The boys mudwrestling, as a part of the military training activities on the mud flat.
After playing on the mud flat, we were brought to our minbak (Korean-style hotel room) just off the beach. We found our beds to be the somewhat padded floor (ondol), though it proved to provide a good night’s rest later on. They did have Western style toilets and a provided rice cooker, so what else does one really need? We filled our bellies with galbi and checked out the hip-hop/rave party, which took place on a gigantic stage overlooking the beach and white-capped waves breaking on the shore. Thousands of Koreans and foreigners packed the area and I have to admit, it was a cool feeling. After ducking into a nightclub to avoid the outrageous wind and starting rain, I was happy to hear the familiar “Cupid Shuffle,” “Walk it Out,” and “Stanky Leg”; for a second, I forgot I was in Korea. It was strange to be around so many foreigners.
Hip-hop/rave night on the beach with thousands of spectators. (Photo from Facebook Mudfest Group)
We woke up early the next day to perfect sunny weather to check out the festival. We walked past the various tents which all featured, well, mud: mud massage, mud ceramic creations, mud jewelry for sale, mud soap (which we were given as a gift by AdvKor), and a swine flu consultation tent. Okay, so maybe that had nothing to do with mud, but that’s Korea for ya. We put our bags in the free lockers (for foreigners) and stopped by the restaurant (for foreigners) to enjoy some hamburgers. Then we were off for a dip in the ocean on the beach. It was interesting to see so many Koreans in the water, still dressed in shirts and even jeans, but everyone, especially me, was enjoying the sandy beach, the cool water, and the glorious Korean sunshine.
Boraeyeong Beach, full of sunbathers, swimmers, and self-massage mud sinks.
Next, we were painted with colored mud. I was hesitant to do it at first, but the mud of Boryeong is said to have special properties that make the skin healthier, so I went with it. Afterwards, we resembled a somewhat odd version of the Blue Man Group. The remainder of the day was spent at the mud jail, mud pools, mudslides, and the mud fountains. Oh, and being photographed every which way we turned. Surely, we are on a newscast or plastered on the page of a newspaper somewhere in Korea.
Mudfest was certainly not the most conventional way to spend my time off from work, but it was an amazing way to have fun and partake in an unusual mini-vacay, even if it did mean washing my hair three times to get the mud out.