APOCALYPSE CASH COW

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It's common knowledge to everyone, including Hollywood and its audiences that the Mayans have predicted that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Doomsday theories are usually treated with indifference and mockery, but in this case, seems easy to trust the instincts of the civilization that invented chocolate. So a surprising number of people have started to push the panic button,resulting in a whole industry of 'End of the World' products.

One of the biggest players is the Ministry of Tourism of Mexico, who is expecting to lure 52 million visitors to the Southeast of Mexico, which used to be the heart of the Mayan civilization. Compare that to Mexico's current number of foreign tourists - 22 million a year - and you will see the scale of the operation. The initiatives include the building of new hotels, time capsules, extra flights and 500 Mayan-themed events planned for this year. On the more homespun end of the market are the books and home videos being released every week, with titles like 'The Complete Idiots Guide To 2012'.

But there's also another part of the spectrum - an impossibly crazy, 'only-in-China' part. The doomsday movie 2012 ends with a giant Noah's Ark in Tibet, made to ferry out rich and important people to safety. In the movie, the tickets cost 1 billion euros each. On Taobao.com, the chinese version of Ebay, tickets for the ark currently cost 3 - 15 RMB (roughly 2.3 USD). The tickets come with a security seal, and state the boarding time as midnight on December 21, 2012, and the boarding place as Zhuo Ming Guo, which is straight from the movie. They've also added the signature of Ban Ki Moon, the current Secretary General of the United Nations for good measure.

The tickets were an extremely popular New Year's Gift this year, but will be on sale right up to the end of the year. You have the option to personalize them with your name and other information, and can buy them as paper tickets at stores in China, or as an e-ticket on Taobao.com. The tickets must be prepaid, of course. Just in case.

Image: The tickets, available on Taobao.com