& Where From?: One doesn't need a giant garden to
create a work of art. Marie Dominique Thomas, an energetic
woman with a piercing look, has turned an old West End banana
plantation into a thing of beauty. Inspiration is key in creating
a garden, and Thomas is not short on inspiration. Coming from
cold Quebec town on Victoriaville, Thomas won several prizes
for her gardens--a passion she has brought from Canada.
What & Why: Thomas' garden sits in the back of
"Cinco Continents" Bed and Breakfast, located at
the entrance to West End. There are signs of the garden's
connection with other cultures and traditions: One corner
of her garden is dedicated to the Garifuna with yucca, sugar
cane, plantains, beans and chillies. Stones and stone piles
have been placed "in remembrance" of Canada's Inuit
in the north. She cultivates herbs and medicinal plants as
well, which help with detoxing and energizing. As she walks
around the garden and explains its secrets, Thomas gathers
lemon grass into a bundle that she says when boiled will help
with sleeping. "I have a large library about the plants
can be used," explains Thomas.
In Conclusion: Compost heaps in the corners include
fermented leaves and fruit skins that slowly enrich the soil.
"The soil here is sandy, salty, with a lot of insects,"
says Thomas. The garden is also full of ducks and yellow napped
parrots. "This garden has been made from a real desire
to express myself," says Thomas.
& Where From?: Sang Nguyen, 28, comes from the Bay
Area of California. She spent three weeks as a volunteer health
educator at Clinica Esperanza. We caught up with her at an
Aquarius birthday party at Lawson Rock. Sang confesses to
attending three to four parties a week, her favorite to date
being the party at Erick Anderson's house. Sang works full
time as a hair stylist in Palo Alto but was drawn to Roatan
after she met Clinica Esperanza's founder Nurse Peggy Stranges
on a mission trip to Vietnam, where Sang worked as a translator.
Vietnam is Sang's birthplace, a country she left when she
What & Why: Her summer dress was a cool $32 at
"Forever 21" store in San Francisco. Of the purple
leopard pattern, Sang says, "The purple matches my hair."
Her black, suede-like flip flops she picked up in San Francisco
for $18. Regarding the white gold cross pendant she wore,
Sang explained, "I'm not religious, but I bought that
for my graduation. My mother is happy when I wear it."
With three piercing on each ear, Sang has room for plenty
of earrings. This evening she wore two pair: diamond studs
for $350 and plain gold earrings for $200, which she purchased
at her local jewelry store. "I am allergic, so I have
to wear precious metals," says Sang. Her Movado ($420)
watch was a gift from ex-boyfriend Mike.
In Conclusion: A graduate of Biology of San Jose State
University, Sang has cut hair for the movers and shakers of
Silicon Valley. "I'm low maintenance," she says
about her fashion, "It's universally acknowledged by
all my friends." Edgy, funky, conservative all describe
Sang's fashion tastes. Sang believes that place dictates fashion:
"When I work as a volunteer I dress down, when I am in
Japan I dress differently," says Sang, who is already
planning a volunteer mission trip to her homeland this year.
& Where From?: 1950s were back is stile at Club San
Simon on the evening of December 4 when DJs were playing Elvis,
men wore white tee-shirts and slim jeans, and women impressed
with "puddle dresses" and knee-high socks. One of
the 50s dressed ladies was Peggy Orange, a full time Roatan
resident since 2008. "I am not retired. I'm doing consulting
work for Keyhole Bay and have a private concierge business.
"I enjoy the island, I exercise, I run, I snorkel,"
says Peggy about her lifestyle by the sea.
What & Why: Peggy's "hot pink" cotton
camisole, was a purchase at Target in Charleston, South Carolina
for "no more then ten dollars" and a nice fitting
top to wear out or exercise in. Her black shrug, "a little
half sweater" was another find in Charleston, South Carolina
at TJ Max: "I don't think it even has a tag, but everything
I buy for here in the States has to be cotton." Her black
neck scarf was a local purchase: "Diana's" party
supplies and costumes at Coconut Plaza in Coxen Hole. The
scarf was Lps. 200 and purchased especially for the occasion.
The grey puddle skirt was another find at "Diana's. "I
don't cook, I don't sew, I run, I exercise
I did not
get the domestic gene," says Peggy. Still, armed only
with a glue gun, duck tape and lace she has transformed the
"puddle dress" into a "designer, pink puddle
dress." The black leather belt matched her black patent
leather shoes- a purchase from Charleston's Glenn's Specialty
store. "I paid too much for them, but they are wonderful
shoes," says Peggy about her Italian BCBG shoes. Her
fossil watch was a gift from her daughter Allison: "Just
a daughter to mother gift."
In Conclusion: The West Bay event not only recalled
the 1950s, it also raised money for the Christmas food drive
for the poor. "It was 'puddle skirts' and Elvis and Marilyn
Monroe- 1950s was a good time in the States. Even thou I don't
remember. I was born in the 60s," says Peggy wearing
a pink bow in her hair. "Time of transition and very
& Where From?: Sonia Dionne, 43, from Montreal was
a Registered Nurse in Quebec and Florida. Sonia works as a
guest relations manager for French Canadians staying at HM
resorts on the island. "I am here telling them everything
they need to know." We caught up with Sonia at a pot-luck
Thanksgiving celebrations for West Bay's R Church. The November
24 event took place poolside at Keyhole Bay.
What & Why: Sonia's knee-long, free flowing dress
with a large print of a butterfly was dazzling. "It's
like a bowl of life, like freedom. I like to fly and be in
my own world," is how Sonia described her elegant dress.
The polyester and cotton dress was purchased at Ogilvi store
in Montreal for 200 Canadian dollars. Her white leather high-heel
flip-flops with metal clamps were another find at a Montreal
store for 50 Canadian dollars. Her coconut watch purchased
for 25 Canadian dollars, looks like it has been made on Roatan,
but in fact it came from a store in Montreal. While the coconuts
might have come from the Caribbean, Montreal seems to be just
the right place to find a Caribbean ensemble. Sonia's seashell
ankle bracelet was a purchase from Cayos Cochinos, only $7,
if you go all the way to Cayo Chachawate that is. "It
goes well with my palm tree tattoo," says Sonia. Her
gold bracelet on her right ankle was a gift from a friend
Martina. Not very many women wear toe rings, but Sonia does.
"Toe rings are very feminine for me," says Sonia
looking over her gold toe ring that was a Christmas gift from
her husband Bob "a gift from myself to myself,"
was a diamond studded ring purchased at Penelope's Jewelry
store in West Bay for $100 completed Sonia's Caribbean look.
In Conclusion: She has lived on Roatan for 11 years
now. "I go with a flow, depending how I feel. I live
in a Caribbean, so no jeans for me," describes her fashion
style Sonia. "I like 'chic' and all the accessories that
go with it."
& Where From?: We ran into Oliver Walgenbach in front
of the Woods Clinic on Coxen Hole's Main street. Tall, with
long blonde hair, Oliver appeared to be just a typical Saxon
yuppy from Greven, a small German town of about 30,000. He
was taking a stroll away from his temporary home, for 12 days,
on the Norwegian Dawn that docked in Coxen Hole harbor.
What & Why: Oliver wore an internationally bought
outfit. His pink Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt, a color he wears
often, was purchased in Aruba for $55 dollars. This high necked
T-shirt was made of 100% cotton, a vintage design with contrast
piping and a printed Malibu logo. He regularly pays 70 or
80 Euros for T- shirts, so he considered this purchase a "bargain
buy." Oliver's white multi-pocketed Cargo style Bermuda
shorts were perfect for travelling in the Caribbean with all
the pocket space a tourist could need. They were purchased
in Germany at Peek & Cloppenburg store for 40 Euros. His
shoes, leather Adidas soccer style shoes were bought at Ventura
Mall in Miami for $60. Oliver said that he "loooved"
them for their style and comfort. His black Prada sunglasses
help block out the Caribbean sun and give him his privacy.
He bought them in Paris for 200 Euros.
In Conclusion: Oliver defined his style as casual.
He enjoys wearing comfortable clothes, preferring T-shirts,
Polos and Diesel jeans to the suits he wears for work. And
he doesn't mind spending a lot of money on his look. Still,
Oliver isn't just another Roatan cruise ship tourist with
too much money to throw on clothes. He is generous enough
to sponsor a child in Bolivia which he plans to visit next
& Where From?: We caught up with Christine Etches
at the Roatan Hospital fundraiser gala. Born in Laguna Beach,
California, Christine graduated from UCA, Santa Barbara with
a degree in Art History and followed up with a Masters in
Teaching. Christine, mother and a yoga teacher, came to Roatan
in 2001 to teach at Children's Palace and met her husband
Aaron Etches here. They have three children
What & Why: Her black "Old Navy" unitard
was found in a California Target store. Despite a mysterious
list of composites the dress was made of 47% rayon, 47% polyester,
6% spandex. With useful pockets and a thick, elastic belt,
it was purchased for $30, "more or less." "Very
comfortable and I sometimes end up falling asleep in it,"
says Christine. Christine was comfortable enough to wear a
pair of borrowed shoes, from her mother-in-law no less. The
pair of black leather shoes by "Life Stride" gave
Christine a nice, extra inch of lift. While most people can
assure that the mother-in-law Dainie Etches is very forgiving,
few daughters-in-law can without a hesitation, nor fear of
repercussions, borrow their mother-in-laws shoes
she is away in another country. "I am very fortunate
to live on the same property and get along with her,"
says the size seven Christine. Her sparkly onyx necklace,
was a gift from her husband Aaron. "Sparking" earrings,
were a gift from aunt Darlene. A white gold wedding band was
Christine's one ring. Her eye-catching black scarf with hearts
and peace signs was a gift from a best friend Kelly.
In Conclusion: "Most of my scarves were gifts,"
says about her over a hundred scarves collection Christine.
"It's a way of expression for me, wearing scarves and
bandanas. Because who I am
now," says Christine.
A few years ago Christine lost her hair, and gained an appreciation
for life's more important things. "I used to be a more
'blend-in character,' but now that I wear scarves and bandanas
I stand out more. And I like my name being remembered
& Where From?: Lynn Dee, the island's potter-in-residence,
lives in a beautiful house in Lawson Rock overlooking Roatan's
north shore. Her pottery studio and teaching space are in
a bungalow compound and it has slowly overtaken the garage
space. We caught up with Lynn at the Clinica Esperanza's fundraiser,
Sunday-by-the-sea. This is the third time Lynn has donated
her pottery work to benefit the clinic. This year it was one
of her famous "shoe" collection originals and a
"hollow woman" vase.
What & Why: Lynn's white light-cotton blouse was
an Old Navy purchase, perfect for the Caribbean summer. Her
high-heel flip flops with a bead décor were also an
Old Navy purchase, $20.
Lynn wore a glass bead bracelet she picked up in Florence,
on her way to Venice. "I should have bought three, four.
I get so many complements on it," says Lynn of the dozen
colorful glass beads tied together with metal wire. Lynn's
one "high ticket item" is her Tag Heuer watch, she
bought for herself during good old times of working as a journalist
and an advertising executive in Delaware. Still, Lynn's watch
is barely visible as it is almost completely obscured by two
colorful bracelets. One of them, assembled from glass beads,
was a gift from her daughter. Her green plastic purse with
an alligator pattern was big enough to hold all her island
necessities... It was a nifty purchase at a TJ Max store for
a mere 22 bucks. "I only buy purses that are plastic,
or canvas," says Lynn. "They just last longer."
In Conclusion: "I try to wear things that are
functional, light and not expensive," says about her
fashion philosophy Lynn, whose clay interpretations of reality
often look better then the real items: shoes, houses, "hollow
women." Oh, and Lynn is the artist behind the Clinica
Esperanza's new front sign
a place where healing and
& Where From?: Janakie Stanley, 27, was born in Oak
Ridge, Roatan, and has lived in Sandy Bay for 10 years. Her
first premier as a model was in the Roatan map, produced by
the Bay Islands Voice. This experience gave her a taste for
the world of modeling, and an opportunity to follow that passion
in Guatemala. She was recruited by a scout at her job at Anthony's
Key Resort to attend school at Guate's Fashion Top Models.
Following her education, she was taken to another contractor
to demonstrate her skills on the runway. She was offered a
year contract and subsequently showcased on the runway and
in Amiga and Style magazines.
What & Why: Presenting herself in fashion for "an
afternoon dining with a friend," Janackie donned loose-fitting
100% cotton pants, purchased in Zara Store for $100 in Guatemala
City. Her blue tank was a gift from friend, accented with
a white top underneath, which she bought in Malibu in French
Harbour for Lps. 100. "I love tank tops. They are my
favorite. They are comfortable and you can mix and match them."
Her shoes were a scoop heel of tan rope weave, with black
strap and gold buckle, purchased in Marshall's in Miami on
sale for $10. Her faux black leather bag was also bought at
Marshall's for $25. She accented her outfit with a gold bracelet
with dangling gemstones, a gift from a friend. Janakie had
her hair prepared in a wave braid of tight plaits leading
to the end of her hair so that she can tie it back easily.
In Conclusion: Janakie's aspirations for the future
are to stay with modeling or interior design. She feels she
has a natural feel for fashion, organizing, and combining
fashionable elements, not only with clothing, but with furniture.
"I like to present a cultural style, and appropriate
to the situation," she said. "If I'm going clubbing,
I would dress completely different." Comfortable, elegant,
and fashionable, Janackie would turn heads at any event.
& Where From?: Jack Presly Everett, 23, was born in
La Ceiba, and, like many Roatan natives, began his life growing
up on Roatan the very next day. He has worked at AKR as an
accountant since 2005. A young man with an independent and
responsible spirit, he lives on his own in La Punta. He is
the last of three brothers that lives on the islands as the
others have moved to the states. With a 16 month old daughter,
Kaley Elena Everett Salgado, Jack's first priority is settling
down to raise her in the best way he can. He works hard with
the goal of giving her the best education she can have, "much
how my mother raised me," said Jack.
What & Why: While Jack may have traditional values
and stable goals, his fashion choices reflect a bit more of
his independent side. His style is modeled after rappers such
as 50 Cent and JC. "This is how I dress all the time,
well, except for when I go to church," he said. "I
have a different style than the typical Spanish style. Those
clothes may fit, but they don't fit 'right.'" Most of
his wardrobe comes from the US. Dressed completely in white,
Jack's Air Force 1 sneakers, $80, were ordered from Miami.
His Dickies long shorts were also purchased in the states
for $60. Even his white T-shirt, $8, came from the states.
Jack's watch is practical and stylish, Lps. 1,000, complete
with compass and calendar. Jack's hair is an important part
of his outfit as he visits the barber every two weeks, Lps.
70, for a fade, line up, and shape up. His black shades were
a gift from a friend, worth $40.
In Conclusion: Jack describes himself as an "honest
man, who would like to leave my footprint in this world."
Between his job at AKR, his dedication to his daughter, his
sportsmanship - Jack plays football, basketball, and plays
right and left field with the Sandy Bay Pirates - and his
fashion sense, he will definitely leave a footprint and a
define a fashion statement worth notice.
& Where From?: Maricella Welcome, 21, was born and
raised in West End. The oldest of four sisters, five in the
household including her mother, Maricella had a lot of "girl
time." She trained her younger siblings in the ways of
beauty and fashion. A perfect combination of brains, beauty
and dedication, Maricella is an enthusiastic student of International
Business Management at UTH. She has been attending classes
for 1.5 years on weekends and weeknights and absolutely loves
her classes, all this on top of a full work schedule as General
Supervisor at the Silver Sun in the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center.
As busy as she is, Maricella could not be happier. Silver
is a personal passion. "Working in a silver store is
like working in a candy store," she remarked.
What & Why: We met up with Maricella in her place
of work and the conversation about her fashion sense began
with, of course, her jewelry. Her ring came from Silver Sun,
$116, and is a combination of enamel, sterling, and zirconia
in a thick heart mold. Her earrings are a gift for her birthday
and are rectangular cut zirconia set in sterling silver and
placed in a diamond pattern of four. Her square faced Fossil
watch with silver band was purchased at Eldon's Duty Free,
$89. Maricella's exquisite jewelry accented a casual outfit,
for the perfect definition of classy. Her green cotton shirt
was purchased at Malibu in the French Harbour Mall MegaPlaza
for Lps. 100. Her Angel Premium jeans came from the MegaPlaza
in La Ceiba for Lps. 750. Her plaited silver and grey strap
sandals came from The Bless, Lps. 450. Her hair and nails
are always a part of her outfits and she maintains herself
in simple, classy straightened hair, practical clear fingernails,
and dressy toenails.
In Conclusion: Maricella's fashion sense is a "soft
island style," tasteful and elegant. Her style is as
completely well-rounded and balanced as her life, her confidence,
her endeavors, and her enthusiasm for everything that she
& Where From?:Devin Mclaughlin, 18, was raised in
Coxen Hole. He currently works as personal assistant to Sonja
Dangler, manager of the Crooked Palms in West End. His friendly
and winning personally won him his esteemed management position
as, after meeting Devon at his previous job at Banco Lafisse,
Sonja asked him to come work for her personally. Devin's happy-go-lucky
attitude shows: "I'm enjoying every single minute of
my job. In life, it's the same. I like everything to be chill."
