Archive for October, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO 2012: Buy This Book, Before It’s Too Late!

October 28th, 2010 by ejalbright

2012: Deadly Awakenings

Ripped from the pages of the Maya calendar, 2012: Deadly Awakening is a mystery novel by Beryl Gorbman set in Yucatan during the apocalyptic date of December 21, 2012.

Beryl splits her time between Seattle and Merida, and writes a delightful (if not controversial) blog about her experiences on the Yucatan Peninsula called “Yucatan Yenta.” Now she’s turned her hand to fiction, and published the first of what should be a series of mystery novels about her new homeland. The only thing that will prevent her success is if the world ends when the Maya calendar runs out on Dec. 21, 2012. All the more reason to buy her book now.

Here’s a blurb about her book:

Hundreds of thousands of spiritual travelers have converged in Yucatan to witness the end of the Maya calendar. Some think that the world is about to end; others think humanity will evolve to a higher form of consciousness. Against the exotic backdrops of Chichen Itza and Merida, all things are possible.

Then, in the chaos of the night before the fateful date, the unthinkable happens. People die, and die very badly. New York investigator Miriam Glass teams up with Yucatecan police chief J.L. Contreras to solve the bizarre and dramatic murders.

There is a parade of colorful characters –- local and imported mystics, police, expats, prophets and charlatans –- to round out the plot of this well-researched murder mystery. It’s gory and fun!

The book explains the various theories on 12/21/2012 according Jose Arguelles, Daniel Pinchbeck, and others. A good read for an insight into what December 21, 2012, might bring.

You can buy 2012: Deadly Awakening from Amazon HERE. Or download it to your Amazon Kindle HERE.

COUNTDOWN TO 2012 is an occasional series that points out signposts along the way that demonstrate the world will end in 2012. Here are previous posts:

The Italian End-of-the-World Village in Yucatan

Ivy League Professor Debates Apocalyptos

Slinky Meets Chichen Itza

Toltecs Appear in Comic Strip

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Chichen Itza Attendance Down by More Than Half, State Says

October 27th, 2010 by ejalbright

The number of visitors to Chichen Itza in the last two months fell by more than 50 percent over the same period in past years, reported Jorge Esma Bazan, director of the state agency that oversees the ruins

La Cronica de Hoy reported this week that during September and October, the number of visitors to Chichen Itza fell to its lowest point in history. Normally the site gets 4,000 tourists per day on average, but during this period it averaged 1,500.

The problem cannot be attributed to the increase in ticket price, Esma Bazan said, as most of those who came to Chichen Itza paid the previous ticket price. On Sept. 1, ticket prices for foreigners to enter Chichen Itza increased by 50 pesos to $166 Mexican ($13 U.S.), but most of those who came to Chichen Itza did so as part of tours which had purchased tickets at the previous price.

Other archaeological sites have seen a drop in attendance, but at Chichen Itza the drop has been most dramatic. The only possible contributing cause Esma Bazan was able to point to was a general strike in Spain.

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Chichen Vendors Moved out of the Shade

October 26th, 2010 by ejalbright

Some 250 vendors, roughly half the number that invade Chichen Itza every day to sell trinkets and handicrafts to tourists, were displaced from their usual location in the shady areas of Chichen Itza and put into five different locations in the sun, reports the Diario de Yucatan.

“If any of the vendors did not know about this, then they did not attend the meetings,” said Silvia Cime Mex, one of the leaders of New Kukulcan, the vendor association. “All were aware what kind of agreements were made with Cultur [the state of Yucatan agency that oversees Chichen Itza]. There’s nothing hidden.”

The shady areas, all of which are in the northern half of the archaeological zone, are for tourists and guides, she said.

According to Cime Mex, the relocation had been planned several months ago, but at a meeting June 28 the association had negotiated a delay of four months. Last week the deadline for moving was reached, the vendors were moved, and the federal agency that shares oversight of Chichen Itza, INAH, sent out crews to landscape the shady areas with flowers and turf.

In addition, the vendor association has agreed to halt other controversial practices by the vendors which have drawn complaint from tourists. Local children are no longer permitted to be in the archaeological zone, Cime Mex said. Apparently children were approaching tourists, offering to sing in Maya in exchange for coins. “Now the children go to school,” she said.

