside, though, is pretty unremarkable. From what I recall, there's a little mini ship that transits the canal every Saturday or Sunday. The information of how much it is and whatever is located in Flamenco, next to Alberto's Restaurant (I recommend you do this whenever you have the free time and energy to do it). I've transited the canal three times, and once even got to stay overnight on the lake (sleeping on a hammock squeezed between two masts and swinging over the water whenever a tug boat or a ship went by was really an incredible experience). Also, I participated in the famed Cayuco Race and there is no other feeling more awe inspiring than paddling in a teeny tiny 4 person cayuco (all girls, mind you) next to a humongous mega panamax ship. It really makes you feel well, human.
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Panama canal
written by LG , December 06, 2007
you know what people like you should not even go to places like panama. you dont know any thing about it! it is not just a canal. it has more stuff to do than you can believe! i am half panamanian and i was there this past summer and we went hang-gliding in the rain forest!!! so for people like you who like to go there for theam parks and not the senary or the BEAUTIFUL beaches then you should stay where you are at because no body there would want you there any ways! panama is a beautifal place and a lot of people think it is a great place to be. Famouse people have homes and hade weddings and hunnie moons there because it is such a beautiful place! so just stay were you are because us panamanians wont MISS YOU!
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Hang gliding in the rain forest?!?
written by JMR , April 04, 2008
Hi LG - I am interested in finding out more about your hang gliding experience... Can you tell me where and the name of the tour company that you did this with? From reading other blogs, it seems like there isn't a lot of pargliding or hang gliding happening in Panama. Thanks!
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bleh
written by lc , July 31, 2008
I'm sure she rode a zipline like in everyone rain forest.
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Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2008 21:49
 
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