|Carlos Perez has made his home in San Pedro, becoming a valuable part of our community, and a great friend to all. |
The melting pot of what has become Belize is unrivaled by many other countries. In this beautiful country, cultures and races blend in harmony. People work for their communities all in an effort to make them better. One such person is no other than Carlos Perez who we feature in this week’s Our Community.
On January 1st, 1969, proud parents Miguel Angel Barrientos and Miriam Perez welcomed their first bundle of joy to this world, Carlos Perez. Carlos was the oldest child in a family of four sisters and one brother. He recalls the immense responsibility that it was growing up as the eldest in Morales Izabal, Guatemala.
Carlos attended elementary school at the Francisco Marroquin Institute. Being the oldest child had quite a bit of responsibilities for Carlos. Still in elementary school, he had to go to work at the tender age of seven. Carlos remembers making meat deliveries on his bicycle for a meat shop located close to his home. He kept this job until he graduated from elementary school at the age of 14.
Carlos pursued a career in Mass Communication; however his family required his assistance in maintaining the finances at home, and unfortunately, Carlos had to find a job. But his work in Guatemala was not for much longer. When civil unrest broke in Guatemala, Carlos’ parents found it necessary to uproot them and move to Belize.
The family arrived in Belmopan and began making a new home for themselves there. Carlos was not happy living in Belmopan, “it was hard to find a job and Belmopan wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a home.” He insisted to his parents to send him to Belize City where he could try his luck. His parents were against the idea and forbade Carlos to go. He knew that he wanted to go to the city and so he made the decision to run away.
Arriving in Belize City, Carlos found a job at a bakery where he assisted the baker in cutting and packaging the breads. During the time that he was in the bakery, he learned to bake but knew that that was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He looked into studying part time when he got off work and enrolled in La Bella Donna cosmetology school. There, Carlos learned the basics in hair cutting, dying, hair styling and maintenance. He remained in the city for a full year but stayed in contact with his parents.
After a year in Belize City, Carlos returned to Belmopan and got a job at the Bull Frog Inn. It was there that Carlos learned basic landscaping and garden maintenance, a field he grew to love. While at the Bull Frog he heard of La Isla Bonita and on one of his vacation breaks decided to pay San Pedro a visit.
Carlos arrived in San Pedro for a break but never went back to Belmopan. After falling in love with the island, he found a job at Paradise Resort doing landscaping. It was a job he kept and maintained for five years. During the time he worked at the resort, he also held a part time job at Elvis’ Kitchen assisting in the kitchen and washing dishes.
Soon enough, Carlos got the opportunity to carry out the skills he had learned at La Bella Donna when he got a part time job at Ilna Nuñez’s salon. After working at the resort from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. he would run over to the salon and attend to clients from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. When Paradise Resort was sold, Carlos went to work for Paradise Villas. He did Paradise’s landscaping for the next ten years and loved every minute of it. “I have to thank Marge and Ed Askew along with the rest of the Paradise Villas staff who were great friends and helped me make my life here on the island. They are the greatest and I can never thank them enough,” he humbly commented.
Carlos wanted to give back to the community he had fallen in love with and decided to enroll as a volunteer fire fighter. He remembers assisting in fighting a couple of big fires including one on Barrier Reef Drive and one at the Airstrip Area. “I remember that at that time the fire department also held fundraisers for the annual Children’s Christmas Party.” Carlos was the treasurer for the funds at the fire department and enjoyed very much the excitement of helping the community when duty called.
All this while, Carlos remained with Ilna, extending his knowledge in cosmetology; but also took the opportunity to take various technique courses in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Merida, Mexico City, and Guatemala. Carlos even traveled to Orlando, Florida, USA to receive training at the Headmasters School of Hair Design which offers complete courses in Cosmetology and Cosmetology Instructor Training. This training is carried out by Paul Mitchell, hair guru.
After 10 years at Paradise Villas, Carlos decided it was time for him to branch out on his own. He parted ways with Ilna as well and opened his own salon, Mar de Colores (where Brown Sugar’s is located now). He had a great response and soon developed his own list of clients, and after a year, he moved to his present location on Tarpon Street. Today, what started as a one-man show has now expanded. Carlos, along with assistants Leah Chavarria and Jorge Manuel Castillo, offer full services including, cutting, dying, manicures, pedicures and coming soon, facials. “Anything that the client wants we can accommodate, don’t ever be afraid to let us know exactly what you want; we will do anything in our power to make you look gorgeous.”
Carlos, along with partner Enrique de Leon, has also embarked in a joint venture entitled I do in Belize. As wedding planners, the duo works to make the whole “till death do us part” a lot easier for couples who choose to get married in sunny San Pedro. Carlos has always been called upon to handle the hairstyling and makeup of brides at various resorts, including Mata Chica, Ramon’s, Banyan Bay, and Portofino to name a few. With his experience in styling and wedding preparations and Enrique’s legal experience, the two are now unstoppable in their new venture. Their new website, www.idoinbelize.com, is fast becoming a big hit.
With his salon open from Monday to Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) and his new venture, Carlos sure keeps busy. But at times when he has some time to himself he enjoys fishing, traveling and a game of volleyball. “I love San Pedro, there is no other place in the world like it!” he exclaims. The peace that he gets on the island, and the people he has fallen in love with, has made Carlos a part of “Our Community.”