Sunday, July 25, 2010
Panama: First Impressions
What I first saw was a landscape of volcanoes and clouds near the Costa Rican border area.
Then I caught a glimpse of both oceans at the same time, as we crossed the Isthmus.
And as we had begun our descent into Tocumen International Airport, I was struck by the sight of some two dozen ships clustered near the Pacific entrance to the Canal, lining up and waiting for their turn to cross the famous Canal.
And once I caught a good look at the city itself?
I was struck by a very modern city, dotted with skyscrapers.
This city is at the junction point of the two Americas. And it's clearly capitalizing on its location.
The Canal is doing great business -- over 14,000 boats cross each year, paying an average toll of $100,000. That's $14 billion right there.
Aside from that, Panama City is a buzzing financial center, and is regarded as the banking capital of the Americas.
And as you look at the skyscrapers -- a mix of office buildings and apartments -- you notice that nearly half seem to have cranes at the top. In other words, they’re still under construction.
I have yet to see any other city in North America with such economic activity happening all at once.
Panama is a city on the move.