Snake biting

One begins to think after living here in the jungle for 10 years that you have done ,seen and tasted everything . New surprises happen almost daily and today was another of those surprises.

My favourite guide from Uxmal came by today for lunch with some of his clients after taking them to see the  Ruta Puuc . This is the only place he will come to eat because of the freshness of the food and of course we get to visit .

As he was passing on his way he dropped in some meat and asked if we could cook it when he returned . The chef marinated it in sour orange and achiote …. the most common way of marinating meat in this region ready for Jorge’s return before cooking

I was informed it was snake meat , yes snake meat you read correctly but as Jorge always like to make jokes I was not sure . He told me he killed it last night and found a neighbour to skin it for him . As he took off with his clients I was curious to sneak a view ….. sure enough it was snake .

I knew he would offer me a bite so I was anticipating his arrival again with curiosity   . So yes I took a sample from him and ate ! Not bad , I said . And yes I would eat it again !




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why do people steal ?

Through our lives we accumulate memorabilia that we cherish or sometimes it outlives its usefulness and we either pass it on, sell , if it has some value or we discard in other ways.

If I have anything that is not useful for me anymore I find a way to let someone else enjoy .

I adorn the rental rooms with what I can afford with handmade embroidery wall hangings…. bed covers hand loomed from Chiapas .hammocks locally made to relax in .. and hand painted masks and even my own paintings all for the enjoyment of our guests .


What really irks me is when people think they have an entitlement to someone’s else’s property and I am referring to two incidents that have happened in the last few weeks . Two of the masks have disappeared from the rooms . One couple we caught taking an umbrella with them and when we stopped them said . Oh we thought it was ours . Now really! The umbrellas are there for the rainy season so our guests can make it to the restaurant without getting wet !


A few years ago some guests walked off with a hammock but not satisfied with the hammock they even took the hooks to hang it up.

Some of these items are and can be difficult to replace and also costly.

Now because of this we have to put a new rule in place as the trust we had in our guests as been violated . No one will or can leave until an inspection has been made . This really makes it inconvenient for us but what can one do ?

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Bringing families together

One of my workers Eric travels to Canada to work on the farms in or close to Simcoe, Ontario.This year will be his third! When he returns he comes back to work for m until he is ready to leave again.

Eric has three children. ranging  in age, and he and his wife are making sure their children will receive a good education. The only way they can do this is for Eric to work abroad but it also means that Eric is away from his family for a few months.

Mostly on Fridays,s the workers make their way into Simcoe to buy groceries , send monies home and a visit to a Chinese restaurant . In one of these restaurants works a friend of mine( I met her whilst she and her family were staying at The Pickled Onion on a vacation trip and we have kept in touch ) and I mention to her about Eric , described him upon which she easily recognized him and introduced herself by saying she knew me…

Last Friday the boys visited the restuarant and she asked Eric to pose for a photo and she would send it to me and to show his family . It was so exciting to do this! I printed off the photo and took it round to his house.. Oh! my goodness the boys were so excited as I explained how right now your daddy is in the Chinese restaurant as we speak! How is that possible? Dona Valeria ,said Alexi , the youngest boy.So I began explaining how it was the internet worked and he was certainly impressed as well as ….as he said… no puedo creer ! I cant believe it!


I did note however how much weight Eric had lost but then his wife told me he works at least 13 to 14 hours a day with only 4 hours sleep… What  sacrifices he is making to provide a better life for his family.

I arranged to go back the following evening and take photos of the family and I would send it to my friend  who would then in turn show them to Eric

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Eric misses his family, especially the baby girl as his wife told me he always carried her and how the little girl, even though a baby, knew her papa was not there.

We did what we could to bring a family closer together… it was worth the effort and took so little time to do it…. Both my friend and I are happy for what we did and am sure will continue.

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Maggots / larvae Ek the food of the Maya

I have been  going through some of my blogs and over  the next while will go back in time . Hope you enjoy some of the stories…. The real life in the Yucatan

Maggots./larvae …….. never I had imagined in my life I would eat such a thing. Growing up in the north of England where Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding was as exotic a food  you would eat at the table. Must admit though my mother made the best Yorkshire Pudding I have ever tasted! I have travelled quite extensively in my life so I have had the opportunity to taste all kind of cultural food. So now it was time for something new.

