Dinner on the Panama Canal

By: Smith Schwartz |

The Panama Canal is an amazing thing. Even more amazing, you can sit next to it while you eat your dinner. It’s nice to have a meal as a distraction, because just like Lenscrafters, it takes about an hour for one boat to go through one set of locks.

We ate dinner at a restaurant atop the Miraflores Locks). Originally built in 1913, these locks are undergoing a massive widening. Currently the canal can only accommodate about a third of the world’s ships and when construction is complete, only one third more will be able to fit through. I suppose large-scale ship building is a much more lucrative business venture than large-scale lock widening.

The actual restaurant looks like what I’d imagine you’d see in a cruise ship and the food was basic and bland. None of that matters, because the real star of the evening was watching a Panamax-sized ship crawl through the lock as we enjoyed the warm evening breeze.

These funky little train cars lead the ships through the locks, one tied to each ‘corner’ of the vessel.

This is the largest ‘No Smoking’ sign I’ve ever seen in my life. Either the crew really doesn’t like smoking, or they smoke up and down the seven seas, waiting for helicopters to land and laughing at their insanely sized sign.

I tried my best, but this ship was so big, that my dinky 28mm lens was not wide enough to catch the entire thing. It was wide enough to take a shot of my plate of risotto, but I’ve spared you, because that was too bland to post.