Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Boryeong Mud Festival!

The Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Korea...especially for foreigners.  The mud is supposedly very good for your skin.  The festival began 13 years ago to promote all that Boryeong Mud can do for your skin.  I was suckered into buying some mud and clay masks for my face.  It was really cheap, so I think maybe they are the suckers...right?
So...Amanda and I jumped into a mud wrestling pit...it was hilarious...Koreans were throwing us down everywhere, I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even stand up...so naturally they kept kicking mud at me...The not-so-funny part was that I got soo much mud in my eyes, I couldn't even open them!  This is me trying to find Amanda and moving to the sound of her voice.  I was yelling for my friend Caitlin because she had my purse with kleenexes...if there was a video for this moment it would be me yelling, "Caitlin, Caitlin, CAITLIN...where are you?  Amanda, do you see her....Amanda....Amanda...Amanda, where are you?  Do you see Caitlin...I can't open my eyes, Amanda?  Caitlin?  AMANDA!  CAITLIN!"  Caitlin was sitting there the whole time laughing and taking my picture...what a great friend:)
Mimicking the statue...but you can't tell since we are covering it up...
Wow, I wish I looked as cool as Caitlin...I was just hanging on for dear life.
Taking a dip in the Yellow Sea...but don't drink soju and try to rinse off in the crashing waves!  What is soju?  Soju is fermented rice liquor and is about the cheapest and most common liquor in Korea.  It's 20% alcohol and costs about $1/bottle.  It'll knock you down, literally!  As you can see, everyone else is barely knee high in the water and I can't seem to stand up!
Busy, but beautiful Boryeong Beach...my first time in the Yellow Sea.
I had to take a pic of this Korean and her paperazzi.  It's hard to tell, but-yes, she is wearing heels at the beach.  Koreans wear heels EVERYWHERE!  Looks like her friend/photographer may be wearing heels as well.
This guy is AMAZING!  When he heard I was from Minnestoa, he couldn't stop talking about the Vikings.  He truly is the #1 Vikings Fan.  He pays to watch the games live in Korea.  He knew EVERYTHING about Viking football and is still just as devastated as I am that we just barely missed the Super Bowl.  We watched the fireworks together and everytime there were purple/gold colors in the fireworks, we would shout...PURPLE AND GOLD!  I am demonstrating #1 and his backwards peace sign is demonstrating V for Vikings.  Loved this guy!
Hanging out with my bff on the beach...it was so peaceful at night.  What makes it even better is dippin dots and soju!
Well...one week from today I will be in CHINA!  I can't remember ever being more excited for a trip in my life...and I've been on some good trips!  It'll be a few weeks before I can get another post out...but my China experiences will be worth the wait.  Thanks for spending time to read my blogs each week.  I miss everyone back home...especially my neices and nephews...but I am lovin' (almost) every minute in Korea.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

Going to a Korean baseball game is usually on most foreigners' "to-do" lists.  From the moment you walk out of the subway, you can smell the dried squid and KFC for sale.  Everyone is in line to grab their $1 Thunder sticks and there are several vendors outside selling beer, kimbap, and several other things in which I don't even know the name of.  Tickets are cheap and you can bring in outside food and beverages.

I cheer on the Twins.  Yes, the Twins!  Several teams seem as if they are "copycat" teams from American Baseball.  The logos look very similar.  Check out this player's uniform...
In the stadium, there are a few platforms where cheerleaders stand and lead the crowd in cheers.  Currently, the Twins' theme is...Christmas in July??  So, when it was the Twins' turn at bat--a few Santa Clauses and girls dressed in Santa costumes came out to lead the crowd in cheers.  If you know me at all, I think you can imagine my excitement when the WAVE was pulled out.  We did several versions of the wave:  traditional, slow motion, and my favorite - front to back...very impressive!  I don't know how the cheerleaders are able to communicate to the crowd from across the stadium on which type of wave was coming up...but they did...Amazing!
In case you brought your own beer and ran out...have no fear...they still have the beer guys that walk up and down the isles.  But instead of Bud Light in a plastic bottle, you'll get a cold, draught Cass.  I love the idea of a keg in a backpack.
In between innings, we noticed this...I don't think we will EVER see this back home!
And how could my post be complete without a few videos of the cheering fans at the games...this is what Korean Baseball is all about!  When the crowd points their thunder sticks out, it reminds me of Nazi Germany saluting Hitler.  Each player also has their own cheer and there are actions to go along with it (with the thundersticks, of course).  It's a little difficult for my camera to focus because of the sea of red.
I don't think I've been to a higher scoring game than this.  We left after the 7th inning...Big Rock Brewery sounded too good to wait for.  (Twins are LG Twins)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Mexican Band in Korea?

