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Greetings from Panama! My name is Marina Ehrman and I have been a professional tour guide and promoter for Panama Tourism and Travel Company since 2005. I love what I do and am proud to share what my country has to offer. It is filled with endless leisure and commercial attractions, friendly happy people who open their doors to all visitors. Panama is a country of incomparable natural beauty with a variety of tourist attractions, beautiful beaches in the Pacific and Caribbean. The tropical climate year round with its diversified flora, fauna and indigenous groups make it one of the most important of Ecotourism in Latin America. I invite you to know our country’s history, culture and also enjoy the cuisine, folklore and traditions that only a place in the world can provide………Panama! Contact me and I’ll organize your visit and will be happy to welcome you in Panama. For more information on Panama, follow my Facebook page and my blog. Visit

Panama Canal Locks

The Panama Canal Locks, which lift ships up 25.9 m (85 ft) to the main elevation of the Panama Canal, were one of the greatest engineering works ever to be undertaken at the time, eclipsed only by other parts of the canal project. No other concrete construction of comparable size was undertaken until the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. The total length of the lock structures, including the approach walls, is over 3 kilometres (nearly two miles).
The locks, which have a total of six steps, limit the maximum size of ships which can transit the canal, known as Panamax. Each of these steps has two lock chambers, doubling the amount of traffic that can be handled; together they raise ships from sea level to a height of 25.9 m (85 ft).
The locks are to be expanded in the near future to allow more and larger ships to use the canal.

There are three sets of locks in the canal. A two-step flight at Miraflores, and a single flight at Pedro Miguel, lift ships from the Pacific up to Lake Gatun; then a triple flight at Gatun lowers them to the Atlantic side. All three sets of locks are paired; that is, there are two parallel flights of locks at each of the three lock sites. This, in principle, allows ships to pass in opposite directions simultaneously; however, large ships cannot cross safely at speed in the Gaillard Cut, so in practice ships pass in one direction for a time, then in the other, using both "lanes" of the locks in one direction at a time.
The lock chambers are 33.53 meters (110 ft) wide by 320.0 meters (1050 ft) long, with a usable length of 304.8 metres (1000 ft). These dimensions determine the maximum size of ships which can use the canal; this size is known as Panamax. The total lift (the amount by which a ship is raised or lowered) in the three steps of the Gatun locks is 25.9 m (85 ft); the lift of the two-step Miraflores locks is 16.5 m (54 ft). The single-step Pedro Miguel lock has a lift of 9.5 m (31 ft). The lift at Miraflores actually varies due to the extreme tides on the Pacific side, between 13.1 m (43 ft) at extreme high tide and 19.7 m (64.5 ft) at extreme low tide; the tides on the Atlantic side, however, are very small.
The lock chambers are massive concrete structures. The side walls are from 13.7 to 15.2 metres (45 to 55 feet) thick at the bases; towards the top, where less strength is required, they taper down in steps to 2.4 m (8 ft). The centre wall between the chambers is 18.3 m (60 ft) thick, and houses three long galleries which run the full length of the centre wall. The lowest of these is a drainage tunnel; above this is a gallery for electrical cabling; and towards the top is a passageway which allows operators to gain access to the lock machinery.

Filling and draining
Each lock chamber requires 101,000 m3 (26,700,000 US gal; 22,200,000 imp gal) to fill it from the lowered position to raised; the same amount of water must be drained from the chamber to lower it again. Embedded in the side and centre walls are three large water culverts, which are used to carry water from the lake into the chambers to raise them, and from each chamber down to the next, or to the sea, to lower them. These culverts start at a diameter of 22 ft (6.71 m), and reduce 18 ft (5.49 m) in diameter — large enough to accommodate a train. Cross culverts branch off from these main culverts, and run underneath the lock chambers to openings in the floors. There are fourteen cross culverts in each chamber, each with five openings; seven cross culverts from the sidewall main culverts alternate with seven from the centre wall culvert.
The water is moved by gravity, and is controlled by huge valves in the culverts; each cross culvert is independently controlled. A lock chamber can be filled in as little as eight minutes; there is significant turbulence in the lock chamber during this process

The gates
The gates which separate the chambers in each flight of locks must hold back a considerable weight of water, and must be both reliable and strong enough to withstand accidents, as the failure of a gate could unleash a catastrophic flood of water downstream.
These gates are of enormous size, ranging from 47 to 82 ft (14.33 to 24.99 m) high, depending on position, and are 7 ft (2.13 m) thick; the tallest gates are required at Miraflores, due to the large tidal range there. The heaviest leaves weigh 662 t (730 short tons; 652 long tons); the hinges themselves each weigh 16.7 t (36,817 lb). Each gate has two leaves, 65 ft (19.81 m) wide, which close to a V shape with the point upstream; this arrangement has the effect that the force of water from the higher side pushes the ends of the gates together firmly. The gates can only be opened when, in the operating cycle, water level on both sides is equal.
The original gate machinery consisted of a huge drive wheel, powered by an electric motor, to which was attached a connecting rod, which in turn attached to the middle of the gate. These mechanisms were replaced with hydraulic struts beginning in January 1998, after 84 years of service. The gates are hollow and buoyant, much like the hull of a ship, and are so well balanced that two 19 kW (25 hp) motors are enough to move each gate leaf; if one motor fails, the other can still operate the gate at reduced speed.
Each chamber also contains a pair of auxiliary gates which can be used to divide the chamber in two; this is designed to allow for the transit of smaller vessels — such as canal tugs — without using the full quantity of water. They were originally incorporated because the overwhelming majority of all ships of the early 1900s were less than 600 ft (183 m) in length, and would therefore not need the full length of the lock chamber. Nowadays these gates are rarely used; instead, small boats such as tour boats, tugs, and yachts are passed in groups

