Colon... what a dump!

11. March 2011, Friday
9° 21' 24" N, 79° 53' 48" W

The Atlantic and the Caribbean are almost behind us.
We are anchored at our last anchorage before crossing the Panama Canal near Colon, struggling with the bureaucracy to get the Canal passage permit.

What a city... what a hole!
Colon is without exaggeration one of the ugliest, dirtiest and most dangerous cities in the world.

As early as 1853, a Panama traveler wrote:

“...this city has only one hospital for all residents, while hotels,
Tavernas and all kinds of shops abound. Their population is made up of the dregs of all nations, especially the English West Indies. Nobody dares to walk the streets and stay in the hotels without being armed. It is not surprising that Colon is what it is: an unhealthy place and it is amazing that it is possible to sustain life in this impure puddle....”

Today, more than 150 years later, this travelogue has lost none of its meaningfulness.
Colon is a big ghetto over which lies an eerie tension that is getting closer to being torn apart every day...