1 week and 72 hours ago I was covered in mud
Quick editor’s note: Sorry for the slowness of these stories. Knowing that this was my big break and that most of the major publishing clearinghouses would be reading, I felt that it was important to organize and get these right. The original draft was long, unruly, and boring. Like this editor’s note. So I decided to split them up into topics. Peace.
As promised, full frontal nudity and coverage of the Boryeong Mud Festival last weekend.
For those of you incapable of tracking back through the archives, I attended one of Korea’s biggest
tourist traps beach events, held in Daechon on the west coast about 10 days ago. Of course, I left out the details because that’s the point of a cliffhanger. You know, to make you want to come back and read my blog to drive up the traffic statistics so I can eventually sell the page to a Google-phisher for the eventual purpose of creating a page of links to sites for dating REAL Korean jail bait girls.
I must say that the event itself was quite a bit of fun. While I am hazy on the details and would likely pretend as if I knew more about the history of the event if you weren’t inextricably on the internet and in full fact-checking mode, the basic gist is that there is a short period of time in July each year in which the tide recedes and the weather gets just wet enough to create mud out of the mineral-rich soil/sand near the beaches there. Unlike North American mud, this stuff is supposedly not full of worms but rather tiny materials that improve the health of your skin and make for entertaining pictures to send back home to bewildered friends (it’s science, just roll with it).
Of course, when I heard that there was going to be a mud festival, I imagined an out-of-control, dirty, drunken party with half-naked girls (entrepreneurial internet fetisheers out there, take note) wrestling each other in gigantic pits followed by judicious and superfluous ocean-water splashing by said hotties. So basically that scene in STRIPES with John Candy… minus John Candy.
What I actually got was more of a fun-for-the-whole-family-completely-IN-CONTROL profit-grab-by-local-merchants-and-people-selling-lockers.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a good time. They had pits, but they were mostly occupied by mothers and children, and something about potentially unpotty trained 2 year olds in a tub of mud was a tad unappealing to me. For the less adventurous, the festival organizers provided small containers of mud and paintbrushes to orderly coat yourself or a friend with the cool, sticky grey stuff. (Harold, make sure you get my lower back twice. I said twice, I don’t want it to be uneven or we’ll have to start over! That’s it, you’re sleeping on the couch.)
Though there were tons of foreigners there, for some reason many of the Koreans were congregated around me when I was mudding myself. Perhaps the abundance of creepy-ass photographers previously taking random pictures now focused on me and barking indecipherable orders had something to do with it. Whether this was due to the fact that I am indeed as sexy as previously discussed, or that they all thought I was a movie star or a rock star because of the inordinate amount of flashing cameras, or because my extremely white skin blinded those unlucky enough to shoot a passing glance my way thus creating something akin to a deer-in-the-headlights effect is unclear at this point. What is clear is that I grew just a little sick of standing there after 30 minutes and decided to join my buddies for some frisbee.
Just in case you find yourself doing something similar, let me give you one piece of IMPORTANT advice. Do not, under any circumstances, use mud as sunscreen. It seems like a great idea at the time, but trust me I have enough peeled skin on my bathroom floor to restore Darkman’s face.
Anyways, before my dripping sarcasm erodes your patience any further, I did have a lot of fun on the trip. It was totally the kind of experience that foreigners eat up (see tag: only-in-korea), myself included. The mud felt awesome, and it was pretty sweet to see an entire town filled with grey people. I felt sure that some misguided 17-year old out there would use the pictures we took to prove Roswell happened.
One of the highlights was a 6-on-6 international volleyball game that got competitive and intense very quickly. Five Korean dudes (and one random Aussie chick) came up and challenged us to a United States vs. Korea match while we were screwing around on the court. Luckily, Shawn used to play baseball for University of Virginia and Tory had experience on his intramural volleyball team (although, so did I so take that for what it’s worth) so we weren’t completely clueless.
After we won in a close 3 set match, they challenged us to another one hoping to avenge their defeat. Though we were behind the entire game, we battled back to deuce and played 12 hair-raising points before we finally put them away. Thus proving once and for all that America kicks ass – at everything. Though I must admit that the anemic way we won the last game was somewhat bittersweet and was less like a victory than a tie that we could feel good about. Kind of like the 1953 Armstice. (Wow, a volleyball recap and a history reference all in one paragraph? Talk about mass appeal.)
I also caught a bit of the Korean Pussycat Dolls performance on the conspicuously-placed stage and some random cover band doing poor renditions of Radiohead-sounding Britpop. (Yay, Keane!) The Pussycat Dolls were sexy, though I do think its funny that they played a few Missy Elliot songs unedited in front of so many small children. That’s probably why the kids in my school get away with saying “fuck” but can’t ride the elevator. I can’t wait until they start saying they want people to look at their “Tush, tush, tush” and to get up in their “bush, bush, bush.”
Last thing, if you are wondering why there aren’t more and better pictures of yours truly, blame it on the two-faced Boryeong beach. We decided to put the disposable camera well behind the volleyball courts in interest of keeping it out of the ocean. After we left for lunch I got separated for half an hour from the group and decided just to go back to where our stuff was. I swear to God, I walked up and down that beach 5 times trying to find the volleyball net only to realize that the beach had actually receded almost 30 feet in the time we were gone because of high tide.
Luckily I found the camera floating in the foam near some worried looking woman buried in the sand, but its unlikely that we’ll be able to recover some of the pictures we took while we had the mud applied. Matt took a few on his digital afterwards, which will have to suffice for a chronicle of the trip.
Of course, the mud festival is only half the story. I’ll be submitting one soon about my first and second experiences in the jinjabong — or basically the best place in Korea to see lots of dick without feeling in the least bit gay. Also, stay tuned for probably the over-the-top cocky thing I’ve ever heard a waitress say.