The Big Ditch

The Nicaraguans may be itching to build a trans-isthmus waterway (and Nicaragua may have been the site of the very first plans for an inter-oceanic canal); but it was Panama who got there first.  And a trip along the Panama Canal gives me a good look at the world’s most famous shortcut, plus a glimpse of the extremes of Panamanian urban life. Continue reading


The Nicaraguan Canal

One year ago this month, to considerable fanfare, a Chinese consortium who are planning on building a canal across Nicaragua started their initial work. But today, there seems to be no further signs of progress, beyond a few dirt paths that the construction company has carved out near the mouth of the Brito River, near the city of Rivas and just north of the surfing mecca of San Juan del Sur, on southern Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. Continue reading