Devin's favorite pastimes are dancing, partying, and shopping
- on the mainland or the Megaplaza in French Harbour.
What & Why: When we caught up with Devin outside
his place of work in West End, he was sporting Prada glasses,
black with red accents, were purchased at Continental in the
Coxen Hole cruise ship dock for $135. His American Eagle T-shirt
with white print logo accents was a gift from a friend. His
relaxed fit Old Vintage jeans were purchased at Malibu in
the MegaPlaza for $80, held up by a classic black leather
belt from La Ceiba, $40. Devin's outfit is completed by his
faded black Converse All Stars, $80, from the Serenity boutique
in French Harbour.
Devin's accessories fit perfect with his relaxed, yet classy,
personality. His stainless steel rimmed Fossil watch with
a black leather band was purchased at Sun Duty Free for $145.
Devin wears two distinct silver rings with aquamarine stones,
his birthstone, that he bought from a visiting artist from
Barbados for $100 each. He also wears a spinning titanium
ring from the Mayan Princess, $50.
In Conclusion: Devin's outgoing personality keeps him
always on the go, and everyone knows him. While his style
suggests a shower & go, "chill," look, his dedication
to quality of life friendship and fashion shows through.
& Where From?: Connie Webster will be 25 years old
in April. Born in La Ceiba but "brought right back (to
Roatan) the next day," she is pure islander. The oldest
of five, she was raised in Sandy Bay, and has always stayed
on Roatan. She has worked the front desk at Anthony's Key
Resort Institute of Marine Science for four years and loves
it because she "gets to meet new people every day."
What & Why: We caught up with Connie on the beach
near her home in Sandy Bay. She was wearing a burgundy plaid
dress, purchased at Sabrina's Store in Coxen Hole for Lps.
750. Her white, short sleeved over shirt brought out the white
accents in her dress, and was a gift from a friend. Her white
fashion strap sandals held three ornate cut leather accents
on the top and also came from Sabrina's, Lps. 500. Connie's
mother did her hair with twists turning to Rasta braids. The
whole process took no more than 30 minutes. Connie said she
usually wears her hair in a similar style, or straight back.
"I like a natural, simple style," said Connie, as
she does not often wear jewelry. Her elegance warrants no
need for flashy embellishments.
In Conclusion: Connie's fashion style of simple elegance
reflects her personality as a "quiet person who does
not like to argue." She has always liked to listen and
to help people, prides herself on her Christian values, and
thinks she would enjoy doing future work in psychology. She
has always held the role of a good listener, particularly
with helping to raise her younger siblings. As for birthday
plans, she is looking forward to a quiet celebration with
her family. Happy Birthday, Connie!
& Where From?: Susan Christine McLaughlin Cooper,
18, is the picture of urban and rural Bay Islands all rolled
into one. She was born in Coxen Hole on Roatan, but moved
to Pigeon Cay, in the Utila Cays when she was one year old.
She attended the school there until sixth grade, which was
as high as the Cay school went. To finish her schooling, she
moved back to Roatan. A practical and intelligent head on
her shoulders, she is now attending Santos Guardiola in her
second batch of bookkeeping studies. "I like this type
of business," she said. "I've always been good at
it, but it's still challenging. I like trying harder things
even if I'm not good at them."
What & Why: From a family of all girls, she is
the youngest of five sisters, and now has two nieces. She
enjoys cooking, going to the beach, and playing volleyball.
On the island, she shops at places such as Gemini in Los Fuertes
and Tanya's in French Harbour, but most of her clothes are
ordered through the internet. Her outfit is an example of
her online shopping skills. We caught up with Christine at
her Coxen Hole home, where she does most of her shopping form
her laptop on the couch. Her shirt is a turquoise soft cotton
tank with bunched seams down the body line and bead and sequin
embellishments around the neckline. The shirt was purchased
online from Old Navy, $30. Her cream low-rider baggy skirt
with seamed bottom edge was purchased online from Tommy, $60.
Her silver strap Old Navy fashion sandals were a gift. She
keeps her hair neatly pinned back and her toenails manicured
in a pleasing pink. She never does her fingernails or wears
any jewelry as she likes to dress in a simple and not too
flashy style. She was also raised with Adventist influences,
so she never wore jewelry growing up.
In Conclusion: Christine's sensible nature keeps her
successful in her studies and looking good while doing it.
"I have simple tastes, but prefer quality." She
represents Roatan and Utila Cays with style.
& Where From?: We caught up with Esly Bonilla Palacios,
22, on Cayo Mayor, where she lived the last ten years of her
life. She was attending a workshop with her mother and father
to develop a clean water project for the community. Originally
a mainlander (born in Rio Esteban) she is passionate about
Cayos Cochinos. She currently lives in La Ceiba with her sister,
studying law at UTH (Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras),
with a dream of helping people. "But what I really love,"
she says, "is tourism, particularly for Cayos."
She caught the tourism bug by helping her brother, who works
as a tour operator there. Professionally, Esly means business
with a passion for both law and tourism. Combined with her
sprightly yet bold personality, reflected by her colorful
fashion sense, it's a winning combination.
What & Why: Esly's perfectly braided hair with
deep purple extensions was done entirely by herself. It took
two full days to complete the task. Esly loves to express
herself through color and doesn't mind the work. Sometimes
she braids in yellow extensions. Over the holidays this year,
the popular fashion color amongst the girls was purple. The
colors for today to complement her hair are the bright colors
of Mardi Gras. Elsy accessorizes with jewelry sets made for
her by a friend who customizes Esly's looks with whatever
colors she requests. Today, her purple streaks are beautifully
accented by the vivid green bead necklace, three strands of
large and small beads, and matching earrings. The set cost
Esly Lps. 120 for the custom art. Esly's bright green tank
top with yellow accents was purchased in the La Ceiba store
Panayoti for Lps. 420. Her cut-off jeans skirt embellished
with sequin designs was a present from her sister who is doing
medical work in Cuba. Her uncle gave her the practical purple
flip flops that complete the outfit.
In Conclusion: Esly's bright personality is further
accented by her love of color. Yellow is her favorite "because
it's a color that goes great with my skin," she said.
Green is her second favorite. Sometimes she wears red because
it is the color of passion. "I wear whatever color I
feel." Whatever the mood, you can guarantee Elsy wears
& Where From?: Jessie and Jenny Bodden, 18, are fraternal
twins. They were born in New Orleans to Roatanian Emily Flowers
in 1991, and moved with their mother to Roatan when they were
10 years old. They have spent the past 8 years in Sandy Bay,
attending school, graduating from ESBIR in June of 2009. Both
are off to the University of Houston to begin classes in January.
In university, Jessie would like to pursue a degree in marketing
for her interest in business and finance. She would like to
return to Roatan to run her mother's businesses - a shop and
real estate office. Jenny would like to pursue a career in
dentistry, inspired by her cousin, who is also a dentist,
and by the fact that dentistry has a shorter study term than
other fields in medicine.
What & Why: The girls dressed for the glamour shoot
in grey soft cotton off the shoulder shirts with gold chain
straps, purchased in Tegucigalpa on a school trip from Glamour,
Lps. 580. Their jeans shorts were also purchased in Tegus
at the mall's Old Navy store, Lps. 450 and 480. The girls
wore similar strap sandals. Jenny's silver pair was purchased
at the Unlimited in La Ceiba, while Jessie's black pair came
from Dillard's in New Orleans, both gifts. Although twins,
the two could not be more different. Jessie, who was born
24 minutes before Jenny, is into doing her hair and nails,
while Jenny is into sports, particularly football. Jessie's
hair is colored a deep chestnut, while Jenny maintains her
natural black. Jewelry for the girls consisted of valued gifts.
Jessie wore a gold ring that was a gift from her boyfriend,
and silver hoops from the West End twins, Anna and Pilar.
Jenny sported diamond studs and a gold bracelet from her mother.
In Conclusion: The twins, though very different in
personality and goals, maintain a relationship where they
can rely on one another. When asked how they would fare attending
the same university, Jessie responded, "Jenny's going
to help me with my homework!" Case in point, the different
faces of the Bodden twins both look fantastic in a great outfit.
& Where From?:Monty Graham, 32, grew up in Moss Bank,
Saskatchewan, Canada. He holds certifications in Commercial
Diving and Professional Diver Training. He worked for three
years as a commercial deep sea diver in Malaysia for Kasel
Salvage and 1.5 years as a parasail captain, on Coco Key,
Bahamas, and Labadi, Haiti, for Royal Caribbean cruise lines.
On his second day visiting Roatan, he was hired by Coconut
Tree Divers, first as a freelancer, then fulltime. Since,
he has been working with Will Welbourn to develop the Roatan
TEC Team, one of the only schools certified to teach TEC diving
in the Bay Islands.
What & Why: Monty's kit begins with two 80 cubic
ft. Catalina tanks on a 200bar manifold, a Dive Rite double
redundant BCD wing attached to a back plate and harness, two
1st stage DINs, two 2nd stages, two low pressure inflator
hoses, one high pressure hose and SPG, 50lb lift bag, and
100ft reel. The whole setup would cost $1500 new, but through
savvy shopping, he paid about $800, closer to wholesale. Each
of his two decompression cylinders (one high O2, one low O2),
contains a DIN valve, one 1st stage, one 2nd stage, SPG, and
tank strap, $350 for each stage. His dive "clothing"
consists of a 5mm Pinnacle wet suit with thigh pocket, $300,
and IST ProLine 5mm gloves (with the fingers cut out), $20.
Mares fins were purchased from the West End Mares shop, $40.
Accessories include a Citizen Cyber Aqualung NX dive computer,
$400; VR3 Multigas Decompression Computer, $800 (from eBay);
wrist slate, $15; Riffe mask, $80 (ordered through the website),
and multiple carabineers and clips, $30. His Calgary Flames
board shorts are "priceless," as well as his thrift
shop glasses, and Coconut Tree Divers TEC shirt.
In Conclusion: Monty knows his gear and is dressed
for action. His fashion and technical sensibilities will most
likely help to take him far professionally. "Two months
into being here," said Monty, "I knew I would help
to make TEC diving what it is today in the Bay Islands."
& Where From?:Sharon Thomas, 25, is an artist. Born
and raised in Coxen Hole, Sharon is self-taught, her favorite
mediums involving conch shells carvings, acrylic paintings,
and jewelry. Her work focuses on local scenery such as landscapes,
flowers and boats. You can see her work in several gift shops
on the island, particularly in West End. Partnering with her
boyfriend, jewelry-maker Dennis Meza, on several projects,
you can often see their work displayed together. "I've
always been artistic," says Sharon, and her love for
the aesthetic shows in her playful taste in fashion. At times
she supplements her income with restaurant or hotel work,
so that she can maintain her regular trips to Guanaja to visit
family and friends, or to La Ceiba to shop.
What & Why: Sharon dons a dark blue nylon weave
short brimmed hat. "My friend bought this hat for me,"
says Sharon. "She knew it was just my style." The
staple and core of her outfit is a practical blue bikini bathing
suit, as we met Sharon on an evening boat cruise in West End.
The suit was purchased in a centrally located West End shop
for $28. Her white with pink stripes spider dress sported
several loosely woven back straps and was also purchased in
a West End boutique for $25. Her gold fashion sandals, $5,
came from the same shop. An old faithful grey speckled blanket
was fashionably draped over her shoulders to keep off the
chill. Ornamenting the outfit, Sharon proudly wore a queen
helmet conch camion necklace on a silver chain that was made
for her by her boyfriend. Her earrings of light green jade
on silver handiwork, $16, were purchased in the mall in West
In Conclusion: Sharon's artistic nature is expressed
through her funky, yet glamorous style. Though on an artist's
budget, Sharon manages to create a unique look for only about
$75. "I love to wear jewelry," says Sharon. "I
sometimes don't want to sell my own work. But I have to make
it and sell it to live. And I can always make more."
& Where From?: Nelly España de Flynn, 39, is
originally from La Ceiba. Graduating college in 1987, she
had a chance to visit Utila for the first time. "I loved
the island from the start," said Nelly. On her next trip
to the island Nelly met her husband, Patrick: "We fell
in love from the first time we saw each other." They
were married two years later and the couple moved to the US.
Five years ago the couple returned to Utila to manage the
La Pirata bar and now also manage Munchies and hotel La Pirata.
In 2008, Nelly helped in organizing Utila's Carnival and Patrick
acted as the event's president. Nelly is certainly no novice
to fashion, she modeled for Carrion stores and won fashion
shows in La Ceiba. She even won Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest
in Florida and Hawaii in 1997. She has been asked to coach
models in Honduras on how to dress, walk, and prepare for
What & Why: Her silk button down top with golden
dots was purchased for $50 at the Bebe store in New Orleans,
Louisiana, where Nelly and Patrick previously lived. Beige
cotton Banana Republic pants came from the Banana Republic
store, $80. Nelly's wore fashionable 9 West sandals with dark
and light brown leather straps, with a practical heel for
comfort, embellished with a silver buckle, $70. Nelly's good
taste in jewelry centers around her rings, all of which have
sentimental value. One is her wedding ring, another was a
gift from her mother when Nelly was eight years old. The two
other rings were gifts to herself. "I don't wear a lot
of jewelry, so I don't spend a lot on it," Nelly admits.
"When I do, I like to buy something that will last me
forever." While Nelly likes sapphires and diamonds, she
rarely wears expensive jewelry on the island. Nelly is carrying
a 9 West purse from the mall in La Ceiba - Lps. 2,300. "I
didn't even look at the name of the shop," laughs Nelly.
"I just saw the purse and I liked it."
In Conclusion: Nelly's smart fashion sense is not just
an expression of self, but an expression of her life and her
work. She not only wears fashion, she lives it. "I can't
dress up all the time in Utila, but when I do, it makes me
feel good," said Nelly. "People come to La Pirata
to see how she's dressed," adds Patrick to the conversation.
"Yes, but it's not a competition and it inspired other
people to work out and be healthy," says Nelly.
& Where From?: Susan was born in South Africa, she
has lived on Cayos Cochinos (1 year), on Utila (8 years),
in La Ceiba (1 year), and on Roatan (9 years). "We were
very casual, casual, casual," says abaut her years on
Utila Susan. Today, the self described CEO of the "Jensen
Corporation," a mom of four and wife to Henrik, manages
the Yubu Garifuna Experience theme park and is the current
president of Roatan's Women Club. If her presidency is at
any risk, it is not because she is considering affiliation
with ALBA, but because even if Susan isn't trying to be the
best dressed woman anywhere she goes, she often is. "Shopping
isn't the easiest around here, but when I get a chance - I'll
shop," says Susan.
What & Why: A blue color top came from one of Susan's
favorite stores- Hollister. Around $45 at a Miami Hollister
store. "Its cool and casual, nice quality" says
Susan who's "the favorite store" is actually Guess.
Her blue-jeans miniskirt and 'wedge' black and white shoes,
$140, came from that design store. "If I come back [from
a shopping trip] with two-three pairs of shoes, I'm doing
good. My girlfriends come back with eight-twelve pairs,"
says Susan. Her black leather bag with metal zippers is Benetton
purchased in Tegucigalpa mall - $50. Her black, Coach sunglasses,
were purchased at a Coach store in Miami, are one of two pairs
that Susan owns. "I'm quite good. I don't go over the
top." The 'surfer girl' look is topped with several tasteful
accessories. Her Cartier watch, bought in Cayman Islands,
was a gift from Susan's husband Henrik. "Its beautiful.
I love it," says Susan about her stainless steel timepiece.
"I've lost a couple of wedding rings," says Susan
looking at her three replacement white gold rings. While many
women have a problem of marrying and not getting a ring, sometime
several times over, Susan has a different issue: she has celebrated
her one marriage with additional wedding rings, all courtesy
In Conclusion: Our experience with most 'fashion police"
subjects, is that they overplay their clothes: for them
gold plated is 24 carat, glass is diamonds. Not so with Susan
who keeps her profile low. She has learned where to shop and
when to dress up. "I don't like to dress-up too much
because its just too much for here."
& Where From?:Nidia Hernandez, 34, was born at home,
delivered by midwife Mirtle Bodden. The oldest girl, she was
one of 12 brothers and sisters. "If they can't make a
decision they come to me," said Nidia. Today Nidia is
a business woman and a community organizer. "Anywhere
I am needed, I am there," says Nidia, owner of a party
shop in Coxen Hole, "Nidia's Party Shop." We caught
up with her on her acting stint, right after she performed
at Mayoca Lodge, in the second season's showing of "Vagina
What & Why: Wearing a deep red color dress, by
Janice, with black trim purchased at Tañas Boutique
for Lps.750. "The Vagina Monologues," required all
the actresses to wear black dresses with a red accent. Her
shoes, with red bling-bling décor of the leather straps
were purchased at Tienda Mariela in Coxen Hole for Lps. 500.
