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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Wonderful Family visits,

Apart from being fully booked and keeping busy I found time to be with family acting as guide , interpreter , hostess , chofer etc.

Trying to fit in a few day trips was hard but worth it as first family guest , my brother that came all the way from Guernsey. I think this makes his fourth visit and every time is great! This year we visited the ruins of Santa Rosa Xtampak , one of my favourites and I took along two of my lovely guests who always like to travel by bus.

xtampak main temple

Main temple Santa Rosa Xtampak 

Santa Rosa is definitely a site where one needs a car. From the main Merida Campeche highway just before reaching Hopelchen ( the town where the Mennonites have their community) is about 40 mins from Santa Elena taking a left turn off the main road arriving at the site another 40 mins later .I took Zac with me but unfortunately he was not allowed in. I kind of had the feeling he would’nt but not to worry as I have seen this several times .Zac and I hung out playing ball  and getting to know the resident dogs ,whilst the others entered the ruins .

On the way back there was still time to visit the caves at Bolonchen , La Mujere Escondido . The hidden lady . Again I have visited this cave often and it is one of my favourites and it is where the drawing done by Catherwood that is quite famous and printed in the book Tales of the Yucatan

Again Zac and I played ball with the curators son who was helping his dad for the day due to having a cold and taking the day off school. I heard him tell his dad that he was bored and had no one to play with.So out came the ball and Zac . Had a long chat with his dad whilst we were kicking the ball around . Then his son and I played bingo from a board game he brought out . Meanwhile my guests and Vincent were enjoying themselves in the cave.

The next trip was to see the Flamingoes in Celestun. Vincent went on board the lancha and Zac and I people watched . Glad we got there early as more and more people were arriving . We went into town for a fish lunch and a walk on the beach before heading home

it was great to be with Vincent and spend time together and we even had a little dance together when the musician came .

Four days later my daughter Tara arrived with her husband Dan and my grandson Creegan . I was so excited to see them and could not wait for them to see the place . Actually it was through their last visit ( some 8 years ago) that I decided to build a little palapa house so that the next time they visited they could stay with me instead of in a nearby hotel and ready for any family members that cared to visit . So this is how the hotel started ( now I have 8 rooms and stay fully booked in the high season)

So I donned my different hats again as we took a couple of road trips

Again off to Celestun but this time we hired our own boat so that Zac could have the experience . Not sure he liked it though , he got a little sea sick as we got off the boat to see the fresh water cenote and was not in a hurry to get back on to return to port !

Again another fresh fish lunch …. Yummie ! But the walk on the beach was just too cold as we were coming out of a four day cold front . Nonetheless it was all worth it and arrived home a little tired but feeling good

other trips included Mani , Loltun caves Labnah , Uxmal and Choco Story.

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Valentine’s special dinner with two guitarists ,a box of chocolates from Creegan, lots of play time with Zac and Creegan ( of course Creegan now wants a dog ) Rest and pool time inbetween . It was wonderful to have my family visit me . All of you I love very much .



A tired out Zac



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Sunday Jaunt


Taking a chance to have a sunday run and to look for cenotes and to see a ruined hacienda that one of my guests told me about

I took a back road out of Ticul to Sacalum and onwards passing Yunku , where their are a couple of cenotes that I had seen before…

I continue northward and saw a signed entrance way… O k lets take the road…..oh my what a road. The worst track I have ever been on but like the good soldier I continued.The track was so rocky I could only do 8 kl at the most.Weaving in and out trying to find the best route, up and down but finally I arrived at the cenote where another sign said please keep clean our environment. I guess this did not mean anything as I descended into the hole and saw mounds of throw away cups and plates.

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The best spiritual group ever

Over the years I have hosted many spiritual groups here at The Pickled Onion and I have to say this last group was the best I have received.

They were charming , respectful,kind, generous , with love oozing from their soul and human   beings.  Ego was not on the agenda …… What a blessing !

They totally understood the spirituality without departing from their earthly roots . It was a joy !

They visited all the sites in the area  Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak  Labnah and the caves of Lol Tun , during the five days that they occupied the whole hotel .

Upon leaving they departed for thr ruins of Mayapan where a ceremony was held ( there are some sites that will not allow ceremonies to take place without written permission from INAH)

I was hoping I could go and join them…. And I was after organizing the schedule for the day

Below are a few photos

Big sisterly hugs to Star and Marie- Christina

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Deck the halls…..fa la la la

It is that time of year again when it is time for decorating the tables.. Christmas trees or however you like to arrange your Christmas decorations

Christmas lights are being erected in some homes and one would think we are in Europe , Canada or the U SA with the amount of lights some homes are displaying. We always associate Christmas with snow but here in the tropics the lights, for me, seem out of place. But it is what one becomes accustomed to.

At least the spirit is alive and the giving is just as profound .


For some reason this year I decided to get more involved with the table decorations… or maybe because I found this amazing store in Merida which ironicly is called Miguels…. a take ,I assume, from the store we have in Canada called Micheals where you can buy anything you need for craft making .

Below is what came out of my shopping spree…

The wreath I totally dismantled the purple adornments that I had last year and went back to the traditional Red … so now it has a new look .


Off with the old


On with the new


I always find it difficult to get in the spirit of Christmas because every business I have owned and operated always centred around Christmas  and by the time Christmas rolled around I was so tired and a little tired of the Christmas thing really be in the spirit !. I don’t go overboard with decorations just a few selected pieces .

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Wishing all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us at The Pickled Onion


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Drawing competition in Santa Elena

Now I have a little more time I thought I would do a fun thing in the village. I set out three categories based on age, one for ninos (children) up to the age of 13 and two categories for young and adults ,for a drawing/painting competition.

Mi Pueblo Maya

Mi Pueblo Maya

I passed by the local mayors office to see if it would be O K to have the prize giving in front of the palacio . With his approval I promptly pasted all the information outside, on the wall ,so the villagers could read and hopefully participate .

Next a visit to the schools passing out the information. The participants then had 10 days to do a drawing or painting .

The children had to draw a humming bird and the two young and adult categories one being of a bird and the other , my pueblo Maya.

winner of Mi Pueblo Maya

winner of Mi Pueblo Maya

As the closing day was drawing close I was getting a little concerned as there was only one drawing and so another trip to the schools to remind them and gave them two days extra to bring in their drawings. The children were a little shy to participate as this was something a little unusual .

Oh my goodness ,then I was inundated !

My task was then to select 1 st, 2nd and 3 rd prize winners in each catagorie

Saturday was the day of prize giving and I tried to co herse  the mayor to help give out the monies but I think he was busy so his secretary volunteered instead .

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One family was really happy their son won a prize and thanked me for giving motiva tión for the children      Ahhhhh! I thought ,how lovely, a forward thinking family … How lucky is this boy to have such caring parents .

I explained to all the participants that this will now be an annual affair and they have a year to practice and improve

I hope I gave some the inspiration with the small exhibition of some of my paintings. Lets see what next year brings!


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