This last weekend we took our second big road trip in our new car. We love our car, even though it does have small quirks to it. The car has great a/c, as well as plenty of space to sit comfortably. As far as gas goes, it’s quite a bit more expensive then back in the States. Currently gas goes for about 1,870 won a LITER. Doing my quick math…with my smartphone handy…that’s about 6.18 dollars a gallon. :) Not quite sure what it is back in the States anymore…but I’m pretty sure if it got that high people may be tempted to go back to the old fashioned horse and buggy. Anyway, we swallowed the gas bill, and began our 3.5 hour trip up to Boryeong for it’s annual mudfest. I wasnt quite sure what to expect, I had heard quite a bit of mixed reviews on the place. Chelsea, Jeremy, Derik and I wanted to check it out for ourselves, and go just this once while we were still in Korea.
It wasn’t the best of days, quite foggy, a little rainy, and of course humid. We arrived in Boryeong faster than anticipated, parked the car, and went exploring to find a place to eat for lunch. We found this cheap burger place (burgers NOTHING like back home though) that had a great view of the festivities. Take a look.
The stairwell going back down to the first floor from the burger place was pretty cool…
There were people everywhere. Apparently mudfest is a great place to go for the military men and women to relax and have some fun. I’ve never seen so many enlisted in one place! It was great getting to talk to some of them, and hear how long they’ve been in, and where they’ve traveled.
After eating lunch we checked into our hotel. The ‘Ocean of Fantasy’ hotel was minutes from the beach, and about a 15 minute walk from mudfest. We found out from a really nice lady, who spoke English quite well, that there was a boxing fight, Korea vs. Japan at a local school. We couldnt pass up going to see at least one match, and hitched a ride on a shuttle. We were pretty much the only foreigners there. Multiple times we had the news (KBS) camera facing directly at us. Koreans are not ashamed about literally standing above you to film or take a picture without your consent. It’s a little awkward.Anyway, this boxing match was the first one I’ve ever been to, and seeing it in person instead of on tv made it that much more violent. The Korean guy got his but kicked by the fighter from Japan.
Pretty cool eh? And it was free. Or at least we think so, we sort of just waltzed in. After leaving the fight after once match (it was going all day), we were ready to get our mud on.
I guess by now I should mention, all the photos were taken from a cell phone. My iphone or Chelsea’s android. We ended up buying these pretty spiffy 100% waterproof bags/cases online that have a great clear back so that you can take both front facing and back facing photos, while fully operating the touch screen. Derik and I got these cases for mudfest as well as our Bali trip! How sweet is it going to be to paddle board, white water raft, and snorkel and be able to bring a camera with us?! I’ve tested mine out plenty of times in the shower, in a bowl, in the ocean, and now in mud. It’s a pretty durable little guy…AND it floats. :) Needless to say, I’m pretty darn excited to bring it to Bali.
Back to mudfest. Walking into the main event area, you feel a little strange at first NOT being all muddy. People look at you weird, and aren’t ashamed to yell at you to “get dirty.” There were tons of blow-up mud slides, games, pools, basins-you name it, it was there. The lack of hygiene was also apparent. We’ve heard stories of people coming back with strange rashes, pink eye, and other such things. No wonder, in one single pool they’ve got about 20-30 people rolling around at one time. And there isn’t any chlorine to purify it.
We decided to nix the slides, pools, and other various oh-so-public, unsanitary games half due to that fact alone, as well as the lines were miles long. Ridiculous waiting times. We made the choice to go to the color mud area, and use all the pretty fun colors to fully ‘paint’ our bodies. It’s more interesting looking anyway, instead of the dark greenish gray color of the natural mud. There were colors like green, blue, purple, yellow, red, and white.
We got in line for the color mud at about 2:30pm. We didnt get to the front of it until about 4:00pm. Maybe later…by that point it was all blurring together. Not only was the wait long standing up, there were no definite lines, so people were just packing in from all sides like sardines. It was torture.
And of course there’s the occasional misspelled sign…at least they tried. I just don’t understand how they misspelled ‘before’ but got ‘experiences’ right. It’s also a little strange they capitalized the nouns…
The ladies that were so gracious enough to do the ‘painting’ happened to also be very precise and detail-oriented, and took another 20 minutes longer than they needed to. Although the wait was terrible, after being painted it all seemed worth it, being rainbow colored was sooo much fun! Everyone would ask us where we got the ‘fancy’ mud, and it was a great conversation starter.
We then had a little fun outside the color mud area…in the brown/gray/green mud area. We stood out like sore thumbs!
Then came jail-time…
Stopped for a snack…Turkish wrap. They call them kabobs here.
We had a blast playing around in the mud. We decided to then walk back to our hotel (pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to find a taxi that would take us in our current state). On our way back we took a dip in the ocean to clean off. Little did we know the mud actually dyed our skin. My skin showed clear definition of my red, blue, and yellow stripes, and Derik had quite the greenish glowing chest and red face …
Back at the hotel we finished washing up, and divvied up our homemade ‘fruit punch’ mixed the night before. Then it was back to the festival for us! The rest of our evening was spent doing various random things. We spent 15 minutes talking in spanish to the Peruvian salesman (of whom we haggled with to buy two rings for bali…that way we dont have to bring our expensive wedding rings). It was actually quite refreshing. I think he enjoyed it as well, he gave me a great deal on the rings! We also met up with an Irish guy from Dublin, that was an English teacher here, who had maybe one to many drinks. He told us we’d be more than welcome to come visit him back in Ireland anytime we’d like. That was nice of him don’t you think? ;) We found a fish tank that housed three small sharks at a local restaurant. Im pretty sure they weren’t ‘for sale’ to eat. We walked through a spectacular sculpture garden, which was very dimly lit, so my pictures didn’t turn out too well. Last but not least, we were able to see a fantastic firework show. This show was probably one of the best I’ve been to. The fireworks were so close to the water, and so BIG…it was great! Below are pictures of some of the events I just described.
The awesome punch. Tropical isn’t it?
Back at the festival, the mud area was closed down for the night.
Apparently there was some sort of concert…
The sculpture garden(I apologize for my phone’s graininess).
The firework show.
I love fireworks. I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet knows that. My heart was pretty much full after this event, and I was able to go to bed very happy!
The next morning we took off for home at about 10:00 am. On our way we stopped in Jinan, a place that has these very unusual jutting twin rocks. Here are some pictures I took at the rest stop.
All in all, mudfest was a fun little weekend adventure. I’m so glad we decided to go! After last weekend though, I have gotten more eager for our next BIG adventure of Bali! I’ve been counting down the days (ehem…11) and cannot wait!