THE BAY ISLANDS VOICE

bi-weekly print & online magazine
for Roatan, Utila & Guanaja

REPORTING LIFE OF THE ISLAND COMMUNITY April 10-April 23, 2003 No. 2
CALENDAR STYLE DINING CLASSIFIEDS AD RATES WHO WE ARE

cover story


Oscar Pehho, 27, one of the island fashion show models graduated from Eurofashion modeling school. Pehho was chosen Mr. Honduras in September 2002 from about 50 male models that take part in the competition every year. Eduardo Savldath from la Ceiba organizes that show to recognize Honduras' best models.
Out of 200-300 models in Honduras, 30 percent are men. There is little recognition given to male models as the profession is recognized as feminine. Practically all models working in Honduras need to have other jobs to support themselves. Some work as physical trainers, some work in retail, others are in the university.
By 8pm the parking lot in front of the Coxen Hole petrol station begins to fill with anticipating spectators. Trying to get better glimpses of the models, a small group of children watch the event from an earth mound behind the stage. Cars line both sides of the Coxen Hole bypass, and the general mood is merry and peaceful. At 9pm there are around 2,000 people who came out to see the fashion show.
The one meter high wooden stage was erected for the models to present their clothes. To the left of the stage a 30 foot inflated balloon of "Flor de Cana" glowed in red light. A carnival atmosphere surrounded the show as entire families watched the models from
flatbeds of their pickup trucks. Other people sipped cold drinks or just socialized.
A 20 foot bus served as a changing room for models who had to display as many as seven clothes arrangements. The Luna y Mar tags dangled from the skirts and pants presented on the stage. The crowd cheered even louder as models presented the underwear and swimwear collection.
"We tried to do this for everyone here… from our hearts. And we are waiting anxiously for the next event like this," said Rodney Martin after the show. "There was tremendous positive support from the people."
Mrs. Edwards said that she was impressed how the crowd received the show. Mrs. Edwards has seen other events that didn't go as smoothly. "Here they [the spectators] didn't boo or throw things…"
Sitting in back of a pickup with her daughter and husband, Margarita Romero, 34, from Coxen Hole looked at the first fashion show in her life. "I think they should continue to bring more of this type of shows," said Mrs. Romero. Mrs. Romero's favorite part of the show was the women's swimwear. "This is the first time I saw something like this," she said.

Model Rodney Martin relaxes on the beach before the hectic portion of the day begins.


Before the show, Suyapa Edwards arranges the clothes of Karla Carter, 22, a model and marketing student from San Pedro. Oscar Pehho, 27, a male model from San Pedro looks on.

HIGH TIMES for HIGH FASHION
by Thomas Tomczyk

On Saturday, March 22, Roatan airport welcomed ten models from San Pedro and the United States who came here for the summer Luna y Mar fashion show. The models checked into a hotel and had a few hours to relax before the hectic schedule kicked in. The guys relaxed before a busy day by sunbathing on the beach and swimming. The girls stayed inside and socialized.
The final trying of the clothes took place at the Parrot Tree home of the show organizer, Mrs. Suyapa Edwards. Among the creative chaos of the day, models looked over and tried on their assigned clothes. Ms. Edwards tried to include a variety of models with different backgrounds. Finding models with ties to the Bay Islands wasn't easy.
Rodney Martin, 22, was the only model that hails from Roatan. Rodney hopes more people from Bay Islands that would try their talents in modeling as he did. "I was born here, I am part Roatanian and part San Pedran, and I really love it here," said Martin. Martin took the opportunity of a brief visit to the island to visit some of his family that is living in Coxen Hole.
Rodney Martin was born in Coxen Hole and lived in Roatan for five years before moving with his family to San Pedro. Martin works for "Classic" model agency on weekends and has a full time job as a fitness trainer at a spa. He was approached by the agency to join and has been a model for seven years.
"If a woman takes care of herself, even if she's 28 years old, she can still become a model," said Rodney, "Men mature more slowly and there are many 30, 32 year old models work [in the fashion industry]."
According to Martin the most important thing is to take good care of your body by proper training and healthy diet. To stay in "modeling shape" Martin does both aerobic and strength training at least three times a week.
The agencies have catalogs of model photos that event organizers can chose from before a show. Most of the models come through courses in fashion schools. There are quite a few such schools in San Pedro. A typical modeling course lasts six months and is followed by a work in different fashion
events to gain experience and get a foothold in the fashion industry.

