Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello Panama!

We arrived in Panama City last night after a smooth and easy flight.  Said hello to family and then collapsed in bed, and today we went on some sort of tour of the city, including the canal and something called Old Town.

My initial impression of Panama is that the infrastructure is much better than I anticipated.  The roads are amazing, sounds like a silly thing to notice but it's actually quite striking to me.  Utilities stable and reliable.  Traffic patterns seem normal and sane.  The area we stayed in was interesting, we were in a big fancy hotel and across the street were apartments that were definitely not fancy.  Walking around each place was either high-end or low-end, like a "gritty" neighborhood was in the middle of being gutted and rebuilt to be a fancy one.

Anyway, seeing the canal was really cool, and we stopped at a seaside place with a little market which was great but of course I was looking for shorebirds.  :-)  After the tour it was time to head to Bocas.

We saw pelicans flying around and fishing.

brown pelicans
 These guys are dark and fly like cormorants, but I didn't know cormorants get together in such large flocks!  There were several flocks flying by.
mystery birds
 Then there were a variety of wading birds, enjoying the low tide.
white ibis

yellow-crowned night heron

snowy ibis about to be pounced on by a white ibis

great blue heron leaving a yellow-crowned night heron

tricolored heron
 The best views of the canal were on the bridges, it was really cool going over it.
Terracing beside the Panama Canal

Part of the Panama Canal from a bridge

Another part of the Panama Canal from a bridge

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