Anticipation builds in Mayan Yucatan for 'end of the world'

TULUM, Mexico - As the winter solstice approached the Yucatan region, techno music parties sent waves of sound over beaches, minstrels strummed guitars for dining tourists, and life continued as usual for the Mayan people.

The Mayan calendar 'ends' at the solstice at 5:11 a.m. local time on Friday, Dec. 21.

The Mayan ruins of Tulum and Coba were teaming with tour buses of vacationers as Mayan guides happily booked private tours.

Julio Tuz recruits visitors for tours. He passed out maps to the Tulum ruins, nearly 1,000 years old.

"Nothing is going to happen," said Tuz. "It's just the dawn of a new era."

He said his Mayan last name in English means "joker."

"Maybe I'll get some tequila," he said with a laugh.

But joking aside, Tuz said he would attend a service in town that was a mix of Mayan and Catholicism. Then he said he would head to work at the ruins.

Meanwhile, at the beach thousands of New Agers and non-conformists from around the world are eager to see what will happen at sunrise, which is about four minutes after the winter solstice.

"I think it is more of a personal thing," for meditation and reflection, said one woman.

Tasso Von Jena, an artist who has lived in Tulum for a decade, said the Mayans were brilliant when it came to counting time.

"They had help from extra terrestrials," Von Jena said. "Maybe we will see the space ship and maybe it will be the end of the material world."

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