With a cork heel they are "cheap and comfortable,"
says Nidia. "I like simple rings. I don't like anything
fancy." In August 1994, Nidia made a $5 tip as West End
first-day-on the job as a front desk person at Ocean Divers,
and invested it in piece of silver shaped as a ring. "I
still have that ring from that day till today. Wow,"
says Nidia, looking at a worn down, seen-it-all accessory.
"That was the first piece of jewelry I ever bought in
my life. I love it." Nidia's more modern jewelry comes
from a West End jewelry maker, Noelle Gatti, who custom makes
the pieces for her clients according to their favorite color.
Her necklace, earring and bracelet pieces were made with crystal
with silver inserts
$100 for the set. Her SOHO leather
purse was purchased from a street vendor in Coxen Hole. The
black and red theme in Nidia's appearance went all the way
through a dress. Her sister Rosemary did Nidia's hair braiding,
in six hours. How did Nidia spend the hours? "I watch
movies, I text, I make phone calls
It's a sacrifice,"
says Nidia who still will have to sit through two hours of
In Conclusion:Nidia dressed for her acting part, and
dressed well. When Ms. Bederah Prieskop put on the "Vagina
Monologues" production she invited Nidia to participate.
Nidia decided to do it and her acting début came at
Illusions Disco stage at Plaza Mar. Nidia's 'Darfur woman's
monologue was a tribute to recently passed Kelly Watkins who
originally intended to deliver the monologue. "I had
a few experiences myself so I connect," said Nidia about
her monologue of a Darfurian woman.
& Where From?: Keena Haylock, 33, is an island girl.
A single mom to a three-year-old daughter Erin she has a degree
in real estate and commercial law from UNAH and is the first
ever born-on-the-Islands Notary Public. "I believe in
making a difference. Many island people believe too often
that they get their education and stay abroad," said
Keena. Keena's aunt was the mayor of Guanaja and Keena, now
member of Central Committee of the National Party, has a hand
on the pulse of the Bay Islands. We caught-up with Keena at
a 1950s Cuban themed fundraising event at Henry Morgan. Medicines
for Roatan brought out the 'fashion demon' in over a hundred
What & Why: Keena's one button black jacket (purchased
at a 20% sale at Tegucigalpa's United Colors of Benneton)
along with matching pants and white cotton shirt were found
at Tegucigalpa's Multiplaza (around $1,000). The jacket was
originally purchased for taking the Notary Public exam in
front of the 15 supreme court justices in 2005. "It shows
respect to the judge and the entire process," explains
Keena. Keena is an expert at intimidating any opponents, in
or out of court, that she runs into. "This is how I would
dress for court appearances, minus the hat and the big earrings,"
said Keena. Appearances do matter, so use every advantage
you have against your opponent. Black leather stiletto shoes
with 5" heels by Nine West were also found at a Mall
in Tegucigalpa for $70. "It puts me at 6'-2","
admits Keena. Stilettos are not part of Keena's courthouse
look, because in Honduras wearing stilettos in court can get
you charged in contempt. Keena saves the shoes for less official
occasions. A black Fredericks of Hollywood hat, $24, was purchased
on-line. It has a black band and a bow. Black stone, metal
and black feather earring were purchased in Miami at New York
and Company accessories - $30. A silver ring with a stone
detail, $100, was a purchase from a Tegucigalpa mall. A chain
mail Fossil watch, $120, purchased at Eldon's Duty Free at
the Airport. Completing the look was a red silk flower in
her hair - a gift from her Tegucigalpa assistant.
In Conclusion:"Most people don't know me enough
to get me a gift. And it is difficult to get to know me. I
am very guarded," says Keena. "I live silver and
I love eccentric
feather, strange," says Keena
to those brave enough to master a gift for her.
& Where From?: Damaris Hernandez, 31, hails from Sonaguera,
but has been living on Roatan since she was a four-year-old.
She is a no-nonsense hard working island woman who has to
combine time for work, responsibilities and fun in her life.
That is not always easy. The Sandy Bay resident has two daughters:
Kendy, 11, and Jaire, 8 and for the past two years has been
working as a salesperson at the Waves of Art Gallery in West
End. We caught up with Damaris during painter Cynthia Parchment's
showing on April 30. Along with Michelle, Jackie and Lidia,
Damaris is one of the four women running the gallery.
What & Why: A brown and white dress with leaf and
nature pattern was a gift from Damaris' friend Norma. Damaris'
favorite color is brown and there wasn't a single piece she
wore that wasn't at least in part that color. Her boyfriend
Abram who lives in the US sent Damaris the pair of leather,
brown flip-flops, by Montego Bay. By far the most expensive
piece worn by Damaris is a necklace of ruby, amethyst and
citron stones on a silver and gold frame - $480 by Boston
Jewelers. Her silver earrings with ambers inserts are designed
and made by Oscar and Cristian - $34. Her earrings were also
on loan from the gallery: amber and agate black stone earrings
- $150, are also by Oscar and Cristian.
In Conclusion:One of the benefits of working at the
Waves of Art Gallery is that you can wear all the jewelry
pieces displayed there. The only drawback - if someone likes
to buy your earrings, you have to be prepared to give it up
on the spot. Damaris has been taking full advantage of this
work perk and about twice a month Damaris has to give up a
jewelry piece she wears to customers who can't live without
& Where From?: Captain Ron Ryan is a classic West
End character. Born in New Jersey, he studied at University
of Massachusetts graduating with BS Forestry and Masters in
Civil Engineering. He moved to Colorado where he lived for
20some years, and worked as an appliance repair man. But Ron's
passion is caving. As a child he went with his grandfather
to a commercial cave in central Pennsylvania and since then
his fascination with underground never stopped. In 1992 he
arrived on Roatan by accident - he got off the plane too soon,
thinking he was in southern Belize. Hmmm.
What & Why: Captain Ron doesn't wear a watch, but
he always wear a bandana that is now his trademark. "Bandanas
catch a lot of sweat when you are caving," justifies
his choice of headpiece Ron. "My head is bald so wearing
a hat is way to hot." He wears a green necklace around
his neck, a gift from Joy Bethany, a once first mate at the
Roatan based luxury yacht Aries. "Green is a good color
for me and it was a gift," says Ron who seems to be wearing
exclusively green. His green and blue palm tree themed shirt
was $3.25 at a Phoenix used clothes store. His green bandana
was $2.50, another purchase at a Phoenix store. His only non-green
clothing item are his blue shorts that have been purchased
so long ago, Captain Ron doesn't remember where, or how much
he paid for them. His woven glass holders were a purchase
in one of the islands 'Guatemalan' stores - $1.50. While Hawaiian
shirts are almost a camouflage clothing for the green island
foliage of Roatan, the shirts are more conspicuous at West
End drinking establishments. "I like flowered shirts
in the evening," says Captain Ron whose Roatan closet
has between 50 and 60 colored shirts. Captain Ron mostly picks
them up at second hand stores for $2-$3 a piece. Florida,
Phoenix, Houston, Vermont
are on Captain Ron's shopping
trail and all seem to have Hawaiian shirt aficionados willing
to part with their flowery attire. Shorts and Teva sandals
complete Captain Ron's island look. "I get about two
years everyday wear out of them," he says.
In Conclusion: Captain Ron had a rough winter and is
focusing on positive thinking and good diet. Doctors describe
him as a man with a body of a thirty-five-year-old
for one organ. While Captain Ron is not a sailor, his nickname
originates from a West End bartender naming him Captain Ron
after finding some similarities to Kurt Russell, the star
of the 1992 "Captain Ron" movie. While Kurt Russell
went on to do other movies, Ron kept the "captain"
title permanently, expanded his shirt and bandana collection
the rest is history.
& Where From?: Byron McLaughlin, 22, hails from Punta
Gorda and works at the Santos Guardiola Credit Union, after
coming back from a one year Miami sojourn in December. In
Florida Byron was taking a paramedics course and working as
a bookkeeper. "I like doing book keeping, I like numbers
and I am a business man," says Byron, "and I like
fashion most of all." A couple days before Semana Santa,
he is starting a fashion import business.
What & Why: Byron's blue suede leather loafers,
a Perry's brand, are a gift from Byron's sister Alana. Faded
Glory sweater was purchased at a Ross store in Miami. "The
sweaters are much in fashion right now," says Byron.
While the sweater is a women's style, we say: sometimes you
have to break the rules to look good. The $9 cotton-polyester
blend shirt by Piattelli was alos bought at Ross in Miami.
Byron didn't like the office shirt everyone was wearing and
invested in his own version of the Cooperativa uniform. "I
have a pink tie to go with the uniform, but it just gets too
hot in the office," says Byron. His Fossil watch is a
gift from his brother Lanny, who lives in Alabama. Another
family gift, aviator sunglasses ($39 at Tanya's Boutique),
were given by Byron by brother Shalon who works at RECO. Black
cotton pants were a gift from Byron's brother Ryan.
In Conclusion: With offices in Coxen Hole, Los Fuertes
and in Oak Ridge and 24 employees working at the Cooperative,
the fashion competition is fierce. Byron is surely staying
above the fray and ahead of the pack. "I like to be 'jokie,'
like to have fun, but not rough fun. No drinking or smoking,
I am a church-going guy," says Byron who attends the
Church of God Universal. "Church, work, home is how I
live." The key to life is balance and Byron tries to
live this principle. "There is nothing better than living
on this island where I belong," says the cool dressed
& Where From?: It's Toni Tedaldi's second day of work
at the Diamonds International store at Coxen Hole's cruise
ship terminal, and Toni's dressed for business. Toni lived
in Florida and worked in sales and auction business for a
couple decades. But the last time he worked for someone other
than himself was in 2000. In 2004 he opened a jewelry and
souvenir store in West End with his partner Penelope. In 2005
the couple opened another store in West Bay, but the economy
made Toni look for employment at Roatan's biggest jewelry
What & Why: Tony wears a Peter Thomas silk tie
- borrowed from Dan Taylor, Toni's tie-owning friend. Toni
actually borrowed two ties from Dan, and has one more. That
should last him till Thursday
Toni is on
his own. Matching the tie, Toni wears a blue, long sleeve
shirt by Perry Ellis. "It has a European collar,"
says Toni, who got the shirt for around $60. His grey Docker
wool blend pants were bought at Atlanta Dillards for $42.
To go with his shirt and tie Toni wears Bertini black leather
loafer shoes, $125,
with socks. Yes
store is no place to flaunt bare ankles. "They're good
shoes, they last for ever," says Toni. His job is to
sell jewelry and accessories, and he wears some of his own:
a tanzanite and black diamond jewelry ring, $225, and bracelet,
$489, bought at Penelope's Island Emporium, and a Casio watch,
$90, from Merchandise Mall in Atlanta. It's a long way from
Merchandise Mall, and Toni now sells watches ranging from
$150 to $23,000, the latter price tag buying a Breitling Bentley
men's watch. In his pocket, Toni sports a pen emblazoned with
a dollar sign logo purchased at a Florida mall, costing Toni
an Alexander Hamilton bill. Last, a store supplied accessory:
a Toyo lupe "for checking the quality of any stone or
In Conclusion: The question is: once you've owned a
business, can you really go back to being an employee? Well,
we think you can always go back - just as long as you have
or can find a way to get hold of one! "I
am a proof that a sixty-year-old person can still get a job,"
& Where From?: Anita Lynn Tennyson, 36, hails from
Oak Ridge's Laurence Hill. We caught up with Anita in West
Bay where she helps her sister in running a souvenir shop.
Anita also works at the Roatan Airport with Sky-Service Airlines
which flies between Toronto and Roatan every Friday. Being
an island girl all her life, she moved from the east end of
the island to the west end, currently living in Pensacola.
What & Why: Her blue-jean jacket by Signature was
a gift from David in Minnesota. Her blue jeans and white Nike
running shoes-yes, you guessed it
all from Minnesota.
Her black leather belt was found "at the capital city,
Tegucigalpa," a gift from David, while he was visiting
Honduras. Her white cotton blouse Anita purchased at the Coxen
Hole Carrion for Lps. 300. Anita doesn't skimp on her jewelry.
Around her neck Anita has two gold pendants: golden flakes
and a heart. The heart is from David and the flakes from a
Jamaican friend. "His name is not to be mentioned,"
says the lucky girl. Her thick, gold colored and heart themed
earrings were purchased at a Coxen Hole jewelry store--Lps.
350. A silver bracelet with carved hearts adorns her right
hand. On her right fingers: two silver rings, a dolphin theme
ring from door-to-door jewelry vendor and waves theme ring
from French Harbour's Tanya's boutique. Anita's left hand
carries even more jewelry: a silver band on her thumb, a green
stone silver ring, an amber ring and a diamond ring
from Minnesota. So this is how we finally found out Anita
is engaged. "He is just so jealous and I am not,"
says Anita about her fiancé David in Minnesota.
In Conclusion: Anyway you look at it, Minnesota is
a perfect place to shop for winter clothes, especially if
you don't have to travel there. Anita has dressed both for
the Roatan winter during which temperatures can drop to 74
degrees Fahrenheit, and for West Bay where the westerly wind
can blow the chill factor to a respectable 72 degrees. Brrrr.
& Where From?: Lisa Weiss, 61, describes herself as
"a Swedish girl lost in the jungles of Roatan."
Lisa and her husband Michael come from famous families of
furriers. They met in Stockholm where Michael came do his
fur-trading apprenticeship. "It was practically love
at first sight. It took a week," Lisa tells of Michael.
In late 1960s they moved to Vermont to begin an organic farm:
Apple trees, organic horses, cows, etc. "We were completely
self-sufficient," says Lisa about the 35 year-stay in
Vermont. Lisa has looked for her small piece of paradise in
Latin America for 12 years: in Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala.
Along with Michael she has come to Roatan in 1990, built their
home outside of Crawfish Rock and begun farming. After several
misadventures on the island they decided to leave for Panama,
but soon returned after two years.
What & Why: We caught up with Lisa at a dinner
party at Palmetto Bay Plantation. Her spectacular party attire
was bought on a 2005 sojourn in Hanoi, Vietnam. This dress
looks stunning. The 100 percent silk, black and red dress,
is a typical female attire in this South-East Asian nation.
A house shaped and a star black embroidery pattern is the
main decoration of the dress that goes along with red silk
long pants. Both were hand tailored and custom fit. With five
black buttons on each side, the dress is cut open on both
sides to allow for ventilation. "It's very Vietnamese,"
says Lisa. "It was $18, but in Sweden it would be $200."
"I am an expert at getting a very good deal for my money,"
says Lisa. "Most people think I pay ten times more then
what I do. Anything over $10, I look twice at." Her heart
shaped ametite earrings were passed on from Lisa's mom Aassy.
Lisa's slippers by "Classified" were purchased in
Panama for a very affordable $5. The earrings were originally
purchased by Michael at a jewelry maker in Vermont in 1980
for around $30.
In Conclusion: Lisa probably has the only Vietnamese
dress in the Bay Islands. "I also like my Scandinavian
they just fit me better," says Lisa. Bay
Islands is indeed a perfect place for a fashion fusion.
& Where From?: Nicole Brady, 26, was born on Roatan
and studied at Roatan Bilingual School. She received a business
degree from CURLA University in La Ceiba and began working
as a Roatan Municipal secretary in 2003. Her mom Irma hails
from Utila, and her dad Bill from North Carolina. Nicole's
sister, Jessell, is a MA candidate at University of Delaware;
her brother, Mathew, lives in Austin.
What & Why: Her green button-up top was bought
at a Banana Republic store at the Miami's Aventura Mall--
$39. Khaki GAP pants bought on-line, a nifty sale item at
$39. Her fashionable Nine-West brown leather high-heel shoes,
$29, with decorative metal buckles go perfectly with her khakis.
"I got them online and on sale as well," says Nicole
proudly. She receives "sales alerts" from several
online stores. "You just get good deals online."
Her white gold, diamonds earrings and half-moon shaped circular
pendant were a gift from Nicole's mom, Irma, on a family trip
to Florida. Her Coach watch was bought at a Coach store at
a Miami mall--$300. "It's a nice watch," admits
In Conclusion: While working at the Municipality, Coral
Cay and ZOLITUR Nicole had to follow someone else's dress
code. Now she is her own fashion captain. "You dress
differently when you grow older," says Nicole. Since
she has been actively involved in Liberal Party politics for
five years now, maybe surprisingly to some, Nicole admits
that her clothes are not full of only red colored clothing.
"Blue is one of my favorite colors," says the assistant
to a Liberal/Red party's Bay Islands congressman. "It's
not just red polos and white khakis."
& Where From?: Jessica Vega, a La Ceiba fashion designer,
introduced Roatan to her debut creations in October at a fashion
launch party at the Big Bight home of Eli McNab. Around 30
styles could be found at the show.
Originally, the AIIV line was launched in La Ceiba in August.
All AIIV dresses are made locally, sewn by three La Ceiba
seamstresses. Laura Alvarado, Jessica's business partner,
imports fabrics for the creations from the US.
The idea is to provide fashion alternatives for young women
in their teens and 20s at a price they can afford. Creations
in almost universal sizes, 0 through 6, should make this prêt-a-porter
fashion a hit with most island women. "This is a fashion
for special occasions," said Eli, who wanted the fashion
show to connect people, designers and customers and who is
also looking at launching her own fashion boutique.