Safety features
A failure of the lock gates — for example, caused by a runaway ship hitting a gate — could unleash a flood on the lands downstream of the locks, as the lake above the locks (Gatun Lake or Miraflores Lake) drains through the lock system. Extra safety against this is provided by doubling the gates at both ends of the upper chamber in each flight of locks; hence, there are four gates in each flight of locks which would have to fail to allow the higher level of water to pass downstream. The additional gates are 21 m (70 ft) away from the operating gates.
Originally, the locks also featured chain barriers, which were stretched across the lock chambers to prevent a ship from running out of control and ramming a gate, and which were lowered into the lock floor to allow the ship to pass. These fender chains featured elaborate braking mechanisms to allow a ship up to 10,000 tons to be safely stopped; however, given the precise control of ships made possible by the mules, it was very unlikely that these chains would ever be required. With many modern canal users being over 60,000 tons, and given the expense of maintaining them, the fender chains were reduced in number in 1976 and finally removed in 1980.
Beyond this, the original design of the locks had yet another safety feature — emergency dams which could be swung across the locks at the upper end of every flight. These consisted of swinging bridges, from which girders were lowered to the lock floor; steel shutters could then be run down these girders to block the flow of water. Monthly drills were held, by night and day, to make sure that these dams could be deployed in an emergency.
In the late 1930s, the original dams were replaced by new dams, which were raised out of slots in the bottom of the lock chambers, either hydraulically or by compressed air. The new dams were themselves retired in the late 1980s, and today, no emergency dams are in place

Since all the equipment of the locks is operated electrically, the whole process of locking a ship up or down can be controlled from a central control room, which is located on the centre wall of the upper flight of locks. The controls were designed from the outset to minimise the chances of operator error, and include a complete model of the locks, with moving components which mirror the states of the real lock gates and valves. In this way, the operator can see exactly what state the locks and water valves are in.
Mechanical interlocks are built into the controls to make sure that no component can be moved while another is in an incorrect state; for example, opening the drain and fill valves of a lock chamber simultaneously


The project of building the locks began with the first concrete laid at Gatun, on August 24, 1909, by Philadelphia based company Day & Zimmermann (formerly known as Dodge & Day).
The locks at Gatun are built into a cutting made in a hill bordering the lake, which required the excavation of 3,800,000 m³ (5,000,000 cubic yards) of material, mostly rock. The locks themselves were made of 1,564,400 m³ (2,046,100 cubic yards) of concrete.
The quantity of material needed to construct the locks required extensive measures to be put in place to handle the stone and cement. Stone was brought from Portobelo to the Gatun locks; the work on the Pacific side used stone quarried from Ancon Hill.
Huge overhead cableways were constructed to transport concrete into the construction at Gatun. 26 metre (85 ft) high towers were built on the banks of the canal, and cables of 6 cm (2.5 inch) steel wire were strung between them to span the locks. Buckets running on these cables carried up to six tons of concrete at a time into the locks. Electric railways were constructed to take stone, sand and cement from the docks to the concrete mixing machines, from where another electric railway carried two 6-ton buckets at a time to the cableways. The smaller constructions at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores used cranes and steam locomotives in a similar manner.
Concrete is normally moulded in formwork, temporary structures which give shape to the concrete as it sets. For a simple construction, these would normally be made quite simply of wood, but the scale of the locks demanded extraordinary forms.
The forms for the walls consisted of towers, fronted with braced vertical sheets, 19 cm (7½ inches) thick, mounted on rails to allow the locks to be constructed in sections; a section of lock would be poured behind the form, and when it was set, the form would be moved to do the next section. Each of the twelve towers was 23.8 m (78 ft) high by 11.0 m (36 ft) wide. The forms for the culverts were made of steel, and were collapsible so they could be removed and moved along after each section of culvert had set. There were, in all, 33 forms for the centre and side-wall culverts, each 3.7 m (12 ft) long; and 100 smaller forms for the lateral culverts.
The Pacific-side locks were finished first; the single flight at Pedro Miguel in 1911 and Miraflores in May, 1913.
The seagoing tug Gatun, an Atlantic entrance working tug used for hauling barges, had the honor on September 26, 1913, of making the first trial lockage of Gatun Locks. The lockage went perfectly, although all valves were controlled manually since the central control board was still not ready.

The Bridge of the Americas

The Bridge of the Americas (Spanish: Puente de las Américas; originally known as the Thatcher Ferry Bridge) is a road bridge in Panama, which spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Completed in 1962, at a cost of US$20 million, it was the only non-swinging bridge (there are two other bridges, one at the Miraflores locks and one at the Gatun locks) connecting the north and south American land masses until the opening of the Centennial Bridge in 2004. The bridge was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel.

The Bridge of the Americas crosses the Pacific approach to the Panama Canal at Balboa, near Panama City. It was built between 1959 and 1962 by the United States at a cost of 20 million U.S. dollars. From its completion in 1962 until the opening of the Centennial Bridge in 2004, the Bridge of the Americas was a key part of the Pan-American Highway. The Bridge of the Americas greatly increased road traffic capacity across the canal. There are two earlier bridges which cross the canal, but they use moveable designs and have limited traffic capacity. The earlier spans include a small swinging road bridge (built into the lock structure at Gatún) and a swinging road/rail bridge (constructed in 1942 at Miraflores.) The Centennial Bridge was constructed to eliminate this bottleneck and reduce traffic congestion on the Bridge of the Americas.
The bridge is a cantilever design where the suspended span is a tied arch. The bridge has a total length of 1,654 m (5,425 ft) in 14 spans, abutment to abutment. The main span measures 344 m (1,128 ft) and the tied arch (the center part of the main span) is 259 m (850 ft).The highest point of the bridge is 117 m (384 ft) above mean sea level; the clearance under the main span is 61.3 m (201 ft) at high tide. Ships must cross under this bridge when traversing the canal, and are subject to this height restriction. (The Centennial Bridge is also a fixed obstacle, but its clearance is much higher: 80.0 m (262 ft)).
The bridge is an impressive sight, and a good view can be obtained from the Balboa Yacht Club, where many small boats tie up before or after transiting the canal. Throughout the day and night numerous vessels pass under the bridge, either entering or departing from the Panama Canal. There are wide access ramps at each end, and pedestrian walkways on each side


