Clean, Wholesome Fun
Back in 1996, the Boryeong area of Korea was a hotspot for harvesting mud for cosmetic purposes. In an attempt to spread awareness of the mud and it’s connected products, Korea set up an educational festival where people could come and learn. Now, take that recipe and inject it with a half-gallon of “testosterone-abundant personnel that has become the stereotype for American military working overseas,” then drop add a bucket full of “premium-grade foreign teachers whose majority of interaction is with children who climb on top of them and sometimes even ttong-chim them,” and then finish that all off with about a tablespoon of “Koreans who have been forced to do nothing but either go to school, complete their mandatory two years of military, or begin their new very time-consuming careers.” And THAT, is the complete recipe for what I saw at the 2012 Boryeong Mud Festival. It is a complete festival that worships well-deserved decompression, and does it well.
The festival spans the entirety of Daecheon beach…which made leaving from Daejeon using a GPS in Korean especially fun (Daejeon is not the same as Daecheon). The beach is crowded with thousands of people laying out, drinking, and swimming. The boardwalk has painting stands every fifty yards for you (or preferably others) to paint your body with mud. Towering high above the main square are three gigantic water slides for muddy participants to race up and slide down. With as much fun as I had wrestling, sliding, swimming, drinking, and just being covered in mud, I really kept thinking, “I wish I could see how this town cleans up on Monday.” I just kept imagining Boryeong and his two friends frantically trying to clean the city before Boryeong’s parents come home from their anniversary weekend, “Junior, we SAID no parties! Look at this place!”
For the many of you who have heard my travel stories, I’ve been to a good handful of festivals around the world. However, it wasn’t until last year when I went to San Fermin in Spain (The running of the bulls) that I found my sounding board for all other world cultural festivals. So here is how it works:
Cultural Ties: 10
Cultural Ties: 4
So, that is my “experienced festival-goer” score for Boryeong. Not that having a high-score is exactly winning; San Fermin’s debauchery is rather high due to seeing cocaine and heroin everywhere, public sex, and an absurd amount of vomiting amidst all the other good times. All-in-all, for being a Mud Festival, it really was good, clean fun…with an excellent hangover.
A Guy Who Finally Took a Shower….who also has a blog,