Back in time

Sometimes we have to go back in our lives  to see where we have been so that we know where we are going.

I did just that yesterday ,looking at photos of when The Pickled Onion was taking form. Wow, I thought to my self the place has changed so much over the 5 1/2 years since I opened.

When the land had just been newly cleared and foundations were under way my friends Larry and Reg came down from Progresso to see what I was up to.

Off we went to see the place .The look on Reg,s face told me exactly what he was thinking… Mmm I thought he does,nt see it ……. my vision…

Hilario and his helper starting the foundations

I heard tell, much later that most people in Merida who had heard of my idea thought I was crazy. Well, time really did tell and the same people talk of this place  in a different way now which is good and positive.

I do however have to thank my friends that did stand by me and watch this place grow and thank all friends that supported me by coming and lunching,and just hanging  out.

Everything was a new experience for me and still at this time there was a language barrier .My spanish was really non-exsistant but I did get some help along the way…..which really did not turn out to be help after all … but this is another story and one day I will write the truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me GOD !

Front part of the restuarant

To continue

It took almost 8 1/2 months to complete to a stage where I could finally open on Christmas Day 2006. I had no electricity for more than 6 weeks, so

newly painted before opening day

worked with candle light in the kitchen and the restaurant.also I had the driveway lined with candles for people to see there way up. I became known by the locals as the romantic restaurant. It was a hard slog, as I had to buy huge blocks of ice everyday to keep fresh the food in the fridge. But it worked out O K . I cooking on a gas stove whilst praying a wind would not come and blow out all the candles in the restaurant .

But I got over that hurdles………… and overcome many obsticles along the way to get where I am today but all has been a learning experience . After living in the village for some 6 years now one gets to know the people well . Their customs, their way of thinking, their way of being and the ones you can trust.

But really this post is just to show a few of the before and after pictures so here goes


It took me several years before I was able to put a bathroom in my place.I used to use the public bathroom and take a shower out the back of the kitchen where there was a shower room.


It was such a luxury when my bathroom was completed!

I still have more plans to extend my house somehow as now the business is growing I need more space to create an office area.

The pool area before

The pool only came about because I love to swim and its so hot here one needs somewhere to cool off. The first year I used to cool off in the cistern behind the restaurant that catches rain water.Thats when I thought

I do really need a pool so that I can swim and not just sit and cool off.


The rooms came next….. I really had no intentions of moving forward into a B & B . I tell people it just happened!How?

My daughter and her husband came for a visit the second year I was open. They stayed in a small hotel down the road for a week but spent most of their time with me . And the same again when my brother came from England for a week so see what  I thought ,this is silly they are spending all that money just to sleep,so why not build a room for my family and friends that want to visit.


The first house done and I was really happy with it… just simple and typical design of the area but with modern conveiniences   . I used to get a few people dropping in to see if I had rooms to rent and I would say Oh no! Im sorry I am only a restaurant then with the completion of the house I would then say , well , I have one if you are interested? I would take them to look at the room and as soon as I opened the door there was an exclamation of delight…. Oh! yes, can we stay here? Of course certainly you can…. so then one house led to another and I am still in need of more rooms ….


I did build another small palapa for a massage room and it certainly gets used

Sometimes I am just so busy that I was finding by the afternoon I wasnt really in the frame of mind to do much massage work . So I looked for a young lady in the village that would be really interested in learning the art of massage.Carmen came and seemed really keen to learn so I booked her into a course in Merida and explained that she could not miss on class or even 1 min of class…. are you sure , I asked, that this is doable for you. Yes! she said all excited.

So now she has gained her certificate and is creating her own clientle as well as working here  . I am so happy for her and she loves the work and she is good!!

A few more photos of changes that are made with progress.

restaurant area as it is today



I still have lots of plans for things I would like to do but like they say here in Mexico poco a poco little by little and this is how The Pickled Onion came into being ……no plans and no expectations.It just is !

About thepickledonionyucatan

Born in England emigrated to Canada and now reside in the Yucatan Mexico. LIfe is a journey so enjoy as much as you can
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7 Responses to Back in time

  1. Valerie,
    You are inspiring as we venture on to our new home in Mahahual. We do have a simple concrete structure but the yard is a blank slate waiting for us to create. I hope someday our place looks as good as yours does. I am not sure when we will be in Santa Elena but I will be in touch when I know we will be in your neighborhood. Be well, my friend. Donna Norstadt

  2. Heather says:

    Valerie….Norm and I were convinced from the start that you could accomplish whatever you set out to do. You have that joie de vivre and no fear of hard work so it was just a matter of time. Someday, when we return to the Yucatan, yours will be the first place we will visit. We’ve enjoyed many a meal at The Pickled Onion and now it’s time to enjoy your accommodation. First class, lady, all the way!

    • Heather and Norm yes you were two of the few that knew it could be done.It would be soooo nice to see you both again….. I always felt a connection between us the first time I met you…. and I was right Take care and lots of love Valerie

  3. Pat C. says:

    I so admire your accomplishment. I would love one day to see it. I could not forsee taking on such a project althought I do take on projects and then say, there it is done…I look forward to your blogs and maybe one day our paths will cross

    • Hello Pat thank you for your comment Projects are fun and hard work. Anything we accomplish can sometimes amaze us but in the end its well worth the effort Never stop! Its what keeps us going at times.I still see lots to do like next week starting an official bar. I say official cause we make the cocktails from the kitchen at the moment , so this will be something to look forward to and not only that it will free up so much space for the kitchen staff. I hope we do get to meet one day then I can listen to the lovely Newfie accent that I was used to hearing when in Canada. Take care Valerie

      • Pat C. says:

        Thanks Valerie, My sis in law arrives on Wed and I have been saving the blogs for her to read. I will find out soon enough if she is going to travel and live in another country over the winter. I just returned from a Meditterian cruise…glad to be back in canada. My favourite country–from the little I saw was Turkey.

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