& 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?: Most people know Orville Miller, 17,
from Sandy Bay for dressing in official school uniform. But
Orville has been leading a double fashion life. After taking
off his school uniform he becomes a sporty, trendy young guy.
We run into Orville in Coxen Hole tending to some errands,
in anticipation of his bachillerato graduation from French
Harbour's Technical Institute.
& WHY: His black and white, zip-up 'Portland' sport
shoes were bought at a shoe store behind the Roatan Municipal
for Lps. 450. "they are really comfortable," said
Orville. His mid ankle white socks from Carrion were a perfect
match for the sporty look. White, brandless, heavy, Bermuda
jeans were a gift from Orville's mom- Ms. Laurie [Hynds.]
His black leather size 32 belt with metal buckle was covered-up
by a loose blue Tommy Hilfiger imitation shirt- Lps. 250 at
Jerusalem store in Coxen Hole. A gold chain with Orville's
carved name as a gift from his dad. Orville has been wearing
it for 14 years. A silver plated bracelet on Orville's left
wrist was designed by him and made by a local jeweler- Lps.
300, as was his metal ring- Lps. 200. "You just give
them a sketch and they make it." On his right wrist Orville
carried a leather bracelet with metal skulls and spikes. "I'm
carrying it for a friend," explained his biker accessory
Orville. For all his efforts, some people could find Orville
at least a little bit intimidating. You can definitely hurt
somebody with that accessory.
""I'm just throwing in some pants with some
shoes," Orville tries to explain himself, but we know
there is something much more to his fashion statement than
that. "I can go [dressed] like this to school only on
Fridays. With longer jeans though," said Orville. After
graduation the young man is thinking about pursuing his future
in Alberta, Canada. Not to many occasions to wear shorts up
there, mind you. "This is Orville's look." Enjoy
while you can.
& 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 email@example.com
DR VON, I am a native of Roatan being born and raised here,
however my parents managed to send me to San Francisco for my college
and university years. I have just returned and I have run into a
problem perhaps your influence can help cure.
We have accounts at Atlantida, B.G.A., LaFise, and Credomatic and
have the need to use one, two or even all of them on a daily basis.
After weeks of sending our assistant to do the banking and having
to wait sometimes for hours on end for her return, I thought I would
do the banking myself to see why she took so long. I now understand
it is not her fault, but just whose fault is it?
In America one has the option of on-line banking, drive thru tellers,
or going inside the bank. Whichever mode one takes up there, it
is a fast and usually friendly experience, that takes just minutes
no matter what time of the day or month. Well-trained tellers with
vast experience using modern high-speed computers know exactly what
to do and whip that money in and out with great agility. Why can
we not perfect this simple science?
This one caused me to do some investigative snooping, so I lunched
with not just two, but three officers of three different banks.
They all had the same story. It is due to highly understaffed, under
paid workers, who cannot be properly motivated. There are short
training sessions, faulty internet service, constant power failures,
and rushes of people after a payday or holiday.
Why, I asked, are the drive through services unavailable? Again,
lack of trained personnel, broken equipment, and a lack of extra
help to man the windows. When they tried it, the cars backed up
into the streets, causing traffic jams and irritated the passing
How about this, said I; a special window for the business people
with large sums of cash and credit card transactions, a separate
window for paying phone and electric bills, and a simple night deposit
box for those simple deposit or bill paying chores?
Again the answer was lack of personnel and physical space. Those
night deposits would not be worked on until the next night and that
would take another shift that the budgets do not cover. Looks like
on-line banking is the only sure way to beat the standing-in-line
problem. So get computer literate fast, as they are here to stay.
As for the multitude of people looking for money transfers from
the States, there is no hope for a more speedy method; just hope
for more comfortable chairs to sit on while waiting.