Welcome to my world…
Out of all the field trips SKKU had planned for us, the Boryeong Mud Festival was highly anticipated by me. No one had to inform me about the benefits of mud on skin. Why? Because I deep condition my hair and give myself a facial mask with bentonite clay (an ingredient found in the mud) once a month. So when I found out that we get to rub this “mud” all over our bodies, I was too excited.
Before the event, one of the teacher’s assistant informed our class that we should bring clothes that we do not mind throwing away because the mud will not come out. Now, I had packed 2 bathing suits with me, 1 was a $60 bikini from Victoria Secret and the other was a $25 neon green bikini from American Apparel, I was not going to let those pieces get ruined. So I decided to shop for a new one. I went back to Myeong-dong, walked into Forever 21 and picked up a simple black bikini for about $10.
As we board the charter bus and anticipate the 3 hour ride to the event, we could not help but notice that it was HOT! Im talking about HOT HOT, that hot that dries your whole body out (eyes, nose, mouth and throat included). OoooooWweeee! Anyway, eventually we arrive at the venue parking lot and see all the wonderful Mud festival signs and a whole bunch of food, clothing, and souvenir vendors and slides.
My Czech Republic partner in crime, Ladi, decides that the first item on our agenda was to purchase a locker. As we locate the lockers, we find out that it requires a 500 won coin (about 50 cents USD) to unlock it and if you did not have a 500 won coin you had to wait in another line to get the coin, but it would cost you 3,000 won (about $3 USD) to get one. Can you say Swindle? After about 5 minutes of searching, Ladi and I found a 500 won coin and placed our items inside.
Afterwards, we made our way to the beach wearing our bathing suits. Ladies and gentlemen, I already get stared at enough being one of few black people in South Korea, but the looks I received that day were ridiculous. I saw many peoples jaws drop, families doing double takes, many young men are giving me high fives, throwing up piece signs or simply waving. And then there was the press…Oh I will touch on the media press a little bit later.
Lets talk about the beach. That beach had the dirtiest water I have ever seen in my whole entire life! Granted, I should not have expected the crystal clear water beaches of Hawaii that I am used too, nonetheless I was thoroughly disgusted by it. Initially, I thought the water was that dirty because of all the muddy bodies that were in it. Then a Korean person politely told me that the water was always brown, and it helps with the “flavoring” of the seafood. Oh my goodness, lets continue to talk about that water. That water was the most saltiest, most muddiest, most sun screen tasting water I have ever had the displeasure of tasting. After accidentally swallowing a cup of that nasty water due to an aggressive wave, I soon decided that it was time to get muddy.
As we walk off the beach, a group of friends and I decided that the quickest way to get mud all over our bodies was to take a mud bath. And this mud bath was nothing but an oversized kiddy pool filled with mud and strangers. Once inside the mud bath, my friends started to get brave, and began splashing and throwing mud on each other, dunking people inside, and of course I get nasty stranger mud in my mouth. It was salty, grainy and very hard to remove the taste. Not too happy at this moment either.
After we were all nice and muddy, we decided to try out the mud slides and obstacle courses. When you are watching other people do these courses, it is the most funniest thing in the world. You witness people slip and fall and try with all of their might to climb up high steps to reach the top only to fall right back down. Seeing this gave me life, I have never laughed so hard because you are thinking that the task cannot be as hard as it looks. That thought stopped when it was our turn. For the first obstacle course, we had to race against one other opponent by climbing up 20 steep steps and then slide down. Sounds simple right? WRONG. A Korean lady counts down, says go and as soon as I make my first step, my left foot slips back causing me to fall back out of the obstacle course, my pride was critically damaged. I looked up and Ladi is already at the top waiting for me. I jump back onto the obstacle course and try again, and it was a pitiful site but I eventually made it to the top. I start fake crying and said “Ohhh my PRIDE whooaaa…!” right in the middle of my sentence he grabs my hand and jumps really high taking me with him and we fall, and eventually slide down what feels like 10 stories (I could be exaggerating, not quite sure).
The second obstacle course was a bit more challenging, it was like we were players on that 90‘s game show Legends of the Hidden Temple. This time we were up against 2 other opponents. You had to first dive through a tiny circle, while a Mud festival crew member violently threw mud at you, then you had to run through a bounce house maze, slide underneath bounce house spikes, and run through this car wash thingy (sorry that is the best way I know how to describe it)… So when I completed the course, which was about 5 minutes after Ladi finished it (reminder: we started at the same time), I walked away with a busted lip, 2 cut knees, mud in my eyes, not to mention Ladi had to come in and escort me out the rest of the way. (sad… I know)
Needless to say I was done with the obstacle courses. As Ladi and I were walking back in forth from the beach to the mud bath and various places in between, the press and random Koreans were constantly stopping us to take our picture and capture video of us saying “I love South Korea” (which I do), BUT there was this one elderly Korean lady who followed us throughout the WHOLE day taking our photos. So about midway through the festivities the elderly Korean lady bravely walks up to us snapping photos, than claps her hands together signaling that Ladi and I should stand closer together. We do so, and she snaps away. Then she makes a kissie face, signaling that we should kiss for the camera, and before I could even react, Ladi grabs and holds me in a Casablanca embrace and kisses me (passionately I might add), and all of a sudden I hear about 50 million cameras go off, people gasping, people clapping and what not. And in this split second I am thinking “Oh my gosh, this is the most romantic thing that has ever happened to me”; the kiss is over, and I immediately cough profusely, spitting, and scraping my tongue with my teeth, COMPLETELY ruining the moment because I now have mud mouth again -_____- #whaleface.
Even through all the craziness of this day, the mud made my skin look FABULOUS! It was glowing, it was super soft and smooth, and totally worth the bumps, bruises, and of course the mud mouth.
If you ever go to South Korea, I most definitely recommend going in July so you can attend the mud festival. And tell them that Queen V sent you.