Editorial

Fashion...
What is it good for?

Thomas Tomczyk, Managing Editor

Fashion can be a tricky thing. When I was seven, the school rules required me to wear a pale blue polyester shirt. This absence of fashion freedom was an element of education in socialist Poland, where I grew up. At least I was allowed to commiserate with my other "fashion oppressed" students. Since then I have never worn a uniform: I avoided the army, service industry and team sports.
I tend to see that the best dressed people in the world are French and Italians, the worst dressed are Russians and Germans. Hondurans are left somewhere between these extremes.
But living on a tropical island should serve as no excuse for dressing sloppy as many of well dressed people among us prove. Dressing effortlessly, or what seems effortless, is an element of style. Usually the best dressed people seem like they aren't really trying to be in vogue… they just are.
The Bay Islands fashion statements are made on the beaches and on dusty streets. The Italian Gucci/Fendi devotants, the brand-name/high-tech backpackers, the Sunday hat & skirt look, the draw string khakis & leather sandals combo, even the Hawaii (shirt) & Bermuda (shorts) ex-pat are some of the more common looks. Any of these combinations can work well or be considered a complete fashion failure.
Esthetics is a relative thing and different cultures perceive beauty in different things. There are however a few universal rules that apply in any culture. Neatness is a part of good fashion; even though I've seen plenty of very neatly, yet terribly dressed people. Dressing for the occasion is key as out of context dressing is a give away of "bad taste." Some fashion don'ts include: high heals on the beach, wrinkled rain jackets in church, or people trying to look "too sexy" for who they are.

Work with your body proportions, not against them. On the other hand, don't be intimidated by your height. If you are a gorgeous slender six foot goddess, two inch heels will not make that much difference.
Do not wear sandals and socks. Why? Please, just trust me… don't. On the other hand, rules are made to be broken and color clashes, material clashes, are there to be explored by the fashion aficionados.
Image is everything and even though the best dressed army in the world doesn't necessary win wars, one certainly likes watching them on parade.
Uniforms can boost or sage morale. It was quite an event, when in 1960s first American army troops began wearing berets: headwear until then associated with melancholic French painters. The green berets or Army Special Forces brought respect and hardened edges of this woolen head accessory. After 30 years the beret has become the official gear of the US armed forces… and impractical for desert warfare.
Why should anyone care about fashion? The answer is simple… Fashion is here to inspire us, make us creative and distract us from the mundainess of everyday life. Art, and High fashion is an art form, is here to make us think beyond the requirements of life and about its meaning.

Local news


Church Cookout
PHOTO& TEXT by Thomas Tomczyk

On March 29, in front of Eldon's department store in French Harbor, ladies from Pentecostal Church of God got together and cooked some delicious island food. Glenda Doggett, 56, a missionary with the Church shares a hug with Myra Rieman, 35, a cookout volunteer from French Harbor. The pair has cooked to raise money for the church "quite a few times" before. The money raised from this weekend cookout will pay part of the bill for chairs at a new sanctuary that the group will be opening in April.
 

Local news

Red Planet lands on Roatan
well anticipated disco opens doors in French Harbor
by Marcia Quinn-Strehlow

Climb aboard and journey to Mars without even leaving Roatan. Red Planet, the island's first high-tech theme-based disco opened last Friday night in the building that formerly housed Bolongos. With coordinates on French Lagoon, between French Harbor and French Key, the trendy night spot was completely remodeled into a galaxy that combines science and fiction.
Armed with a degree from the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida, Alfonso SeLin Monterroso returned to Roatan to manage the disco for his father, Alfonso Monterroso. The younger Monterroso coined the idea to let the décor transport the experience.
The unique layout and design elements were based on ideas Monterroso captured during his visits to hot spots in resort cities such as Cancun, Mexico. "I realize that drinking can be a relatively boring experience in drab surroundings," Monterroso explains. "We wanted to give our patrons a visually pleasing experience."
The club's theme is decidedly high-tech, from the pulsating state-of-the-art sound system to the bevy of intelligent lights, including XP3s that dance to the music. The multilevel room boasts a rotunda designed dance floor that resembles space craters, while dimensional planets, stars, comets and other galactic bodies hover overhead.
Custom made black lacquered box-like cocktail tables, with red tile tops, feature inner accent lighting. Bi-level seating on sofas is available around the dance floor's perimeter, in addition to bar stools and lots of floor space for mixing and wall flowering.
Other seating options include swing benches that hang on chains just off the dance floor. And, if you're craving a quieter, relaxed tropical environment, hexagon shaped picnic tables are out back on the waterfront deck overlooking French Key.
Red Planet is an unparalleled step forward in the evolution of theme "drink and eatertainment” on the Bay Islands. The ambiance and technological accents are for the most part stunning and exciting. It provides the immersive environment that will catapult guests to a whole new universe of escape.

