#day349 – boat watching at the Panama Canal

What might seem a bit boring at the first sight is actually an economical and technical wonder. The Panama Canal. A canal that functions as a shortcut for ships, which are on their way from the Atlantic to the Pacific or the other way around. It works in both ways.

Just to give you an example. If you are enjoying a delicious red wine from Chile in New York, the wine went from the Western coast of Southamerica all his way up through the canal to the Eastern coast of the United States. The ability to cross the continent through the canal shortens the way a lot. Otherwise the good ‘El Diablo’ red wine would been even more expensive.

The Panama Canal and the Miraflores Locks, the closest locks to Panama City, are the main tourist attraction in whole Panama. Not without a reason. I’m still impressed. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the canal, I only knew it’s pretty important for the continent’s economy and it makes Panama a wealthier country.

The visitor museum at the locks teached me much more facts though. I don’t want to bore you with all the details. I just share the most surprisingly information with you. From my perspective it’s the fact, that the canal, built at the beginning of the 20th century, was a nonprofit organisation until the year 2000. For almost hundred years they just earned enough money to cover their costs. Imagine, they started earning money only 17 years ago. That’s crazy. Nowadays a small ship pays a 300 million dollars to cross the canal. A big one up to 800 million.

And the funniest fun fact at the end: The lowest toll in the history of the Panama Canal was paid by Richard Halliburton in 1928. The American adventurer paid only 28 cents for swimming all the way through the canal. Crazy dude, isn’t he?

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