Sunday, August 8, 2010

Boryeong Mud Festival 2010

A few weeks ago (July 17th and 18th) Ryan, his friend Brad and I headed out to go to Mudfest. Now what is Mudfest you ask? I would more or less just say one huge party in the mud, mud slides, mud paint massages, mud pools, mud wrestling, mud jail, and so much more all having to do with mud. Now why is this so great you ask? Well as a kid I always wanted to just cover myself in mud and not get yelled at, well folks that is what Mudfest is all about. You cover yourself in mud and walk around all day getting even muddier, cleaning yourself off in the mud pool, mud slide, or ocean just to go cover yourself again. To top it off they say it will even give you great skin!

Ok now I will give you some real facts about Mudfest for those that are really still wondering what in the world and why.
  • Mudfest is an annual event held in Boryeong at Daecheon beach, on the West Coast of Korea.
  • The mud in the area is said to have special properties that make for healthier skin.
  • There are seven products made by this special mud.
  • In order to promote the mud and products Boryeong city started a festival where they would bring in the mud for people to experience it for free, also helping them sell tons of it to foreigners.
  • Word spread of the mud madness and soon it became the festival to attend for any foreigner living or visiting Korea.
  • It is said that there are more foreigners at Mudfest than Koreans, what can I say maybe foreigners are the only ones crazy enough to find fun in playing in mud.

 Now to start the weekend off we had Brad meet us at school as we finished up our last few classes for the night and then headed out to Hoo-La-La to grab some spicy chicken, rice noodles, and beer. Dinner was great Brad filled Ryan and I in on his travels as we told him about our jobs. When we got back to our apartment the guys headed out to enjoy a cigar and walk around our complex, as I vegged out with some wine to watch a Dirty Sexy Money marathon as much as I hate to admit it. At first this show was very odd to me but it has started to grow on me and I look forward to what crazy things they will add next to these poor fictional characters lives.

The plan was to get up early on Saturday and head out to Mudfest and take it all in and head back that night. Well I think we finally rolled out of the apartment about 11 to catch the bus and head to McDonald's grab some lunch and head off to the Anseong bus terminal. Originally we had thought that we could catch a bus straight into Boryeong and it would take maybe an hour to an hour and half, sadly we didn't do much research on this because that was not the case at all. Once arriving at the Ansong bus terminal we had Brad work his magic Korean skills and get us tickets, running in to our first and second problem of the day all at one time because the woman sold us tickets to the wrong place, and then when she exchanged them she sold us tickets to a bus that left in one minute. Having said that I am sure you can guess that we missed that bus and yet again had to exchange for one leaving 40 minutes later. Let me just say that I think it must be amazing to have the kind of skill where you manage to mess people up not once but twice in a 5 minute period. So as always I love to people watch and didn't mind this one bit. Once on the bus we were back in high hopes that everything was back on track for the day. After about an hour on the bus we pulled into the Cheonan bus terminal where we bought tickets on the next bus.

We had some time to kill so we headed out to the main streets to wonder a bit and got to see two political candidates putting on shows and giving speeches, they each even had people in matching shirts holding signs that would dance. I wish we there had been more time to watch a little more because it was quite entertaining and I don't even know what they were saying. Cheonan over all seems like a pretty cool town, they have a new bus terminal opening with all kinds of shops and art exhibits opening in December so I think Ryan and I may head out there to investigate a little more. Anyways as we waited to board the bus we met some other people headed to Boryeong too, they had been up all night drinking and were ready to take on the party, they had mentioned they went last weekend to the opening and were headed back for the closing on Sunday. This overly "happy" bunch were the ones to break the bad news to us that the bus would not be getting us there till about 5 and all the Mudfest activities closed down at 7. At this point we all started to think that our plan to head back Saturday night was going to be a bust.

So once on the bus again we were headed off to Mudfest! The ride took a little over 3 hours; however I got to see some of the best views I have seen so far in Korea. We went through a lot of "back country" and got to see a lot of the mountains and as always rice fields. Now Ryan and Brad have been before so they knew what stop we were looking for and the one we stopped at was a stop to soon, however they didn't give us much of a choice because everyone was getting off the bus. We all just kind of sat there thinking that maybe it was because we were some of the only foreigners on the bus so maybe we were the only ones going to the last stop. Well yet again we were wrong and were told, or well Brad was told in Korean, something about another bus with lots of pointing and fast talking. So well ok then what else are we to do but do as we are told. Once paying too little and then too much for the other bus we gave up and told them to keep the change. We were finally on our way to Mudfest for sure this time! After a short ride we pulled into a parking lot full of other buses and a few food stands and bathrooms. We were there! Sadly as with Seoul I kind of thought getting off the bus would be more of a life changing experience and yet again it was just kind of like, "oh wow this is it" but lucky for me Ryan then told me that no it was still up a little ways so the excitement was back on!