Gladis Gonzales' chic, vibrant and glamorous designs have
had the biggest impact on the two costeña designers'
fashion perspective. Also another Tegucigalpa designer, Miguel
Chong, has been an inspiration. The October Honduras Fashion
Week was a place to check out the best of Honduras' fashion
designers, most of whom stay in Tegucigalpa, maybe San Pedro
Sula. Now La Ceiba has one as well.
In the photo: An AIIV fuchsia and white fur pattern blouse.
& Where From?: Jessica Flowers, 20, with two sisters
and three brothers, is the oldest in her family. She was born
in the Thicket of Coxen Hole and has always lived there. She
attended the town's public schools: first Juan Brooks Elementary
School, then Instituto Santos Guardiola. Jessica is already
a mom and her little baby girl, Nariah, will turn three years
old in December. She has been working at Captain Van's Rental
store in West Bay.
What & Why: Her cotton dress was bought at the
La Ceiba "American Outfit" mall store for $150.
With brown diagonal stripes and flower pattern it is perfect
for an end of summer look. Jessica's leather flip-flops by
"Wear-it-Declare-it," lined with golden colored
beads, were purchased at So Tropic store at the West Bay Mall
for $40. Her dark brown purse, decorated with a wave marine
pattern, was also purchased at So Tropic. Sunglasses, $20,
you guessed it--bought at So Tropic. "They have nice
things there," says Jessica, who works literally next
door to this West Bay fashion outlet. The ultimate in convenience
shopping. Jessica's "girl on the moon" golden pendant
was a gift from a friend. Her wooden-sculpted earrings, $25,
were purchased at Watercay gift store in West End. The @ shaped
ear decorations were again, purchased at So Tropic. Both of
Jessica's ears were pierced when she was only two months old,
and her mother, Glenis, decorated them with four gold studs
that the young Coxen Holeian still wears today. Jessica's
golden bracelets were a gift from Jessica's mother as well.
So was her one ring. "It's silver and it had a lot of
gold dots, but I lost them," explains Jessica.
In Conclusion: Jessica's work outfit theme is based
on color-brown-which patterns on skirt, accessories, even
shoes. She pulls it off easily. The difficult part is how
to control your fashion spending when you work next door to
your favorite fashion boutique. Jessica seems to keep her
fashion in balance.
& Where From?: Not often can you smile when your spouse
denounces you to the police-the fashion police, that is. Hector
Hernandez was doing just that when his wife Yakara contacted
Bay Islands Voice to report Hector's impeccable clothing style.
Hector, 37, originally from El Progreso, Cortez, came to Roatan
via the US and Costa Rica. At 14 Hector came to United States,
got married, started a Tampa painting business and 21 years
later came back to Honduras. Hector, in the process of applying
for his US residency, decided to settle on Roatan and start
an industrial painting business. "I picked the island,
because you can work without putting yourself in danger. It's
a great place to live, work," says Hector, who admits
Roatan is as far from El Progreso as you can get without leaving
Honduras. "What I learned in the States, I brought to
What & Why: Hector's white pants by "Producer"
were bought by Yakara. "My wife buys my clothes, but
I tell her what I want," says Hector. His Kenneth Cole
black leather loafers, $75, came from a store in Tampa. His
light cotton, semi-transparent tee-shirt was another Kenneth
Cole purchase. "I don't know how much she [Yakara] paid
for them, but I know they are expensive," says Hector.
His gray-silver Gucci sunglasses Hector found at an accessories
store at West End Mall, $170. Five years before he purchased
his impressive, eye-catching white-gold bracelet, $1,000.
His Gucci watch, another $1,000. A wedding band, one of three
he owns, matches Hector's summer look.
In Conclusion: Hector made a transition from baggy
jeans outfits to Kenneth Cole as his painting business required
a more presentable look. "I was looking for respect.
And you also need to wear clothes that show respect to the
builders," says Hector. It is important to evolve in
your style. Many men dress the same at 35 as they did when
they were 15. The idea is to develop and know your identity
as a person, not to stagnate and hold on the youthful images.
& Where From?: Born in the Lake District, England,
Jackie Fornum- Heijting, 47, a classy and stylish Dutch lady
is a ray of sunshine in West End. We caught up with her at
the Waves of Art Gallery. Jackie has finished a hostess school,
worked on a tour bus, secretary, au-pair, temping and a Toyota
dealer. After landing a "prefect job", Jackie left
Holland when it became a position with lots of benefits but
little responsibility. "Sorry, but this is not my life,"
she told herself and left for Central America. Jackie landed
on Roatan in 1997 to learn how to dive. "There was nothing
to do here so we just played cards," says Jackie, who
eventually opened a small, street side restaurant in West
End- "Keifito's Breakfast Hang-out."
What & Why: Gaynore from Coconut Tree Divers gave
Jackie her linen khaki pants and a cotton-rayon sleeveless
"Next" blouse. "I had it stored for special
occasions- like traveling, but then I thought this is just
to nice. So I wear it day-to-day," explains Jackie. Her
colorful, flower themed beach flip-flops, were a gift from
her sister Muriel. Ellen and Puck Van der Weg gave Jackie
a "happy sea-shell" necklace with blue stones. Jackie
wears two hearts around her neck. Fernando, a five-year-old
co-worker's son, gave Jackie a gorgeous gold and silver heart
pendant- fantastic. A nephew's celebration was an occasion
for a another gift of a heart- this time a ruby Svarovsky
crystal colored one. Yet another affectionate gift from sister
Muriel. A Moonstone with a silver band ring was a gift from
her neighbor Sarah. . Her black cow horn earrings were made
by Xenon, a la Ceiba cow-horn-jewelry maker. They are a loan
from the Waves of Art Gallery. A Timex Expedition timepiece
was a gift from her husband. "He likes for us to have
the same watches," says Jackie. A gold wedding band was
a purchased by Jeff at a Coxen Hole jewelry shop. "They
could only do letters, no numbers. We wanted to put our wedding
date in there," says Jackie showing her "J &
In Conclusion: Jackie believes that in fashion, quality
transcends time. "I still have things from 20 years ago.
A beautiful black dress with red roses for example,"
says Jackie. It is the first time in the history of the Fashion
Police column we have found someone who has not purchased
a single item of clothing or accessories they wore. Jackie's
benefactors come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and age groups.
Not only do they have good taste, but they appear not to do
the "hand me down fait-pas" - re-giving.
& Where From?: Ollie Thompson-Thomas has brought a
bit of Texas to Roatan. Born and raised on Utila, Ollie became
the first girl from Bay Islands to represent the island department
in the Miss. Honduras competition. "They [contest organizers]
told me: 'You can't do this unless you speak Spanish,'"
said Ollie. So for nine months Ollie studied Spanish on the
Honduran mainland and prepared for the competition. In 1983
she not only participated in Miss. Honduras, but won it and
represented Honduras in the Miss. Universe pageant in Springfield,
Missouri. In May 2006 Ollie moved back to the Bay Islands,
settling this time on Roatan.
What & Why: Ollie's cowboy hat was purchased in
Phoenix, Arizona. Her custom-made boots by Tony Lama, $1,800,
have kept her two-steppin' for the past 15 years. Dyed red
snake skin, hand stitched with studded rhinestones, the boots
were tailored and purchased at a "little boutique on
Elm Street [Dallas]." If you can't dance in them, you
can just admire the craftsmanship. Her black blouse and skirt
ensemble was another Dallas purchase--$800 for the complete
outfit. Ollie's black leather with silver Kippie design belt,
$395, is adorned by Swarovski crystals, "very popular
in Dallas," and bought at the big D's Nordstrom. Ollie
sported several accessories, a watch, a bracelet and a wedding
band. But the most prominent accessories were two necklaces:
John Hadry silver chain necklace, $800, and David Nierman
silver necklace with a hammered pendant, a more affordable
$125. Ollie's diamond three-carat stud earrings were a 10th
wedding anniversary gift from Ollie's husband Gary.
In Conclusion: A mom to five children, Ollie owns Get
Fit Roatan of French Harbour. We caught up with Ollie at Suyapa
Edward's birthday party on June 21, which Ollie organized.
Ollie, Miss. Honduras 1983, has a lot to teach and show girls
who participate in Honduras' beauty pageants: sense of style,
spirit of adventure and confidence. EEEhaa.
& Where From?: When Elyn rode into the Gravels Bay
baseball stadium everyone forgot about the game and focused
on Elyn. Two dozen people, both spectators and players, began
cheering, shouting and clapping--all that for Elyn wearing
all green and riding a green motor-bicycle. "I am a barber
and I cut hair," says Elyn Woods, 33, who lives in the
Coxen Hole barrio of Willie Warren. We guess some people might
have been applauding Elyn's abilities with scissors.
Elyn is not only a stylish eye turner, but also environmentally
friendly. Her son saw the eco-friendly, green 'Fusin' motor-bicycle
at a store in French Cay. Every day Elyn rides. Sometime she
pedals, but sometimes she lets a small engine kick in and
propel the vehicle
up to 130 miles, powered by a gasoline
mixed with a two-cycle oil.
What & Why: Coordinating to match her bike, Elyn
wore all green. "My favorite color is sky blue,"
says Ely, "But since the bike is green I decided to wear
green." Her green tee-shirt was purchased at a Roatan
"agachon," a secondhand clothes store. "I bought
it by my brother-in-law's place - Rosa's," says Elyn.
American Eagle gym pants were purchased in La Ceiba. To cover
all bases and be ready for any color environment, Elyn bought
the pants in seven different colors. Her colorful, pattern
hat completed the look. "Its Jamaican tribe," says
Elyn, whose family traces their roots to the island. Elyn
found the Guatemalan hat at her father's store close to the
cruise ship dock: James Carter souvenir store. "I think
I stole it," admitted Elyn. Despite some interesting
fashion items, the James Carter souvenir store might not be
doing as well as could be expected. To complete her sporty
look Elyn put on a pair of running sneakers Lps. 500 in Coxen
Hole. Steve, a friend, gave Elyn a pair of stylish shades
by Diesel. A leaf shaped gold pendant, $200, was bought at
a Coxen Hole store. "I love gold," says Elyn, with
a golden smile.
In Conclusion: Working as an independent tour guide
and volunteering at the "Boys and Girls' Club,"
Elyn is all about helping and playing her role in providing
& Where From?: Carmen Jeslin Collins, a bilingual
secretary and independent tour guide, was born in Coxen Hole.
We ran into Carmen, a mom to three children, as she for the
first time in her life observed the April 12 memorial celebrations
of the Garifuna arrival on Roatan.
What & Why: Carmen wore a bone-colored embroidered
shirt with embroidered flower pattern by Alfred Dunner. The
shirt is made of polyester and cotton blend, bought all the
way in Belize City- $10. With her shirt Carmen wears a golden
Bible-inspired pin. It was given to Carmen for volunteering
at the senior citizen day. Her blue stretch jeans were found
at a Carrion store - Lps. 230. Solid, straight, flat heel
shoes with woven brown fabric - also a Belize City purchase
- $5. Carmen's black leather purse by Nine West was a gift
from Carmen's school time friend Jean living in America. Her
imitation Diesel, brown, stylish sunglasses were bought in
Belize City - $12. "I like the shape of the shades like
this," says Carmen, sporting them on her head. Her white
bead earrings with white metal hooks were a gift from friend
Janette McBride. Carmen's SK watch/bracelet, a very, very
decorative watch, was also a gift from Janette. "She
is kind of my best friend. She gives me all my gifts,"
Carmen says about Janette. The watch doesn't even look like
a watch at all. It's metal with screens and blue stones meant
to resemble an insect-like bracelet.
In Conclusion: "Presentable dressing up. Enjoyable
time," Carmen said, describing her attire. "I like
to dress modest." Carmen, like many separated and divorced
people, has a dilemma over what to do with her wedding ring:
take it off, keep it on. Carmen, separated for three years,
decided to switch the location of her wedding band and now
wears it on her right hand. Carmen's marriage lasted for 29.5
years. "He told me I was in church too much," says
Carmen. "But he found me in church." A gold ring
with a Leo's birth stone, amethyst, Carmen wears on her right
hand. This is the break-down according to Carmen: engagement
is the second finger, marriage is middle finger, with some
& Where From?: Utila is a place where most people
wear as little as possible: no shirts, no shoes
of the people who goes against that trend to follow her own
drummer is Linda Halverston. A Utila native, Linda, 40, went
from Utila to Berlin just in time to see the wall come down.
She modeled for United Colors of Benetton, worked at a catering
service and as a translator. In 1999, after 12 years in Germany,
Linda came back to Utila and purchased the property where
she was born. The property included an almond tree where her
father buried Linda's navel string (i.e. umbilical cord, placenta).
Linda married Dr. Kurt Halverston with whom she has a son
Haden, whose navel string is also buried under a tree. "That's
why we are so attached to the island," Linda says about
the island tradition. Wow
it looks like Bay Islands
are littered with people's navel strings.
What & Why: We caught up with Linda during Semana
Santa as she checked on her employees working at Munchie's
Restaurant. "Everybody is going to the beach. It's very
peppy and it's very, very hot," says Linda. Illegal in
Florida (but perfectly legal on Utila), the fire red "Brazilian
low cut bikini" was purchased in Brazil by Linda's little
nephew Johnny Allen. Her black, transparent and see-through
top, or "vestido playero," was purchased in a La
Ceiba Carrion--Lps. 990. Her charcoal Old Navy flip-flops
were sent down from Napa Valley, California, by Linda's sister.
"This outfit has a touch of sexiness and a touch of elegance
to it," says Linda. "Show a little bit, but don't
show everything." Her silver, round, four-inch diameter
earrings were a gift from an employee. Yes, the employee still
works at Munchies. A steering-wheel shaped pendant, studded
with zirconias, was another gift from employee Gabbie. Linda's
coordinating watch was a Hawaii Walmart purchase, $25 and
it works. Another accessory: Nine West black leather purse
was purchased in Hawaii, on sale for $60. "I like to
mix, unite things. You do it with people, you do it with clothes.
It has a certain touch to it," said Linda. Her golden
nose stud with an inset diamond was a gift from Ingrid Mall,
Linda's ex-mother-in-law, about whom Linda says, "She
always wanted to do it, but never built-up the nerve."
The nose stud has been with/on Linda 24/7/365 since 1990.
"This is a very special thing," says Linda of her
wedding ring. "I like silver and my husband likes gold,"
says Linda. So the couple compromised, and Linda wears three
rings on her wedding finger: an engagement ring with a diamond
and two wedding bands--one silver and one gold. "It was
worth it." Her fourth ring, a platted silver ring, was
also a gift from a Sudanese friend in Berlin.
In Conclusion: Regarding her perception on Utila, "I
stand out on the island as 'She knows about fashion,'"
says Linda, who organized the 2007 Utila's Miss Playa contest.
"To look all the same, all the time is boring. I like
to change my look," says Linda. "What you wear should
depend on where you are going and whom are you going with."
For us Semana Santa would not be quite the same without Linda.
& Where From?: We caught up with Myrt Tugwell, 70,
a Golden Gloves Louisiana champion boxer in 1962, 63 and 64,
as he was about to hit the dancing floor of the Parrott Tree
grand quinceañera party. Myrt came to Roatan in 1999
to do some diving. He liked the people, built a house and
after three weeks decided he was way overstressed in the US.
"Shoot. I quit," told himself Myrt, then sold his
car parts business, a factory in Mexico, and a distribution
center. "I was a nervous wreck before I came here and
I am not going back." Myrt has been happily married to
a successful Tegucigalpa attorney - Edith Diaz, for five years.
What & Why: "I like to wear new shirts,"
and doesn't like that fresh, out of the wrapping
feel of a new shirt?. Myrt however has circumvented the entire
"wait till your old shirt gets torn or yellowish"
phenomena and every times he wears a tuxedo shirt - it is
new. "Tux shirts don't cost that much. I will stock up
on them once and again," says Myrt. He gets the "disposable"
tuxedo shirts for 14-$15 a pop at a Tegucigalpa Carrion. Black
Golden button jacket was purchased at Cohn Turner in Button
Rouge, Louisiana. The New Castle & New York jacket is
a cotton blend, looks great and can be had, if you know Myrt's
haberdasher salesperson for $250. His black neck-tie, while
finishing the upscale look, set him only $5 back. Black, leather
sandals, they seem like a perfect cross between casual island
and formal. Myrt used them to their limits rocking and rolling
on the dance floor at the quinceañera party at Parrott
Tree. This pair of Tomy Bahamas was picked up at a Dallas
shoe whole-sale store for $250. "They look kind of beach-e."
