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The Boreong Mud Festival

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One week ago today* (*that is, when I first started typing this blog post) I met a friend for a drink and lost my phone. The timing could not have been worse.
The next morning at 9.30 I was planning on meeting a group of friends at the KTX train station in Yongsan. From there we were to catch a train for a three hour southwesternly ride out to Daechon and, upon arrival, a bus onto the festival at Boreong. But, all of this had become much more complicated. Without my phone I had no way of finding out exactly where in the train station we were meeting and, immediately more troubling, I had no alarm clock to wake me up.
One rash act of misplacement banished me to an isolated island of sleeplessness.
I stayed up the remainder of the morning trying not to think about how much my cell phone had cost or how much I would have to spend to get it replaced.
I lucked out, found my friends at the station, boarded the train and retold my story so many times that by the end of the recounting I was too wide awake to steal back any of the hours of sleep from the night before.

The weekend was relaxing but exhausting. Here are a series of pictures with choice commentary.

So, lets cut right to the point of the Boreong Festival. The mud.

Boreong is famous for its special kind of mud. The Koreans praise the local mud as having certain cleansing, exfoliating, youth-elixir qualities. Boreong has turned the fortune of their geographic location into a massive industry that packages and delivers the mud all across the peninsula and beyond. They have a number of products to offer including but not limited to: facial pack, soap, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. There are several ways to "get muddy." The first being to stand next to one of the giant mud buckets and paint the mud on one's desired body parts. But there are also other, more entertaining, methods of application. For instance, there is the traditional Korean wrestling mud pit. This pit once again humbled me and my limited knowledge of wrestling gleamed a short freshman season on my high school wrestling team. There is also a giant slide down into a bucket of mud. There is a mud hut/cage, into which mud is intermittently sprayed. There was a burger king like blowup jumpathon covered in mud. Also, a miniature soccer pitch of mud. And finally, there was a Sauna offering a mud bath treatment.

My choice of application: All.

The Boreong festival was also a time to meet new friends. Tad and Peter, Sarah's roommates/good friends from college, fueled this particular chance encounter by benignly smoking a cigarette on the roof of our beach side hotel. Little did they know that they would soon be invited to a 4 hour long dinner party with endless amounts of meat, kimchee and booze.

Tad, Peter and the three Koreans quickly turned into a party. Above is a picture of one of the 50 group toasts we had. I served as the translator. The cross lingual communication was kept to the bare necessities.
And on a side note, Sarah (the girl sitting on my right, one of my co-workers at the Mokdong Jong-ro Institute) sent this picture out to her friends back home with a story about the exhilaration of chancing on an authentic Korean barbecue and this is what one of her friends responded with:

From: Cydney To: Sarah: RE: WhiteyDate: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 22:34:26 -0700
>Hey Baba! WOWOWOWOWOWOW you will not belive this...I'm freaking out
>right now, seriously freaking out this is the biggest its a small
>world moment I could ever possibly the guy sitting with
>you in the group shot at the BBQ, Dale right??? Dale or Donno???
>Anyways I've been to 5 different countries with Dale, Candice and I
>were hitchhiking in Oz and him and his friends took us to a party at
>a rented house in Oz, so fun, anyways then we ran into him and his
>friend in the most random part of Indo and then in the middle of
>nowhere in Thailand and then we went to Laos and Vietnamnt together,
>haha crazy heh hopefully you guys are hanging out and he wasn't just
>a random in the pic cuz it wouldn't be near as cool of that';s the
>case, if you do hang out tell him I say hi and "oh ma god" he'll get
>it, anyways so great to talk to you online yesterday and let me know
>what's up with the whole Dale thing, freaking me, later, >CydG>

Well, my name certainly isn't Dale, but it is funny that "Cydney" seriously thought I was somebody else entirely.

Unfortunately the festival is during the middle of the rainy season and we spent the entire three days almost entirely without sunshine.

We refused to let the weather ruin our weekend. Here we are chilling on the the the rain. No matter how firmly we set our collective consciousness against it, we were still just sitting on the beach in the rain. Oh well. I guess I just have to wait to go to Thailand where everything is just so damn beautiful and sunny.

The beach by day:

And, the beach by night:

And that is 2006 mudfest in its entirety. It was the second time I have been and probably my last.

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