MUD FEST!

Ellie and I were super thrilled when we found out that the Boryeoung Mud Festival corresponded with our visit to S. Korea. We had read descriptions and decided it sounded like a lot of fun. The mud is trucked in from nearby and it is supposedly therapeutic and amazing for your skin. They eventually make it into mud masks that ladies pay a lot of of money for. We knew we wanted to go. The only problem was that we had no idea how to find a place to stay for this festival that is notorious for hotels charging obscene amounts of money. We tried to call a few Minbaks which are basically private rooms in other people’s homes but nobody spoke English and the tourist help line was quoting us near the 150USD range which is out of control for our budget. So upon one fruitful search we found a group that was going on Facebook. There were about 450 people signed up for this organized tour and the people would be departing from all over Korea. The organizer, Rudy would organize our transportation and our hotel for a fee of about 75.00 each. This was much more reasonable so we signed up. We delivered our money to Rudy’s friend at a subway stop one day since we couldn’t transfer the money into her account since we had no Korean bank account. We didn’t realize that we would be the only non-English teachers on the trip.

Basically, South Korea doesn’t get very many Western travelers who aren’t also residents such as teachers or military. The entire time we’ve been in Korea we’ve only met two other groups of travelers who were actually traveling for the sake of traveling. The tourist infrastructure in S. Korea is, needless to say, a little lacking.  Regardless, we showed up at the appropriate subway stop and on a Friday evening around 9:30. We were told that we would depart at exactly 10pm so don’t be late. Well, the organizer was actually quite crappy and we didn’t leave until after midnight. We had a couple beers on the bus and were entertained by some very drunk man would fancied himself Michael Jackson on the buses Noraebang system.

When we arrived at 3am in the morning, the organizer was drunk and had no idea what she was doing. No one had room assignments and we all stood in a parking lot pretty pissed. 300 people getting eaten alive by bugs, while some stupid girl pours her Heineken all over her list that says the room assignments, does not make for a good situation. We ended up getting our ondol style room finally. We were with a couple who were pretty weird. The girl was so positive and calm that it made me anxious. She would say things like “If you’ve never slept on the floor before, your shoulders will hurt, but it’ll be nice.” Or “I’m so happy we got a room and that things were organized,” when clearly she was just fooling herself.  The next day, El and I awoke and headed for the beach, our hotel was only 3 minutes away from where the festivities were happening. They had gigantic slides, a mud prison, mud wrestling pits, mud beauty stations and everyone was covered from head to toe. It was so much fun. I will leave you with some photos/videos from our MudFest day so you fully understand.

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Typical Korean Girl

Typical Korean Girl

She was not pleased

She was not pleased

Kelly found a sea star

Kelly found a sea star

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That night, the bad weather rolled in so we tried to watch the fireworks before just heading back to our room, watching some weird American TV and falling asleep, exhausted from our long day of partying on the beach with the mud.

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The next day, we woke up and Ellie’s knee really hurts. She had mentioned that it hurt the day before but didn’t make a big deal of it. However, this morning she can’t even stand on it and the male counterpart of the couple who is gigantic has to help her down the stairs. It was raining and the mud festival was pretty much off for the day so we headed on the first bus back to Seoul.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Mud Festival was a really cool thing to witness and kind of made me feel like I was on a college spring break, but despite bad planners and weird karma hippie couples, it was still a good time.

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