After such a long and draining night, I oversleep making me late to meet Catfish at the train station. Thankfully, I do meet her in time for the train to
and she’s even bought me breakfast from Lotteria. M meets us on the train when it stops at her station and we chatter away for the 40 minutes train ride to Daecheon where we meet Astro. From there, we take a taxi to the mudflats for the marine training part of the trip. Daecheon Beach
While the Mudfest itself is largely free to attend, the marine training is organised for us as part of the AK package and, quite frankly, it’s the highlight of the trip. We’re among the first to arrive at the mudflats and we’re dressed and ready for action by the time the AK buses arrive. The organisers of the marine training is the same company that did the sea rafting and paintball part of a trip at the end of May. Catfish and I immediately know that this is going to be a great morning!
Getting Down and Dirty
After a brief introduction and once everyone is dressed, we’re given the all clear to enter the mudflats. While most of the AK group are treading hesitantly through the mud, Catfish and I waste no time in attempting to wrestle each other down and into the mud. We’re among the first to get muddy and are completely coated in mud by the time we reach the first of our games: Mud soccer. We’re playing against Koreans – mostly men and mostly guys who have completed their military training and are therefore very fit. The game, however, is good fun and, surprisingly, the foreigners win. Next is the chicken fights.
Chicken fights involves holding the ankle of one foot crossed in front of the other knee. You then hop on one foot and attempt to knock over opponents by bumping into them. I already know that I’m terrible at this game so I sit it out and instead Catfish, M, Astro, three kiwis and I form a human pyramid in the mud. Catfish and I also attempt to wrestle ByungMin into the mud as he has barely got dirty. After many attempts, we finally manage to wrestle him down and insist on a photo of it as proof.
Doing It Like A Marine!
Our next game is actually marine exercises. The Korean men all shine in this round as they’ve actually completed these exercises as part of their real military training. The foreigners, on the other hand, are mostly useless and find the exercises physically demanding. We soon decide that we’ve had enough and skip the final game of wrestling in order to beat the crowds to the showers to rinse off. Also, the rain is starting to fall in earnest.
By the time we’re clean and on our way to our hotels, it’s raining more than we’d hoped. At the hotel, we drop off our bags and head to the beach and the mudfest area. The actual mudfest is something of a disappointment and it is basically an opportunity for foreigners to get drunk and behave badly. In all fairness, there are also a lot of Koreans who are just as drunk and behaving just as badly.
We paint ourselves in more mud and buy tickets to go on the inflatables inside the demarcated area. We wait in a line for nearly an hour before finally giving up. During our wait, however, we witness many disgusting displays of arrogance and inconsiderate behaviour. The one that stands out the most is a group of foreigners who had a bucket of very watery mud thrown at them by one of their friends. The mud also hit a Korean woman who was clearly a professional photographer at the event. Her camera was covered in mud and, when this was pointed out to this particular group of foreigners, they simply laughed it off and gave her a thumbs up.
Fireworks? What Fireworks?
After playing around the water, we find ourselves desperately wanting a refreshing shower. After our showers, we walk the strand flat in search of somewhere to eat. We settle for delicious galbitang and later find enormous take away Junebugs before heading to the stage area. Deciding that the stage area is too crowded, we head back down to the beach where we build a “2011” with sparklers and unsuccessfully attempt to get them all lit simultaneously.
Promised a fireworks display on the beach, we eventually come to the conclusion that the few rockets we’ve seen are the display and we decide to call it a night. We no sooner get back to our hotel room when we hear major fireworks exploding. M, Astro and Catfish decide to return to the beach while I call it a night. Apparently, I miss some amazing fireworks and great fried chicken….