More importantly, the vendor association has agreed to take steps to eliminate the most egregious of vendors, the ones that get the greatest complaints, the tiichleros — those vendors who directly approach tourists and aggressively sell their wares. The name, according to anthropologist Quetzil Castaneda, comes from the Maya word tiich (Pronounced TI-ich’, “to offer”). In his 2004 article for the American Anthropological Association, “Tourism Wars in Yucatan,” Castaneda writes:

Tourists typically experience an overwhelming swarm of obviously poor, dark skinned Indians aggressively hawking handicrafts carved in ancient iconography, shouting in the tourists’ faces, “One dollar! One dollar, lady!” This practice, most commonly and aggressively used by children from neighboring villages that are more humilde (“poor,” “underclass,” “un-educated”) did not have a proper name in Maya in the 1980s and 90s, even though it had always been a topic of heated debate. The custodios, press and even “civilized,” “disciplined” Piste vendors argue the practice gives the quintessential “bad image” of local heritage to tourists. This year, however, I learned a new Maya word for the practice: Tiich [TI-ich’] (“to offer,” “to extend forward in offering”), which is now everywhere used to discuss the problem of the unruly Maya presentation of heritage “in your face.” This Maya word has already even been hispanicized, since vendedores now go hacer tiich or tiich-ear between the hours of 9am and 5pm at Chichen. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Accent marks and other similar punctuation have been removed from the original text as these characters are not recognized by this Web page. For the correct punctuation, please see the original article.]

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Have Vendors at Chichen Itza Been Relocated?

October 24th, 2010 by ejalbright

Commerce at Chichen Itza
A cryptic report in the Diario de Yucatan reports some 250 vendors at Chichen Itza, such as the one above, have been relocated.

Every day hundreds of vendors invade Chichen Itza to sell trinkets and crafts to tourists, and while there have been rumblings by the government to evict them, little if any action is ever taken. But a cryptic report in the major daily newspaper of the region, Diario de Yucatan, indicates a large number of the vendors have been moved.

In late September leaders of the venders claimed that the state of Yucatan government, which owns or will own much of the land at Chichen Itza where the vendors sell their goods, was preparing to evict the vendors by force. The vendors leadership gave a date of Oct. 1, which came and went without incident.

On Oct. 12 a news report appeared in Tribuna Campeche, which has been following the controversy over the vendors closely, that the state of Yucatan was planning a census of vendors. According to the journal, the director of the agency that oversees Chichen Itza said that for the past three weeks there have been meetings between the vendors and the state. Jorge Esma Bazan, director of Yucatan’s Cultur, added that before the end of the month there would be census taken of the vendors and that they would be issued credentials.

“The meetings that we have had are extremely warm,” Esma Bazan told Tribuna. Outside the gates of the archaeological zone there are 100 vendors who sell to tourists, versus approximately 500 who enter the zone every day. “We care deeply about the dialogue, have not broken the talks, and in the last session we reviewed questions regarding quality, of sanitary control to avoid outdoor defecation.” The bathrooms at Chichen Itza are for tourists and staff, and vendors have been using the jungle as their bathroom.

“We are working and looking to not affect anybody,” he said. Cultur, he said, will abide by the law, but with the endgame of creating “a reordering of the zone.”

Last Monday the Diario de Yucatan reported that there had been changes with regard to the vendors. The newspaper said that 250 vendors had been relocated from the northern part of the archaeological zone. “The move caused surprise among the vendors, who commented that the measure was taken in haste,” the newspaper reported. The newspaper did not say where the vendors were moved, but indicated that this would done without protest from leadership of the vendors.


Is Today the Day the Vendors Are Kicked out of Chichen Itza?

Vendors at Chichen Itza Vow to Protest and Blockade Elton John

Chichen Vendors Threaten Protest, Possibly Win Concessions

Trinket Vendors at Chichen Itza Demand Maya Get Share of Sarah Brightman Concert

Chichen Itza Vendors Offer Six-Point Compromise

Momentum Growing for Movement to Expel Vendors from Chichen Itza

Vendors Seek Protection, Appeal to Federal Executive on Indigenous Peoples

Vendors Fear Eviction from Chichen Itza Is Nigh

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See for Yourself: Karl Pilkington at Chichen Itza

October 22nd, 2010 by ejalbright

Some considerate Web pirate has put up Karl Pilkington’s visit to Chichen Itza as part of his UK television series, “An Idiot Abroad.” Pilkington is famous because Ricky Gervais, creator of the television show “The Office,” thinks his unique view of the world is hysterical. I have to agree.

What did Karl think about Chichen Itza? “It’s like an Ikea of columns, isn’t it?”

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Chichen Itza Murals Reveal Insight into Maya War Tactics

October 12th, 2010 by ejalbright

Mural from the Upper Temple of the Jaguars at Chichen Itza
A war scene from a Chichen Itza mural (El Economista).

An analysis of several pre-Columbian murals at Chichen Itza is lending insight into Maya military tactics, according to INAH archaeologist Eduardo A. Tejeda Monroy.

Tejeda Monroy presented a paper on Maya war tactics at a recent academic conference in Campeche. From the Chichen Itza murals found in the Upper Temple of the Jaguars and elsewhere, he makes four observations:

Soldiers are using four different kinds of shields, apparently designed to protect against the lance, ax, the dart hurled by the atlatl, as well as a curved wooden shield.

The battle scenes contain a person that Tejeda Monroy believes is a warlord or ruler (ajaw, in Maya), identified by wearing a headdress with two or three feathers and surrounded by representations of a feathered serpent.

The warriors are painted to strike fear in their opponents, he said.

