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Tim Pittaway in Panama

long time landsharkoz and pcnsw member tim pittaway working in panama

24th January 2004

tp2242.jpg (35035 bytes)Well here it is guys, the first stay cable.
We have cast segments in the first two of the four travellers and will have the other two cast by the end of this week. After that we are on our way and I will book my return ticket for the end of August with a bit of luck.

Still a few hurdles to cross yet but so far all of the toys are working as planned. - Regards Tim Pittaway '88 S4

8th October 2003

tp1669.jpg (56440 bytes)Check out this photo of the heavy lift of our second form traveller. Two down two to go. Just need to get them working now and build a deck. Each traveller is 400 Tonne. - Regards Tim Pittaway '88 S4



1st September 2003

This is a link to the video camera recently installed by MOP in the West Side of the project. http://www.mop.gob.pa/video/video.htm

11th August 2002

bridge_2.jpg (53970 bytes)I have been in Panama almost three months now and Sydney feels a long way away. I am now almost fully set up and have my own apartment, phone, 4WD etc. and can generally get about the place without getting lost.

Panama is great and there is a great selection of restaurants and things to see and do. Things are not really cheap as everything is in US$ but you have to live so you tend to stop trying to convert. I have tried heaps of good cigars, good wine, good food and have managed to stay well away from the nightclubs which abound here. You must either get smarter with age or just realise how hard it is to earn a quid and how quick it is to spend it in joints like that.

dozer_tree.jpg (26212 bytes)The bridge has had its problems and has been beset by delays due to lack of design from the client which is the Ministry of Planning. We still only have three approved for construction drawings which are all for earthworks so we are charging into that working 24 hours, 7 days a week. Hopefully they will get themselves sorted out quickly to enable us to continue with major piling for the tower foundations. All of our piling equipment from Germany has been on site for months.

princess_to_jungle.jpg (25664 bytes)The location of the site is very impressive. It is situated about 30 km from Panama city along the line of the canal. There is dense jungle on each side and you feel that it is such a shame to have to clear it. There is plenty of wildlife including one 2 m crocodile that lives in a little pond beside the road on the way into the site. The whole site along the canal is a security zone so the general public never get the opportunity to get in and have a look. It is fascinating driving around on jungle tracks in the 4WD and driving up hills to get a great view up the canal. The ships are huge and when you see them between the trees you could swear that they are cruising up a jungle river.

ship_1.jpg (48847 bytes)I have read a lot about the construction of the Panama canal and being here on the spot gives you a great appreciation of what was achieved at the turn of the century. The French lost 22,000 men during construction and the Americans around 4,000.


This enormous toll was mainly due to malaria and yellow fever, both of which have been pretty much eradicated in this area (thankfully or I would be on the next plane home). The yanks discovered that the humble mozzie was the carrier and subsequently dealt with the problem.

Panama is currently in a bit of a recession as the USA left Panama completely in 99 under the terms of a treaty signed in 77 aimed at handing complete control of the canal over to Panama. It was a gradual wind down but it is a pretty big hole in the economy when 80,000 Americans just leave the joint. It is rare to even see an American tourist over here now. Imagine all of the small service industries that surrounded the American administration and military bases. They had control of an area called the Canal Zone which was about three miles each side of the canal for the full length. There are abandoned bases, admin buildings and workshops everywhere here.

Enough of history. My family is well and the kids and Huey have gotten used to me being away. I manage to call every day and email is great for quick communication. Hope that you and all the gang are well also. I visit the site now and then to stay in touch.

Hyundai's GalloperI miss the 928 and really wish I have it when I go on Sunday drives up the coast to the beach areas. My old Hyundai Galloper 4WD just is not quite the same and is totally puffed at 120 k. Having said that the roads here are just not made for performance cars. The potholes are huge and when it rains heavily (which is almost every afternoon) roads flood everywhere. The rims of our low profile tyres would just be mangled in no time. I have been in normal sedans with the water coming in over the door sills so I am thankful for the 4wd. Some of the road deviations are just through mud. Bring on the Cayenne.

There are a few Porsches over here but you could count them on one hand. I have seen about three 996ís two Boxters and a brand new Turbo. There are a few older 911ís but again I have only seen about three, which were all pre 964ís. There was one 944 and sadly no 928ís. As you might have guessed there are some seriously wealthy people here and the gap between rich and poor is a gaping chasm. I notice that there is a Porsche dealership here but this is definitely not the place to buy a second hand vehicle.

A real 'galloper' - Tim's beautiful '88 928 S4Grant Geelan from Autohaus Hamilton is doing a great job of looking after mine and I am grateful to him for taking time out to do it. It is definitely way over and above the call of duty. Come to think of it those guys have really provided a complete service for me from the day I first gave them the car to maintain back in 99. Hope the business continues to grow.

Unfortunately I do not have internet at home yet and at work I always get too busy to sit and write. This one is coming to you as I sit at work on Sunday. (I generally do half a day most Sundays and Saturdays are a full 11 hours) We have great cable access at work (really fast) and a pretty sophisticated internal network with our own servers, hard firewall etc. Things will get really fancy when we move out to the site office, which is currently under construction. Here we will need to set up a series of microwave dishes to service all of our needs. Our really big requirement is to be able to send and receive AutoCAD drawing files and images which can get pretty big.

There is heaps to see and do over here, I just need to fit in the time to do it. I have already been surfing (my standard is extremely limited) and might even get a board custom built. There is heaps of historical stuff going back to the Spanish times and endless nature stuff like jungle walks etc.

Enough for now, regards to you, Jacky and all the gang of Landsharkoz.

Tim Pittaway, White '88 S4
Bilfinger Berger AG
Sr.Project Engineer Construction Operations Segundo Puente sobre el Canal de Panama

(reporting from Panama for Landsharkoz News.)