Luis had watched the wasp or hornets nest (not sure which) growing bigger and bigger.Last week he said, Valerie we are going to cook this soon! Mm O K when you do ,

The hive

The hive

I will try it. I must admit I was kind of wary but darn it I am going to try!

Today, Saturday , is the day…………. I was out trying to find a cot to buy for a family that will be staying with me tomorrow and as the family room was already booked I had to think of an alternative…. so  a cot it would be …………It took me about two hours to find one………. but thats a different story.

When I arrived home the boys were already taking down the nest and poor Luis did get bit a couple of times. I did not realize until I went into the kitchen what they were up to but my eyes kind of opened wide when I saw the hive alive!

I watched curiously as they started to prepare and cook…… Yucatecan cavier Valerie, they said laughing ! You have to at least try!

The Fry up on the plancher

The Fry up on the plancher

They broke off pieces and placed them on the plancher or grill  tossing and turning until they were , well DEAD! Then Eric started to take out the… THINGS into a dish.


Luis tossing the grub opps pardon the expression grub is also english slang to food

Luis tossing the grub opps pardon the expression grub is also english slang to food

Luis continued tossing the grub….. oppps pardon the expression. Grub is also an english slang for food… example grubs up! come and get it !

Eric taking out the little things

Eric taking out the little things

I forgot to take a photo of how it looks on the plate ready to serve. They just made Tacos poured on sour orange and chile.

The result…… I really liked them! I did not eat the Taco (because I am on a diet) but ate them loosely omitting the chile.

But it will not be an item that will go on the menu though.

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End of school year/clausura

The shcool year came to a close this week and summer holidays loom on the horizon .

Summer holidays in small villages consist of staying home with the family… Little hope of going to the beach or taking a trip . Some maybe lucky if the family have the monies to pool to gether and hire a colectivo and take a day out at the beach with the whole family that can squeeze in , about 19 to one van, They take their own food and drinks to enjoy for the day . Eating out would be too costly after paying for the colectivo .

They do however make a big party for the graduation of students that are moving onto the next school and of course the kínder school where myself and a couple of donees have  contributed for supplies , was no exception.



I was invited to attend as the madrina de generación taking a seat at the head table


of course it is always late in starting… by one and half hours…


The graduates taking their seats


It was lovely to watch but unfortunately I could not stay to see the waltz as two of my staff have children that were participating so to give them a chance to see their children I left early to take their place of work.


Some of the videos are not very clear as I forgot that an iPad does not have the power to take photos at night


I hope you enjoy them though… as the children look so cute and the parents so proud

Well I am sorry but I have been trying for a week to download the videos but no no avail so I will post anyway.




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An update on the indigenous school”

After my last post was published I received a private email from one of my guests from a few years back . They have been reading my blog since returning back home .

The indignous story struck a loving cord and asked me if I would accept a donation to help buy supplies .

Of course I will . how wonderful I thought ! But the best part of this story is that the money that was going to be donated was the birthday money of her son !

Off I went to do the shopping! For me this was not a chore ,entering the special school store in Merida , for me it was like walking in a candy store !

I had prearranged the date I would be bringing the supplies to the school and explained who had donated along with a picture .

I hope you like the photos of appreciation from the staff and the children

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As you can see they made signs that not only wished Will  a happy birthday in English but Spanish and Maya ! Yuum Will means Mr. Will. And wished him health and happiness and thank you from the school . It was rather overwhelming emotionally for me !but well worth it !

Thank you Will for making so many people happy on your birthday .

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Invitation to the preschool event

Today I went to visit, by invitation .DSCN2137to one of the pre schools here in the village .Benito Juarez Garcia is an indigenous school where the children are taught the Maya culture to preserve the traditions.As well as speaking spanish they are also encouraged to speak in their native tongue , Maya .

The occasion was to entertain the mothers , by the children , to celebrate mothers day .Each class gave their performance of a song to honour their mothers … The teachers also participated by singing a song. Afterwards there were a few games with the mothers then the children gave out their presents that they had made to their perspective mothers whereupon they were given a huge hugs and kiss… The look of pride on the faces of the mothers told all!

