While some people might "take it easy" or relax a little after returning from a trip like mine to France, I did not. My first weekend back in Korea I had plans to attend the 9th annual Boryeong Mud Festival, and I was not going to miss it. So while my body was still confused as to whether it was on Korean time or French time I totally threw it off by staying up all night partying on the beach.
What is a Mud Festival? Well, I guess it kind of explains itself, huh? People get together and play in the mud, what more do you need to know. However, this isn't just any mud festival, it's a Korean mud festival and now that I've been here in Korea for over 4 months I can tell you a little bit more about the history of the event.
It was made for foreigners, by foreigners, to make money off of foreigners, and to spite foreigners all at the same time. In case you didn't know, when I go outside my house here for shopping, school, or just to visit the mall, I am the only white person. Check that, I'm the only non-Asian person. I don't see any whites, blacks, or Latinos, coloreds or albinos, it's just thousands of Asians and me; the tall, bald headed white guy. However, at Mud Fest, I was just another muddy body in the crowd, and it was great.
I think every foreigner in the country might have been there, which means roughly around thirty of us, for one day, became best friends. That is of course besides the US Military personnel that also invaded the beach that day, I'm leaving them out because they're not really foreigners. They spend most of their time on US land in Korea, and from the ones I met, I wish they would have stayed there.
No offense to the military, but the ground force of 12 that took the beach by train that day, were not so ummmm, stealth? They sat only a few seats from us on the 3 hour train ride there. They initially gave up their location with loud cheers, usually having to do with some sort of alcohol. Upon further inspection the 'no neck' look, that is so hot in the military right now, gave away a few others in the surrounding brush areas. Not like they were blending in with their surroundings anyway (12 large, loud, drunk, round-eyed, whites amongst a train of Koreans), but they were in uniform too. Not a uniform I'd ever seen before, but black shirts with an odd hand signal pictured on them with the word "Shocker" in bold letters below. Undoubtedly, this must have been some sort of search and destroy souvenir battle t-shirt they all got after boot camp, but they all wore it proudly, like an American beacon of light. Yet, as if all those things weren't enough, the kicker was the game they played on that fateful day our paths crossed. The game was called "celebrities", yup "CELEBRITIES", where the ummm (cough, cough) challenge of the game was to name a celebrity. The only thing more sad than the fact that people actually got kicked out of this game for not being able to think of a celebrity was that when the name "Barack Obama" came up, these fine military personnel couldn't get 2 people out of the group of 12 to corroborate who he was, what he did, and thus his status as a celebrity was denied. I thought about stepping in at this moment, but the rules were clearly stated only minutes earlier during an argument about "ODB" (aka Dirt McGirt) and well I'm not one for breaking the rules, or showing off, so I decided to stay out of it.
The weekend was great though. We met a new friend, Alex from Iowa, and also met up with our old friends from Gumi. We played in the mud, ate, drank, and shot off fireworks. And even though I now have a burnt hole in the back of one of my favorite shirts, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Now after all that, maybe now...it's time to relax.
More Mud Fest Pics Here