You can’t help being a little awed by Panama City (photos). The skyline is a seemingly endless array of skyscrapers – and the building continues. Wikipedia lists the population at 880,000 with a metropolitan total of over 1.2 million. It is spread along a long stretch of Pacific coastline. The old colonial nucleus of the city, Casco Viejo occupies a point of land at the western extreme of the city across Balboa Bay from the entrance to the Panama Canal. The city becomes more modern as you move to the east with the recently expanded and renovated Tocumen International Airport on the eastern fringe of the city. Panama assumed complete control of the Panama Canal from the United States on January 1, 2000, and freely touts its operational accomplishments since and has begun a $5.25 billion expansion project expected to be completed in time for the canal’s 100th anniversary in August 2014. Panama seems very confident in its future.