Photo by Corey Petrick
By Shea Parton
We had a nice break from the steering wheel and caught a ride from Sergio Suazo on his way to work at the Choloma factory where most of our shirting is crafted. It was great to jump in his pickup and de-stress as we drove through the causal countryside backroads. Sergio was born 15 miles south of San Pedro Sula in the small city of Villanueva Cortes. He and his wife have been married for 14 years and moved to Choloma four years ago to be closer to their jobs and for their son to be closer to his school. Sergio has been with our manufacturing partner for six years and focuses on developing our samples. We spent a few hours touring the factory and were impressed with the attention to quality our partners have with each oxford they produce. It was an absolute pleasure to tour the facility, meet the team we have spent the past five years getting to know via email & Skype, and thank them in our broken Spanish for their partnership as we continue to learn and grow.
After our conference call with our team in Los Angeles, Sergio noticed Corey and I were fading and took us on a 30 minute ride down to the coast for lunch at the small beach town of Omoa (population: 30k). We had fun spending some casual time with Sergio as we continue to be impressed with the genuine hospitality each of our Honduran hosts have effortlessly shown us.
Barely able to walk after lunch, Sergio made a quick detour to show us a couple of the noteworthy historical sites en route to San Pedro Sula. He first proudly shared the Honduran history of San Fernando Castillo, a castle used by the Spanish to protect their port in the 18th century. It was incredible to see some of the battle scars from French cannons and it was interesting to hear that local preservation teams deemed the battle remnants better untouched than refurbished. Shortly after our castle tour, Sergio took us to the busiest port in Central America, Puerto Cortés. Given the geographic position of this Caribbean port it unsurprisingly makes sense that this would be a main hub of Central American trade.
We were able to return our 12-passenger van in San Pedro Sula just before closing, and the owner Xavier was impressed to see our odometer teetering close to mileage in the quadruple digits. Corey reluctantly returned the keys in a fashion similar to a drug addict, giving up something so bad that seemed so good. We enjoyed our final Honduran meal together and shortly thereafter called it a night for our early morning return flight to Los Angeles.