Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Eat. Play. Teach. Blog entry #11: Stuck in the mud by Georgina Selander

Stuck in the mud by Georgina Selander

She takes a handful of the gloppy muck and throws it. Splat. Right in the centre of my t-shirt.

My feet squelch down calf-deep as I try to run towards her. I lunge, tackling her around the waist and wrestle her to the ground. Mud oozes between my toes, fills my ears. It sucks and belches loudly as I sink my hand into its depths.

A camera man kneels in front of us. He films as we wrestle and roll, giggling as we get dirtier.

“I think I’ve just got bitten by a crab?! Let’s get out!”

The Mud Festival

My group of friends and I have travelled to the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. It’s a week-long excuse to drink way too much soju, party on the beach, meet reckless foreigners and, of course, get covered in mud.

One of our friends had organised for us to join a tour group. So, on Saturday morning we caught a bus to Boryeong and met up with a group of rowdy, mostly-American expats and a Korean guide. 

Not yet 10 o’clock and already the group were passing around shots, yelling and belting out classic rock covers. Trying to avoid throwing shade in their direction, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. 

A sweaty arm draped over my seat. “Why you so boooring? Get off your phooone!” a young first-time-drinker shouted in my ear. I smiled and cussed him out in Afrikaans. 

First stop was a local mudflat where loud music pumped from large speakers. 

The mudflap

After ignoring the refs encouraging everybody to join the mud race (nooo thanks) we scampered over the rocks and into the mud. Although at first tentative, we were soon covered head-to-toe in the cool grey slop.

Afterwards we hit the showers, and then sat on the rocks drinking cold beer.

Once everyone was clean, we piled back into the bus and headed to the parade. On arrival we were handed water guns, and took pleasure in taking sneaky squirts at the rest of the group and some of the disapproving locals.

I spotted a douchey guy from a previous trip (“uggghh I only wipe my bum with wet wipes”) and chased him down with my gun. 

We camped on the grass and watched as groups of colourful singers, dancers and musicians took turns making grand entrances onto the stage. A group of feathered and bejewelled showgirl dancers even got the crowd romping with a cheesy rendition of Psy’s Gangnam Style.

An African contingent appeared in the form of five or six Congolese and Ivory Coast expats. Unfortunately their soulful drumming was drowned out by the “Oppa Gangnam Style!”

As the afternoon reached its peak, we loaded onto the bus once more and headed to our accommodation. It was time to de-mud, (after four of us had showered, the bathroom was nothing short of a crime scene) make ourselves over and head to the street scene.

Hungry after the day’s activities, we found a rooftop restaurant serving western-style food. Toasting the day’s adventures, we charged our shot glasses with soju. The smell of delicious pork belly (samgyeopsal) wafted over from the table of locals opposite us. We invited them to share in our soju drinking - they offered us crispy, pork-filled lettuce wraps. 

As it started to drizzle, our barely-eaten plate of fried chicken soon became soggy. This was no deterrent to our fun - and we managed to pass some of it off to some tipsy, bikini-clad tourists. We even managed to get a naive young American to eat a lemon wedge, skin-and-all, under the pretence that it was a “special Korean lime that can help…ahem…improve your manhood”.

Next stop was a bar across the street. Bartenders served small buckets of suspect cocktails and we danced, chatted up Koreans and took tequilas late into the night. When the music died down and some of our crew started to fade, it was time to go home. 

We rose late next morning, and headed to Daecheon beach. After getting sufficiently hot and sweaty, we dunked our bodies into the cool sea, which was gloriously refreshing, and laughed as countless vendors passed yelling “chiccccken!”.

A man floated past us on a rubber ring. As he spun over a small wave we saw he was playing on his phone. On a tube. In the sea. #classickorea.

Later that afternoon we returned home - sunburnt, sated and thoroughly spent. 

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