the Bus and the economy

constructionWe took an eight-hour bus ride from Panama City to David. It was a double decker, air-conditioned and comfortable. They played movies, El Perro Bombero and some remake of Dracula Meets Frankenstein (?¬°). We stopped in David for the night and took the “school” bus to Boquete. It was packed with people with luggage hanging out the back. I was disappointed there were no chickens.

Riding the bus game me time to observe:

  • Panama is about the size and population of West Virginia
  • the Panamanian currency is, in fact (like the Bahamas) the U.S. currency. Once I received seven dollars in change. The bills were brand new and sequentially numbered.
  • Colombians are rumored to be fueling the high rise building boom with money laundering operations
  • there were 40,000 Americans (U.S. personnel) during the Canal days; now there are 19,000 ex-pats
  • Canal operations yielded $500 million U.S in profits under US. ownership; the Panamanians segmented the market, raised prices and now yield $1.5 billion

Panama has many significant infrastructure development projects underway:

  • $5 billion canal expansion
  • $1 billion port expansion
  • $300 million road from Panama City to Colon
  • $300 million cleaning of Bay of Panama
  • $189 million rejuvenate Balboa Avenue
  • $405 million reconversion of former U.S. airbase, Fort Howard

Meanwhile, construction workers held a series of protests regarding low wages and high inflation. In Colon, several  protesters were shot by police and one died. At another protest, 150 workers were put in jail.

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2 Responses to the Bus and the economy

  1. Larry Hudson says:

    You have some great photos! Diane especially liked the sloth – she thought it was wonderful.

    You could make some incredible high dynamic photos in Central America. If you have time, check out http://www.hdrsoft.com (for the instructions on how to shoot now and process later).

  2. Patrick says:

    Thanks, Larry. I think I will have some good Internet access and time in Granada. If I remember HDR, take two exposures, one for the dark and one for the light.

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