Completing the look are white, linen trousers. "I wear
them one time then I have them sent to Tegucigalpa to a laundry,"
In Conclusion: Dapper and very much James Bond Like,
Myrt goes for the working look: it is either tuxedo and black
tie, or shorts and a tee-shirt. You are just as likely to
see him clearing bush with his machete or mingling with Tegucigalpa's
financial elite. "If you don't look like you wear expensive
clothes they don't talk to you out there," explained
the Tegucigalpa social scene Myrt. Myrt can dress as expensive
as he wants or needs to, but deep down, he is a down to earth
Who & Where From?: We
caught up with Peter Silseth, manager of HRGS radio station,
on the hard basketball court in Gravels Bay. Two to three
days a week Peter heads out to the court located half way
(50 meters) between his home and his work place. Looking like
a 21st century gladiator, Peter can intimidate other players
on the court not only with his basketball playing abilities,
but also with his basketball apparel.
& Why: Peter is wearing a Honduran national football
jersey. The Joma shirt was bought at La Ceiba Carrion. "I
waited until after the world cup of 2002 because the prices
less than $20. "I'm
a cheapskate," says Peter jokingly. In fact, you can
see Peter playing hoops in any of several soccer jerseys he
owns: United States, Honduras, Inter Milan, Barcelona and
Real Madrid. At a Minnesota "Steve & Barry's"
Peter picked out his pair of black and white athletic Steve
& Barry's brand shorts. "They specialize at having
nothing more than $10. This was probably $6," says Peter.
For about a year now Peter has been wearing a knee brace:
His black strap-in knee brace, by McDavid, $35 at Sports Authority.
His "Walmart Special" sports socks can be had for
around $5 for a pack of six. Normally a Nike shoe wearer,
Peter sported a blue and white pair of Air basketball shoes
bought in La Ceiba for Lps. 400. The shoes seemed to have
a spring, rocket-type device in the heel. Peter doesn't mind
a bit of help when going post to post with players half his
age. Peter does wear his wedding ring while playing hoops.
"Probably this is not legal in a league game, but this
is no league," says Peter. "The ring is not as round
as it used to be. It got bashed somewhere
but it works."
In fact it has worked for 27-and-a-half years. This is how
long Peter has been married to his wife Sandi.
In Conclusion: Peter comes out to play basketball for
three reasons. One: his love for basketball; two: hanging
around young guys who keep him young; and three: to have a
chance of telling people about Jesus. Peter's position on
a basketball team is "whatever." "There are
no positions out here," explains Peter. "I like
to use cunning and guile because I am too slow now."
While he plays fair, he does have one home-player advantage:
when someone fouls Peter, they are actually fouling with HRGS.
That doesn't happen too often as no one wants to hear their
name mentioned on the radio the next day.
Who & Where From?: Rosemarie Dalton, 68, showed
at the Roatan Christmas Gala wearing an eye-turning ensemble
not an easy feat when 100 island women compete for the same
eyes. Rosemarie is not a fashion trend conformist but rather
blazes away at her own fashion trail.
in Iowa, Rosemarie grew up in Chicago, worked as an ATT long
distance telephone operator, moved to northern California
and became a dental assistant. Her last 10 years finds her
living on Roatan.
& Why: Her roughly 30 liter painted-in-marine-theme
beach bag, could be an outfit in itself. At the Christmas
concert it served as decoration and as storage for some extra
shoes, camera, purse, flashlight, cell phone and umbrella,
etc. The bag was purchased on sale for $40 at McCaulou's boutique
in Sonoma's, Rosemarie's ground zero for shopping. "When
I come into the store they just get big smiles. I hardly ever
buy full price." Rosemarie's black ruffled top by Milano,
$25 was also purchased at McCaulou's. Her black Alfani skirt
was purchased during a cruise ship stop in Miami. Her Lioni
Payless shoes, $29, have turquoise beads to match the necklace.
"I am into shoes, a bit like Imelda Marcos," says
Rosemarie. While a shoe fetish is a punishable offence in
the Philippines, on Roatan it helps to make it through the
rainy season. "The shoes just fall apart. Here on Roatan,
they just rot away," says Rosemarie. Rosemarie doesn't
stop for anything for niche opportunities at getting a stylish
bargain. White lace bolero jacket was a gift
the "lost and found" box at the Sonoma catholic
church. With the blessing of the Saint Francis Solano Church
staff, the bolero was released into good hands of Rosemarie.
"It adds elegance to the outfit," says Rosemarie
while playing with her hair.
In Conclusion: A mom to seven children and a grandmother
to 13, Rosemarie thinks of herself as "Second hand Rose."
"In my mind I will always be a 'poor' little girl from
Chicago," she says. It's not always easy being that girl,
while Rosemarie sports a $1,300 cameo and $300 pair of earrings.
Her turquoise and cameo necklace and also earrings came from
Stone Castle Cameos in Gravel Bay.
& Where From?: Selvin Foster, 23, a hairdresser, is
not your typical Los Fuertan. Originally from French Harbour,
Selvin studied cosmetology for a year and a half at Tegucigalpa's
La Creacion. Eight years ago Selvin came back to the island
and worked at several local beauty parlors: Nina, Jessica's
and Fran's. We caught up with Selvin working as a hairdresser
at the Fran's Beauty Parlor.
What & Why: It was a black and white type of a
work day for Selvin, who needs to look stylish and efficient
for all-day hair appointments. Selvin wears a GAP black, ribbed,
stretch tank top--a slimming and elegant choice. It can be
found at Taña's Boutique for Lps. 495. Selvin's white
with black vertical stripes Stone linen and spandex slacks
are also slimming, to the figure and wallet: Lps 1,950 at
Sue Boutique. In fact, the majority of Selvin's clothes are
purchased at only two boutiques: Sue Boutique in Los Fuertes
and Tañas Boutique in French Harbour. Keeping Selvin
off the ground is a pair of black Old Navy flip-flops bought
at Sue Boutique--Lps. 345 for the pair. In the US Old Navy
store the Chinese made flip-flops can be had for $5, while
south of the border they receive a hefty 300% mark-up. "I
don't like watches," says Selvin. Accessories, including
bracelets and rings, sometimes catch hair and are inconvenient
to wear at work. Selvin's glass earrings were purchased at
Luna y Mar Boutique for $60, again tasteful and not inexpensive.
Selvin's only accessory was sunglasses--$350. Wow! Well, this
is what you pay for Dolce & Gabbana. "On the island
they think they are expensive and most people go somewhere
else to get them cheaper," says Selvin. Dark plastic,
striped frames curve and shape themselves around the face.
"Yes, I love spending money on myself," says Selvin.
In Conclusion: A simple, minimalist, but not inexpensive
look takes Selvin to work and places to party: H2O, Foster's
and Mitch's in Punta Gorda. Selvin likes fashion and doesn't
hesitate to spend money to look good. Selvin is generally
loved at Sue and Taña's. And who wouldn't love a big
spender and good customer like Selvin?
& Where From?:Jean De Montjou, 30, a Paris-born architect,
has graduated from Paris' Ecole des Beux-Arts and UNAM in
Mexico where he focused on tropical design and natural cooling
environments. He first came to the island in 1999 after completing
a volunteer project in southern Honduras. Jean stayed six
months and designed Roatan's original sushi restaurant--Japanese
Safarysea. He has been coming to the island every year since,
sometimes to relax, other times to offer his design services.
"Roatan will always be a part of what I do," says
the young architect.
What & Why:We caught up with Jean at his office
in Pineapple Villas where he has spent the last four months
designing a project of condominiums in West Bay. His J&M
dark blue stressed jeans were bought in Paris for a nifty
20 Euros. Holding them up was a white adjustable belt with
a stainless steel buckle. The surplus Collette style accessory
was purchased at Collette Paris store for another 20 Euros.
"I love shopping at the Marais designer fashion stores,"
says Jean, who lives in Marais, one of the French capital's
hippest neighborhoods. Keeping Jean flopping and flipping
was a pair of Havaiana off-white flip-flops- purchased for
40 Euros at a street store in Lisbon. Jean's black knit Lacoste
shirt was found at a Paris Lacoste store--90 Euros. "It's
sporty, not too hot and I like black
says Jean. Completing his look were a pair of Reiz frames
with prescription lenses. A purchase at Oliver People store
for 450 Euros.
In Conclusion: "Here I am restricting myself.
The island hasn't quite [and might never] embraced the progressive
fashion. I wear much simpler clothes than in Pars, but I am
still comfortable," says Jean. "The one thing I
haven't yet done here is wear my belt without looping them
through the belt loops."
& Where From?:Brennan Thompson is a architecture degree
candidate at CEDAC university in Tegucigalpa. "There
is one other guy from French Harbour that studies there,"
says the 19-year-old Jonesvillian and fan of Frank Lloyd Wright,
the great American architect. We caught up with Brennan while
he was taking a break after his first university semester
visiting his parents back in Jonesville. Brannan with his
older sister and younger brother are children of Arlie and
What & Why: Running a few errands Brennan was dressed
to impress. His gray Abercrombie and Fitch shirt with red
embroidered 'NY Physical Dept' was a gift from his mom. The
shirt was a purchase at Tegucigalpa store called Dorissa -
Lps. 900. His Hollister dark gray cargo Bermuda pants were
another Majelle purchase- $80 purchase. Brennan's gray flip-flops,
also with a seagull logo, were $30 and gift from
guessed it- mom. His dad thou showed his fashion taste and
affection for Brennan thru accessories: a $200 Nautica chronographer
watch and dark Prada-like shades. Brennan is not only appreciated
by his parents. His Cholutecana friend Maria gave him a black
armband with a metal snap clasp.
In Conclusion: Brennan is one loved son
long as I get good grades in return," Brannan explains
his clothing policy. Its good to be in college, getting good
grads and to have great, generous parents with great taste
for fashion. Good luck with your studies Brennan.
& Where From?: Carlos Rivera, 29, hails from Sava,
Colon. After moving to Roatan as a young boy, Carlos studied
at Instituto Jonesville and began working with Max Tours,
Hondusoft. Today Carlos is a technical chief for Navega, a
new internet provider on Roatan. In his spare time Carlos
is an avid footballer and loves his mechanical toys: fast
cars and dirt motorcycles.
What & Why: "These are my work clothes,"
says Carlos about his outfit. His red knit shirt is by Abercrombie
& Fitch. Red with horizontal white and blue stripes, the
shirt sports a recognizable moose logo. Price- $50, bought
at the Miami's Aventura Mall. Carlos' American Eagle cargo
Bermuda pants, white- real white, were bought at Penbrook
Pines Mall in Miami- $50. The pants have ironed pleats, courtesy
of Doña Natalia, the housekeeper. "She makes pleats
everywhere, except my jeans," says Carlos. His tan sandals
with canvas straps were $30, and also came from American Eagle.
Casio G-Shock watch, $80, was bought at Macy's in Miami. "It's
just so much easier for me to buy things in Miami," says
Carlos, who travels to the Florida metropolis twice a year.
"I don't even know the prices in Honduras, but it's got
to be cheaper there than here." His Prada sunglasses
complete the look. The $243 accessory was bought at the Houston's
In Conclusion: Even though Carlos is working in a technical
field, he could be head of client relations anywhere. "The
clients always ask for me. They love me," says Carlos.
And what's not to love about Carlos? He is one of the most
up-beat, optimistic people you could find
"I come from a very happy family. I think that helps,"
says Carlos. "I am the most content of all by brothers
and sister." I haven't seen him in a bad mood yet. Two
months ago Carlos with his wife Jessica celebrated a birth
of their first son, Diego. Congratulations.
& Where From?: Michelle Akel, 44 and owner of Chilies'
Hotel, came to Roatan to learn to dive. She fell in love with
her instructor and hasn't left the island since. A partner
to Alvin Jackson, she has two children who live with them
in West End.
What & Why: As a majority of Michelle's fashion
ensemble comes from the south of France, you can hardly tell
that she lives or shops in the Bay Islands. That is clearly
evident in the "town visit" ensemble the resolute
Brit has during her Coxen Hole appearance. "I dress a
bit scruffy sometimes and this is my 'respectable' look,"
says Michelle. Her red dress with sepia pattern border was
bought in Saint Tropez for a cool 25 Euros. The Bali rayon
attire can keep you cool and in style. Her decorated with
seashells and beads 'no name' flip flops were a happy flip
of a 5 Euro coin. Her brown, coconut and wood detailed handbag
was a steal at a Saint Tropez market. They put Michelle back
a mere 15 Euros. The straw exterior lining and a rope handle
make this a winning trend setting accessory. A brass and metal
chain was a gift from Michelle's mom living in the south of
France, who wore the accessory in the hippie 60s. Three decades
later, Michelle shortened the back strap, looped it with a
carabineer clip and now wears it tri-weekly swims. The salt
water patina has followed in step. Another vintage look are
Michelle's colored glass earrings purchased at Diddily's in
West End for a nifty $10. Her cool Casio looked super cool
with its white bracelet, on the internet. "But,"
explained Michelle, "The numbers are impossible to read."
Her three rings complete Michelle's look: a Lps. 500 impulse
buy at a Coxen Hole store of 7 bands that form a thumb ring.
A more analyzed $80 purchase of a metal lizard shaped ring
(the crystal fell out) took place in Ecuador 15 years prior.
Finally another southern France steal: a 10 Euro ring, with
a giant red glass inset.
In Conclusion: Honesty in fashion is not always the
best thing. Most people would agree to that as many cheat
on their labels, sizes of clothes and preciousness of their
stones. Michelle is not one of them. She proudly and elegantly
talks and wears metal jewelry, XL batik dresses and no-name
flip-flops. More power to the fashion with integrity.
& Where From?: Astrid Whittaker Smith is one of the
best cashiers you'll find just about anywhere. The 20-year-old
Coxen Holian has endured a boot camp of sorts working without
a day off for her first month at her Plaza Mar. Now things
are a bit better.
What & Why: "I try to stay up-to-date with
fashion by reading magazines," says Astrid. "I check
out new arrivals at stores to see what's trendy." Her
colorful and floral 'maternity style' top by 'Blue Girl' was
purchased at Carrion for Lps. 345. Her dark blue stretch jeans
by 'Aqua' were bought at Plaza Mar women's store for Lps.
370. Her golden 'Karina' flip-flops were another Plaza Mar
purchase at Lps. 250. "Sometimes I get a discount here,"
says Astrid. Working in 12-hour-a-day shifts, six days a week,
Astrid has little time to do any shopping. She takes a few
minutes off checking on new fashion arrivals before any one
else does. Still Astrid's look is all about accessories: bracelets,
earrings and more earrings and bracelets. Astrid buys her
bracelets by the dozen, or at least half-dozen. Her six gold
and silver colored bracelets were purchased at 'Gemini' for
Lps. 150 a pair or Lps. 400 per six. Her 'Neri' shades were
a gift from her dad living in the States. Another gift, a
graduation one, are golden elephant earrings- a gift from
her friend Jessica. Golden studded earrings were another Carrion
purchase- Lps. 120. Finally single stud earrings from Gemini
in Los Fuertes and a Tienda Mariela earrings, Lps. 70 a pair,
complete Astrid's ear decorations. Her pink eye-shadow matches
to the tone of her chandelier-like earrings with pink glass.
"It doesn't take too much time to get ready," explains
In Conclusion: Astrid is a living example of how to
make accessories the focus of what you wear. "I spend
so much time here, at least I can wear what I want,"
says Astrid who fortunately works in one of the few stores
that doesn't have a work dress policy, at least not yet. Working
9am to 9pm day-in, day-out can wear anyone down. An individualized
fashion sense can help you to stay upbeat and keep an optimistic
Juan Francisco Rodriguez Matute is a landmark in downtown
Coxen Hole. Most people know about him, can describe him,
but know little about this man. Juan was born in Corozal,
but he doesn't remember how old he is or his birth date. For
many years he lived in Juticalpa with his friend Victor, and
five years ago Juan moved to Coxen Hole. Since then Juan has
become a point of reference, sitting in his red wheelchair
in front of the entrance to HB Warren. He sometimes looks
after bags and things people leave with him when they go into
HB Warren. "The best days are when the ship comes to
town," says Juan.
When Juan was a small child he fell ill with polio. He almost
died, and when the fever left, he was a quadriplegic. "My
mother helped me, but not my father," Juan says with
sadness. While both his father and mother have died, several
of his six brothers and six sisters live in Corozal. Juan
says that they don't visit. Juan's greatest sadness comes
from seeing his six-year-old daughter passing on the street
but not being able to talk to her. The girl lives in Spanish
Town with her mother. "I don't know her name," says
Juan has never been away from Roatan and every day between
7am and 5pm he sits in downtown Coxen Hole. He has a Boston
Redsox baseball cap he wears when it rains and a blue jacket
he sometimes puts on. He wears a white, long sleeve shirt
with blue, vertical stripes. It is not easy to live as a disabled
person on Roatan. Still Juan leads his life with dignity.
"I didn't go to school, but I have my head square on
my shoulders," says Juan who has many friends and several
people who have placed him under their care. Today Juan lives
in the Punta neighborhood of Coxen Hole. "People here,
they take care of me, they feed me and give me a bit of everything
I need," he says. Luis Alonso, an 11-year-old boy, pushes
Juan's wheelchair every day from his apartment to his station
in front of HB Warren. Don Toño, changes his clothes
and washes him. Doña Theresa and Xiamara cook for him
two meals a day and Doña Leticia takes Juan to the
Catholic Church on Sundays.
