Our first goal was to be painted in colored mud for pictures so that we could take pictures and safely put away the camera for when we really got messy. The line was disorganized and long. While we waited, a few of us got free face paintings. After 45 minutes of waiting, the lines merged into a mob. Those who were doing the painting, had decided that they needed a break. I believe in breaks as much as the next person, but that is why you have shifts. We had waited in a very long line, wasted a lot of time only to have them tell us to come back in thirty minutes. The crowd went berserk, jumping on the tables, smearing any left over colored mud which could be found on their bodies. We slowly backed away from the mob scene only to walk into an impromptu mudball fight. Cars, I'm assuming of the unfortunate workers, were being used as barricades. Mud balls contrary to what one might think, are not as soft as snowballs. Not even close.
On our way out of the festivities, I decided that we should jump in the mud pit. A Korean woman dressed in pink and standing ridiculously in high heels in mud stood outside of the plastic swimming pool, speaking roboticly into a microphone repeating, "Please be careful. For your own safety please listen to me. Excuse me, be careful." The players within the mud pit ignored her complacent pleas. The situation was extremely laughable. She held no authority, nor any passion for what she said and the wrestlers continued to play as they liked. Our mistake was thinking that if we got in the mud pit, that we would be left to our devices. I had no desire to wrestle with the crazy guys in the middle, but to stand in the side splashing in the mud. That misconception was a blunder. We were thrown face down in the mud as soon as we entered the pool. "Please be careful" was barely audible amongst the chaos. We exited about a minute later soaked and unrecognizable, even to Kyle who had left to put away the camera.
That evening we had hamburgers, a fantastic treat in this kimchi loving country. Fireworks filled the air as we sat along the beach enjoying the evening breeze.
The next day, the sun came out swinging and no sign of rain even hinted in the air. Immediately upon entering the park, an adjuma (old lady) grabbed me by the wrist and began painting me with the soft, cool mud. The paintbrush tickled my skin and I squirmed a little as she painted. Kyle painted war paint on his face as photographers shot away.
We stood in the colored mud line successfully this time. I choose blue with red, yellow and green splattered across my body and face while Kyle decided to go Lord of the Rings Ork-like with a hand print smack in the middle of his face. Our choices were a hit with the photographers, or the paparazzi as I nicknamed them as they swarmed in on us, placed us in front of a black background and shot like crazy. Literally hundreds of photographers were adorning their huge expensive cameras taking pictures of all the crazy foreigners, but for the moment, we were the “it celebrities.”
One of the last things we did was to make a clay bowl on a spinning wheel. I, with the clay pottery maker, formed the clay bowl. Kyle then carved into it, "Mudfest 2010." A memento for us to always remember the festival by.
We cleaned as best we could by jumping in the ocean before getting back on the bus to head home. The ocean could only clean so much however, and I continuously found mud in odd locations throughout the next couple of days. Before going to mud fest, I had learned once upon a time, that pigs use mud as a sunscreen to protect their lightly pigmented skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Mud festival proved that mud can also be used on humans’ skins with excellent protection qualities. Unfortunately, when the adjuma painted my legs, she missed a few sections, mostly on the backs of my legs. So not only did I go home with mud in my clothes and behind my ears, but also a plague-like sunburn on my calves.
We are definitely going back to Mudfest next year. It was a blast!