After months of waiting, the 2010 Boryeong Mud Festival — Korea’s answer to Spring Break — finally arrived last weekend. Ev, Smiley, Matt, Kristie and I hopped on a bus early Saturday morning, ready for our dirty weekend.
It is tradition for it to rain at the festival, and this year proved to be no exception. There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from the bus terminal in Jeonju, and I really wanted a cup of black coffee. Usually, we drink instant coffee — the real stuff you need to get in coffee shops. I made the mistake of ordering an Espresso instead of an Americano, and ended up with this:
No matter though — Evan and I listened to mellow music during our hour-and-a-half bus ride to Daechon Beach, drifting in and out of sleep.
When we arrived to the “bus station” — an outdoor shack with a convenience store and a tin roof — it was pouring outside. Really spitting it down. Not wanting to be foiled by the weather, Ev and I threw on our ponchos we got for Fuji Rock (thanks Mom and Dad!) and braved the rain, while the others struggled with umbrellas. We may have looked like blue whales, but we stayed dry!
Despite the rain, the festival was already going off by the time we arrived. We finally managed to flag a cab, who took us to our hotel — booked by our friend Chris’ Korean girlfriend, Ja Yeon. Our room wasn’t ready, so we — backpacks, ponchos and all — went hunting for a proper lunch.
We found the perfect place a couple blocks from our hotel. Within a half-hour we were warm, somewhat dry, sipping on various fruit juices and munching on delicious fried chicken. Normally, you don’t get side dishes with chicken here, but they brought us a bowl of fresh toast — with whipped cream to top it with! Odd, but the creamy/crunchy combination really worked.
Once lunch was over, we finally got into our hotel room, changed into our swimwear, and tossed back some Hite, Cass and Soju while playing card games. After wetting our whistles, we put on cheapo ponchos we picked up at GS Mart and headed for the beach!
One end of Daechon was picturesque, simply beautiful.
The other end looked like Spring Break in Cancun — and we could not wait to join the party! We hurried over to the festival, which was full of mud pits, mud slides, mud art installations — basically everything mud-related you could think of — and lots of people.
The festival even has mascots — these people who had “mud faces” on. Annnd they looked a lot like black face. Eesh.
After jumping in a mud pit, we headed toward a huge water slide. Naturally, we decided to race in pairs up to the top. Smiley beat out Mike, and I, of course, beat Evan to the top. He hurried past me in the beginning, then slipped and fell the whole way down. Slow and steady wins the race people!
Next, we headed to the mud prison. In jail, people literally hose you down with mud. We went from sprinkled with mud to absolutely drenched. It was fantastic.
We weren’t the only ones soaked. When we headed to the GS Mart on-site, the line was out the door and the store was literally covered in mud from its inebriated patrons. At least they must have made a ton of money to cover clean up expenses!
We met up with our buddies Mark and Hae Yeon, who were still clean. Naturally, they had to be dirtied up to fit in with the masses!
We stayed at the beach until the sun began to set. We all headed back to the hotel to shower, tired and happy, only to find that the water in the room stopped working after one shower. Just one. So Mike and Evan haggled with the hotel owner, who eventually gave us all our money back and W10,000 extra. Mike and Hae Yeon helped us book a room at their hotel, which worked out perfectly because it was about a million times nicer than our original one.
After we washed up and changed, we headed out toward the beach for a dinner of seafood and sam gyeupsal. They were shooting off fireworks down there, and crowds of people huddled under umbrellas to watch.
The beach boardwalk was bustling with out-of-towners looking for fun. We gobbled up dinner — which was excellent — then had a beer before turning in for the night.
All in all, a top-notch weekend. :)