What I first saw, and why I was really confused about all the hype.
Now looking the right way. 

Now all that was left other than finding the mud was finding a place to sleep for the night. We headed off jumping in and out of different hotels finding some with openings but crazy prices and others were full. We were wondering around in what seemed like a neighborhood area when an old Korean woman approached us speaking Korean. Well Ryan and I looked at Brad for a translation as he stood there talking to this woman. A few minutes later we are following this woman to her house as Brad explains to us that she rents rooms on her roof. Ok Ryan and I looked at each other a little skeptical as he explained that price of the room would be 90,000 Won so 30,000 Won each coming out to be around $25 U.S. dollars a person. Well this woman and now another woman are back to talking to Brad as they lead us up to the roof and show us the space. It is a clean nice little room, no beds but most old fashion Koreans don’t use beds still today, there were two windows, an air conditioner, a fan, some pillows, blankets, and even a TV. The bad news was the shower and bathroom were shared and across the roof, however was nice, clean and big only thing missing was the hot water. Well after a few minutes of talking it over we told the them yes and handed over the money, even a 5,000 Won deposit to get the key to our room. I get the idea these women have been doing this for a while and know what they are doing. Ryan and Brad figure that they only rent to certain people, mostly Korean or people who speak Korean. As far as we can tell the other renters on the roof live there semi permanently to go to school or something because as we headed out to explore Mudfest we saw them all eating with the women.

Brad and Ryan infrount of our room.
Ryan and I.
The inside of the room.

The other rooms and the bathroom on the far end.  The fridge is for the ones that live there for school or whatever.
With our stuff now in a safe mud free place we headed out to see what was going on. Most things were being deflated but the beach was still in full swing. They had some Korean DJ and singers doing American Rap songs from long ago, they had wave runners out in the ocean, people swimming, and people covered in mud. We hung out on the beach for a little bit and then headed off to find the “Foreigners Only” restaurant. Sadly even the foreigners only place is not like you can get things at home. We got the hamburger + fries + coke pack and the hamburger really had ham on top of the burger, it was odd but really good. We sat and watched other foreigners eat, drink, and act crazy.

Sand Art
The Mud People. 
Some of the stuff they built on the beach for Mudfest
The Mud People riding some waves.
The Mud Painting stations after a long day.
Ryan and I at the beach
 One of the sad parts about Mudfest is that foreigners have taken it over and act like total ass holes. They get drunk and act like they are the only ones who matter as they drop glass beer bottles on the ground in the mud where everyone is barefoot, they litter the streets, sea, and beach, they get loud in clubs and start fights making most places have a “No Foreigner” policy during the festival, and over all embarrass any sober American or foreigner who has any pride.

Anyways back to the fun stuff after we ate we decided to head back and take a quick nap before heading out for dinner and drinks, but not before we stopped to buy some flip flops for the next day. And wow they had the prices jacked up on the flip flops, we ended up with a knock off pair of American Eagle ones that we would find out later are only good at getting stuck in the mud and rubbing the skin off our feet, but hey it’s still better than mud covered sneakers. Once back we started to try to make the best of the floor with our blankets and floor set up. Korea has hot muggy summers and being so close to the sea there was even more humidity in the air so it was nice to have the air condition, Ryan and I don’t have one of these as it is a luxury in South Korea and buying one for a year is just crazy, so it was great to enjoy the cool air. As we all tried to get “cozy” Ryan started laughing as he found out that the pillows were rice pillows and no matter how you fluff them not comfortable!

Ryan getting "cozy" with the nice soft rice pillow.

