Fifth Day

Trip Start May 21, 2011
Trip End May 29, 2011

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Flag of Panama  ,
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today, I received a VIP tour of the Panama Canal Expansion from the Panama Canal Authority. This new expansion will add a third set of locks which will allow the transit of longer wider ships called Post Panamax which will hold up to 12000 containers or TEUs. The current set of locks in the Panama canal can handle up to Panamax ships (5000 teus). The project includes deepening of the Pacific and Atlantic Canal entrances, widening and deepening of the Gantun Lake Navigational channel and deeping of Culebra Cut, building of the new locks and water reutilization basins on the Atlantic and the Pacific, and raising Gatun Lake maximum operational level.

I also received a VIP tour of the Miaflores Locks Visitor Center. Miraflores Locks Visitor Center is where visitors can observe transiting vessels from a few meters away. Since I had a VIP tour I was taken down below to see a vessel coming through the locks from a up close perspective. I was given a briefing from the visitor center manager and access to cross a set of locks (if afraid of heights VIP access isn't for you LOL)  I witnessed the locks elevate a vessel 26 meters above sea level to the level of Gatun Lake and then lower it back down to seal level on the opposite side of the Isthmus. 

Finally,  I met with the Academic Director of the City of Knowledge Foundation to discuss the City of Knowledge, student housing, classroom facilities, etc. The City of Knowledge is located on the Former Fort Clayton US. Military Base. Fort Clayton was turned over to Panama as a part of the Panama Canal Zone reversion which took place in 2000.

The City of Knowledge is an international center for education, research, and innovation. It was created to promote and facilitate synergies between universities, scientific research centers, business focusing on the new economy, and international organizations. The center is administered by the City of Knowledge Foundation.  The City of Knowledge has a convention center, training and business center, digital classrooms, 700 seat auditorium, lodging villas and and a executive offices center. Just like military bases, some of the facilities are still used like they were when military personnel occupied the base. In a nut shell, most things are located within the City of Knowledge that a person would need.

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