Remember that awesome disaster flick 2012
starring John Cusack? Inspired by the Mayan prophesy, the movie depicts the end of the world, December 21, 2012, and celebrates mankind's will to survive. In the end [SPOILER ALERT], Cusack's character and his family, a geophysicist, and the President's daughter make their way onto an enormous Chinese vessel known as an "Ark" and survive the epic destruction of Earth as we know it.
While the incredible special effects are certainly impressive, the movie has caused a man in China to take the Mayan apocalypse a bit too literally. Lu Zhenghai pooled his life savings to building his very own "Noah's Ark."
Interestingly, Lu, a master ship builder, lives in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uighur. The farthest location on Earth from any ocean, Lu's home town is the most landlocked area on Earth. An interesting occupation, what drives Lu Zhenghai to believe a ship is the answer to the apocalypse when many of his fellow neighbors have never even seen a body of water in their whole lives?
Nevermind the flawed logic - Lu Zhenghai is probably certified. A long-time enthusiast of ancient myths and legends, Lu first heard of the Mayan prophecy in 2010. Convinced of its validity, Lu set out to prepare for his survival by getting started on the ark. To date, Lu has already spent 1 million yuan, or $160,500, on building his vessel.
While Lu's ambitions are enormous, his vessel is actually relatively small. The "Ark" is merely 69 feet long, 51 feet wide, 18 feet tall, and weighs about 140 tons. Construction is made by wood and steel materials. Later, the ship will also be furnished and stocked with food to make it through the end of days.
While the ship may seem humble, Lu points out a party piece - the ship will receive three new diesel engines for a power output of 540 horsepower. In total, the ship is expected to cost two million yuan, or $320,000, when it's all said and done.
"Because the homes might be consumed by flood from 2012, I spent my life savings on this ship. Using it we can all escape."
A heavy gamble on what even Lu admits is a myth, Lu did formulate a contingency plan. In the event that the flood does not make it to Xinjiang Uighur, Lu believes he can still use the boat to help flood victims elsewhere. Finally, if there is no flood at all, he would keep the vessel as a tourist attraction or sell it as a ferry or a sightseeing boat.
With only a couple weeks to live, we will soon find out whether Mr. Lu Zhenhai is a gullible idiot or, in fact, brilliantly prepared.
Check out more pictures of Zhenghai's Ark here.