Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1 part Saffa, 2 parts mud

** This post was written a week ago but I've been having some issues with posting it so I apologise for the lateness :)

Emma, myself and Esti. The only Saffa's missing here are Estelle and Yvette.

This past weekend saw me combining a few of my favourite things...SA food and wine, good friends, the beach and mud...yes I said mud. It's the annual Boryeong Mud Festival in Korea and after hearing all the hype, I just had to check it out. Mud fest is really just an excuse for a ton of Westerners and Koreans alike to get a bit merry on Korean beer and roll around in the mud. And it didn't disappoint. On top of Mud fest though, we had a Saffa themed night in Jecheon on Friday night...let me tell you about this awesome weekend :)

Esti was the host of Saffa night (aptly called 'Baby's on Fire' on Facebook, after the release of Die Antwoord's new song...word to the wise: it's not for the weak of heart) with the other 4 of us as co-hosts. We decided that the biggest apartment would be needed, so Esti and Su kindly opened up their place. We all invited guests to join in on the SA goodness, and before we knew it, we had a party. Esti created 2 trivia games on SA, with the winners receiving shots of Amarula with smarties! Delicious! Then we all contributed towards the absolute feast we enjoyed: We had - koeksusters, coconut ice, biltong (!!!!!), dried fruit, rice salad, cheese and marmite muffins, bobotie with all the bells and whistles, a green salad, mince and vetkoek. I made the vetkoek, mince and salad. It's the first time I've really had to cook something of value in Korea, and the first time I've ever used yeast, baked, or fried. So was pretty dam pleased with myself and Nicola with the way it all turned out. And having fashioned the salad after my mom's ones from home, it really did feel like home!

Esti created an awesome all SA playlist, and we spent the night laughing and singing along to some old favorites, and artists such as Mango Groove, Jessie Clegg, Mandoza, Karen Zoid, Just Ginger, some Afrikaans treffers...the list goes on. But it was awesome. It's really nice to have so many South Africans around, and to have friends from other countries who are interested in learning more about and experiencing some of my home. I know some people hate the term 'Saffa' but I've truly embraced it being here and love the feeling of belonging to a group of people who struggle to hide their pride for our country (this is of course a generalisation but let's stick to the positivity shall we).

I keep trying to add pictures and they just aren't working today, so you'll need to check Facebook out or Google the dishes to see pictures I'm afraid :)

The weekend was not over yet though, and at 9am on Saturday, 9 of us assembled outside GnB where Estelle had so awesomely organised us a bus and driver to take us to MUDFEST! It took around 4 hours, including lunch and bathroom breaks so we eventually got there around 13:00. It was overcast and a bit rainy, but we had expected that and with it being so hot (and us planning on getting covered in mud), the rain did nothing to lower our spirits. We were staying in a pension 5 minutes from the beach, and as soon as were changed, sun creamed, beer'ed up and ready to go - we hit the mud!

I brought my camera along but kept it in a water proof pouch once the real fun began, so unfortunately we don't have any of the epic photos some of the other people have of themselves rolling in the mud. But I did manage to capture some of the fun :)

David, Adam, Nics, Su and Myself
We started off at 'painting stations', but we had to walk about 15 minutes to reach the actual mud festival area. Along the way a few of us took a dip in the sea, until we finally got to the real mud. It was an enclosed area that we had to pay for to get in (a whole 5000\, really not expensive) and included buckets of mud, jumping castle type slides, mud prisons, wrestling pits and obstacle courses. The mud is not the brown, thick, dirt you typically think of, but was watery and gray and felt really good on your skin! It was packed with people, and the rain was doing nothing to dampen our moods (pun intended). We had a go on most things, got some mud in our eyes and mouths, and just had a lot of fun all round. After we finished up there we spent time in the sea, washing off and making the most of the warm water and chance to swim. It was then time to head back and get cleaned up properly before going for some delicious dinner.

We went for seafood and samgyupsal - the shellfish was so fresh it was still alive when you cooked it, and although I didn't have any, I heard it was amazing. We then went and got some drinks and played drinking games in the room as it was pouring with rain. Half way through we heard fireworks and ran like crazy people (okay some us did) to go check them out. We watched them from the beach and it was truly magical. It was then time for norebang, then bed. The day had finished us all!

On the Sunday, we got a late start and went to Paris Baguette and Angel in Us coffee for breakfast, before taking a nice long walk along the beach, back to the mud area (but stayed clean this time) where I managed to take a few more pictures. Along the way, Meabh got roped into learning how to do CPR and was filmed and interviewed. A real celebrity I tell you ;) I bumped into some other friends, and just enjoyed being by the sea. We were on the bus by 14:00, and arrived in Jecheon just after 18:00. It was so nice having our own transport - made for easy and fun traveling (no being worried about being too loud on the train...Nicola...haha). We decided to have one of my favourite meals, dak galbi, for dinner together, before going home and collapsing after a great weekend!

The mud fest area

Mud Prison

So all in all it was a really great weekend. I got to share a bit of my home with my friends over here, and then got muddy and absolutely loved it. These are the things I'm here for - the experiences that you just don't get anywhere else!

Just another fun, random weekend outing in Korea!

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