30 August 2013

보령머드축제 - Boryeong Mudfest!

Every July a small beach town on the Western coast of Korea called Boryeong (or Daecheon) gets more foreigner action than most cities of 100,000 on the peninsula will ever see.  There's a nice little beach there and some fun outdoor bars and random arcade game booths, but other than that there isn't a whole laundry list of things to do in Boryeong.  Unless of course you're planning to visit in the last two weekends of July, then you're guaranteed all of that plus about 2 million (so says Wikipedia, I would beg to differ but whatever, sounds impressive) people who are there to play in mud and drink cheap Korean beers on the beach together.  Boryeong basically explodes into this massive all day and all night party for two weeks straight, which can't be nice for the residents there but is pretty stinkin' fun as an attendee.

Here I am doing my best to fit in with the locals taking selfies on the beach.  Couldn't throw up the Korean deuces because I needed both hands to steady the camera. Dude in the back totally caught me... embarrassing.

Basically anything fun and strange that happens to me outside of the greater Seoul area is thanks to a tour group for foreign dummies like me called WinK (When in Korea).  It's run by this guy William who is a total boss, he's Korean so he finds all the hookups for buses and places to stay and fun festivals, plus he's fluent in English (maybe he's Korean American? who knows) so he passes along all the discounts and stuff to us pathetic white people who can't even speak enough Korean to order extra lettuce at dinner.  Basically whenever one of us sees a trip we want to go on we try and convince everyone else to sign up, which is usually not that difficult, and we pay the money and go.  Absolutely no planning or coordinating needed, which is a beautiful thing.  Plus most of these trips are all inclusive for less than $90.00.

I'd never heard of the Mudfest before I came here (my previous coworkers had horror stories to recount from 2012), and I had just arrived in Korea about two weeks too late to go last year.  I'd heard that it was basically a big scary party where people did stupid things and hurt themselves/broke things.  Didn't sound that exciting so I kind of put it out of my mind for the last 10 months.  Then one day someone was talking about Mudfest and all the horror stories came flooding back.  Despite previous warnings from coworkers and friends, I decided to take my chances and go because it still sounded like a ton of fun to me.  Cheers to making your own decisions because this trip was a blast.  I had a mini reunion with a bunch of awesome chicks I met on a previous WinK trip to Busan last winter/spring, which made the trip just that much better.

Said chicks. Me looking like a fool, Bridgette and Haley up top, then Mel Reed, Maleah and Melly Mair below.  Seriously some of the best ladies I've had the pleasure of being around in my year here.

Most of the trips leave late Friday night or early Saturday morning to accommodate us crazy-hour-working hagwon people, so we boarded a bus early Saturday morning near Suji and headed South.  I think it took about 3 hours to get to Boryeong, but who really knows?  I just remember trying to sleep, failing miserably, then making the entire bus miserable (probably) by playing bus games with everyone sitting around us for the remainder of the time.  We got to Boryeong and it was hectic, so many people and so little direction.  Eventually ended up finding our hotel room (which was a two-fold mess that I won't get into, probably the highest my blood pressure has been this entire summer), ditching our bags, and heading to the beach.

The entire day consisted of sitting on the beach, painting each other with mud, having mud thrown at us, lots of prime people watching, pseudo-tanning the areas of our body that weren't covered in mud, and drinking delicious soju adult capri suns in bags that were being sold every few weeks by street vendors.
Aforementioned chicks plus Andrew & Chance with his brand new adjumma visor hat (the old ladies here actually wear those, no joke).

This was technically the next day, but whatever, it's beachy.  I love that all of my friends do the standard Korean peace sign pose... we are such losers.

After maybe 5 hours of sitting in the sun this big stage in the middle of the beach suddenly started pumping this weirdly mesmerizing Korean dance music (I really don't know how to explain it) and people standing on the top of it started to spray everybody with these massive fire hoses full of water.  Plus there were a handful of Korean girls dancing on top of it which was sad to watch because Korean girls have no rhythm.  I'm sorry this is true.  It was bizarre but super fun, and turned into this big dance party on the beach which only lasted about an hour.  Honestly it could have gone all night and we probably would have stayed, that was the most fun hour of the entire day I think.  Thankfully, our pension (that's what they call these pseudo motels here, no beds or anything, just a big soft wooden floor, a few blankets and pillows and a big shower/bathroom) was really close to the beach, so we headed back for naps and showers before continuing our night out in the big city (sarcasm tag) of Boryeong.

Me, Haley and Chance Pants post showers, waiting for the rest of the chicks.

Obviously we are all very mature here.  Me and my boyfriends, Andrew and Chance.

We wandered around trying to find food before we went out, but Boryeong is SO packed (as mentioned before) that it's nearly impossible to find a place that a. has room, b. will allow you to wait, c. has room for you even if they will let you wait for two hours or whatever horrendous amount of time they tell you.  Found some mediocre yet overpriced fried chicken and called it good.  Did some outdoor bar hopping because drinks in bags are always a plus, watched a fireworks show on the beach, and then somebody convinced us that it would be a good idea to pay 20,000 (equal to about $18.00) to get into a club.  First of all, towns of 100,000 people don't have clubs - fact.  Second of all, if they do they are most definitely not worth paying to get into.  In retrospect, we probably should have only gone if they were paying us to go into their club.  But whatever, I digress.  After many wasted moments in said club we all decided the beach was the best place to go for a vacation (this joke is lost on any person reading who does not teach at Chungdahm).  I went to bed shortly thereafter, and the boys stayed out and partied like the party girls they are until maybe 6 in the morning.

The next morning was a bit rough, as proven by this photo.

We boarded a bus back to Seoul the next afternoon, after some more failed attempts to find food.  Sat on the beach for a bit then bid farewell to Boryeong.  Perhaps see you next year...?

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