I've been going back and forth to Panama for 20 years, and it's become evident to me that the country is more than just the canal; it's a melting pot of ideas and opportunities,

a geographical, commercial, and cultural meeting place. Amy Wilentz's report on Panama ["Continental Divide," November] captured the nuances of the nation and mirrored my own experiences there. Each time I return, I discover new things, not only about the country but also about myself. And where else in the Americas can you dip your toes in the Caribbean and the Pacific on the same day?
—Greg McCaffrey, Alexandria, VA.

Missing the Stop?

What does Guy Trebay have against public transportation?His lambasting of Istanbul's tramline ("like the welt of a surgical scar") misses the point entirely ["At the Crossroads," October]. If anything, the sleek, stylish tram running past Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace epitomizes the city's ancient-modern, East-West aesthetic; it's a symbol of Istanbul's modern vivacity.
—Zora O'Neill, via e-mail

Pleasures of Mexico

In 1988, I was a 17-year-old exchange student from Ohio looking forward to living in an exotic place for the summer. I was disappointed when I was assigned to Mexico—a country I thought I knew everything about. However, my 10 weeks in Oaxaca were an amazing, eye-opening experience. When I saw the city featured in "The Soul of Mexico" [December], I felt as if I were reliving my summer there.
—Lisa McGrail, Ashburn, VA.

Helping Hand

I was touched by your December article about Rwanda—especially the fact that the writer was able to send a boy to school for a year for just $180. Are there any foundations through which donations can be made to sponsor an orphan there?
—Bailey Reue, Austin, Tex.

Editor's Note Donations of books, clothing, used laptops, art supplies, and the like can be sent to École Secondaire de Kicukiro, Attn: Headmaster Laurent R. Kamana, B.P. 6092, Kigali, Rwanda; monetary transfers can be arranged by calling 250/0845-5270.

Shorter Circuits

As a regular road warrior, I appreciated your tips for business travelers [Special Report, September]. But you neglected to share one piece of advice that's certainly lightened my load: Leave individual chargers for your gadgets at home, bring only the USB cables, and rely on your laptop to power it all.
—Andrew Tseng, San Marino, Calif.

E-mail T+L! Send letters to TLeditor@aexp.com, or mail them to Letters, Travel + Leisure, 1120 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space.

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