Trip to Panama (September 2002)

Social Commentary and Postscript

 Pictures: Page 1  Page 2   Page 3  Postscript

Here is a picture I took going back to the airport.
I would say that this is above-average for the places people live.

Panama is just smaller than South Carolina, and has about 3 million people.

The average Panamanian makes about $3000 per year, the highest average in Central America.
How old is your car?  Most Panamanians take the bus, since car ownership is well outside their reach.
The Panamanian economy hit a significant setback when the Americans left the military bases.
Luckily, Panama has a strong banking and finance industry, and is recovering.
But Panamanian people are still poor.
I think about this when considering the political issues that
come up in this country, like immigration, free trade, etc..
They do have socialized health insurance (government pays for everything,
for almost all services), which I was told works fairly well for them.

Thinking about visiting?  I highly recommend it.
The people are warm and friendly, and I felt safe almost everywhere I went.
If you care to stay away from lots of tourists, it is easy to do.
Eco-tourism is just getting started in Panama.  You can be one of the first.
Everything is inexpensive.  Most taxi rides are $1, lunch is $2 - $5, dinner is $5 - $10,
and tons of hotels for under $50 (I stayed in one for $39 and another for $22).

To get started, buy the Lonely Planet guide to Panama.
There is a national park jungle inside the city limits of Panama City.
There are many other great things to see that I haven't even mentioned.
The tap water in virtually all the country is safe to drink - I never got sick once.
And don't worry about running into dictator Noriega; he's been in a Florida prison since 1992.

Overall, my trip was "two thumbs up".


Pictures: Page 1  Page 2   Page 3  Postscript

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