The need for a bridge

From the beginning of the French project to construct a canal, it was recognised that the cities of Colón and Panamá would be split from the rest of the republic by the new canal. This was an issue even during construction, when barges were used to ferry construction workers across the canal.
After the canal opened, the increasing number of cars, and the construction of a new road leading to Chiriquí, in the west of Panama, increased the need for some kind of crossing. The Panama Canal Mechanical Division addressed this in August 1931, with the commissioning of two new ferries, the Presidente Amador and President Washington.[2] This service was expanded in August 1940, with additional barges mainly serving the military.
On June 3, 1942, a road/rail swing bridge was inaugurated at the Miraflores locks; although only usable when no ships were passing, this provided some relief for traffic wishing to cross the canal. Still, it was clear that a more substantial solution would be required. To meet the growing needs of vehicle traffic, another ferry, the Presidente Porras, was added in November 1942

The bridge project

The idea of a permanent bridge over the canal had been proposed as a major priority as early as 1923. Subsequent administrations of Panama pressed this issue with the United States, which controlled the Canal Zone; and in 1955, the Remón-Eisenhower treaty committed the United States to building a bridge.
A contract of $20,000,000 was awarded to John F. Beasly & Company who built the bridge out of steel and reinforced concrete, and the project was initiated in a ceremony which took place on December 23, 1958, in the presence of United States Ambassador Julian Harrington, and Panamanian President Ernesto de la Guardia Navarro. Construction began on October 12, 1959, and took nearly two and a half years to complete.
The inauguration of the bridge took place on October 12, 1962, with great ceremony. The day began with a concert by the bands of the U.S. Army and Air Force, and the Panama National Guard; this was followed by speeches, prayers, music, and the national anthems of both nations. The ribbon was cut by Maurice H. Thatcher, after which those present were allowed to walk across the bridge. The ceremony was given full nationwide coverage on radio and television; significant precautions were taken to manage the large crowds of people present. These proved inadequate, however, and pro-Panamanian protesters disrupted the ceremony, even removing the memorial plaques on the bridge.


When opened, the bridge was an important part of the Pan-American Highway, and carried around 9,500 vehicles per day; however, this expanded over time, and by 2004 the bridge was carrying 35,000 vehicles per day. The bridge therefore became a significant bottleneck on the highway, which led to the construction of the Centennial Bridge, which now carries the Pan-American Highway too. On May 18, 2010, the bulk cargo ship Atlantic Hero struck one of the protective bases of the bridge after losing engine power, partially blocking that section of the canal to shipping traffic. The bridge did not receive damage and there were no fatalities. On December 2010, the Centennial Bridge access road collapsed in a mudslide, and commercial traffic was diverted to the Bridge of The Americas.[4][5] In April, 2011 limited two-way traffic over the Centennial Bridge was restored, however As of June 2011 the Centennial bridge is not expected to return to full capacity until Fall 2011, leaving heavier than normal traffic on the Bridge of the Americas

The name

The bridge was originally named Thatcher Ferry Bridge, after the original ferry which crossed the canal at about the same point. The ferry was, in turn, named after Maurice H. Thatcher, a former member of the canal commission, who introduced the legislation which created the ferry. Thatcher cut the tape at the inauguration of the bridge.
The name was unpopular with the government of Panama, however, which preferred the name "Bridge of the Americas". The Panamanian view was made official by a resolution of the National Assembly on October 2, 1962, ten days before the inauguration. The resolution read as follows:
The bridge over the Panama Canal shall bear the name Bridge of the Americas. Said name will be used exclusively to identify said bridge. Panamanian government officials shall reject any document in which reference is made to the bridge by any name other than "Bridge of the Americas". A copy of this resolution, with the appropriate note on style, shall be forwarded to all legislative bodies of the world, so that all may give the bridge the name chosen by this honorable assembly, complying with the express will of the Panamanian people. Given in the city of Panama on the second day of the month of October of nineteen hundred and sixty-two.
President, Jorge Rubén Rosas
Secretary, Alberto Arango N.
During the inauguration ceremony (which was concluded with the playing of the "Thatcher Ferry Bridge March"), U.S. Under Secretary of State George Wildman Ball said in his speech: "we can look today to this bridge as a new and bright step toward the realization of that dream of a Pan-American Highway, which is now almost a reality. The grand bridge we inaugurate today — truly a bridge of the Americas — completes the last stage of the highway from the United States to Panama".
Nonetheless, the official name of the bridge became the "Thatcher Ferry Bridge" and remained so until Panamanian control in 1979.
Postage stamps were issued with the name "Thatcher Ferry Bridge." In the postage stamps and postal history of the Canal Zone they are well known for an error on one sheet where the bridge is missing.


Monkey Island Tour


Monkey Island is located at Gatun Lake in the valley of the Chagres river between Panama and Colon Provinces in the Republic of Panama.  Its surface area is 164 square miles. Gatun lake is the second largest artificial man-made lake in the world. This lake was created in 1907 and took 6 years to flood. It was created to help the transit of ships across the isthmus. This lake is the reservoir of water needed for the operation of the Panama Canal. It is surrounded by nature and history everywhere – the flora and fauna makes this place a must-see while visiting Panama.

The Monkey Island Day Tour is boat exploration of Lake Gatun and a great opportunity to see 4 different species of monkey, all within 40 minutes of Panama’s capital city. You will also see many other animal species such as Crocks, Toucans, Sloths and many exotic birds. The tour also gives you the chance to bathe in spring fed natural pools and kayak in the lake.

