Top 5 bizarre plans for tonight’s Mayan apocalypse

While you're toasting the end of the world tonight in Seattle, a man in China is hiding out in a giant yellow ball. (Screenshot via youtube.com)

While you’re toasting the end of the world tonight in Seattle, a man in China is hiding out in a giant yellow ball. (Screenshot via youtube.com)

The end is near! And for Seattleites that means going out with a bang.

It’s almost December 21st, the day the Ancient Mayans predicted (sort of) that the world would end.

Or maybe John Cusack just starred in a movie about it and we’ve officially lost touch with reality.

Either way, Elysian Brewery is serving up Rapture Heather Ale, KUOW is spinning REM’s “It’s The End of the World as We Know It, and SIFF is helping our imaginations run wild with an apocalypse film festival.

My personal favorite end of the world activity is The Snoqualmie Family Nudists invitation to “Go out the way you came in… naked” at their End of the World Party.

Which leaves me wondering, how is the rest of the world living out their final days?

China

In a country where activists disappear and the government tracks your Google searches, Chinese citizens have a right to be a little paranoid.

Lu Zhenghai, a middle aged ex-army man has spent his life savings of $160,000 building an ark to ride out what he believes is an impending flood.

Which seems pretty impressive until you hear about Yang Zongfu who has built a giant steel ball to be his apocalyptic chariot. Hedging his bets, he has designed it to survive a volcano, a tsunami, an earthquake or even a nuclear meltdown.

Generously, he has agreed to share his innovations with others for the low, low price of $800,000. Sure beats the scarf making gig he had before.

A great deal of the panic seems to have been stirred up by a Christian sect called the Church of Almighty God who have warned that the only way to survive past this Friday is to join them.

The Chinese government’s response? Arresting all of them.

France

Party at the "alien garage" inside Bugarach Mountain in France. You could be one the lucky few selected by the aliens as they exit the mountain during tomorrow's apocalypse. Wouldn't that be nice! (Photo via flickr by marcovdz)

Party at the “alien garage” inside Bugarach Mountain in France. You could be one the lucky few selected by the aliens as they exit the mountain during tomorrow’s apocalypse. Wouldn’t that be nice! (Photo via flickr by marcovdz)

With a population of 179, the tiny town of Bugarach in Southern France seems like an odd place to ride out the apocalypse.

That is before, of course, you learn about its proximity to Bugarach Mountain which houses what is being referred to as an “alien garage.”

This “alien garage” is where aliens will exit Earth in their alien Mercedes, taking a few lucky humans from the top of the mountain with them.

Or at least that was the plan until the Mayor of Bugarach screwed everything up by closing all roads to Bugarach and banning visitors.

He claims it is to prevent chaos but if you ask me he just wants to ride shot gun.

Russia

A women’s prison has reported a “collective mass psychosis” amongst its inmates brought on by panic over the end of the world. Everyone, please try and refrain from the PMS jokes.

In some towns, the shelves had been emptied of matches, kerosene, sugar and candles meaning that the only people left in Russia by this weekend will be pyros with a sweet tooth.

To quell the increasing national panic, Russia’s minister of emergency situations issued a statement last week assuring citizens that the world was not in fact ending.

It hasn’t helped.

The Vatican

The Vatican has taken a slightly different approach to its communication about Doomsday: allaying people’s fears while keeping them on their toes.

Splashed across the front page of the Vatican’s daily newspaper was this simple message: “The end is not nigh—at least for now.” Just in case you got too comfortable.

Mexico

Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities, is preparing to party all night. But they're maybe one of the few countries not celebrating the end of the world. (Photo via flickr by Nicolas Karim)

Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities, is preparing to party all night. But they’re maybe one of the few countries not celebrating the end of the world. (Photo via flickr by Nicolas Karim)

And what about the Mayans, the descendants of the great civilization that brought us calendars, the number zero, and now, another excuse to make fun of the French?

Their response seems to be a collective “huh?” as they scratch their heads at the chaos breaking out around the world.

Most Mayans interpret December 21st not as an end but as a beginning, for them it will be a celebration and time for spiritual renewal.

In Yucatan State, a huge Mayan cultural celebration is planned for December 21st. Yucatan’s large Mayan population will be there to celebrate along with the usual crowd of dreadlocked hippies and yoga enthusiasts who got lost on their way to the next rainbow gathering.

They’re already planning another party for 2013 to celebrate something we really should have been able to figure out on our own.

When calendars end they just begin again.

So tonight, cook up your not-so-last supper and cozy up to this doomsday BBC special.

Abby Higgins is a travel writer and journalist who splits her time between Kenya and her hometown in Washington State. She speaks French and Swahili and received her BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. In addition to writing, she has spent the past three years working in development and women’s rights in East Africa. You can read more of her writing at abbyhiggins.com.

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