Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Boryeong Mud Festival 보령머드축제 (Again!) in 2013

A collage of the fun we had last weekend!

Third Time's a Charm?

This year, I attended the Boryeong Mud Festival 2013 (보령머드축제) at Daecheon Beach, which is located on the west coast of Korea, about 2-3 hours south of Seoul. This is actually my third time going, since I also attended in 2010 and 2011. Not sure what it is? Here's a CNN article highlighting the event. Take the "3 million participants" claim with a grain of salt though -- that's an outrageously inflated number.

Me before getting muddy!
I actually wasn't going to go this year, but since all of my friends seemed to be going, I decided to go too. Ironically I didn't see any of them while I was there! But that was okay since I still enjoyed myself greatly.

This time, I went with a new date and we had some good, low-key fun. No 8:00 am party bus, no all-night drinking escapades and certainly no hookers! We enjoyed the beach, the seafood and the mud. There was plenty of relaxing involved.

We signed up the week before through a travel agency, Waegook Travel, which gave us accommodation for 59,000 Korean won each.

He lives in the Yongsan district in Seoul and I live in Suwon. We wanted to travel to Daecheon beach together, and not so early in the morning. We opted for the national rail (sometimes referred to as the "KTX train" interchangeably), which offers multiple Mungunghwa and Saemaul trains to Deacheon daily. Suwon and Yongsan subway stations double as rail stations too, making it convenient. I was able to book the tickets so that he got on the train first, and I hopped in the seat next to him later when the train reached Suwon. In 2010, I ended up without a seat, so this time I booked the train tickets a week before to ensure that we had seats for the approximately two hour trip to Daecheon.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

So Many Activities In So Little Time!

I am still alive! I have been very busy these past few weeks. In Korea, it's currently monsoon season. It has been raining every day, and it's likely to continue to do so until around late August.

That hasn't kept me from being active, though. I've still been able to get out and do things, such as:

Playing Kickball

Picture of us after the game!

A few folks from the BSSK group decided to meet up for a kickball game! It was a gloomy Saturday, almost rainy, so not many people showed up, but it was still fun nonetheless.

We met up at a field near Janghanpyeong Station, line 5 and by exit 6. The neighborhood is full of middle aged Korean men lounging and hanging out. Why the strange location? Well, that field was free to rent. I could see why because it smelled of manure at times.

We played our game with a certified kickball ball, then ate lunch together. 


Making play-doh art with Mapo Gaon

Last weekend, one of my friends invited me to join him at the place where he volunteers. The organization is called Mapo Gaon. He helps disabled children in a particular area in Seoul once a month. I agreed to join him.

Their job was to pick up local disabled children from their home and bring them to a space, where the children and their helpers do activities together for a few hours. I thought it was very interesting and it was nice to meet the children. I also got a chance to practice my (limited) Korean.

At Yeouido Park

Afterward, we had some drinks at an Outback Steakhouse and had some drinks at Yeouido Park. It's a nice setting at night time. Many folks sit on mats and have a night picnic.

Salsa Dancing