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I have lived here more than 9 years and did not realize this school existed until one day they had a procession through the streets of Santa Elena in the traditional dress and music …. It was adorable to watch . Unfortunately the school does not always have the resources to meet criteria and the headmaster finds if very hard to give what the children require

So the reason I was invited to this event is because of some donations of school and office supplies . To show their appreciation as I mentioned I was invited to watch… but more surprising than ever was a lovely gift I received of a blouse which today I wear proudly .

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If anyone can find it in their heart to help out then maybe you could bring some colouring books and crayons and I will gladly go with you to disperse of them. The headmaster would be truly grateful and you may even see a tear in his eyes. He is so proud of his school and I know he goes above and beyond even spending his own monies to help out for traditional festivals .


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Coca cola

Coca cola first came to Mexico in the late 1800,s and established the first bottling company in the 1920,s.

its claim to fame it that it is sweetened by cane sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup .Which is not always as claimed.

It is one of the most popular drinks amongst the village people… breakfast , lunch and dinner to be drunk .


photo Google Images

Years ago before the plastic bottles the people would go to the grocery store where they would buy their wares and drink a coke….and listen to the local gossip.. They were  not allowed to take the bottle off the premises but had to be drunk there and then so the bottles would be returned.

Quite a few years ago I changed from the plastic bottles to the infamous thick glass ones the reason being that they are returnable therefore helping in my small way to conserve the environment .And the taste did seem very different than coke in a plastic bottle .

The glass bottles seem to be a rarity and I have had many a guests ask if they could take a bottle home with them  . Of course you can and off they would go without me charging the returnable fee.

But when a young man with his family started to walk out with a bottle without any thought or consideration I was , to say the least a little peeved.The waiter motioned to him to say sorry you cannot take the bottle and I intervened saying politely yes you can take it but there will be a charge of 5 pesos as it is a returnable bottle… His response just threw me….. Yeah! whatever! as he shouted to his parents that he needed money to take the bottle. They left in a huff! My point is… whatever gave the right to this young man to think he could just walk out with property that belonged to the restaurant ?

If he had asked I would certainly let him go with his memorabilia without an issue.

Yes you may think it is minor but who is going to teach the young ones of today respect for other peoples belongings if their parents are not going to .

I would not be surprised if this comes about on Trip advisor but I will be ready for the answer if it does!


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The little people

After all these years of being here I never realized one particular school gears towards keeping the traditions alive . The small children get schooled in the maya language as well as Spanish . Amongst the regular curriculum the school also incoperates Maya customs .

I heard from my trusted general manager Hilario on Thursday evening that the children would be having a parade the following day . I dashed down to the centre of the village with a couple of my guests.


Pity the rains came but it did not deter the children from walking. They did not do any street dancing but waited to get to the school where they could perform

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Afterwards they ate the traditional chile Relleno Negro with invited guests from Merida and the children enjoyed “arroz con leche” what we know as rice pudding

it was so adorable to watch the little ones and the guests where equally delighted to be able to have an insight to local culture

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Cenote Kankirixche

Taking a visit to Cenote Kankirixche is always a delight as it is not far from here. I would say about 40 min drive. And well worth the effort. Located east of Abala about 2 kl out of town . There is now a sign posted just at the entrance road which makes it easy to find. Although the sign say restaurant their actually is no restaurant but maybe they think to build one in the future .


I decided to take a quick look as I had heard they have replaced the stairs after a huge tree had moreorless destroyed the entrance and remained like that for over 2 months .

I always recommend this cenote to guests as well as the two at Cacoa a 5 min ride from the sign to Abala for the turn off road .

I was impressed as I drove along the 1 kl rough road finding as you got closer they had cleaned the road and whitewashed stones that lead you to the cenote. They now charge 20 pesos for the entrance fee which is not bad considering there are now bathrooms and changing rooms.

There were quite a few cyclists enjoying a swim when I approached. I asked them from where they had come and they told me from Merida. Quite a ride I thought but they said no. They looked quite professional cyclist and I thought they must do this kind of thing often. It is so nice to see Yucatecans enjoying their own resources .


The cyclist at the entrance

It really is worth the visit , especially after trekking around Uxmal and looking for a cool off in a natural environment . Then make your way back relaxed and ready to eat a scrumptious meal at The Pickled Onion .

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