Once asleep we were awaken by someone trying to open our window through the bars only to find out it was the husband of one of the women wanting to make sure we were in there and the air conditioner was not just running, however he about scared the crap out of me. A little later about 9:00 we were awaken by screams and loud music, yes that is right these women live right next to “Fill Land” a carnival like amusement park. So at this point we headed out to check out “Fill Land”. They had your typical carnival rides and they had some not so typical. One that stood out the most and seemed the most entertaining was one that would spin fast then slow the bounce a little all trying to shake, bump, and throw people off the couch like area and into the soft middle where a Korean worker was doing back flips and walking around helping people like the ride wasn’t even moving. All the while the man working the ride is telling jokes and laughing at the riders. There were even benches for people to sit and watch because it is like a show.

The strange Korean ride.
Over all "Fill Land"
Befor the "Cyclone" ride

 We all decided to ride the “Cyclone” and it was amazing. Unlike at home the ride went for a little over 5 minutes and was totally worth the money. It spun around at first and then slowly started to swing back and for going higher and spinning faster with time. Once at full spin and full swing it start to do something like a small figure 8 where it looks like it is going to hit the polls that hold the thing up. At one point it was so fun and crazy that I felt that I should of called my mom before hand and let here know that I was going to be riding a carnival ride in Korea, you know just in case something happened it wouldn’t be like what my daughter was doing what in Korea? Anyways it was one of the best rides ever!

We headed back to the beach where everything was being held and found a place to have some dinner. We did the typical Korean barbeque style dinner where you cook either beef or pork at the table and make little taco like things out of it with leafs. Normally it is really good however this place was just bland with no flavor whatsoever. Once full we headed down to the “Family Mart” one of the many 24 hour convenient stores in Korea to grab some Hite Pitcher, oh yes the Hite Pitcher is a Pitcher of beer on the go and in Korea you don’t even have to brown bag it. We headed down to the beach that they had all lit up with huge lights to sit for a while. A lot of Koreans were down there having picnics, playing card games and drinking.
The all amazing Hite Pitcher

We later headed up to find a place along the strip to sit and people watch there. I tell you anything and everything you ever didn’t want to see you could find. It is a little scary some times over here. Korean women are really into fashion and most are skinny and pretty, however every now and then not so much, and then to top it off you have the foreigners that come over here and want to dress like the Koreans and it is just scary! People watching is just a little more fun when you don’t know what people are saying and in that case you can just put in your own dialogs to make things more fun. At the same time you like to think that people don’t know what your saying however sometimes you would be wrong, however don’t let the small chance your wrong stop you from talking out loud about what’s on your mind or about what you say. For instance Ryan pointed out to Brad and I that a boy was just digging in his butt, I wont lie we sat there and watched this even adding in some dialog all out loud while laughing. However this point is one that will come back to haunt you in the states, as I found out last year when I went home and was exiting the plane in Detroit and just announced to myself that “Lord, people are so fat here” and then got stared at by everyone around me….ooops.

On the beach.  Look at that Bartholomew noes!

Once back in our room we exchanged some jokes before bed, here are some of them.
  • How do you put a giraffe in the refrigerator in two steps? You open the door and put it in.
  • How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator in three steps? You open the door, take the giraffe out and put the elephant in.
  • All the animals in the jungle are having a meeting except for one.  What animal is not there? The elephant he is still in the refrigerator.
  • A man and a woman a date at the Eiffel Tower and the man dies.  How does he die?  A refrigerator with an elephant in it hits him.
To really make the joke work you have to add in other jokes in between these I am quite fond of “Little Johnny” jokes but any will work. Also something happened in between the elephant going in to the refrigerator and landing on the man but I don't remember what.

The next morning we woke up, oddly I was the only one brave or well maybe crazy enough to shower, and Ryan and I headed out to get some gifts for the family and pick up some Mudfest t-shirts. I got lucky and found a camera bag for my almost dead camera to keep it safe in the mud and water, and even got a shirt in my size! Gifts in hand we headed back to get Brad stopping to get some Veggimal B milk, gummy bears and peanuts for breakfast, hey it was going to be a long day we needed our energy. Once back we changed into our mud cloths and headed out to have some fun.