& WHERE FROM?: Dr. Noel Brito, 43, was born in Santa
Cruz de Johoa. As a six-year-old he came to Roatan, to his
mother's, Dolly Rivers, birthplace. One of ten children, Noel
was adopted by Brito family and eventually went to Monte Morelos
medical school in Monterrey, Mexico. A general practitioner
at everything, Dr. Brito is a man of many interests and talents.
He owns a car rental company, a pharmacy, practices as a doctor,
and has tried, at one point or another, half a dozen business
ventures. Still, he is aware of his limitations: "Sometime
when you do a lot of things at the same time you do nothing
well. I am trying to scale back." We caught up with Noel
as he run errands in Coxen Hole with his girlfriend Amalia.
WHAT & WHY: His green, striped, cotton Tommy Hilfiger
shirt, $40, was a purchase at San Pedro Mall ten years ago.
"I wear it outside, because my tummy is a bit big,"
says Noel. His Blue Gap jeans were bought at the same place,
same time, for $50. Recently Noel begun wearing clothes that
he left on the shelf 10 years ago. "I started walking
from French Harbour to Los Fuertes every afternoon. I lost
some weight and my self esteem is high," says Dr. Brito.
"Fashion is not forever, but it is a cycle. It has to
do with timing and a place that you're at," says Dr.
Brito who cares as much about accessories as about his clothes.
His white, leather, Brazilian shoes with pointed and stitched
toes were bought at San Pedro mall for $40. His Cacharelle
sunglasses were a gift from a satisfied car-rental customer.
In the same pocket he carries "micky mouse" reading
glasses. In the other shirt pocket he holds his Mountblanc
pen that was purchased two years ago at an airplane duty free
for $340. "It means a lot to me. I use it to sign residencies,
documents," says Dr. Brito. His watch is a $230 Nautica
bought at Sun Duty Free. And for the balance, on the other
wrist, he wears a $50 stainless steel bracelet with his engraved
name. "I am a complete, real man," describes himself
Noel. "Dress shows your personality and shows how you
IN CONCLUSION: Overall Dr. Brito is one of the most
visible and comfortable with himself personalities on Roatan.
He is also recognizable far away from the island, especially
when he volunteers as Arsenal's team physician. When Dr. Brito
runs onto a fiend in Coxen Hole, or Santa Barbara the crown
often erupts in a synchronized chants: "Brito! Brito!"
He is one of the team's stars and tries to look the part.
"If you wear things that make you feel comfortable that
is the face you will show to the people," says Dr. Brito.
"I feel like I'm 20, maybe 24. Its not your age. Its
how you feel." Its been like that for while for Noel
who has no plans to change his attitude.
& WHERE FROM?: Shannon Campbell, owner of Utila's
Mariposa Café came from Detroit Michigan, to settle
on the island in 2003. Formerly a full time mother, an Orthopedic
Physician Assistant, and bed and breakfast manager Shannon
reinvented her life on the Honduran island both in professional
and on fashion level. Shannon built a four story, yellow building:
mariposa Café, that she manages with her two children
Laura and Rayan.
WHAT & WHY: Her green hound's-tooth railroad hat
was a nifty Lps. 200 and found in the 15% off discount racks
in a small store a kitty corner from hotel La Ceiba. "They
keep the door locked and you have to knock, but they have
nice things there," says Shannon about the Manhattan
Hat Company accessory. "I always liked that railroad
look. Don't you?" says Shannon. "I always wanted
to work there." Green, khaki and beige colors have always
attracted Shannon the most. "I like the safari look.
It makes me feel adventurous," says Shannon. "If
you wear it you are it," says the time-to-time bush and
cave exploring island entrepreneur. Her deep, army green haulter
top was a bought in La Ceiba's Carrion. "Before everything
was sparkles and now everything is maternity," explains
the Honduran main fashion trends Shannon. Her safari look
is complemented by her green cut-off cargo pants with strapped,
zipped and buttoned four pockets- just small enough not to
allow a wallet or keys to be kept in them. Shannon loves the
functionality of the backless and strapless top which saves
her from running around in a "a little too out of place"
bathing suit in her Café. Shannon's belt was 'borrowed'
from her son Rayan. "He doesn't realize his belt is missing.
I probably paid it for it to begin with." Shannon's necklace,
made out of an unidentified mammal bone and wood is by Amashika
-$25. And then the shoe subject
"When I first moved
here I had more shoes then Imelda Marcos, but they all perished
in a fire." "Now, when I buy a pair of shoes I usually
wear them till they fall off my feet," says unapolozingly
Shannon looking at her plastic, khaki flip-flops bought at
Omar Delco's. "I look I stepped out of [an episode of]
MASH," says the Utila Butterfly. MASH, in the Utila reality
might mean Mariposa Army Survival Hospice. "I like buttons,
zippers and do-dads,"
IN CONCLUSION: Shannon seems to follow the "If
you wear it, you at it," fashion motto. If you dress
like a rebel you are one. If you dress like a business person
you are one, etc. While the dressing and being a railway worker
might be a bit of a stretch, Shannon has exemplified and proven
the general idea of this motto with ease, even using the somewhat
limited resources of Utila fashion scene. "I like clothes
that are not run of the mill because I am not run of the mill
person," says Shannon.
& WHERE FROM?: We caught-up with West Ender Harriett
Bush, 25 as she was finishing her day's work at 3:45pm. After
working for five years at Vegas Electric, Harriett has recently
started working at Roatan Condo. The change of job brought
a change in appearance for Harriett. "I put on whatever
I feel like in the morning," says Harriett. "This
is my not dressed-up outfit," describes her Thursday
WHAT & WHY: Black tee shirt with embroidered Eco
logo was bought in a San Pedro mall. Harriett's stretch jeans,
Lps. 375, were bought in La Ceiba mall. Her black 'Flats'
slippers/shoes with white stripes were bought a Diva store
in La Ceiba for Lps. 475. Black 'Flats' slippers with white
stripes were bought in Diva store in La Ceiba for Lps. 475.
Accessories anyone? White metal watch by Fossil, $75, was
a purchase at Video Picks store in Coxen Hole. A silver ring
portraying two dolphins was a gift from Harriett's brother
Enrick. With four brothers and two sisters she has no shortage
of siblings bearing gifts. A silver bracelet, $15, was purchased
from Harriet's jewelry suppliers, who after checking with
H also supply the island's top stores with their selection.
A necklace and matching earrings with a 'black stone' was
a purchase in San Pedro.
IN CONCLUSION: To keep her dresser full, Harriet goes
shopping in San Pedro twice a year, and La Ceiba five times
yearly. "I go there to shop, get away from the island,
party," says Harriett. You can run into Harriett at La
Ceiba's Cazona and when she's in town at Foster's. Receptionist,
accountant, casher and a snazzy dresser
do it all and look good doing it.
& WHERE FROM?: Hailing from Zonaguerra, Colon, Yessenea
Rodrigues, 26, has been living on Roatan for 11 years. She
is a business and accounting student at Jose Santos Guardiola.
We ran into Yessenea as she fashionably braved the elements,
notably the water downpours, to visit her study friends for
a study session before the 'general exams.' A couple years
ago she studied and worked as a stylist at a Coxen Hole beauty
saloon Minely and even now Yessenea still does house calls
to a few of her old, faithful clients. A few months ago, Yessenea
could be seen buzzing at high speeds on her yellow Yamaha
scooter. Now she is a devoted student.
WHAT & WHY: Yessenea wore a pair of blue jeans
by Bluegirl bought in Carrion for Lps. 350.
Her ribbed, elastic yellow 'little buckaroos' t-shirt was
a gift from Yessenea mom- Maritza. Her mom also gave her a
'chamarra' or a pink jacket by 'Most' with side pockets. In
a Coxen Hole variety store Breze Yessenea found a pair silver
colored running shoes by Airness-a nifty Lps. 280. A pair
of pink mini socks capped things of nicely. We noticed a consistent
pink theme in Yessenea's attire: socks, jacket, hair pins-
pink top to bottom. The blue and yellow completed the aquarelle
look for this hard studying student. Yessenea's silver ring
was Lps. 400 at Jewelry Store Jenny. Her earring- two silver
dolphins with a crystal pendant, are on lend from her sister
Myra. Bonergel, a travelling salesman from Sandy Bay, sold
Yessenea two gold and silver pendants: one with a Virgin Mary
for Lps. 3,500. Colorful wood umbrella by Bicalliui was a
bargain at Lps. 145 purchased at HB Warren store. Her sporty
black and sliver watch was a gift from her ex-boss Ms. Nora
Woods. "She would always give presents to her employees,"
explained Yessenea. "Perfumes, clothes, shoes, she always
brings something from her trips." Sounds like a great
IN CONCLUSION: "I get cold easily," said
Yessenea, "I always like to dress warm." Not only
warm, but with a bit of flair. Yessenea's pastel colored outfit
could put a colorful rainbow in anyone's rainy day. The pony
tails are not the most often seen hairstyle outside the kindergarden.
It takes a bit of self confidence to sport this marginalized
by "fashion conscious" grown ups hairstyle and Yessenea
certainly has what it takes to pull it off: flair and style.
& WHERE FROM?: It was impossible to decide who was
dressed the best, but Ellen Van der Weg definitely placed
in the front of the peleton. Showing her athletic shoulders
in the black, strapless dress, Ellen enjoyed the spotlight
at the Roatan Christmas Concert. Ellen, 40, a property manager
living in West End is from Holland and has lived on Roatan
for four years. Married to Robert, last year Ellen celebrated
having her second baby- Vince, now 19 month by attending the
first Christmas Concert.
WHAT & WHY: The gala motivated the Holland native
to dress to impress. "I went for the material,"
says Ellen about her all 100% silk dress by Dolce Jovan. Red
on the inside, black on the outside the dress was first featured
at a church wedding in Tegucigalpa. "I arrived a day
before a wedding and bought this at the old Tegus mall,"
says Ellen. The size 4 dress, purchased for Lps. 4,800 fit
her like a glove. A single, tasteful accessory, black bag
with a silver rectangle by
well. "Its Dior
authentic Dior," says ever optimistic Ellen about her
Lps. 400 purse Ellen. A very practical, Dutch, Ellen loves
the idea of finding something she likes only two flight hoops
away. "The important thing is you can buy these things
in Honduras," she says. Ellen high heels by Via España
No. 6 were also a golden opportunity find at the Tegucigalpa
mall. A black strap with a string of diamonds-like jewels.
Lps. 550. A silver necklace and "at least" 20 diamonds-
Lps. 300. Ellen has found the jewelry pieces at the same store
as her dress. One of her two rings was a West Bay purchase-
$10 three years ago and likely, like anything in West Bay,
to have tripled in value. The purplish stone set in silver
was purchased from one of the stands in front of Mayan Princess.
IN CONCLUSION: Living for long enough on Roatan Ellen
was surprised to find something to match her taste and expectations
somewhere closer by then US. "If you're living on this
island and you go to Tegus to shop every shop looks wow! wonderful,"
says Ellen. "Many people say I look gorgeous
are amazed that bought it in Honduras."
& WHERE FROM?:We cought up with congresswoman Marcia
Papuzet Villera as she was departing Roatan after an all night
session of Congress. Marcia has bee married for 22 years to
a TV producer Jose, and is a mother of four children: 21,
16, 12, 4. She studied Business Administration at Loyola College
in New Orleans and has worked in politics for 16 years, before
running for congress as a Liberal party candidate. On November
28 she raised her hand to make Bay Islands a free zone. "I
love politics, but most of all I love to serve my people,"
in a society where you could do that.
"WHAT & WHY:"I love buying things made
in Honduras," says Marcia, who found her unusual headwear,
a red baseball hat with white daisies, at her friend Bianca's
store- 'Blanche' in Tegucigalpa. While the hat is more assembled
than made in Honduras, it is nevertheless a great fashion
accessory at Lps. 600. "Whenever I see something different
I buy it," commented Marcia. Her red flowing top, was
purchased at a Zara store in Mexico, for a nifty $27. Her
long white embroidered skirt, was another purchase from Mexico,
at a 'Made in Mexico store,' for an affordable $12. "Sometimes
I like dressing in long skirts, and other times I like to
dress sexy. If I know I am going to a party I will dress really
funky," explained the Francisco Morazan legislator. The
flip flops studded with silver circles, were a Nine-West purchase
from Marcia's trip to Spain- $25. Her purse, a brave $900
purchase, was found at a Luis Vitton store. It's a purse that
can go with anything- an attribute you just can't spend enough
money on. "What I like to spend money on is purses and
watches," said Marcia, showing her gold and diamond studded
Rolex - a gift from Marcia's mother-in-law Tina. Marcia wears
a fair amount of jewelry, but two pieces stand out the most.
One is a white gold bracelet studded with diamonds. Another
Honduras original was Marcia's encrusted wood bracelet, with
images of Virgin Mary, holy child, and several saints. It
was a blessing to be found at a catholic relics store in Tegucigalpa-
Lps. 40. "In this dress I am wearing I feel more romantic,
so I feel free," says Marcia.
IN CONCLUSION: Fashion has become a secret weapon of
choice for this Liberal legislator. Marcia stands out in a
crowd of Honduran, or for that matter any, legislators. She
is setting a trend that is not easy to follow. Barely ten
months in office, this fresh Congress woman, is already a
fashion leader for both her Liberal and National partners.
"In this congress, they are making a bit more effort
in how they dress. They feel there is a bit more competition,"
says Marcia, who believes that some congress people made some
adjustments to her style of being. "I like to hug people.
I am very expressive and I like to tell people how much I
love them," says this feisty Tegucigalpa politician.
"That is not usual in a political environment."
& WHERE FROM?:You can run into just about any kind
of attire on the streets of the Roatan capital: lawyers in
business suits, municipal police with golden epaulets, baggy
jeaned teenagers, and of course- flip-flopping tourists wearing
tropical scene shirts, shorts, bikinis and dresses. We caught
Victoria Bachlowa, a Canadian, as she was doing her Coxen
Hole errands, paying Lps. 500 parking fine for parking on
a sidewalk, banking, etc. Victoria was a music writer in Los
Angeles where she wrote pop songs for rock music artists such
as Stevie Natalie, David Prophet amongst others, and a song
"A Ring On Every Finger," soon to be released.
"WHAT & WHY: Victoria admits that this was
her errands attire: "Its very island." Her blue
and red cotton tropical scene one piece dress, camouflages
her perfectly as a tourist. It is very easy to mistake Victoria
for one of the cruise ship tourists visiting Roatan. But looks
can be deceiving as Victoria knows her way around the island
and can spot a fashion bargain in a New York minute. "I
found it in one of the stores on the side of the road,"
says Victoria about her beach dress. "This is my sloppy
look." Her violet flip-flops were a bargain Lps. 80 at
the Coxen Hole Carrion. A red purse by 'Milano' was a quick
. You guessed it
Carrion in Coxen Hole.
"Look! It even matches my dress," exclaimed Victoria.
In fact Victoria will go to just about any length towards
finding a bargain. A couple of weeks ago an opportunity for
a nifty pair of sunglasses literally walked right into Victoria's
office. "I found them. Someone left them in my office,"
she explains her finders-keepers fashion policy. "If
they see it on my face they can have it back," clarified
Victoria who has to be one of the few women living on Roatan
that doesn't wear any jewelry, watches
well, at least
until someone would leave it at her office.
IN CONCLUSION: Victoria moved to Roatan a year ago
and manages 'Sanctuary,' a property in Sandy Bay, a job that
carries no dress code description, but nevertheless asks for
"no sloppy attire." "I can dress whichever
way I want. Sometime I wear a bathing suit all day long,"
says Victoria. In her spare time Victoria tackles complexities
of islands energy crisis and completed a wind turbine study
for RECO. Results remain are not yet released.
& WHERE FROM?:Julia Alexandra Centeno Ramon Keller,
34, was born on Utila and grew-up in La Ceiba. She owns and
manages the Jade Seahorse Cabins and Restaurant. Julia is
a mother of two daughters, Tempie and Juneil, and a wife to
Neil Keller, a multi media artist, collector and local personality.
"I have to support my husband so he can keep himself
entertained," Julia describes her role. The two met when
backpacker Neil hypnotized waitperson Julia during a three
day restaurant sojourn. "He would just sit there for
three days and sip a soda," says Julia. It all ended
"WHAT & WHY: Julia bought her black spandex
Forever 21 pants for $10 at a Los Angeles mall. "It's
the pants that I wore for every occasion. They got me out
a lot of emergencies," says Julia. "I tried twice
to get rid of them. But they always come back." Her orange,
cotton top is also clothing from the past. Bought for $8,
"they fit me differently than I'd like to," says
Julia who often passes her too-big clothes to chosen friends
and some family, especially her sister Leafy. Sometime Julia
runs into people wearing her old clothes. "I can't believe
I was that size once." From a recent visit to US, Neil
brought Julia a pair of orange strap flip flops by Teva. Her
multicolored scarf was bought at a Guatemalan market for 8
Quetzals. Turtle shaped black coral earrings were a steal,
Lps. 30, from a jewelry store "Joyeria Maya" in
IN CONCLUSION: After losing 75 pounds, she is now size
7-8, down from 16 just nine months ago. Julia has changed
her looks and attitude by changing her diet: she is a vegan.