DJs provide pre-recorded music. Fast food and sandwiches are available. Business hours are from 9:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. There is a 50 Lps. entry fee. Red Planet can be reached at 998-1120.

Business news

Bay Islands Wireless
Tropico Network and Globalnet struggle to keep up with demand

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Mitch Cummins, owner of Paradise Computers, came to Roatan for only a year ago, but was thinking about the Bay Islands wireless potential for some time. "You just can't rely on phone lines here, so the only way you could do it is to string your own wire which is cost prohibitive," says Cummins.
To start a wireless network Cummins partnered up with Globalnet from San Pedro Sula, an oldest ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Honduras. Globalnet has 140-150 wireless customers on the mainland plus many more dial-up users and, according to Cummins, there are already 20-25 wireless customers in Roatan.
The other wireless Internet provider is Tropico Network. The company traces its roots to a humble Internet café in La Ceiba. Jurgen Peters, Tropico network's owner, bought a wireless radio company in 1997 and growing ever since. Currently Tropico boasts 130 wireless subscribers, with 50 on Roatan alone. Some of the first subscribers go back to 1997 when the company got a foothold in French Harbor.
Jurgen Schafer, 42, is the main representative for Tropico Network on the Island. The company present on Roatan for two years and on in Utila even longer. Schafer says that the customer demand for wireless service is better then expected. The company is present in several Central American countries, but still does its best business in wireless and satellite dish installation in Honduras.
Both companies are growing fast. "The response is even better than we anticipated," Paradise Computers boss explained ." We originally thought if we could get 40 within six or nine months that would be good... be we will have 40 within first couple of months."
There are people that Globalnet didn't look on as potential customers that are signing up for wireless service. When asked how many customers he was thinking of having within a year Cummins said laughing, "I'd like to have all of them." An 80 customer range is the company's more realistic goal.
In December 2002 the first five Globalnet customers were connected to the network on Roatan and continued with testing equipment. Cummins says there is technically not a lot of difference between his service and Tropico Network. "We think our equipment is better, Jurgen (Tropico's Owner) thinks his equipment is better... but it's like comparing a Ford to a Chevrolet," explained Cummins. According to Cummins, both Island companies have similar base technology and use the same radio protocols. There are some technical differences in how the radio network is fed.
Globalnet is working on switching over to fiber-optic link to provide a faster and more stable link for it's customers. For a residential customer Globalnet guarantees a minimum of 32K Internet speed connection and provides a more usual 100k-200k range much of the time.
Globalnet connects to a satellite dish in Coxen Hole and feeds the signal through a series of towers located throughout the Island. The West End- West Bay tower that is currently erected will be the fourth one on the Island. The coverage provided by Globalnet will reach from West End to Punta Blanca.
On Roatan, Tropico Network has a satellite dish between West End and West Bay. The signal is then relayed by a series of microwave towers to subscribers throughout the Island.
There are also wireless subscribers in Utila, but the interest in wireless service in Guanaja hasn't been sufficient for the company to consider expanding there. "By the end of the year we will have a few changes," Schafer said about the current pricing structure for subscribers.
Globalnet charges a monthly fee of $75 and $150 for an improved speed allowing for a voice over connection. Even though Globalnet's and Tropico Network's installation prices have been coming down, they are still well over a $1000.
"A healthy competition is good for the client and can be good for us," said Tropico's Schafer.

 

Read other issues of
the Bay Islands Voice

No. 1
March 27 2003
No. 2
April 10 20
03
No. 3
April 24
2003

No. 4
May 8
2003

No. 5
May 22
2003
No. 6
June 5
2003

No. 7
June 19
2003

No. 8
July 3

2003

No. 9
July 17
2003