In truth we haven't been going to El Pilar as regularly as we used to when old Germán was in charge. His passing was preceded by that of the amazingly loquacious parrot he kept in the gatehouse. He did always seem to say that he'd love it if more people could come and witness the beauty of his finca, but I think he had locals in mind predominantly.
There's also an interview with ever-effervescent eco-crusader Vida Amor de Paz. I had a brief encounter with Guatemala's polar explorer last year and found her a little keener then than she was in her conversation with Laura McNamara to sprinkle her commentary with references to 2012 and the Mayan cosmovision.
I remember wondering at the time whether she really believes in that bollocks or whether in fact it has become a useful hook for a) getting funding for her trip and wider campaign and b) inspiring impressionable young people to become eco-crusaders.
Could it be similar to the great E.O. Wilson's appeal to religious delusionals on his lecture circuit? For Wilson insists — and even Richard Dawkins grudgingly admits — that the godly are far more likely to save the planet than us die-hard cynics and atheists. Anyway, more on that when I get round to reviewing Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood in the next few days.
Next month we are going to be battered with Roland Emmerich's 2012. Tuesday's Guardian had a great piece on the underlying 'tosh' which featured fun soundbites from both Mayan archaeologists and local elders:
"Mayan leaders consider the fuss a ridiculous western obsession. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff," Apolinario Chile Pixtun, an elder from Guatemala, told the Associated Press."Meanwhile, behind schedule, but still very scarily — there will be ice-free summers in the Arctic in 'as little as ten years time' — it was reported yesterday.