What is included with the Monkey Island Day Tour?
  • Encounter Capuchin, Howler, Tamarin and a fourth surprise specie of Monkey.
  • See Crocks, exotic birds, Sloths, Turtles, Iguanas and Many other jungle animals
  • A water level look at Panama Canal ships as they pass through Gatun Lake.
What to bring ? : Bring Bathing clothes, water shoes, bug repellent and sun block.
Gray-Bellied Night Monkey

Lemurine Owl Monkey is another name known for this night monkey. The gray-bellied night monkey is a small monkey native of Panama and possibly some forests of south america. It is an arboreal and nocturnal specie with a vulnerability to extinction. Their fur goes from gray-brown to reddish-brown, short tail and large brown eyes.

The gray-bellied night monkey likes to sleep at daytime and eats at night. It looks for fruit, insects, nectar, leaves and sometimes small birds or mammals.
This is a monogamous monkey. Most of the times the couple has only one infant per year, twins are rare. The mother is in charge of the nursing only but the father takes care of baby.
Geoffroy’s Tamarin Monkey

Geoffroy’s tamarin monkey is a small monkey found in Panama and Colombia. It is black and white with a red-brownish nape and a white triangle-shaped patch in the front of his head. The geoffroy’s tamarin monkey that you will see during your Monkey Island Panama tour is the smallest one in Central America. They like to live in dry and moist tropical forests specially in the Panama Canal zone.

The geoffroy’s tamarin monkey likes to eat fruits, plants, insects and exudates. Most of the tamarin females give birth between april to june. The newborns look different than their parents, they have a beige color blaze, white face and black fur all over their bodies including the tail. All the family helps with the baby care including siblings. Mother and father carry them and groom them too. They start to be independent when they are about 15 weeks old.  The geoffroy’s tamarin monkey has a lifespan of 13 years.

The white-faced capuchin monkey

The white-faced capuchin monkey is also known as White-throated Capuchin or White-Headed Capuchin is native of Central America and northern South America. They live in groups of 20 males and females. This is a very intelligent and versatile monkey who can adapt to live in different types of jungle. Most of them have black fur with white or yellow face and neck.

The capuchin monkey eats fruit, plants, invertebrate animals and small vertebrate ones. They use some plants and branches as a tool to get food when its out of reach. The capuchin monkey living in the Gatun area of the Panama Canal use to rub their fur against some plants as a treatment for fungus, bacteries, ticks, etc. Their lifespan is about 50 years.

The mantled howler monkey you will see in the Monkey Island Panama tour likes to live in groups of females with a few males. It is native of the area of Central America

The mantled howler monkey communicates with other members of their group doing a very loud sound that can be heard for 5 Kms and is considered as the loudest animal of the panamanian fauna.  Their diet consists mostly of leaves from the top of trees, fruits, nuts and flowers. Their lifespan is between 15 to 20 years

Barro Colorado Island Tour

Avaliable: Tuesday , Wednesday and Friday 7:00 a.m
                   Saturday , Sunday 8:00 a.m


Barro Colorado Island (BCI), a 1,500-hectare island, is STRI's primary site for the study of lowland moist tropical forests. Together with five adjacent peninsulas, BCI forms the 5,400-hectare Barro Colorado Nature Monument (BCNM), which is located in the middle of the Panama Canal . Established in April 17, 1923 , BCNM and has been administered by the Smithsonian since 1946.
We welcome around 200 scientists from around the world every year. Modern, air-conditioned laboratory space, a cafeteria, and accommodations are available for resident researchers, and the Field Research Station features all the necessary infrastructure: offices, labs, growing houses, an insectary, dark room, computer room, dining hall, conference room, visitor’s center, as well as Internet access, telephones, and boat rental services.

The Visit

The Visit Program includes boat trasportation, a guided tour and lunch. The trip beging in the morning departing form Gamboa at 7:15 am on weekdays and at 8:00 a.m on weekends, arriving 45 min ( Jamoca ) to 1/2 later ( Morpho) . The guide will provide visitors with information convering the natural history of the island , and prepare the group for the trail walk. The walk take between 2 1/2 to 3 hours , and includes explanations about the differents interactions that take place in the forest . The tour includes a visit to the Visitor's Center, where you will find and exhibition summarizing the most important point discussed along the trail.

After the Visitors Center , you will head to the dinning hall of a cafeteria style lunch featuring a varity of dishes along with a vegeterian section. Following lunch, there will be time to ask questions and relax . The Boat to Gamboa depart at 3:40 p.m during weekday (arrivies at 4:10 p.m) and at 2:30 p.m arrives at 3:00 pm (Gamboa ) on weekendes .

A trip through the Canal

The boat ride across Gatun Lakes takes between 45 minutes to an hour and presents a wonderful opportunity to see a panoramic view of the Canal waterway and its spectarular forest shoreline

A Walk in the Forest

Once you arrive at Barro Colorado you will have time to prepare for a walk along one of our interpretative nature trails, whether on the Island itself or on one of the peninsulas. The trails are about 2 Km long and may be quite steep, but you will stop frequently, having time to rest and enjoy the sights, and to learn more about the natural history of the place.

In addition to beging of great importance to the international scientific comunity , Barro Colorado and adjacent Soberania National Park provide legal protection to one fouth of the remaining forest in the Panama Canal Watershed. Soberania National Park and Barro Colorado also provide refuge to nearly 50% of all the birds and mammal species reported in Panama.

Barro Colorado Island alone is home to 115 mamal species , including 72 species of bats , 5 species of monkey , agoutis, tapirs, coatimundis, sloths and peccaries. It's botanical wealthis is similarly impressive: more than 1,200 plant species can be found on the Island.

