On Friday night, Kris and I stood at a crossroads. We had booked a place on a bus to a place called Boryeong for the weekend, to attend a rather unique festival that was taking place there. It was not a music festival, or a flower festival, or even a craft beer festival. It was a festival celebrating the wonders of mud. We were uncertain whether we would rather be content at home for the two days of freedom from children, or at this bizarre festival with some potentially scary strangers who happened to live in our town. Looking back at how much we enjoyed the weekend, we needn’t have even considered missing Mudfest.
One of the major reasons for our trepidation in the hours leading up to departing for Mudfest was the apparent emphasis on drinking alcohol that permeated the Facebook message group prior to the trip. It would seem that many of our Mudfest comrades would be having big weekends indeed, and we weren’t sure if we were comfortable with that. These intentions came to become truth soon enough, as the drinking began before we even stepped foot onto the bus. However, we decided to share the first few drinks with everyone, and this helped ease us into the rest of our time together. We arrived at our accommodation in the early hours of the morning and did some brief exploring of the area before Kris and I decided to call it a night, leaving some of our party to explore several bars.
Kris decided to share a few more drinks than I did on Friday night, and felt rather poorly on Saturday morning. This experience was shared with the others amongst our group who overestimated their capabilities to process alcohol, and for most of our group, Saturday morning and afternoon were spent in our accommodation, nursing various symptoms and not moving a great deal. Once some strength had been regained, Cards Against Humanity was cracked open, and there followed several hours of inappropriate laughter and bonding between us. While the majority of Boryeong was spending their time getting covered in mud, we were perfectly happy to be inside, having a good laugh together.
Today, then, was our day to see what exactly about mud was worthy of celebrating in its own festival. Kris and I rose early, leaving behind most of our group (who had made a concerted effort to drink more on Saturday night than they had on Friday night), to explore the wonders of mud. And we were very, very pleasantly surprised.
We had expected there to simply be a large pool of mud to splash around in, cover yourself with, and then proceed to take more selfies than should probably be allowed. While there were indeed two large pools of mud, there was so much more than that. There were slides. There was mud football. There was an obstacle course. There was even an inflatable gladiatorial arena, where you would beat another person with a foam cylinder, attempting to knock them off of the pole that you both sat on. It was a veritable mud theme park. And, for most of the attractions, the victor of the activity got to throw mud upon the body of the loser. My own victory over Kristen in the gladiatorial arena was indeed sweeter after covering her with mud. Everything was more fun with mud.
Like our recent field trip to the ‘water park’, it astounded me how activities that seemed so simple proved to be so incredibly enjoyable. We bonded with some new friends. We threw frisbee on the beach. But, most prominently, we got covered in mud, and had a blast doing so. We will see our Mudfest comrades again. We will return to Mudfest next year if we decide to stay in Korea. I am simply hoping that I will be able to, one day, remove all of the ninja-like mud from many nooks and crannies on my person.