The modern city skyline
As of February 2015, there were an additional 45 structures that exceeded 150 m, ranging from the Golden Tower at 152 m (498 ft), to the Trump Tower which soars to 284 m (932 ft). Many others are proposed, approved, or under construction. The aptly-named Megapolis Notria Tower, when completed, will reach 333 m (1,093 ft).
averages 10 rainy days during the month. March temperatures typically range from a mild 77 to a warm 90 with a humidity of 59%. That humidity may seem high to some, but in Panamá City it is the lowest average level during the year. From July through December, humidity averages a sopping 93%.
Diablos Rojos still operate in other cities and towns. The buses are painted with wild images inside and out, reflecting the individual tastes of their proprietors. Each vehicle has its own name, seen above, printed just below the windshields. Many Panamanians mourn the end of the Diablos Rojos as the loss of a colorful part of their culture. However, the Red Devils tended to be badly maintained and often spewed clouds of diesel fumes, contributing to the city's heavily polluted air. They could be dangerous not only because of poor upkeep but also because of the recklessness of the drivers. The Diablos Rojos have been replaced by modern, roomy, air-conditioned vehicles that are operated by employees, not driver-owners. The night we arrived in Panamá City, the chaos caused by the transition to the new system filled the evening's TV news. Hopefully things have settled down since.
The structure rises 70 stories above ground level and is currently the city's tallest building. If the buildings seen above appear to be jammed together, sardine-style, it's because they are. Although the available land is limited, the egos of the builders are not. Consequently, the city's nightmarish traffic jams are legendary. This is one reason that the anarchic Diablos Rojos bus system was scrapped in favor of a more modern, if less unique, system of transportation.
The hotel boasts 272 rooms with spectacular views in every direction. I am dubious about the hotel website's claim that the airport is only 15 minutes away. Given the previously mentioned traffic difficulties, perhaps they mean 15 minutes by helicopter.
The city's unique Aquabuses
The Bahía, Harbor, & Marina
several sources. The service sector comprises 78.4% of the economy, while industry takes 17.9% and agriculture only 3.7%. Almost 65% of the workforce is involved in providing services. The Panamá Canal forms a major part of those services and has produced over $7.61 billion (USD) in profits between the time the Canal came under Panamanian control at the end of 1999 through 2013. $1 billion of those profits were accrued in 2013 alone. Closely related to the Canal are other important activities such as the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, and the flagship registry.
World Bank estimates that, in Panama, each $1 of tourist spending generates another $2.87 through the "multiplier effect." Tourist spending here falls into three general areas: beach resort visits, adventure/eco-tourism, and foreign retirees. However, much of the tourist spending never ends up in the pockets of ordinary Panamanians. A hefty portion is repatriated by foreign-based tourist corporations. In addition, supplies and food for tourists often comes from out-of-country sources.
Dancin' up a storm
This completes Part 5 of my Panama series. In my next posting, I will focus on the operation and history of the Panama Canal. I hope you have enjoyed this week's posting. If you would like to leave a question or comment, please do so in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If you leave a question, PLEASE leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim