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Thursday, July 21, 2011

MudFest

Boryeong, South Korea is known for two things: (1) Mud (2) Mud Festival. The silt is apparently good for your skin. Everything in Korea is good for your health and/or skin. Direct quote from the festival website, " The mud itself is very good for your skin and health." The low tide during this time of the year makes it perfect to have a festival!

Our trip started at 5 a.m. with a crazy bus ride. Ninety Pohangsters boarded the buses with beer and booze. The frequent, much needed bathroom breaks interrupted our Noraebang (karaoke) fun but the songs just commenced once we boarded again. The last leg of the ride was particularly painful as we had passed the last rest stop but 90/90 people needed relief. This was the result...

(Photo courtesy of Angela Russell)


Our first stop was to the mud flats for Mud Olympics. It consisted of various challenges, relays, tug of war and of course, a lot of beer. 


(Photos courtesy of Daniel DeGrasse)

Unbeknownst to us, the tide comes in rather quickly. This resulted in everyone's shoes being scooped up as quickly as possible so they weren't washed away. Then that resulted in everyone who had their shoes rescued  venturing up sharp, shell-covered rocks barefooted. The ending result was many sliced feet, arms, knees and bodies. (Which we all felt the next day when we were sober again.)

We then went to our accommodations for the night. The wonderful trip arrangers reserved minbaks (you could compare them to condos) for the 90 of us to sleep in. 

Some beach time was in store after Olympics. We checked out the actual festival a bit then headed to the sand for some Frisbee and swimming. A bulgolgi (marinated beef with vegetables) dinner was prepared for us and the winners of Mud Olympics were announced. I am not so proud to announce that my team, The Dirk Digglers, won the award for the least amount of points scored. Our prize was horrible, cheap vodka that we had to share. Terrible.

After a nice walk on the beach at night, an awesome fireworks show started. 

(Thanks again for the pictures, Angela!)

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was sitting in a plastic lawn chair around the corner from our minbak where some people set up a make-shift bar and grill. The characters we saw during the course of four hours was quite comical. 

(After face-planting into the concrete, this guy at least made it to the bushes to pass out.)

A lively crowd carrying on around "Rhythm and Booze."

The two guys in this Trans Am drove up about four times for drive-through beers...

After a few hours of sleep it was time to get up and enjoy the festival for a while before it was time to head home. This was by far the best part of the weekend. There were areas where you could paint yourself in mud and another area that had mud wrestling, mud pools, mud slides, mud prison and just about every mud activity you could think of. 

You stood inside the bars while bowls of mud were thrown at you.

One of several slides.

A pool to wash off in before going back for more mud!

Paint your mate. Paint yourself. Be painted by ajummas...

...Just relaxing in the mud.

My friend Angela and I walked around (covered head to toe in mud, of course) to take pictures and came across a traditional Korean percussion band.



Then, all of a sudden, we were handed drums. To play with the band. 




Note the Korean photographers behind me... They were EVERYWHERE! One Korean would stop us and ask to take our picture. Then 20 more would swarm in. There's a photo contest for pictures to put on next year's MudFest poster.

The ride home was significantly quieter and I'm sure it took everyone a few days to fully recover. MudFest was an experience to remember forever and kind of makes me want to stay in Korea for another year just to go again. We'll see what happens... Here are some other fun photos from the weekend.

Sunset at Daecheon Beach.

Mud Man??


Kimchi!!

Angela and me just as cold mud was thrown at our backs!






Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food

My Korea co-teachers offered me food today. I was feeling adventurous so I decided to take the plunge and try the "blood sausage," but I wasn't brave enough to face the "pig gut." Now if that doesn't sound appetizing I don't know what does... 

They prefaced it by saying, "It's very popular. All Korean people like this." Like I'm gonna' fall for that... I knew the sausage-looking bites were called "blood sausage" but wasn't sure exactly what it is. My co-teacher informed me that it's noodles made into a sausage and soaked in blood. Mmmmm. 

As much as I'd liked to have been surprised with something incredibly delicious, the "blood sausage" was not delicious. 



The stuff next to the not-delicious meat is "dok bokki," which is chewy, spongy rice cakes and processed fish hot dog type of "meat" slow cooked in spicy red sauce. Also not delicious in my opinion but some I know some foreigners who do enjoy glutenous rice cakes and fish hot dogs. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bad Activity

My last class on Fridays is a rather troublesome group of 6th graders. I've finally learned that spontaneous rewards is the best way to motivate them. They go crazy for stickers (they can be redeemed for "money"). This particular class period I didn't give out any stickers. One student, Jorden, was NOT happy. In Korea, I hear him cuss - the worst Korean cuss word there is.

I called him out and he denied saying it. "No, teacher, I say Ahhhhh." I'm American but I'm not stupid... So I take him to his Korean teacher. She has words with him and he didn't come back to class until it was over and he handed me a letter - an apology letter. I thought the world might like to read. It's quite comical.

"I am say bad words at the Heather time and I regret teacher say not question and i say bad words the Korean. It is very bad activity and I regret my activity. I am going to haven't say the bad words because it was very bad activity and teacher say at me Did you say the bad words but I say the not. This so I have two bad activity this English time after this time I am not say and the bad words and activity after this time I'd be polite to and behave my shelf."

I'll like to see if Jorden really does behave himshelf.


My troublemakers :) Jordan is on the left.

Korea: 1 USA: 0

I'm not being deported! The last time I updated I had a 15 day extension to get my paperwork in. At that time I thought 15 days was more than enough time. Well, it wasn't. I was on day 14 still with no papers from America. I was pretty terrified to find out my fate when I went to immigration one final time.

I go in with my boss and the immigration was ready for me. Had all of my paperwork and alien card sitting right there on his desk. Korean words were exchanged for a few minutes and he looked through the papers I had... Then he gets out his sharpie marker and writes on the back of my alien card. BAM. Visa renewed. Just like that. (I could have written in sharpie myself...)

So I'm a legal alien still. Celebrating Korea style all weekend! Wooooooo!

Oh and if anyone has connections at the Secretary of State's office, let me know. I REALLY need to track down my paperwork and find out when it might be processed.