What is it about (especially American) tourists in Mayan ruins that makes them clap incessantly? They get informed one time by some guide of dubious quality that great technological prowess in Mayan architecture can be demonstrated by the echo in any given space. The guide stands to one side of a Mayan ball court and hoots or claps his hands and hears an echo. Big deal. As a former architect, I can attest to the fact that despite the truly amazing building of the Mayans, there is nothing at all special about an echo between two large, hard parallel surfaces. And yet gringo tourists continue to be amazed and pass the rest of the day on any given site enacting a scene from Rain Man or an Oliver Saks book. I have witnessed this behavior at three separate sites so far, and I have little hope of being spared the clapping game tomorrow as we visit Palenque.