What I love most about living in another country is...you never know what you're gonna get.  My friends and I went to Yongsan to our first Korean movie with English subtitles.  The movie was great.  It was about a group of student soldiers and their heroic role in the Korean War.  It's called, "Into the Fire" and I suggest you try it on Netflix when it comes out on DVD.

Me and Caitlin posing at the movie theater
So...you never know what you are gonna get in Korea.  We turned the corner at the mall where the movie theater was and....there was a Mexican Mariachi/Ranchero/little of everything band!  We waited for them to finish so that I could speak to them in Spanish and I bought their c.d. (signed...lol).  I love all Korea's little surprises.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 World Cup

Here are some videos from watching the World Cup in Korea that I couldn't upload to my previous post. Korea also played Argentina and Nigeria...but I didn't take any videos from those games. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of how different soccer is viewed here versus in the United States.
Korea vs. Greece Game that I watched from the Suwon World Cup Stadium.

Korea vs. Greece Game that I watched from the Suwon World Cup Stadium.

DAE HAN MIN GUK! (GO KOREA!) This video is from the Korea vs. Uruguay game at City Hall in Seoul.

This last video was at City Hall in Seoul for the Korea vs. Uruguay game. I took it moments before Korea scored the goal that tied the game (that Korea ultimately lost). This is the crowd cheering while watching Korea score.


It was an amazing experience to cheer on Korea's team during the 2010 World Cup.  Korea hosted the games, along with Japan, in 2002.  At that time, Korea actually made it to fourth place.  Since then, Korea has had the slogan, "Again, 2002."  :)

Korea didn't get nearly that close this year, but did make it to the final 16 teams.  They lost to Uruguay (2-1).  Korea really dominated the game...but just couldn't make the ball into the goal.  Although it was a tough loss, Koreans were proud of how well Korea played.

There are two World Cup Stadiums in Korea because of the 2002 World Cup.  One in Seoul and one in Suwon, the town I live.  So, for the first game...Korea vs. Greece, my friend and I went to the Suwon World Cup Stadium to watch the game.  It was great to watch the game with so many Koreans.  Everyone was full of pride and excitement...and a few Cass beers.  It was so cool to see the stadium open their doors for free for the community to watch the game together.  In fact, all over town people were watching the game together.  There were large screens set up outside the subway station, convenience stores, bars, coffee shops, you name it!  No matter where you were walking, you'd run into a crowd of people-wearing red-and watching the game together.  The sense of Korean Pride was contagious.

This guy was so excited over the win against Greece...he had to take a picture with us.  The lady friend who took the picture got a little excited over the zoom...
A bit blurry...but the sea of red at the Suwon World Cup Stadium
Korea Won!  I happened to take a pic during an interesting advertisement...
The night ended with fireworks!

I will add video on my next post because the way Blogger works...too difficult to explain why.

After losing only to Argentina in round one...we made it to round two.  For the Korea vs. Uruguay game, we went to City Hall in Seoul.  Here, there were four huge screens set up to watch the game with even more people.  It rained throughout the game...but we tried not to let it dampen our spirits.
One of my students gave me this, "I love Korea" tattoo.
With my camera, taking pictures in the dark is a challenge.  This is the best I could do.  This is in the beginning of the game when people were still sitting on the street.  I love that we are in downtown Seoul and there is still a little reminder of traditional Korea lit up nearby.
Rain, rain...go away!
Amanda and I...soaking wet!
These guys were so cute:)  You'll find this in Korea and no one passes judgement.  You will often find men carrying murses (mens' purses)...often times they are designer purses like Louis Vuitton.
Again, I will add the videos to the next post.  With the mixture of rain and night, my camera couldn't capture the excitement from the crowd...so hopefully you will get a glimpse of it through my videos.