Her transformation begun in October 2005, when after taking
an Utila Adventist Church two-day seminar on healthy eating,
Julia decided to change her life around and become a vegan.
"Within five days I felt different." Her blood pressure
lowered, her head cleared, skin felt and looked better, and
she has more energy and even smiles more. The diet has come
with a lifestyle change. Julia can seldom eat-out because
most restaurants use precuts containing animal fats, processed,
and cooked food. She is happy and content leading others to
the diet of fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains. Julia offers
to teach her diet techniques to locals and tourists. And with
0.2% of adult Americans being vegan, Julia is a part of 7,000
strong and healthy community.
& WHERE FROM?:Attitude can be all you need to succeed
in business. Some people, particularly in sales, take years
to realize and develop the winning attitude. Samanta Ariola,
7, was born with the winning attitude and even her business
might be small, it is growing. By the time Samanta will turn
10 she might own a chain of bakeries throughout Roatan. Watch
out. Samanta is from French Harbour and attends second grade
at French Cay Elementary School. Her mother Jorani makes the
60 bread rolls six times a week that Samanta takes to around
50 houses and businesses throughout French Harbour. She has
been selling bread for three years and most of French Harbour
has seen her at one time or another. When asked what she enjoys
best about her work Samanta plainly replies: "I like
best when people buy my bread."
"WHAT & WHY: Her neighbor, Miss Shelby, gave
her a white round brimmed hat that Samanta now wears for added
support when carrying her aluminum pot filled to the brim
with aromatic bread rolls. Her Scottish pattern bandana was
a gift from her mom Jorani and other that just giving Samanta
the pirate look, it also covers her painful ear. Her aqua
shirt was bought for Lps. 50 at "un bulto" or a
place selling used clothes, donated by Americans to Goodwill
and such. Samanta keeps her earnings securely in her zip-up
Barbie purse. The pink and blue accessory, given by cousin
Kandy, nicely matches her blouse and her beach shorts. Her
friend Allison, living in the US, gave Samanta the brave and
colorful beach shorts. Her leather strap "faded Glory"
flip-flops are pure functionality for anyone making a living
treading the dusty French Harbour streets. Samanta's one jewelry
piece is her one gold colored spherical earring (she lost
the other one), given by her mom.
IN CONCLUSION: Working basically on a string budget
and with some help of fashion conscious neighbors and friends,
Samanta has assembled a functional ensemble that is not only
professional, but it has just the right amount of rebellious
attitude any seven-year-old could ask for.
& WHERE FROM?: Wendy Flores, 26, from Santa Barbara
is spending a bit of time vacationing on Roatan and helping
her sister at a local pharmacy. She lives in New Orleans and
works as a graphic designer, but is already thinking about
opening a restaurant on Roatan.
"WHAT & WHY: Wendy's 'Forever 21,' brown,
embroidered blouse was bought in Tegucigalpa's La Femme store
for $20. Also at the same store, Wendy bought her white, weave
belt with silver lining- $30. Wendy's white cotton capri pants
were bought for $30 at a US mall. Her large bag by 'So-so'
was a Macy's purchase for $50. Her brown, plastic shades were
bought in the US for $12. Her Tegucigalpa's 'Gold House' earrings,
round and gold-plated, were $50. Her golden, heart shaped
pendant was a gift from her mother Margarite on Wendy's 15th
birthday. Her 4 inch heel shoes were a gift from a Tegucigalpa
girlfriend, Jenny. With white rap-around lace, they serve
not as much to stabilize the ankle, as to add a visual interest
to the feet. "She knows I love strange shoes and for
her this was a strange shoe," explains Wendy who is still
breaking her shoes in, as the streets of Coxen Hole provide
a perfect obstacle course for breaking in any type of shoe
wear. Even though some people might consider the four inch
cork heel extreme, Wendy's 5'-6" frame turns into an
impressive 5'-10" model.
IN CONCLUSION: Even eight inch heels can sometime be
seen on the streets of some metropolises, but require a front
toe elevation of three inches. Looking tall and in style is
not for the faint hearted and can end in disaster. Hospitals
from Paris, Manhattan, and even Tegucigalpa treat twisted
and broken ankles of women who fell from their platforms.
Wendy's platforms could in fact be the highest of any shoes
currently worn on Roatan streets, not because Roatan girls
don't want to seem taller, or in vogue, as much as how difficult
it is to walk on the potholed, uneven surfaces.
& WHERE FROM?:This free spirited 70s clean-cut hippie
hails from Santa Monica, California and made her way to Roatan
20+ years ago. For Terry Anderson life is good. This owner
of Yaba-Ding-Ding souvenir store Terry has brought up two
children and spends her time living the good life at her Sandy
Bay 'ranch.' She lives carelessly in a Baleneisian house with
boyfriend Hugo, four Jack Russels, a Weimaraner and two horses.
"WHAT & WHY:Oriental design, bead decorated,
flexible sole thongs were bought at Tienda Mariela for Lps.
360. The first shoes we've seen that had not only ornamental
pattern on the inner, but on the outer sole. Her blue, elastic
bellbottom jeans by 'Tiki and Pow' were a Carrion purchase
for Lps. 400. Our personal favorite was a double buckle leather
belt bought in Los Angeles for $20. Terry wears a brown, hand
painted batique tank top brought in by Dianne Lynn and sold
at Yaba-Ding-Ding. Her Guess shades in golden frames from
Luna y Mar was worth $20, before being bitten be a Jack Russell
terrier. "I don't think this affects my vision too much,"
says Terry. Around her neck the Californian wears a 1,000
year-old Yaba-Ding-Ding found in Trujillo by a Garifuna boy
named Ivan. On a leather string the Indian faced jade artifact
is complemented by two intense cobalt blue Alaskan trading
beads. It's been 15years since Terry took her amulet off.
Grandma's diamond ring was a "tactical gift." It's
platinum with a gold shank. I like the combination of metals,"
says Terry. On her left hand she wears two rings: an Irish
wedding ring that Terry wears with the crown up i.e. "unavailable."
Her golden "Ooom" ring was her since childhood and
Terry fought hard to get it back when it was stolen by a dishonest
IN CONCLUSION: Terry has been dressing as the hippie
not grungy for a long time. You're as old as you feel and
for Terry that is somewhere in her 30s. "I've got some
wisdom on me," said Terry. She dresses trendy, but refuses
to wear things that just don't make sense, "like long
blouses with really short skirts. I wouldn't to be caught
dead in something like this."
& WHERE FROM?: Jurgen Schafer, 45, has become ubiquitous
with his 1972 land cruiser and a wide brimmed hat. This bigger
than life, German 'Indiana Jones' has been living in Honduras
for the past 14 years: in Guanaja, La Ceiba and for the last
four years on Roatan. "I wanted to lead a more adventurous
life than the one I had in Germany," said Jurgen. He
has a wife and two children and recently begun working as
an internet connection salesperson for TTI.
"WHAT & WHY: Jurgen has been wearing what
could be the first and only green pair of jeans on Roatan.
The pair was purchased eight years ago at a Hugo Boss outlet
in Germany for around $30. Jurgen's leather Wrangler boots,
well, at least the upper portion, date from Jurgen's eighteenth
birthday in his hometown of Stuttgart. "They're half
of my life," says Jurgen. The sole has been bought and
rebuilt three times by different shoemakers in Honduras. "Will
at the market rebuilt it for Lps. 450 from leather I brought
from Siguatepeque," said Jurgen. "You look dressed
well [even] in rain. Sand flies, mosquitoes, nothing bothers
me much. You can slide in and get out fast," says Jurgen.
To top-off the look Jurgen sported his wide brim hat "from
China, but I bought it here at the West Bay mall." The
accessory set him back $5. Still Jurgen doesn't accessorize
much: no watch, ring or piercings for him. His blue cotton
guayabera shirt by 'Jeno' was bought at the "American
Store" at the La Ceiba mall for Lps. 450. The store specializes
in importing last season fashion from Europe and the US. Decorated
with a flowery motif the shirt softened Jurgen's rugged look.
IN CONCLUSION: Jurgen may have left Germany, but has
managed to continue to shop for clothes there. Not an easy
task, requiring commitment and ingenuity. Another Jurgen's
commitment: to his boots is quite exceptional. Some people
grow a special sentimental attachment to the clothes they
wear. The shirts and socks wear down with time and become
a bit unseemly. Leather boots however, allow for opportunities
to renew commitment to the item we refuse to give up.
& WHERE FROM?: Anesika Kokui Beckley, 33, has begun
her first "grown-up" tourist trip outside Canada
by going to Honduras. Of Ghanaese and Jamaican descent, this
Montrealese girl designs and makes jewelry, bringing her both
fulfillment and money to earn a living. She has studied at
four different colleges pursuing general knowledge.
WHAT & WHY: Anesika manages to trade, make, borrow,
and bargain her way into wearing eclectic and hip ensembles.
She has made the 'choker' necklace by herself from a memory
wire and than strung it with glass and crystal Czech beads.
Her shell based 'plant seed and stone' pendant was a trade
with another jewelry designer. Her jewelry pieces are always
one of a kind. "I don't like to make duplicates. When
I make a piece, it's in the moment and spontaneous,"
says Anesika whose visit to Iravesia village outside of Puerto
Cortez was an inspiration to make a copper based 'San Pedro's
tears seed' bracelet. Anesika wears a a golden necklace given
to her by her mother as a bracelet. Barely four days in Copan,
Anesika has already found a job as a waitress at a local bar
and found an excuse to weave a black, brown and green camouflage
pattern night dress. "I nabbed it off my sister [Abui],"
says Anesika, who is not like other tourists looking right
at home mixing with the crowd. "I blend really well,"
says Anesika wearing her sister's synthetic stretch evening
dress by 'Bedo.' Anesika actually spent only $5 on her entire
evening attire. Her only purchased item was a 100 Lps. pair
of read-brown flip-flops from the Puerto Cortez market.
IN CONCLUSION: Anesika hasn't really made any adjustments
to her wardrobe. We were told she would look exactly the same
on the streets of Montreal as she did on the cobblestones
of Copan. "I love to be me wherever I go," says
& WHERE FROM?: With her banjo and a Balinese flute
at her side, even on the open seas Alicia Bonnett, 56, is
always an entertainer at heart. Born in Brooklyn, for three
decades she has lived in Oregon. In January, after crewing
for three years, she sailed in to Roatan. She could only bring
what would fit in her sailing bag: practical, versatile and
adaptable. We caught up with her as she made her way from
boat to town to do a bit of shopping. This was Alicia's town
outfit. "It will not offend anybody by having anything
that's too short, or too much exposed," said Alicia.
& WHY:The base of her outfit is formed by comfortable,
strong Chaco sandals (with arch support) that Alicia bought
on web for $70. Her Hawaiian print, black cotton skirt was
a steal at $3 at an Oregon thrift store. The aquamarine rayon
shirt was a gift from a friend during a 'clothes exchange
session.' "It's everybody's things that they don't want
anymore," explains Alicia, who managed to find herself
the useful and comfortable top. "Someone's throwaway
is other man's treasure." Her 70% sea grass and 30% paper
shoulder bag by Faded Glory was another clothing exchange
find. For everything that doesn't fit in the shoulder bag
Alicia uses a four-pocket, double zipper, black backpack.
Alicia found it in a Mazatlan 'mercado' for $8. "I looked
a long time for this," says Alicia. Alicia's wide brim,
ventilated, khaki Sun Day Afternoon hat keeps the sun off
her shoulders. It was a sale item at an outdoors store - $17.
There is even a bit of Honduras in Alicia's fashion. Her decorative
shades - prescription sunglasses, $75, were assembled by Optica
Clasic in Coxen Hole. Holding them on is a beaded eyeglass
holder from Guatemala's Antigua - only a buck. The seashell
beaded necklace is Alicia's own creation: all from Roatan
beaches and held together by a nifty magnet clasp. Gale, Alicia's
daughter, gave her mom a lapis and silver bracelet. A silver
ring is a memento from her grandmother. To top it all off,
Alicia adventurously combined two odd-paired earrings: a dream
catcher turquoise earring on her right ear and crystal earring
on her left.
For 25 years, before heading out to sea, Alicia was
very much a business person. She made money and put smiles
on people's faces with an unusual business: "Bubble's
Singing Telegram and Clown Shows." After raising her
daughter, Alicia has entered a new stage of her life, full
of traveling and adventures. She has certainly found the right
clothes for the journey.
& WHERE FROM?: "Living life on the front end,"
describing herself, Roberta Bienvenu, 53, is a licensed boat
captain/dive instructor/nurse. This true Acadian works four
months a year as a Louisiana nurse and then sails around the
world in search of festivals, conventions and adventure in
general. On Roatan, she lives on a 42' sailboat with her boyfriend
Jim and works as a dive instructor with Ocean Connections.
& WHY:"Its not just any rubber jacket,"
says Roberta wearing her New Zealand made 'Line 7' XS sailors
rain poncho with vulcanized seams. The XS Star Trek technology
garment is made from one piece of PVC material with melted
seams. With fluorescent hood for security and one pocket for
yacht racing gloves and Bole sunglasses its pure: form follow
function. "I wouldn't mind a little liner inside,"
said Roberta, who picked-up the poncho on the last day (sale
day) at an Annapolis boat show for $125. Her Bole sunglasses
Roberta found, again on the last day, of a DIMA dive convention
for $42, down from $150. Underneath the poncho she wore an
orange 'Camaro' dive swimsuit ($80) bought at DIMA. Her titanium
Seiko dive watch as another bargain $200 (lowered from $600)
picked-up there. "Part of being into fashion is getting
a good deal. Anybody can go retail," said Roberta. We
couldn't agree more. Her pastel, knit net pants by 'West Bound
Beach' are perfect if you want to wear something that dries
in two minutes flat. Roberta picked her rayon capris up at
the fall sale at Dillard's. Her flip-flops were the greatest
buy, $3, at a Cancun grocery store. With arch support, heel
and snazzy transparent straps they could easily be mistaken
for a Prada 2005 beach flops. Roberta is an accessories queen.
On a right day, her pair of compass earrings could be potential
lifesavers. All you need for one of the two to actually work.
Roberta picked her 'Ted Aucoin' designer earrings at a Jazz
fest for $80. "You want to keep quality in your jewelry.
You know the other girls are checking you out," says
Roberta. Her one gold earring is a souvenir from her first
equator crossing on the way to the Galapagos. A silver bracelet
came from Bali, her opal chain and ring are a souvenir from
a friendship in Australia. On her wrist Roberta wears a friendship
knot and a Santa Helena coconut bracelet she got for $3.
During hurricane and storm pour downs fashion has
to make room for necessity, but not completely. There is now
reason why one can't stay dry and look good at the same time.
Wearing garbage bags should be anybody's last, and I mean
last, resource. Roberta is a perfect example how to work with
the weather not fight with it.
& WHERE FROM?: Rocio Alonzo Arana, 23, was born in
Punta Gorda went to High School in La Ceiba and in 2000 she
came back to live with her family. She works as the PMAIB
director's secretary. We caught-up with Rocio on a typical
Thursday - Thursday outfit.
& WHY:She wore blue, smooth weave Pepe jeans- a gift
from Rocio's sister Sandra. Her narrow pink belt by Glamour
was a Christmas gift from another family member- Kricia. Her
tan leather boots with black side zipper by Highlights with
two-and-a-half inch heels were picked-up at La Ceiba's Payless
shoe store. In fact, Rocio could have the highest heels in
Punta Gorda. We estimated the heel at three inches easily
but Rocio was quick to correct us. "They're maybe two-and-a-half,
but not three." Either way, wearing high heel boots on
unpaved, sandy streets of Punta Gorda is no small ability
in balance and a bit of determination. Rocio had a chance
to take advantage of some work trips to Tegucigalpa to do
shopping. Her jean jacket was picked-up at Almacenes El Rey
in Tegucigalpa for $10. The 69 brand. In San Pedro on the
other hand she found a pink and peach stripe mid sleeve blouse
- Tiendas Panayote for $7 only. Diesel brand quartz watch
as a gift from Rocio's cousin living in New York- Gina. Rocio
admits that for every gift she receives five. Not a bad ratio
for anyone, but how long will the gifts keep coming. One of
Rocio's more personal items is her mother's engagement ring
that she wears on her right hand. "Two years ago my dad
died I became the 'mayor de la casa,' and I got the ring."
On a lighter note, teddy bear shaped earrings and a necklace
with enclosed wild flower inserts were bought from Ms. Rosa
Silvestri's for $15.
PMAIB has no official dress code and Rocio takes full
advantage of the policy by dressing every day of the week.
"I'm one of the best dressed girls in Punta Gorda,"
says Rocio. "I'm also the best person dressed at PMAIB."
Rocio certainly isn't shy and brings-up a notch the quality
of the French Harbour PMAIB office- extra credit in most offices.
