Friday, June 15, 2012

What Key West, Forida & Panamá have in common.

Like Key West (called west, because it is west of south Florida), many people don’t realize Panama is oriented east/west & that the canal axis is southeast to northwest (or visa versa). The sun rises out of the Pacific, at least on the Pac side of the isthmus, I grew up as a kid seeing the sun rise out of the Pacific in the mornings. The following article is from Geographic Travels.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Many Americans have a poor mental map when it comes to the Americas. Many think South America is right under North America when it fact South America is much further east (Pittsburgh in the eastern United States is almost exactly north of Quito, South America's most western capital city.

Because of this alignment Middle America is forced to stretch eastward as it extends south.
Panama: It's East and West of the Canal, Not North or South There was once a commercial that mocked all the different types of coffee a coffeehouse forces customers to choose from. Two of the choices listed are "Panama: north of the canal, south of the canal." (editorial note: there are many Panamá coffees in Panama now, more new one every visit. Duran coffee is probably the best known & widely consumed in Panamá. My wife recently found a Panamá coffee in Cosco produced in Chiriquí province ~~ Lou)
For some reason I thought of this commercial as I was going through an old atlas when I saw a map of Panama. I wondered why and then it hit me: bad geography!

This extent is to such an extreme that Panama does not run north to south but east to west. Math proves this point and debunks the north/south myth. Of the portion of Panama west of the canal, 15,000 square miles (39,000 square km) are south of the southern most point of the canal. Only 7,000 square miles (18,000 square km) are south of the canal on the western half. So if one is "south of the canal" they are more likely to be west of the canal, not east!

Note: The Isthmus of Panama, where the canal runs through, is the thinnest (narrowest, editorial comment ~~ Lou) point connecting the Americas and is therefore the physical geography border of North and South America. Everything west of the canal is North America while everything east of the canal is South America. Physical, Panama is in both continents. 
(Ed note: Panama is due south of Miami approximately 1000 miles)

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