There are going to be some crowds this week. December 21 marks the end of a 5,128-year Mayan cycle, and foreign tourists are already flocking to Mayan sites.
The learned folks over at INAH – Mexico’s anthropology institute – are rolling their eyes at the fuss. They have pooh-poohed any talk that the end of the Mayan cycle means Apocalypse. But I guess they got word not to deter any mini tourism boom among New Age mystics and spiritual adventurers. So they sent out a notice this week to alert tourists of conditions.
If you plan to party like the end of the world is nigh, it’ll be tough.
Be forewarned -- you cannot take the following into Mayan sites: Food, alcohol, backpacks, large bags, coolers, child strollers, bicycles, skates, tripods, firearms, umbrellas or anything sharp.
So that leaves sun tan lotion and a bottle of water. Maybe a hat.
At least you can hydrate while we pass from what the Mayans called the 13th Bak'tun into the next era under the Mayan Long Count calendar.
Luxury hotels in Cancun have been advertising End of the World promotions, replete with oceanfront suites and champagne. But apparently in Guatemala, some hoteliers say projections that 150,000 to 200,000 tourists would flock to the area of the beautiful Tikal ruins in the Peten region were overblown (link in Spanish).
Plenty of famed Mayan sites are open to the public – like Chichen Itza and Uxmal en Yucatan state, Edzna in Campeche, Palenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak in Chiapas, and Tulum in Quintana Roo – but one key site is closed. That site is El Tortuguero in Tabasco state. It is there where archaeologists discovered Monument 6 – whose inscriptions are the only known reference to the end of the current 13th Bak'tun era and the commencement of a new era.
If you want to get NASA’s outlook on Dec. 21, click here. Here’s a sum up:
“The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.”Britain’s The Guardian newspaper has amusing wall-to-wall coverage of End of the World fever. It notes here that dozens have been arrested in China in recent days for spreading doomsday fever. Russia also has some kooky goings on as citizens buy up emergency supplies.
The paper’s take: “So what is apocalypse fever, then? Just a few bulging pockets of apocalyptic stupidity.”