Visitor Center

The Visitor's Center is located in the Field Research Station , a historic building dating from 1924, it was the first laboratory on Barro Colorado and also served as a dormitory and dinning hall. Today , it houses a small display about research projects underway on the island . You can also learn more about the natural history of Barro Colorado through a hand on exhibit. In the Espave store you can purchase books and other mementos of your visit.


A cafeteria style with vegetarian options is served at 1:00 pm

What to Bring ?

T-shirt or light , long sleeved shirt , Long Pants , hat , ID , passport, Socks and Walking shoes, bottlle of water , rain jacket (recommended between April and December), insect repellent,

Optionals : camara, binoculars, change clothes,   masking tape ( to tape socks over pants) , pencil, notebook .

You can bring something along to eat in the boat , but remember to have good breakfast before the trip . Medications in case of allergies

Mariano Rivera


New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera’s save number 602 may well have been the most anticlimactic record breaking moment in major league baseball history. Everyone knew that barring some disaster or injury it was inevitable.

And Rivera did not need to break Trevor Hoffman’s record of 601 saves to prove that he is the greatest closer of all-time. He has already proven it time and again over the course of 17 seasons, 15 trips to the post season and seven World Series.
All Rivera did while breaking the record was reaffirm his greatness.

Baseball is full of record breaking moments. Usually when they happen baseball historians are quick to debate.

They ask who was better, the player who had the record or the one who broke it? Or how does the record compare to other records? Was it thought to be unbreakable or just a number for others to shoot for?
There was none of this with Rivera. Everyone knows that he is a better closer than Hoffman. And everyone knows that when he is done the record may very well last for a long time.
Looking back what other record breaking moments seemed anticlimactic?
Not many.
When San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds hit home run number 756 to break Henry Aaron’s record, it was met more with disdain than joy by many. The fans in San Francisco who saw it were thrilled, but many did not celebrate Bonds’ accomplishments because of the long shadow of performance enhancing drugs which dogged him.
When the 1976 Cincinnati Reds became the first team to sweep the league championship and World Series it was thought to be a great accomplishment, but the Reds were defending world champions and better that season than they were in 1975. Many predicted that they would go undefeated in the post season.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser set the record for consecutive scoreless innings in 1988 with 59 breaking the record of 58 2/3 by former Dodger Don Drysdale in 1968. While Drysdale’s record was celebrated then and for the next 20 years, Hershiser’s was met with less excitement for two reasons.

First he set it on the west coast while most of America was asleep.
Second he had such a great post season in leading the Dodgers to a world’s championship that people remember him more for that.

On the day that Rickey Henderson set the all-time stolen base record in 1990 it was the lead story until pitcher Nolan Ryan threw his record setting seventh no hitter that night. Everyone knew that Henderson was going to set his record, but no one knew Ryan would throw another no hitter.

At the time that all of these records were set each was considered to be a great moment. And each begged the question of what was the players place in history and where did the record rank.
Not Mariano Rivera’s saves record. Mo already had his place in history.This made a great moment seem anticlimactic.


Lulling hitters into a false security with his fluid, effortless-looking delivery, Mariano Rivera's explosive fastball thrust him into a critical role on the 1996 World Champion Yankees with less than half a year of major-league experience. A year later, he established himself one of the league's top closers after reigning World Series MVP John Wetteland signed with the Texas Rangers.
The son of a fisherman, Rivera was born in 1969 in Panama City, Panama. He signed with the Yankees in February of 1990 and immediately opened some eyes by posting a 0.17 ERA in 52 innings for the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Tampa.

In the minor leagues, Rivera rarely spent time in the bullpen. His major league debut in May 1995 came as a starter, facing All-Star lefthander Chuck Finley in Anaheim Stadium. Finley struck out 15 as the Angels pasted Rivera for five runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. But Rivera picked up his first major league win five days later against the A's in a 4-1 win at the Oakland Coliseum.

In his first season with New York, Rivera appeared in nineteen games, starting ten, and although he finished with a 5.51 ERA he showed flashes of his burgeoning talent. His most impressive start of the season came against Chicago on July 4, when he struck out eleven White Sox (the most by a Yankee rookie since Al Leiter in 1988) in a two-hit shutout at Comiskey Park.
Rivera, who spent most of the month of June in Columbus, nursing a sore shoulder, had nearly been traded to the slumping Detroit Tigers for starter David Wells. "I didn't say yes, and I didn't say no," Yankee GM Gene Michael said of the Tigers' offer. "I'm glad I didn't have to." When Rivera's velocity hit 96 MPH in a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter in Triple-A, Michael's mind was made up. Rivera was staying.