& WHERE FROM?: Corvin Reymond, 27, is certainly hard
to miss. At 6'2" and around 245 pounds of pure fashion
he is often the center of attention at bars all around Roatan:
Twisted Toucan, Black Pearl, Pachecos. His typical night on
the town begins with a bit of an energy boost: a rotisserie
chicken dinner smoothed down with Redbull. "To get me
energized," he explains. When we caught-up with Corvin
at Twisted Toucan, he was wearing the "pimp look"
one of his five patented ensembles: beach boy, muscle guy,
bouncer and sporty. By day Corvin is a boat (Haydee) captain
at AKR, where he has worked since he was 13.
& WHY: A long sleeved, white, semitransparent shirt
($70) is a part of an ensemble created by Corvin's Trujillo
tailor- Jovanny. "He makes clothes for people who dress
a little different." Jovanny comes to Roatan every two
months and works on Reymond's predesigned suits. Black and
white, size 13, laced gator shoes were purchased for $60 at
amazing.com. A silver handle cane, with a cast head of a dragon,
was also an amazing.com find - $55. "I just like the
dragon. I used to watch the dragon movies, cartoons,"
explains Corvin. A white, brimmed hat with a white silk band
put Corvin back another $45. A better bargain was a white
Lps. 60 doorag found in La Ceiba's mall. Dark shade, white
frame sunglasses Corvin found at Carrion for a bargain Lps.
75. Also there, he picked-up a gray and white tie tied in
an unusual knot. It was his dad Astel who taught Corvin how
to tie a tie, and Corvin progressed from there inventing his
own "phat" knot. Three silver and stone plated tie
clips, $5 each, came from Alex in Coxen Hole. Silver chain
in the shape on an anchor was a gift from friend-Heather on
Corvin's 25th birthday. On his wrist, over a white wrist band
Corvin wore a 'bling' watch. For his night on the town Corvin
brought a back-up yellow sweat towel. He wore two rings, barely
big enough to fit his two pinkie fingers: a silver plated
dollar sign ring and a silver band ring. "I have five
more rings for each of my fingers," says Corvin. In two
months "dragon head, a skeleton head, and regular ring"
should complete Corvin's look. Corvin's says that 30 percent
of his income goes towards clothes and fashion accessories.
Fashion, especially "pimp inspired" fashion cost
"mucho dinero." A smart move is using a trusted
tailor and a well stocked website. Corvin gets a lot of bang
for his dollar.
He says that he got his fashion bug from his father
Astel Reymond. "I'm a fashion show person. I like to
dress real good and impress people and make people happy,"
says Corvin, who is as much into having fun as making others
have fun looking at him. "Most of the friends were impressed
how I came up with this idea of [dressing] a pimp," says
Corvin. With all focus on fashion and work Corvin has currently
no girlfriend. A fact of life for any "aspiring pimp."
"There are a few guys I respect, but they are not to
the level that I dress," says about his competition Corvin.
& WHERE FROM?: He is a Roatan fixture, a landmark.
Everyone on the island has seen, talked to, or had their windshield
washed by this six-foot-two, "mogua," grey-haired,
smiling man. Still, Alfred Alexander Dale, 48, is a new transplant
to Roatan. He came to the island three years ago after getting
to his last $100 bill of savings. Alexander was born in Barrio
Ingles in La Ceiba and at the age of five moved to US to rejoin
his parents living in Manhattan. He served thee years in the
US army, lived for 10 years in Europe: in Germany and Spain
working as a "transporter." Luck turned on Alexander
in US when he received a three year sentence for a drug offense.
After getting out, a judge ordered Alexander, still a Honduran
citizen, to be deported back to his country of birth. It was
January 2001 and Alexander had to restart his life in a country
he had little in common with. He spent a couple years in La
Ceiba and in 2003 moved to Roatan. But Alexander wasn't defeated.
He lives in El Centro of Coxen Hole and makes his living as
a baggage handler at Galaxy's dock. "As long as I have
good health, I can do something. That's most important,"
said Alexander who also generates some extra income washing
& WHY: His XXXL Tampa Bay Devil Rays jeans shirt,
Alexander picked-up for $2 around the Coxen Hole market. His
loose, black shorts were another used clothes bargain- $2.
In order to do his jobs Alexander needs loose clothes that
are easy to clean. Alexander's prized possessions are his
$250 Brahma suede boots he bought a decade ago in Manhattan.
"Since 1995 I had them in a box and just opened them
a couple months ago," said Alexander who needs the heavy
boots for all the lifting he does at the Galaxy's dock. He
usually sports a small cotton rug to clean cars. "I work
for whatever I got to do. I don't steal," said Alexander.
IN CONCLUSION: "Time to
me is irrelevant," said Alexander, who wears no watch,
or jewelry, but always manages to arrive when Galaxy is ready
to dock and someone could need his help handling baggage.
"I don't like attention. I like to be low key."
& WHERE FROM?:Miss Jane Webster, 88, lives at her
home in the middle of Coxen Hole. Corner of Main and Thicket
in fact. She is an eternal bachelorette and takes pride at
her many household skills: she cooks, cleans and gardens for
herself and her older sister Marilee Rose Webster, 92. Miss
Jane spent time in New York and Philadelphia and lived in
Tela, but is a native Coxen Holian. We run into her at a local
pharmacy, just a few steps away from her home.
& WHY: Her wide brim straw hat adorned with a cotton
scarf, gives an impression of almost an angelical halo. It
was a gift, five years ago, from Miss Jane's niece from New
York. Miss Jane educated herself as a seamstress and has made
her own clothes for many years. The light green, almost yellow
dress is one example of her talent. Her dresses' design was
inspired by different catalogues she has for reference at
her home. The dress is simple but features a white embroidery
lace around the neck and material covered buttons add another
element of softness to it. Her comfortable black velvet slippers
bought locally didn't quite match the elegance of her ensemble.
"Oooh. I just put them on because I was going across
the road," said Miss Jane. Who could hold this fashion
impropriety? Miss Jane does deserve to feel comfortable anytime
she wishes to. Miss Jane didn't wear, but one accessory. She
leaves her jewelry, chain and earrings, only to her Sunday
Methodist Church service and other special occasions. Her
one accessory, a very functional and simple synthetic weave
handbag was given by a Telaña niece, Ella Ray. "Its
kind-of old," admitted Miss Jane. The design looks quite
hip and urban actually.
IN CONCLUSION: Miss Jane has
been dressing like that for quite some time. And dressing
with style isn't easy. She has more fashion wisdom than three
young Coxen Holians combined and she knows that comfort, simplicity
and consistency is important, especially when you are 88 years
old. "Some people don't believe it [that I am 88]. They
say I don't look it," said Miss Jane. "God has blessed
me and I am grateful."
& WHERE FROM?: "People here [on Utila] wear what
they like. What they feel comfortable in," said Ms. Glenda
Fernandez-Sanders. Still Glenda, from Sandy Bay, makes most
people on Utila feel underdressed. This 42-year-old "domestic
engineer" or "ama de casa" came to the island
26 years ago from Corozal, Atlantida. We caught-up with her
at an open public event held under scorching Utila sun. She
dressed to match the event with functionality and a bit of
& WHY: White, sleeveless shirt is a gift from her
cousin living in Miami. The shape of the shirt is achieved
by a corset-like string in the front of the garment. The semi-transparent
blouse is perfect for any hot event. The sister-in-law presented
Glenda with a pair of white pants ornate with navy blue floral
patterns. The cool garment arrived from New York just in time
for Christmas. The pants are made of stretch material, something
Glenda finds practical, if not convenient. "If I get
a bit fatter, I will stay looking the same," said Glenda.
White, wood soled flip-plops with a heel matched her clothes.
The "Plywood Fashion" shoes were bought by Glenda
for Lps. 340 in a little store "somewhere in the center
of La Ceiba." Glenda's white nail polish on her toe-nails
gracefully matched the "white khaki" overall look
of her ensemble. The plastic "Ray-Ban" sunglasses
were bought for Lps. 170 from "Ms. Ana at her store in
front of the Casino." Glenda loves to accessorize with
gold. Still she likes to stay modest. "I don't like to
wear five, seven golden chains," she explained. Curiously,
Glenda wears two-and-a-half pairs of gold earrings. Two golden
bands, and three studs. "Everyone asks me 'what happened
to the other earring.' Well, I lost one piece three months
ago and I still can't find it," said Glenda. Her husband
bought her one of her earrings
five year ago. The other
one was purchased by Glenda from Ms. Ana for Lps. 360. Golden
Bulova watch was another gift from her husband. Her golden,
marine theme pendants are a gift from her son Hoyt and her
daughter Ivanna. Glenda also wears a gold ring with a red
stone, bought in La Ceiba for Lps. 550.
IN CONCLUSION: Her husband, a sailor, decided to stay
home, while Glenda and her daughter Ivanna represented the
family at the Utila Health Center opening. "Ooooh. We
exchange between ourselves a lot of things," she said
about her 11-year-old daughter.
& WHERE FROM?: Tenisha Jeffries, 9, from Sandy Bay,
attends third grade at Juan Brooks School. Her favorite subject
is mathematics, particularly "adding." We caught-up
with Tenisha at a birthday party for her cousins Brandon and
& WHY: Juan Brooks School enforces a uniform code,
so Tenisha doesn't often have a chance to show her true colors.
For this July afternoon it was definitely pink. The only day
that students are allowed to wear non-uniform clothes is Children's
Day. There's no doubt Tenisha took full advantage of this
opportunity. Her cousin Igma gave Tenisha her pink "Little
Babe" lace-up shirt for birthday number nine. Her mom
gave Tenisha a denim mini skirt and pink belt ensemble. The
belt was quite striking, with double rows of oversized holes.
The hip skirt could work well at a Sandy bay party or school
dance. Cousin Leilani got Tenisha her pink bow. Tenisha has
no problem satisfying her fashion needs with a good supply
of cousins, especially that at this stage of her life almost
Tenisha's entire wardrobe is dependent on the good fashion
will of grown-ups. "When I was first born [I got my two
ears pierced]," said Tenisha who wore a pair of golden-like
dolphin and ring earrings, a gift from her mom. The black,
faux leather knee-high boots
"They were great
but they got a bit torn," said Tenisha. Wearing things
a little bit worn, torn, or destroyed is always a dilemma.
Especially when we have an emotional attachment, or nothing
else that will do type of situation. Tenisha bravely decided
to go out there with the imperfect, yet still stylish pair
of heels. It's all about attitude and Tenisha certainly has
enough of it to spare.
IN CONCLUSION: Despite having to choose out of "30
purses," choosing a purse for a party was a "no
brainer." Tenisha went pink again. If you are thinking
of giving anything to Tenisha, cousin or not, pink is a safe
bet. When asked about her allowance and spending, Tenisha
replied, "Sometimes I buy skirts, bags, shoes and socks,
) I get a lot of money
a hundred dollars."
Money can't buy you style, but it certainly helps.
& WHERE FROM?: Eduardo Zablah, 51, is the disputably
the fashion guru of Honduras. He was one of the first Honduran
models to make it big in the US and he came back to his country
to spread the fashion revolution among the Ceibeños
through his own clothing line: Eduardo's. We caught-up with
him at Roatan Shrimp Festival where he helped to judge the
kids fashion contest.
& WHY: His most visible wardrobe element was an "Eduardo's"
long sleeved, white cotton shirt decorated with embroidered
a green and yellow flower motif. The perforations allow for
improved respiration, needed on this hot summer day. "Only
three of the seven front shirt buttons were pined down, giving
Eduardo a relaxed, almost dramatic look. Eduardo described
his guayavera type shirt, "It's all hand stitched and
detailed work. It's four hours of work when everything is
ready for tailoring." The shirt will be available for
sale at La Ceiba's, Gallo de Oro in December. His black, silk
pants symbolize the pain Eduardo is feeling after the death
of his mother, who passed away only a few weeks before. They
are also part of his Eduardo's couture line. His slip-on,
black leather shoes were bought in Italy for $75, discounted
from $250. "Surprise! I can't tell you what brand they
are," said Eduardo. Eduardo's accessories are a story
in themselves. "This is original Pierre Cardin watch
I bought on one of my trips to Miami," he said of his
golden time piece of 22 years. Eduardo wears two gold chains
around his neck. The thinner chain with a crucifix and face
of suffering Jesus was a gift from his mother, who brought
the medallions from Zablah's ancestral home of Jerusalem.
The other, thicker chain holds a half-ounce of 'Credit Suisse
Fine Gold.' You never know when you are going to need a half
ounce of gold. The golden bracelet is of special importance
to Eduardo. "This is a gift from my best friend [Rolando
Puerto] who was killed four years ago," said Eduardo.
His only ring is a gold band with seven diamonds he was given
by Jean-Pierre, a jewelry designer he met on a trip to Italy.
IN CONCLUSION: "It's my design. It's very personal,"
said Ricardo. Combining his own creations with emotional,
important symbols of his loved ones, Ricardo is certainly
not afraid to walk and pave his own fashion path. Unless you
are wearing no clothes at all, you can't get any more "fashion
independent" than that.
& WHERE FROM?: Most people agree Utilans are relaxed
dressers. These 8,000 or so nonconformist freethinkers are
no slaves to fashion. A perfect example would be their island
doctor, three year Utila resident Dr. John McVay, 51, It is
hard to miss Dr. John walking down the street. He is the wild-haired,
barefoot, rainbow of colors wearing man usually in the company
of his dachshund.
& WHY: Dr. John studied at a University level for
11 years: U. of Akron, U. of Toledo, Auburn University and
at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City where
he received his Dr. of Osteopathy title in 1983. He has worked
as the primary physician at Utila's Community Clinic for the
last three years. The fashion transformation from Dr. Jekyll
to Mr. Hyde didn't happen overnight. "At first I would
wear lab shirts," said Dr. John about his first months
on Utila. Now he is one of the more adventurous dressers the
island has ever seen. And it has seen a few. "My basic
attire is that of a cheap Hawaiian pimp," said Dr. John.
"Mis-matched colors, bright shirts, bright shorts. Tacky,
tacky stuff. I don't have to buy shirts or shorts anymore.
They all give them to me," said Dr. John. Leaving the
responsibility for dressing to a community is a recipe for
fashion disaster. Two lower buttons of his maroon and white
flowery shirt are actually buttoned. "The only reason
I button these two buttons is to cover-up my belly,"
said Dr. John. No shoes. Dr. John takes full advantage of
Utila town's short distances. Dr. John draws his fashion line
at his shorts: "I only wear Quicksilver [brand]. They've
got better Velcro packets, better patch pockets and they hang
better." His generic plastic sunglasses are actually
industry safety glasses. His black, plastic Casio watch was
another gift. His black leather medical bag, decorated with
four tourniquets, is hardly large enough to carry all his
medical paraphernalia and two packs of Royal "donkey
killer" cigarettes. "I bought this bag in 1982.
They made every medical student buy one," said Dr. John.
The bag and a golden signet is one of the only memories of
back home. "Everything else I left in the United States.
I only brought this because I couldn't get it off my finger."
A final accessory in high contrast to Dr. John is a very stylish
and well accessorized Dutch hound. "Blood licking"
Sue, named after an old girlfriend, wears a Harley Davidson
black leather collar with steel studs and a brown plastic
IN CONCLUSION: Clown pattern scrubs is as exciting
as it gets in the American medical system. Even on Honduran
mainland, even on Roatan, "Dr. John's look" would
be a no-no as well. But Dr. John doesn't lack respect from
the island's community. "Either take me the way I am,
or don't call on me. I've already got too many patients."
He pushes the envelope of medical fashion
a world scale.
the Doctor Sees it:
Dr. Von at firstname.lastname@example.org
Doc, what would happen if all of the Gringos were to pull out and
go back to where they came from like a few of the locals would like?
I say "a few" of the locals, and I mean less than that.
Maybe one or two people who sold their property for twenty times
what it was worth, then heard it resold for twice what they were
paid for it. Sour grapes, I think you Americans call it.
Did those sour grape locals notice that the ones who paid twice
what they sold it for are now what we Americans call, "UNDER
WATER"? Meaning, they owe more than the property is worth,
so perhaps, just perhaps, the locals did well after all?
Now for that question, what if they all split? I assume this means
the cruise ship passengers would go bye-bye, too? Truthfully, I
believe the island economy would crash immediately, leaving an over-built
situation which would never ever fix itself unless a way could be
found to get the Gringos to come back.
So long TV, vacations to Disneyland, brand new SUVs every year,
take-out dining. Hello beans and rice with an occasional piece of
chicken every other Sunday. Not to say that doesn't sound kind of
inviting: A laid-back tropical island with sun and sand and clean
vacant beaches. Streets empty of traffic and going out of business
sales in every store window including the new grocery stores.
the dye is cast. We are committed to this tourist type life, and
hopefully it will never go away. Better and easier if those who
want the Gringos to leave go away themselves and find a new deserted
island to call home. Eat coconuts off the trees and eat fish from
the sea. Back to nature and the simple life. If that sounds good,
there is a boat leaving for Cayos Cochinos every third Tuesday.