First we headed over to the “Mud Paint Massages” where there are nice big tub like things full of mud and paint brushes to well paint yourself with mud. Once all covered in mud we headed over to get in line for the mud slide. The line was a nice and long one but the “Mud Pit” and “Mud Jail”  were right next to us so we had quite a show. Mud wrestling here is not quite as raunchy as it is at home unless it was foreigners, most people have on shorts and t-shirts, and there was a woman that would tell you how to try to fight, the biggest one was standing on one leg holding your other leg crossed in front of you and hopping towards each other, it was quite funny watching people covered in mud hop towards each other.
Brad after the mud paint
Ryan and I after the mud paint.  It felt so good.
Once at the front of the line we are looking up at this huge inflatable wall with little brick like things to climb up it to get to the top. Ryan and I went together, I couldn’t stop laughing making it even harder for me to get to the top. I got to the top first and was hoping to wait for Ryan, however the Korean man at the top that helped me up had other plans as he more or less pushed me down the slide. Sadly I did not get see Ryan come down as I was getting out of the pool at the bottom of the slide, however people started to laugh and I turned around to see both Ryan and the Korean man at the bottom of the slide. Turns out that Ryan either pulled the guy down or the guy fell when Ryan got to the top and bounced to slide down. It was one of the best bounce/blow ups I have been on and not just because of the mud pool at the bottom.
We had a few minutes left before we had to head back to the room to get cleaned up and grab our stuff so we decided to do “Mud Paint Massages” once more and then go to the “Mud Jail”. Now the “Mud Jail” is kind of odd, it has soft bars you go through to get in and then Korean people throw buckets of mud at you. It hurts more than you would think as mud flies at you and slaps you in the back. After the mud jail we headed over to the big pool they had set up for people to kind of get cleaned off in with sprinklers. On the walk back we stopped to get what can only be described at giant corn dogs on a stick, that are purely amazing.

Us in front of the Mud Jail
Brad after the Mud Jail
 Once back we all took really quick cold showers, changed, packed up and found out that the tickets we got the day before were for well that day at 4:30 and to make it even more confusing we bought those tickets well the day before after 5 so they would of never worked out for us. On the walk to where the buses were set up we grabbed some pizza with sweet potato in the crust that was covered in olives, the crust was a little odd but good.
Last few pictures as we headed out of Mudfest.

 Brad then headed off to see if we could change our tickets as Ryan and I headed off to try one last time to try to find him a shirt. The last stand at Mudfest was full of shirts and only after asking the guy were we lucky enough to find the last one they had in his size and some cute little Mudfest stuffed people. Once we met back up with Brad we found out we were lucky enough to get on the 3:30 bus out instead of the 4:30 bus. Once on the bus we were lucky enough to find out that this one would take us all the way back to Cheonan where we could catch the metro back to our train station at a much better pace than the bus would of taken us. Once back we hopped on our local bus for a short 15 minute ride back to apartment.

And with that the fun of Mudfest was over and it would no longer be acceptable to be covered in mud, I was and am still just a little bit sad about that fact, but had a great time at Mudfest.


Chastity said...

That sounds fun!! who would have thought mud would be good for your skin ?! I don't get the joke about the man and woman on a date and the refrigerator kills him...I was confused about that one. We have to watch what we say here too. But, so far I haven't said anything that many people understood..like when I am at the bus stop or anything. Wow..Since you were so muddy, did your clothes harden and get stuck to you ? I bet you had to throw them out. Maybe next time you should wear a bathing suit! I wish they have a mudfest here. I would totally go. Oh, yeah..pizza with sweet potatoes sound very odd. Is that a trademark food ?

Megan said...

Yea there is something missing from the joke, somehow the elephant got in the frige and I don't remember the rest.....

Oddly the mud doesn't get hard it gets more dust and just really soft! I was shocked that really one easy wash with just some extra bakeing soda. I had on my bathing suit but all Koreans are so skinny that I felt huge, and all the foreigners make everything so dirty/nasty/skanky that I just felt the need to cover up. I mean boobs out and everything no shame for the foreigners.

No it was more of a middle eastern thing that they had at a stand. They are big on potatos, corn, and veggies. Oddly the pizza here is amazingly great!

Anonymous said...

Hi Megan, hmm - ok mudfest. I know I'm old but the Tv marathon with wine on the couch sounds about my speed! :)
I bet is was fun though and a mud facial to boot. You are probably both glowing. Keep having fun and take care. Love Julie

Chastity said...

Ha Ha Ha! I would have covered up too! I am a little worried when we go to Italy I will see women in Thong swimsuits..I don't wanna see that. Cover up your booty!!
Neat! I would have thought the total opposite. The pizza here is REALLY good too. I think its because they use fresher ingredients!