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In California, it seemed as if malls were dying a slow death. Too much online competition, alternative spots or specialty stores, or just not enough disposable income. Maybe it is just a temporary decline.

But in Panama, malls are everywhere. Big malls, little malls, strip malls. They all have a mall name: Multiplaza Mall, AltaPlaza Mall, Ocean Mall, Multicentro Mall, Soho Mall, Albrook Mall (the largest in Latin America I am told), Metro Mall, etc.

Everyone charges for parking. Even many of the strip malls. And if the mall doesn’t charge for parking, there are often men who post orange cones in parking spaces and then ask for money to let you park there.

The photo above is from AltaPlaza. It’s very close to us, smaller than Albrook so it feels more manageable. We are guessing it is very new. Parking gates and payment stations aren’t up and running yet.

For us AltaPlaza is perfect — the A/C is on high, there’s a movie theater with subtitled movies (subtitles in Spanish means the dialogue is mostly likely in English) and somewhere to eat.

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