Friday, 26 July 2013

Boryeong Mud Festival

Last weekend, Angela and I went with some friends to Boryeong Mud Festival. One of Korea's most popular festivals, it takes place every summer, and sees millions flock to Daecheon Beach to partake in dozens of mud-themed activities, such as mud slides, mud baths, and mud assault courses. The mud is brought to the beach from the nearby Boryeong mud flats, and is apparently rich in skin-enhancing minerals. But whatever health benefits one gains from it is probably cancelled out several times over by the large alcohol intake over the course of the weekend!

We arrived in Boryeong around noon on Saturday. The sun was shining and the air was stiflingly hot.
It wasn't long before we found our pensions and changed into clothes more befitting the summer weather. We also sat down to eat lunch before heading to the festival area.
Once inside, we wasted no time getting in on the mud action. There were large vats where you could paste the stuff straight onto your body. Here's Angela and Anna helping each other out.
John, Vicky and Angela.
I don't know where these guys got a hold of quad bikes but they looked pretty fun.
The main beach area, where there was a stage blasting music throughout the day.

Partaking in beer and a sneaky cigarette.

People who weren't muddy enough were sent to prison, where a festival worker would throw buckets of mud over them.

Those who couldn't be bothered lining up for an hour to go in the mud baths just splashed about on the floor instead.

This is how we looked after having a very intense mud fight. I think everything but our teeth was covered in mud at this point.
Back at the beach, we watched the Korean Black Eagles air show. These photos don't really do justice to how impressive the planes were.
You can just see the vast halo of smoke that one of the planes made over the sea.
This chap didn't appreciate the deafening roar of the airplanes.

I'm glad I wore my cheap Casio watch to the festival and not the more expensive one that Angela's cousin bought me recently.
Exploring the festival area some more.

We soon headed back to the stage, where a huge party was taking place. Club music was blaring from the speakers, scantily-clad women danced atop the stage, and staff sprayed festival goers with giant hoses.

A huge vapour machine got us even more wet as we danced.
We went swimming in the sea on several occasions. Unfortunately I lost my sunglasses in the waves.
Later that evening we ate dinner outside on the streets of Boryeong.
Back at the beach, there was an incredible firework display. The fireworks were launched from a ship anchored about a mile out to sea.
I usually find fireworks a little monotonous but these genuinely took my breath away at times.

The next day Angela and I chilled out on the beach. I even got a little bit of writing done, which doesn't happen often these days.
We were pretty muddied out by this point, but others will still very much in the spirit of the festival.

Later that day we caught the bus back to Seoul, tired and exhausted from the weekend's events. This was easily one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences either of us have had here, and I recommend it to anyone spending a year in Korea. The festival takes place every July.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Vroomiz Big Toy Land

Last week, my school took our students on a field trip to Vroomiz Big Toy Land. It was a pretty short trip but as always I took a lot of photos along the way.

The indoor park is located inside Seoul's War Memorial.
The entrance to the park.
Harvard Class pose in front of pictures of Vroomiz, which is a Korean cartoon show about cars.

Most of the "toys" were car-themed in some way.

Not much else to say about this little outing. The kids obviously enjoyed it a lot more than us adults, but it was still nice to get a short break from teaching!