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NYC to Panama
back to the PICTURES INDEX (click pictures below to view) on to "Acapulco to Los Angeles"

Greetings from the Flat World Folks, nearing the Southern Hemisphere: Our first slide show begins with a view explaining a little about what it is like to prepare for four months abroad. The next slides show boarding the QE2 on Pier 91 in New York Harbor on a cold snowy Sunday afternoon on the fifth of January, 2003. We sailed down the Atlantic Coast to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up more passengers and thence to the Caribbean. Our scheduled stop in the historic city of Cartegena, Columbia was diverted because of some unpleasantness in that area such as rumors about wishing to take Americans hostage. Instead, we landed at the more peaceful Dutch island of Curacao, just off the Columbian coast, whose architecture looks very similar to Amsterdam, only in bright Caribbean technicolor. An early agricultural endeavor here was growing oranges, however because of the lava soil conditions and the aridness, the fruit was too sour to eat. Instead they use the fruit to distill a liqueur that today bears the island's name, Curacao. (Pronounced cur-a-sau-o) Even though Netherlands continues to hold considerable economic interests, the island is now enjoying independence and a parliamentary government. About 8 hours of Saturday, January11, m 2003, was spent passing through the locks and channels of the Panama Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. What an engineering feat to have been completed in 1914!...despite yellow fever and malaria! If all the rock and dirt were piled into boxcars, the resulting train would circle the Earth four times at the equator. Amazingly, the original design and technology of the canal remains essentially the same. No pumps are used to fill the lock chambers, simply gravity flow from man-made Lake Gatun, which is 85 feet above sea level. The amount of water used by the Panama Canal in one day would supply the city of Boston for two weeks! On Sunday, we toured the canal on land, also visiting Balboa and Panama City, where we passed by the Vatican Embassy from which daddy Bush extracted Noriega in the 1980s. Balboa Bob acquired an especially fashionable Panama hat to blend right in with the natives! The Panamanians are doing a superb job running the whole canal operation, which underscores the wisdom of Jimmy Carter's giving back the canal. How wise of the committee in Stockholm to recognize the importance of this gesture in the world of diplomacy. Keep tuned for our next installment, which will include some shipboard activities, Acapulco and Los Angeles.


Welcome Home? AHOY THEYRE! Our Official Copy Editor
Panama Canal Entrance - Atlantic Commin' Through Land Locking
Canal Locks Panama Canal Canal Locks

Picture Set #1