A Dragon In Panama
Listen to this song as you read this article. I’ve been singing it the entire time I’ve been here so far.
I’m finally here! Of all the countries I’m visiting on this Latin America tour (Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia), Argentina and Panama are the two I’m most excited about. And, oh man, I was so right to be excited about Panama. What an amazing place.
Panama! A booming economy thanks to a comparative, if not literal, embrace of capitalism plus a huge infusion of American cash (and as an American subject to the highest taxes in the world, you’re fucking welcome, Panama), it’s been a booming economy for quite a while, rivaling even Brazil. (Incidentally, Brazil’s voters just elected a pro-dictatorship fascist. Oh, South America! Stay crazy, you insane bastard!)
Panama is also an emerging powerhouse in international banking. Which, of course, is why I’m here; to set up legal structures to eventually get Panamanian residency and eventually, citizenship.
Panama City! The Dubai of the Latin world. The first thing you see are the rows upon rows of clean, brand new high rises that are as cool as anything you’ll see in places like Singapore. Fancy apartment buildings, posh hotels, tons of high-top roof bars, a beautiful ocean with beautiful islands connected to the city by man-made land bridges… Panama City is as close as you can get to a “new feeling” city in the entire Western Hemisphere (besides Vancouver BC).
The airport is great (with the exception of the fact that the conveyor belts are never turned on; WTF, Panama?) and they are actually doubling the size of it right now, as the new construction clearly shows. Amazing.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s still Hispanic, so people still honk at each other for no reason and there are crappy, trashy, graffiti-filled areas outside of the fancy downtown high-rise regions. So it certainly isn’t perfect. But damn, I love it!
I’m staying in the tallest building in the city, the JV Marriott, formerly Trump International Hotel & Tower, before Trump and his daughter were forcibly ousted by Cypriot venture capitalist Orestes Fintiklis. Here it is:
As one might expect from the higher financial standing and lifestyle, the women here, while I wouldn’t consider them super hot, are indeed quite noticeably several notches better-looking than those in most other Hispanic countries. Turbo-hotties are also easy to find.
These women have more chiseled faces, are skinnier, sort of have hips, and have huge boobs. Damn. Boobies be poppin’ out all over the place here. This isn’t surprising considering I’m only 20 miles away from Colombia (which I’ll be visiting in about two weeks). Fake tits are also noticeable here, which is always a plus. (Fake and big is far better than small and real, at least in my opinion.)
I’ve also noticed that a lot of Colombians (men and women both) come to Panama City for vacation, so many of the hot women you see here are actually not from Panama at all, but Colombia.
There are two types of women here; the standard Hispanics and the Central American Hispanics who actually look black, representing about 20% of the women. However, they have sharper, more attractive features than African American women; there’s almost no resemblance other than the skin tone.
You know, in my world travels over the years, I’m seriously starting to think that African blacks got the short end of the stick in terms of the overall attractiveness of the world’s black races, since African American black women are okay-looking (just my opinion of course; many men differ with me on this), but black women in Panama are quite attractive and black women in the Bahamas are gorgeous as fuck. Very interesting.
The people here are very friendly, but I’ve come to expect that of the Latin countries (they were very friendly in Mexico, too). As I said above, they are not quite as temper-prone as the Mexicans, but they are still Hispanics with that hot blood, so tempers can (and do) still flare.
There is also a very pro-Western, pro-America vibe here because of Panama’s long and happy history with the United States vis-à-vis the Panama Canal. This is one of the many reasons I’m able to do things like apply for residency, citizenship, and open foreign bank accounts here a little easier as an American than I could in other nations (thanks to my insane government’s laws like FATCA; I can’t wait to get the hell out of the Collapsing USA).
They even use American currency(!) so there is no need to do any currency conversions if you’re coming from the USA. Awesome! The only weird thing is that if you get coins (not paper, but actual coins) as change, those are indeed Panamanian-minted coins.
Panamanians have a weird thing about tinted windows. Almost all the cars here in Panama City have extremely dark tinted windows all around.
The Hispanics of Panama City are also very fitness oriented, much more than any other Hispanic place I’ve visited in the past. A lot of them are very fit, men and women both. As you walk along the water, they have permanent, outdoor fitness equipment. This stuff is actually used, too. Every night of the week, these parks are filled with super-ripped guys doing calisthenics on the exercise equipment, right alongside women in an outdoor dance class, next to men playing soccer or baseball.
As I said, it’s a fun, clean, cool city. I really like it.
It’s not perfect and there is certainly some oddness. For examples, the malls, even the giant ones, are almost like weird ghost towns. Hardly any people use them. There are vast hallways full of empty bays where businesses should be.
Very odd. Yet another classic example of overzealous commercial real estate developers overdeveloping before there is demand. Walking through these malls reminds me of the ghost cities in China.
The humidity here, as is so often the case, is a problem. It’s not the wet blast furnace that is Singapore, but the humidity here is still strong. Walking around all day means you’re sticky enough where you need to head back to your hotel room, take a second shower as the sun is going down, then head back out clean again. And this is only November; I can only imagine how bad it its here in the summer. Talking to other Americans at the international banks and immigration attorneys’ offices, they indeed confirmed to me that the humidity is pretty much year-round, and during the summer it’s particularly terrible. Crap.
Intense heat or intense humidity; I can easily handle one. 100F+ degrees in very dry Dubai? No problem at all; I can walk around in that all day long and enjoy myself. 95% humidity on the beach in Panama City once the sun is down and the temperature drops to around 72? No problem; the dampness in the air actually feels kind of nice.
But 90%+ humidity while the sun is out, beating down, and the temperature rises above 80 degrees? Nope, fuck that. I’ll soldier through it but it will severely damage my opinion of your city. I still don’t understand why people tolerate this (I’d move). But as the Singaporeans once explained to me, “If you are born and grow up here, you still hate it, but you get used to it.”
Given that the sometimes tolerable humidity is the only negative, Panama City is fantastic. I’ll be back here many times over the next several years as a requirement for my residency, and I can’t wait. Panama City is now officially one of my favorite cities in the world. Man, I seriously can’t wait to go back in a few months. I didn’t even want to leave!
Next up, I head deep into South America for my next residency… Paraguay!
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