Gettin’ Muddy, Boryeong Style!

Al and Cali with their faces painted with colourful mud.

Al and Cali with their faces painted with colourful mud.

On July 18th we ventured off to the western shore of South Korea to Boryeong. The main purpose of this trip was to experience the famous Boryeong Mud Festival.   You’re probably wondering what the heck a mud festival would consist of, and why we would want to go to such a thing.

Two mud goers enjoying their time navigating through one of the many obstacle courses.

Two mud goers enjoying their time navigating through one of the many obstacle courses.

The Boryeong Mud Festival is basically exactly as it sounds. It is a festival… with an abundance of mud. The festival consists of live music, raves, and concerts… different events and performances, massive crowds (with a very big percentage being expats or foreigners), and of course the central Mud Zone with slides and obstacle courses….all enjoyed while being as dirty as a fat hog in mud!

Boryeong Mud Festival main stage on the beach.

Boryeong Mud Festival main stage on the beach.

We went with a great group of people and organizers from The Big Chill, which is a bar located in Suwon, just south of Seoul. We departed by bus early Saturday morning and arrived at the festival by noon. Being new to the mud festival, just like most of you reading this… We didn’t exactly know what to expect either. All we knew was that we’d be getting muddy and inevitably quite sloppy whilst doing so!

Alex hoists Cali on his shoulders at the annual Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea.

Alex hoists Cali on his shoulders at the annual Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea.

When we arrived we quickly checked into our pension style hostel, got changed into our mediocre at best clothes, and headed towards the area we saw other muddy people walking from. The closer we got the muddier people were. Eventually we were right in the middle of it all; The Mud Zone. This is the area in the center of the festival which has the obstacle courses, sumo wrestling rings, and slides… just to name a few. Here there are many stores and restaurants available to grab a quick bite or some beverages.

The adult beverages flowing at this event are plentiful with beer stands set up almost every twenty meters. So, naturally we all hit up the first beer vendor we set our eyes on.

By this time… about 15 minutes into being in the middle of it all, most of us had already gotten a little muddy from other rowdy mud goers brushing shoulders walking, skipping, or jumping by. It was a day filled with mud, fun, and lots of bevys.

Cali being attacked and 'shot' by the plentiful and aggressive paparazzi!

Cali being attacked and ‘shot’ by the plentiful and aggressive paparazzi!

The paparazzi here is like nothing I have seen anywhere in my life. The amount of middle aged and senior citizen Koreans decked out with their very expensive, or expensive looking photography equipment is actually quite funny. They are everywhere you go. No matter where you are, what stupid things you’re doing, or who you’re talking to, you are likely being captured by some random photographer. Nothing to worry about though… After a few cold ones you almost don’t even notice them.

Cali and friend, Sarah share a good laugh at the bottom of one of the obstacle courses.

Cali and friend, Sarah share a good laugh at the bottom of one of the obstacle courses.

Things to Remember if you plan on going:

  1. Prepare to get dirty.
  2. Bring clothes and a bathing suit that you don’t hold dear to your heart. These things may get ruined and or stained.
  3. Make sure you bring a daypack or small waterproof pack to bring things with you to the mud. You could bring your money, cards, phone, etc if you wish.
  4. Smile for the paparazzi.

And

  1. Prepare to have a dirty and fun ol’ time!

The Boryeong Mud Festival was one hell of a time and it’s something that is highly recommended!

A-

Green Tea Everything

South Korea seems to be the busiest during the summer months. Every weekend is spent enjoying the sun before Monsoon season hits (a month where it just rains stupid amounts). We have been spending the past two months (June and July) attending festivals, island hopping, and going on as many trips out of the city as possible.

Picking the best green tea leaves.

Picking the best green tea leaves.

One of the most authentic trips we have gone on lately was to the Boseong Green Tea Fields. We booked this trip through a foreigner friendly travel group called – WhenInKorea (WinK). We departed at 11:00pm on Friday evening from Seoul and traveled over night to our destination. Continue reading

Busan and Back

On May 2nd we packed up and went on a little mini vacation to Busan, South Korea. Busan is a beautiful place found on the southern coast of South Korea. There are beautiful beaches, magnificent hiking trails, the worlds largest department store, breathtaking temples, South Korea’s largest fish market, a spectacular night life, and much more!

Gwangalli Beach at sunrise in Busan, South Korea.

Gwangalli Beach at sunrise in Busan, South Korea.

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Spring In Seoul

It is almost indescribable how beautiful this city is in late March and early April. These short 2 weekends are devoted to travelling to Cherry Blossom Festivals in and around Seoul. These areas are packed with tourists and locals enjoying the thousands of blooming trees. Areas with large amounts of trees are shut down and used for outdoor concerts, food vendors, jewelry stands and so much more.

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul, South Korea at Yeoudio Station.

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul, South Korea at Yeoudio Station.

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A Quick Run To Fukuoka, Japan

On Monday March 24th I had to “run” to Japan to be a legal teacher in Korea.  I’m guessing they call it a “visa run” because it is a very quick two day, one night trip to Japan.  It could also be called that because sometimes you actually have to do a little bit of running during your visa run.

So long story short, I was required to go to Japan to receive my Visa in my passport because I did not get it prior to departure from Canada.  For some odd reason, my original Ottawa nation wide criminal background check was denied at Korean immigration.  No, it was not denied because I am a criminal.  In fact, my criminal record check was clean and was the exact same as Cali’s and many of my friends’, which were accepted by Korean immigration.

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First of Many Korean Culinary Adventures

On Sunday March 23rd 2014 I was lucky enough to meet up with my brother Chris’ friend from Ontario, Rob Taylor to go tour around Dongdaemun and hit up the unbelievable Gwangjang Market among other places.  You may have noticed I already posted about this market and the wonderfully delicious Korean pancakes they serve there (if not check out “Gyeongbokgung” post).

I met Rob early in the AM on Sunday at the “Dongdaemun History & Culture” subway station.   This station brings you right into a little area known to me as “Russia Town”.   The reason I refer to it as “Russia Town” is because for a moment it felt like I was in another country.  If any of you have ever been to a “China Town”, think of that, but only Russia.

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6 Odd, But Normal Things in Seoul

Today marks our 5th week in Seoul, South Korea. We are loving every moment of this crazy adventure. After a month of people watching out our window, on the subways, and during our countless hours of exploring the city I have compiled a list of things that must be mentioned about South, Korea.

1. Love Motels

First on my list are the iconic Korean love motels. This is where Alex and I spent our very first night in Seoul. After a long thirteen-hour flight a man holding a sign with our names greeted us. This man was a complete stranger to us and could not speak a word of English. He simply passed Alex a cellphone with our school’s Director on the other line to confirm that we were indeed the right foreigners.

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

Changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palaces in Seoul, South Korea.

Changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palaces in Seoul, South Korea.

 

We can’t believe it has already been a month we’ve been gone from Canada! Everyday is a new adventure.

On Saturday, March 29th 2014 Cali and I ventured off on the subway to head for Gyeongbokgung Palace in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. It was a very miserable day, but that didn’t stop us from thoroughly enjoying the sights of the beautiful Palaces. The most memorable part of the day was the “Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony” (pictured), which happens on every hour from 10:00am-4:00pm. All of the guards wear very beautiful and bright costumes and all play different instruments from big drums to long horns.

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