By the end of the season, Rivera had shown manager Buck Showalter enough for the Yankee skipper to keep him on the team's post-season roster when New York clinched a wild-card berth. In the Yankees' harrowing five-game loss to Seattle in the Division Series, Rivera came of age. Pitching three times against a fearsome Mariners lineup, Rivera was the Yankees' most reliable arm in the series, hurling 5 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out eight, including a key whiff of Mike Blowers with the bases loaded in Game Five.
By the following season, the Yankees had concluded that Rivera wouldn't survive as a starter without another dependable pitch to complement his devastating fastball. When Rivera began mowing down American League hitters with regularity, shifting the slender right-hander to the bullpen looked like a stroke of genius. Although Rivera occasionally worked in a slider or changeup, he relied almost exclusively on a rising fastball that routinely topped 95 miles per hour. With little need to throw pitches out of the strike zone, Rivera simply dared batters to hit the fastball. Far more often than not, they couldn't.
As the setup man for closer John Wetteland, Rivera gave the Yankees an airtight bullpen tandem. Most often, if New York could keep a lead through six innings, the game was over. Rivera would pitch the seventh and eighth, and Wetteland closed the door in the ninth. Indeed, Rivera enjoyed such dominance in his new setup role that people began touting him as a Cy Young and MVP candidate.
His numbers for the year were eye-popping. His 130 strikeouts were the most ever for a Yankee reliever. In 107 2/3 innings Rivera allowed just 73 hits (right handed batters hit just .157 against him) and only one home run. While winning eight games and saving five against three defeats, Rivera posted a 2.09 ERA. From April 19 through May 21 he threw 26 consecutive scoreless innings, a stretch which included fifteen straight hitless innings. Only ten of 61 first batters he faced that season managed to reach base.
In the playoffs that season, Rivera was even better. He pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Texas in the Divisional Series, and hung up four goose eggs against Baltimore in the League Championship Series (picking up the win with two innings in New York's Game One, Jeffrey Maier-aided triumph). "Reminded me of myself a long time ago," said teammate Dwight Gooden of Rivera's performance. In the World Series against the heavily favored Atlanta Braves, Rivera allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings, pitching a scoreless eighth in the Yankees' 3-2 title-clinching win in Game Six.
Although 1997 wasn't the unqualified success the previous season had been, it was a crucial year in the course of Rivera's career. John Wetteland had signed with Texas in December 1996, leaving the Yankees' ninth-inning fortunes in Rivera's hands. At first, Rivera struggled with the pressure of his new role, blowing three of his first four save opportunities, including the home opener. But Rivera righted himself soon enough; his 27 saves at the midseason break earned him his first trip to the All-Star Game. By retiring Charles Johnson, Mark Grace, and Moises Alou, Rivera became the first Yankee to save a Midsummer Classic. For the season he ended up with 43 saves in 52 chances; although his ERA dropped to 1.88, opponents' batting average rose from .189 to .237 and his strikeout totals fell below one an inning.
Probably the worst moment of Rivera's young career came in Game Four of a Division Series dogfight against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field. The Yankees led the Series two games to one, and were four outs away from advancing to the LCS when Torre called on Rivera to take over from Mike Stanton to preserve a one-run lead against the Tribe. Rivera promptly gave up an opposite-field home run to Sandy Alomar, Jr. that fell just beyond the reach of rightfielder Paul O'Neill, tying the game and reviving the Indians. Cleveland won the game in the bottom of the ninth and pulled out another close victory in Game Five to send the discouraged New Yorkers home for the winter.
Forged in the crucible of that bitter defeat, however, was the resolution that inspired an extraordinary 1998 season. Rivera, now fully acclimated to the closer's role, saved 36 games in 41 opportunities, allowing just 48 hits in 61 1/3 innings as the Yankees set an American League record with 114 wins. The playoffs seemed a mere formality, and the Yankees lost just two games en route to their 24th world championship. Rivera, whose first cousin Ruben sat in the opposing dugout for the NL Champion Padres, was at his dominating best, allowing no runs while saving three games.
1999 brought more of the same for the man now generally regarded as the top closer in baseball. He saved 45 games out of 49 opportunities, including his final 22 chances. By developing a cut fastball, Rivera became a more efficient pitcher, relying less on strikeouts and more on the aid of his defense. Winning his third world championship with the Yankees, Rivera was awarded World Series MVP for collecting two saves and one victory against the Atlanta Braves. After tossing 12 scoreless innings in the Yankees' playoff run, his career 0.38 post-season ERA (two runs in 47 1/3 innings) ranked as the lowest in baseball history.
A deeply religious man, Rivera financed the construction of a church in his native Panama City and can often be seen reading the Bible in the Yankees' clubhouse. At a church service honoring him in Panama after the 1999 season, he announced that he would spend four more years in baseball and then retire to become an evangelical minister.
Despite losing in arbitration to the Yankees in February 2000, Rivera's new $7.25 million contract was the most money ever awarded in an arbitration settlement. (AGL)

The Pollera from Panama

The Pollera the national costume of Panama and one of the most beautiful and most admired typical dresses of the world.

The formal pollera, used for festive occasions and holidays, is made of fine white linen, cambric or voile. At least 12 yards of material is used to make a pollera. A traditional pollera has a pure white background so that the blended tints of embroidered designs will stand out. These designs traditionally are of flowers, birds, garlands, or other combinations of designs, preferably of native origin and feeling. Exquisite designs are made in cross-stitch or by the use of a more elegant needlework known as "talco en sombra," or applique which is characteristic of Panama. It consists of two pieces of material sewn together. A design is made on one piece of the fabric, the design is then carefully cut out and its edges turned under and sewn to the background with tiny invisible stitches.

The formal pollera consists of the blouse (wider than the montuna blouse), the skirt and the petticoat or petticoats, as one to as many as three are worn under the gown. The blouse of all three polleras is white and worn off the shoulder. For the formal dress, the blouse has a neck band at the top of the bodice made of the traditional "mundillo," a fine handmade bone lace made in the Interior of Panama, which is edged with a heavier lace. The band has openings in the front and in the back, where wool pompons are placed. The neck band is interwoven with wool, the same color as the pompons. Two ribbons, called "gallardetes," hang from the waist, one in front and one in the back, and match the color of the wool. The heelless shoes, soft slippers in velveteen or satin, are also the same color as the wool pompons. No stockings are worn

A beautifully embroidered ruffle of fine wide Valencian lace is attached to the mundillo band and falls to the middle of the bodice. Another ruffle is added under the first one and this falls to the waist, or to a little lower than the waist. Both of these ruffles are exquisitely embroidered or worked in applique. The blouse has push-up sleeves with an embroidered ruffle, also trimmed in lace.

The skirt of the formal pollera is always made of fine white material, fine enough for the handwork on the petticoats to show through. It is loose, full and long, reaching the ankles. The skirt is put together in two pieces; the upper section comes to the knees and is separated by an insertion of mundillo lace, with the material heavily gathered so it can be spread out and be admired. Twice as much fabric goes into the lower part of the skirt, making a circle. The edge of the skirt is trimmed with about 25 yards of lace, 4 or 5 inches wide. The magnificent skirt is gathered at the waist and tied by four narrow ribbons, two crossing in the front and two in the back, running through the button holes of two gold buttons at either side of the waist.

