There really was no choice for me regarding “Passage Ways”. Surely being in Panama means I have to opt for the Panama Canal. This year marks the One Hundred Year Anniversary of the official opening of the Canal, a project started in January 1881 with Ferdinand de Lesseps in charge of construction. There were a myriad of problems which hounded the workforce, in particular the tropical diseases which killed off vast numbers of workers. Over 8 years more than 22,000 workers died and hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent.
In 1904 the USA took over control of the Canal zone from the French and ultimately completed the challenging construction in 1913. The Canal zone was in US hands until the end of 1999 when it was handed back to Panama who now control the zone.
History aside, my husband and I have been lucky enough to have completed a transit tour of the locks as well as visited the museum at the Miraflores Locks. My husband even attended the ceremony in 1999 during which the official handing over of the Canal to Panamanian authorities occurred.
There is a train that runs alongside the Canal, running through lush jungles and over Lake Gatun, from the Atlantic side of the isthmus of Panama to the Pacific side. If you ever happen to be in Panama, a transit tour through a set of locks, a visit to the museum to view the passage of the ships that are guided through by a Panama Canal Transit Authority Captain, and a ride on the train should definitely be on your “To Do” list.