Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Process of Turning 24: Part One

Although this is somewhat belated, it is in no way a reflection of my enthusiasm for my birthday. Simply put, it was awesome! For my birthday, my friends, boyfriend and I went to Mudfest! If you don't already know, Mudfest is a giant festival held in Boryeong, a small city on the western coast of Korea, about 2.5 hours from Seoul. This festival draws in tons of people from all over the country and is a magnet for foreigners.

Although there were two weekends of the festival and one was being held the actual weekend of my birthday, my coworkers were going to Thailand that weekend, so we did it the weekend before. We went with Hunters, a social group that promotes Hunters, a South African cider. They are a new group, but I can't recommend them enough.

Our journey started on Friday night, trying to stay at a jimjilbang close to the pick-up point for the group we went with, but it turns out the one near Express Bus Terminal that Google Maps pointed me toward closed multiple years ago. Luckily, a kindly Marriott employee directed toward a different one nearby. This is where my coworkers and I went our separate ways because they wanted to go to a casino. So I went inside, changed into my jimjilbang uniform (must all jimjilbangs use the exact same pepto-pink uniforms for girls?) and met the boyf in the common room. We stayed up talking and eventually crawled into our own caves (cut outs in the walls) and attempted sleep.

But here's the thing--sure there are thin mats (and I stole two *gasp* going against the grain), but it's an entire room filled with people, some of whom are talking, some are snoring, and several lights on. So it's not for light sleepers. On top of that, time in the caves slows down and we had a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call, with no real alarm. So needless to say, it wasn't the best sleep of my life. And with my contacts out, I was left in the hilarious position of having to get within inches of the wall clock by carefully stepping over strangers asleep on the floor to decipher the time in the wee hours of the morn.

Luckily, we got up at the right time and awoke to messages from my coworkers, who apparently slept outside the jimjilbang on the rocks. So at least I had a better night than they did? The Loud American was still incredibly inebriated and ecstatic about the $70 he won at the casino, so he smelled like a liquor store and insisted on counting out his cash on the sidewalk. Everyone else looked exhausted, but no worse for wear, so we trekked over to the pick-up point at Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam.

And then the real fun began!

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