National Geographic : 1941 Nov
614 The National Geographic Magazine Panama City (Plate II) and then over the Pacific entrance to the Canal. The air above the Canal is always full of military airplanes. As my slow, 85 :fast-climbing, stub-winged pursuit air planes came up to look. They circled closely once; then, satisfied, "peeled off," diving for the field on the Canal bank. The downwash of turbulent air left in the wake of the faster ships made me bounce like a canoe in rough waters. * "Flying along the coast, I could see how the country, flat near the coastline, wrinkles up inland into brown and green folds that are as ordered and stiff as those on a papier-miche relief map. I flew through light rain and squalls at 3,000 feet, then came out from the clouds and mountains near Chame into a vast plain of blazing white light. Just visible far up the sandy white shore was the small island that stands opposite Santa Clara on the mainland. Under me wound the automobile road from Panama City. As I approached Santa Clara, I could see where the new concrete highway cut straight across country, slicing off many curves and digressions of the old road. This is a part of the Inter-American Highway from the Texas border to Pan ama City, and is a link in the Pan American Highway. Completion of this stretch enables United States military forces to transport men and materials swiftly to and from Panama and the Army air base at Rio Hato. Antiaircraft Practice at Rio Hato "Don't fly beyond Santa Clara," I had been told. "There is always antiaircraft practice going on at Rio Hato." AsIswungouttoseato comeinfor a landing on the sod flying field, I could see antiaircraft shells bursting beyond and above us, out at sea. The bursts looked like tufts of white cotton laid in rows against the blue of the sky. That night I spent in residential Santa Clara. Around me was a garden of truly tropical variety, and a miniature zoo of birds and animals of the Republic. E,,ing Galloway Among the latter was Cholo, a "wild" "With Eagle Eyes He Stared at the Pacific" saino (sahino), or pig, that runs around The striking bronze figure of Balboa stands in the like a house dog, begging crackers. One plaza of Santo Tomas Hospital, Panama City, overlooking skeptical guest told me that Cholo was the ocean he discovered. The explorer first saw the Pacific on September 25, 1513, after a 25-day journey across the wild only when someone refused to Isthmus. Panama's dollar, the balboa, is named for him. scratch his back.