Finally, the soldiers fight in well organized militias. In these scenes, the Maya are fighting face-to-face, but according to post-contact sources, it is well known the Maya also employed ambushes and other guerrilla tactics when necessary, Tejeda Monroy said.

The archaeologist apparently was upset when newspaper accounts of his presentation appeared and, in his opinion, greatly distorted the results of his research. These articles originated from a reporter written by a writer for INAH, the agency that oversees all pre-Columbian Maya sites in Mexico and the employer of Tejeda Monroy.

Tejeda Monroy corrected the article on a message board dedicated to Mexican archaeology, “Red Mexican de Arqueologia.”

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Learning Nutrician at Chichen Itza via Hip Hop

October 6th, 2010 by ejalbright

Via Khaki Scott at Yucatan Today

Tom McFadden, a Stanford biologist, has teamed up with young Yucatecans to form Proyecto Itzaes and to perform a rap song about the importance of nutrition. Obesity is a problem in Mexico, and apparently Tom is trying to get the young to do something about it.

This great video, part of which was shot at Chichen Itza, explains how to eat properly, and as an added benefit viewers can learn to count to four in Maya. Bon appetit!

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‘Concerts Damage Chichen Itza’ — New INAH Director

October 4th, 2010 by ejalbright

Chichen Itza has been damaged by concerts held in the archaelogical zone according to the new director of Yucatan for INAH, the federal agency that oversees Maya ruins and other patrimony for Mexico. That is, according to one Mexican publication, El Universal.

Eduardo Lopez Calzada, the new “delegado del Centro Regional INAH-Yucatan,” reportedly said in a press conference yesterday that his agency continues to analyze the seriousness of the damage. He claimed that unnamed experts have made it clear that the concerts damage the restored ruins, but he declined to say exactly what that damage is.

Over the last three years, Placido Domingo, Sara Brightman, and most recently Elton John have performed at the foot of El Castillo, the great pyramid at Chichen Itza. Various staff of the federal INAH have stated their opposition to the concerts, which are produced by the state of Yucatan. However, the state has always managed to reach an accord with INAH or with its sponsoring federal agency, the Mexican equivalent to the department of education.

Vendors Not Evacuated

Last week leaders of the vendors who invade Chichen Itza every day to sell to tourists warned that the state of Yucatan was going to forcibly remove them on Oct. 1. That did not happen, however leaders of the vendors say they still believe it is imminent.

On that subject, INAH’s Lopez Calzada also said he will reopen a dialogue with the vendors. He will seek to negotiate the conditions and demands of the vendors to settle the conflict. The state of Yucatan’s Cultur department, which shares control of Chichen Itza, should also participate in those discussions, he said.

According to El Universal, the new INAH director sees an opportunity for the vendors to continue selling their wares in Chichen Itza, overturning an earlier INAH directive of the last two years in which they are supposed to be kept out.

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Is Today the Day the Vendors Are Kicked out of Chichen Itza?

October 1st, 2010 by ejalbright

For more than six years hundreds of vendors have invaded the archaeological zone at Chichen Itza to set up tables selling trinkets, jewelry and crafts to tourists. According to some of the vendors, today they will be forcibly removed. And according to leadership of the vendors, they will resist.

In a press release released by leadership of the vendors, there are rumors that today, Oct. 1, the vendors will be kicked out Chichen Itza. On two earlier “invasions” by the vendors, in the 1980s and 1990s, troops eventually had been brought in to evict them.

Below is a hastily translated version of the press release:

A strong rumor indicates that on October 1 elements of the Yucatan SSP police and INAH will evict from our workplace, inside the archaeological site Chichen Itza, the more than 800 artisans and merchants, and we are compelled to say that we are prepared to resist such action which would violate our rights as the indigenous, trampling the ILO Convention 169, plus it is unfair that the poorest and neediest will be deprived our only source of income. If the government is unable to create jobs, they should not extinguish them, especially those of the us who are the poor and disenfranchised.

We reject these unconstitutional actions, which do not solve the problem of abandonment that we suffer as craftsmen-merchants like the rest of our Mayan community, and which are worsened with violence.

We should remind the authorities that we are the one who have worked at Chichen Itza since the beginning of the decade of the 1920s, and that more than 7 thousand people who live around this heritage area in small communities depend on us.

Por último, solicitamos a las organizaciones hermanas, pueblo Yucateco, a nuestro México y al mundo entero que se solidaricen con nuestra causa justa, que envíen mensajes al gobierno de Yucatán y al de México para que sean respetados nuestros derechos y, sobre todo, que impulse al pueblo maya a salir de este marasmo donde desde siglos nos encontramos inmersos. Finally, we asked our sister organizations, the people of Yucatan, our Mexico and world, to show solidarity with our just cause, to send messages to the government of Yucatan and Mexico, and to respect our rights and, above all, help the Mayan people out of this morass where we have been immersed for centuries.

By the directive of the craftsman at Chichen Itza (among others):

Our mail:

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