Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Boryeong's magical mud cures the everyday case of dry skin, sanity and sobriety", says random foreigner.

This weekend, another first I wanted to experience before my departure from South Korea: getting slicked-up at the Boryeong Mud Festival.

According to my Wiki-ing, this is the 14th annual celebration of Boryeong's healthy, clay-based mud to advertise beauty products made from a local, organic company. What better way to sell something than with free samples? Better yet, what better way to sell something than with mud slides, beach access, and loads of alcohol at the ready? I don't know of many.

We left with a small group of foreigners very early Saturday morning for the 5-hour bus ride from Ulsan to Boryeong. After checking into the pension nearby, we were ready for action and made our way to the beach!

I never experienced a traditional frat-style 'Spring Break', but after this weekend I'm pretty sure any potential desires to join in on one in the future were prematurely fulfilled. People really didn't hold anything back. In fact, for as excited as I was all month to attend this festival, as soon as I stepped off the bus I felt immediately uncomfortable. To be greeted by a sight like this when you are completely clean is really awkward.

Thankfully, the weather soon changed into an all-out monsoon and we were able to get messy enough to talk ourselves into getting muddy. After that, we fit right in!

We also found plenty of time to lay on the beach and go swimming. Cheen-gu also liked hanging out with us.

So what does one bring to a mud festival?

1. Camera (waterproof if possible; if not, wrapped in plastic or inside a ziploc)
2. Money
3. Phone
4. Optional but useful: towel and extra plastic bags for wet/muddy clothes
5. Sunglasses
6. Sunscreen

One extra item we found almost necessary by the end of the weekend were 'wet bags', designed specifically to hold small personal items (see numbers 1-3) in a completely water-proof bag with attachable lanyard for around your neck.

Oh, and you might want to bring some courage too... of the liquid and/or mental variety. This crowd demands it.
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