The petticoats are handmade of very fine white linen, as elaborate as the skirt, with laces, cutwork and embroidery.

The feet of the dressed up woman, are covered with shoes made from velvet, and don't have heels. This shoes, back in the times of the aristocracy, were adorned with gold clasps and it holds onto the feet with laces, and embroideries, making a contrast with the beauty and richness of the gold jewelry and the tipico dress.

The hairdress is an important part of the pollera. The hair is parted in the center and tightly pulled back behind the ears, forming two braids. The braids are covered with several pairs of tembleques
The woman’s head is decorated with curved combs, decorated in gold filigree; a main large tortoise shell comb decorated with repoussé or engraved gold strips; and small decorative gold square temple patches (reminiscent of pain patches). Very elaborate gold earrings of a great variety are also worn. Around the combs on both sides and on the back of the head, natural white carnations are worn, or more commonly, delicate custom pearl bead flower, butterfly, or dragonfly shapes with gold or silver wire twists on pins cover the hair, resulting in a beautiful, elegant headdress.

About the jewelry that she carries, these are so attractive, of luxurious and expensive design, that anyone could say that the panamanian woman dressed with a pollera is one of riches, however, every piece, necklace, ring and peineta forms a part of her legacy that is kept and that will adorn the polleras of future generations.

Around the neck, a gold filigree choker with small flower shapes, a slightly longer black ribbon choker with a coin modal or a golden cross. The main necklace is the long, Flat Chain with flat intertwined links with beautiful pendants that hangs around mid-chest level. The Betwitching Chain, very similar to the flat chain necklace, despite being of a similar length, can be gathered in the palm of the hand. The Solomon chain, made of links in the shape of columns; the scapular and the rosary, all delicate and made of gold, also hang gracefully from the neck.

The Panamanian food Experience

Panama has its own unique and rich cuisine. As a land bridge between two continents Panama is blessed by nature with an unusual variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking. Also, as a crossroads of the world, Panama’s cuisine is influenced by its diverse population of Hispanic, native Indian, European, African and even Chinese migrations.


Hojaldras: a white flour dough made with baking powder that is deep-fried. It is a traditional breakfast cuisine in Panama.

Tortillas: Another common item. Different from other countries, the tortillas in Panama are thicker and deep fried. Typically items are then placed on top of the tortilla to make a meal. It is common to uses eggs, cheese or anything else tasty to make a good morning meal.


Corvina: A very common fish used in many places/meals throughout Panama. In the US and Canada corvina is known as sea bass. Corvina is a mild tasting fish common in many recipes. Commonly used for ceviche as well.

Sancocho: If you are looking for a typical dish, Sancocho could be it. Found everywhere in Panama Sancocho is a type of chicken soup. Depending on who is cooking it other ingredients in the soup can vary.

Sea Food: Due to its strategic location, Panama has some excellent sea food. Fish is brought in from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The variety is amazing. It seems that most restaurants offer some type of sea food in Panama.

Tamales: Different from what is found in Mexico, the Panamanian tamale is covered in banana leaf and boiled. The leaf and the boiling create a different flavor that is pretty good. If you like a Mexican tamale, you will like the variation of a tamale that you can find in Panama.

Platano Maduro: This is something you will see as a side on many dishes throughout Panama. A plaintian looks like a banana. It is cut in small slices and then fried. The flavor is sweet and is a nice addition to any meal.

Platanos en tentación is a popular way to prepare them in a carmelized sugar sauce seasoned with some cinnamon and nutmeg.

Carimañola: This is a roll made from a type of tropical yucca. Typically the rolls is stuffed full of eggs and meat.

Ceviche: Ceviche is a very common appetizer found throughout Panama. Typically corvina is chopped up and added to lemon juice and other spices. The acidic content of the lemon actually "cooks" the corvina to create a nice tangy taste. Very popular.

Arroz Con Guandu: Probably the most common side dish seen in Panama. Essentially rice is cooked with beans and other spices to create a great tasting rice dish. You may see this side dish served at any and all meals. There are many variations as to other ingredients that can be added to this Panamanian staple.


Tropical Fruits: Being in a tropical part of the world, Panama has a wide array of fresh and very flavorfull fresh fruit. Take full advantage of the fruits in Panama. You will find many that you are familiar with and others that are common only to the Central American region like Papayas, mangos, pineapples, melons, maracuyá (passion fruit), guanabana (sour sop).

Flans: Light egg custard in a carmelized sauce imakes this the most popular Panamanian dessert.

Pastel Tres Leches : “Three Milk Cake”- This is a rich cake made from three milks - regular, evaporated and condensed- very sweet and delicious.

Tropical fruit batidos: Similiar to a "smoothie" these shakes are made with Papaya, strawberry and pineapple with milk.

Raspados – Panamanian "snow cones". Perfect to cool off these cones are served everywhere from a friendly vendor with a mobile cart. They are available in a variety of flavours.

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About Panama

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Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the country, and a hub for international banking and commerce.It is considered a Gamma World City.

With an average GDP per capita of $11,700,  Panama has been among the top five places for retirement in the world, according to International Living magazine. Panama City has a dense skyline of mostly highrise buildings, and it is surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. It has an advanced communications system, Internet use is widespread; and Panama's Tocumen International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Central America, offers daily flights to major international destinations. Panama City was chosen to be the American Capital of Culture for 2003 (jointly, with Curitiba, Brazil).


