It is hard to discuss the Panama Canal without spitting facts at you like a 9th grade science lecture.
When we talk about the Panama Canal we are talking about one of the wonders of the world, were talking about political history and the independence of a country. But what it really represents is so confusing, I wonder about the wonderment it actually possesses.
We stood four stories above the structure as massive ships cautiously floated through the chamber with only two-feet to spare on either side. All the while a recording spoken in English is played over and over again in a mechanical voice.
This is the Panama Canal this, and that, and this, and that and on and on like that – like listening to the arrival times at grand central station.
I was pretty impressed with the overall engineering feat of such a construction, but all the while I was perplexed by a lack there of…something I couldn’t quite pin-point.
On an on the mechanical voice went “75,000 workers, 10 years, 12,000 ships a year…cargo…number one…fastest…shortest…more cargo………”
I started remembering other places I’d seen over the course of our journey. I remembered sitting atop Macchu Picchu and watching the mist sift through the stone structure like some ghostly spirit possessed the ancient kingdom. I remember the feeling I had when I was there. I remembered the awesome presence of the once mighty empire still lingering in the jungle air…..and then it hit me. Here at the Panama Canal there was no presence.
There were no images of greatness, only greed…as this canal was a symbol of nothing but the progress, and process of the modern world. It was a catalyst to the ridiculous speed at which we lived our modern lives. It was everything backwards about our way of living, and the hoards of tourists, and that mechanical voice were living parts of the problem. I had to leave. I had had enough.
I felt unjustifiably angry when we walked the long flight of stairs back down to the highway. I was a tourist…I was someone who lived and loved the lifestyles that the Panama Canal allowed for…and yet I hated the Canal and myself for it. I was a prisoner to the canal…no matter where I was in the world…
That night I tossed and turned in my bunk…15 other people sleeping soundly all around me. Were they prisoners like me, enjoying the I-90 all the way to California…I don’t know.
Have read: 1054 time also have answered 0 time