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Mudfest for teachers in Korea: The good, the bad, the dirty

Posted on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 09:49 AM

Mudfest, one of the most famous summer events in Korea, is an attraction to both Koreans and foreigners. Held annually over the span of two weekends, this festival of mud is a must-see if you're teaching English in Korea in the summer. It is held in the city of Boryeong (or Daechon), and it is about two and half hours by train south of Seoul. The city is known for the natural mud flats. According to my friend Wikipedia, this festival was founded to promote cosmetic products made with the mud, since it's said to be full of minerals. I haven't seen much of a change in my skin after playing in the mud, but it was another excuse to play around in it.

The good:

When I think of mud, I think brown, dirt and water. However, the mud here was gray with a very milky and smooth consistency. There was also colored mud (obviously not natural), which looks pretty awesome all over the body. They have areas where you can paint the mud onto yourself and inflatable slides that cover you in mud as you work your way through them. The event is actually held at the beach and not the mud flats, which is pretty convenient when you want to wash off the mud.

Another awesome thing about this event is all the performances they have throughout the day. They had a stage set up for singing, rapping, and even belly dancing! 

One thing that I love about going to Daechon is the clam barbeque. Someone told me that the east coast of Korea is known for the sashimi style fish, while the west coast is known for the clams. As you can see in the picture, there is a variety of clams laid out to grill. Some people get grossed out by the fresh seafood, but the taste is awesome once it's cooked.

The bad: 

Unfortunately, since monsoon season is here, the beach was pretty gloomy on both days. It pretty much rained all day on Saturday and no sun on Sunday.

One thing English teachers in Korea have to be aware of is the crazy amount of Korean paparazzi lurking around the area. Ok, so they're not really paparazzi. I've noticed that older Koreans have a photography hobby  and you'll see many of them with massive cameras with all kinds of gadgets attached to them. I think one of their favorite things to photograph is foreigners NOT at their normal state. I've seen some foreigners even being dragged and harassed by them just to get a picture. If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see a group of Korean photographers only paying attention to the crowd and snapping away. This is not even close to how many more of them there were. 

The dirty:

I like to think of mudfest as a post-college spring break. Since alcohol is allowed everywhere in Korea, you'll find a lot of drunk people here. It actually got pretty annoying hearing and looking at the inebriated crowd of mostly foreigners at the beach. Not that I'm not a foreigner myself, but maybe that's why some Koreans have a reserved judgement on us.

Aside from the drunken madness, the picture above is a shot of mud being fired into the air and splattered onto a crowd of people at the beach. I only say dirty because after all, it is a festival where people cover themselves in mud!

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Aeri Park has had a multicultural history taking her from Seoul to Buenos Aires to Atlanta and back again. She graduated Emory University in 2008 and wanted to experience the culture of the place she was born. Aeri arrived in Suwon in 2010 and is now enjoying her second year teaching in Korea for Chungdahm in Pyeongchon. So far she has most enjoyed the food, fashion, and never ending list of places to explore. Follow Aeri to see where she goes!


Tags: a year in Korea, summer in korea, mudfest in korea, daechon, boryeon mudfest, foreigners in korea, korean photographers

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