Panama was founded on August 15, 1519 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias de Ávila. The city was the starting point of expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru (1532). It was a stopover point of one of the most important trade routes in the history of the American continent leading to the fairs of Nombre de Dios and Portobelo, where most of the gold and silver that Spain took from the Americas passed through.  The city was destroyed by a devastating fire, when the pirate Henry Morgan sacked it on January 28, 1671. It was rebuilt and formally established on January 21, 1673 in a peninsula located 8 km from the original settlement. The place where the previously devastated city was located is still in ruins, and has become a tourist attraction known as "Panama Viejo".


Panama is located between the Pacific Ocean and tropical rain forest. The Parque Natural Metropolitano (Metropolitan Nature Park), stretching from Panama along the Panama Canal, has unique bird species and other animals such as tapir, puma, alligators, etc. At the Pacific entrance of the canal is the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas (Marine Exhibitions Center), a research center for those interested in tropical marine life and ecology. Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  Tropical forests around Panama are vital for the functioning of the Panama Canal. These forests provide the canal with the water required for its operation (a rare example of a vast engineering project in the middle of the forest which actually helped preserve that forest). Due to the importance of the Canal to the Panamanian economy, tropical forests around the canal have been kept in an almost pristine state. Along the western side of the Canal is the Parque Nacional Soberania (Sovereignty National Park) which includes Summit botanical gardens and a zoo. In this national park, the best known trail is the Pipeline Road, popular among birdwatchers.


Under the Köppen climate classification, panama  Panama City has a tropical wet and dry climate. Panama City sees 1900 mm of precipitation annually. The dry season spans from January through to April and the wet season spans the remainder of the year. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year averaging around 27 °C (81 °F).   

Panama's old quarter features many architectural styles, from Spanish colonial buildings to French and Antillean townhouses built during the construction of the Panama Canal. The more modern areas of the city have many high-rise buildings, which together form a very dense skyline. There are currently more than 110 high-rise projects being constructed, with 127 high-rise buildings already built.The city holds the 39th place in the world by highrise buildings count.  The Centennial Bridge, that crosses the Panama Canal earned the American Segmental Bridge Institute prize of excellence together with seven other bridges in the Americas.

Being the economic and financial center of the country, Panama City's economy is service-based, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism. The economy is dependent, to a significant extent, on trade and shipping activities, associated to the Panama Canal, and port facilities located in Balboa. The city has benefited from significant economic growth in the latest years, mainly due to the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal, an increase in real estate investment, and a relatively stable banking sector. There are around eighty banks in the city, with at least fifteen of them being national.

Panama city is responsible for the production of about 55% of the country's GDP. This is because most Panama businesses and premises are located in the city and its metro area. It is a stopover for other destinations in the country as well as a tourist destination in its own right.

Tourism is one of the most important economic activities in terms of revenue generation. Hotel occupancy rate has always been relatively high for the city, having reached the second highest for any city outside the United States in 2008; after Perth and followed by Dubai. However, hotel occupancy rates have dropped since 2009, probably due to the opening of many new luxury hotels. Several international brands, such as Le Méridien, Radisson and RIU, have opened or plan to open new hotels in the city;  along with the previously operating ones under Marriot, Sheraton, InterContinental, and many other foreign and local brands. Also, the Trump Organization is currently building the Trump Ocean Club, their first investment in Central America;  and Hilton Worldwide plans to open The  Panamera, the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in all Latin America.   For tour package visit this website


The City proper has around 813,097 inhabitants in the 23 Panama City boroughs. The city, like all of Panama, is ethnically mixed, with mestizos, mulattos, Whites, and Asians all living together

Panama Entry Requirements

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It’s not difficult for tourists to enter Panama. Tourists must show the following documents to the Inspector of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Ministry of Government and Justice:

  • International boarding pass, completely filled out.
  • Tourist Card or Visa, properly authorized.
  • Plane ticket, for return trip to home country or next destination.
  • Demonstration of economic solvency, no less than five hundred balboas ($500.00) or the equivalent in credit card, bank reference, letter of employment or travelers checks, unless the nationality requires a different amount. (Resolution 1017 bis of March 22, 2000).
  • Passport or travel document, valid for at least 6 months from the date of receiving the visa or card.
  • In some cases the Immigration Inspector may request a payment voucher from the hotel where the traveler will be lodged

Panama divides tourists into two groups – those that need a tourist visa, and those that only need a passport.

Citizens of the following countries only need a passport to enter Panama:
  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Austria,
  • Belgium,
  • Canada,
  •  Chile,
  • Colombia,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Cyprus,
  • the Czech Republic,
  • Denmark,
  • Estonia,
  • Finland,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Great Britain,
  • Greece,
  • Hungary,
  •  Iceland,
  • Ireland,
  • Israel,
  •  Italy,
  • Japan,
  • Luxembourg,
  •  Mexico,
  • the Netherlands,
  • New Zealand,
  •  Norway, Poland,
  • Portugal,
  • Slovakia,
  • South Korea,
  • Spain,
  • Sweden,
  • Switzerland,
  • Singapore,
  • Taiwan,
  • and the United States.
Stamped Visas:

Let some travelers enter Panama several times throughout the year. This type of visa is only available through a Panamanian embassy or consulate, and the Panamanian authorities decide the length of the stay, which is usually 30 days per visit. Anyone who is eligible to visit Panama on a tourist card can apply for a stamped visa instead, although citizens of some countries are required to have a stamped visa. These countries include the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Peru, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. As with other things in Panamanian officialdom, this list is subject to change.

Authorized Visas:

The most restrictive type of tourist visa. Like the stamped visa, this kind is only available through a Panamanian consulate or embassy. The officials will choose to either approve to decline the visa application, and will determine the length of stay. The majority of countries on this list are in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, or eastern Europe. These include Bangladesh, Cuba, Haiti, India, Pakistan, China, and South Africa, although the list is subject to change. The requirements can vary by consulate, so it’s a good idea to check with one before beginning the application process. It’s recommended to begin the application process at least a month before the start of travel.


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