This game was just another shining example of why I love Korea. What other country would have more cheering fans for the visiting team? The crowd went absolutely nuts every time star player Owen faces or the head coach came on the big screen. But nothing compared to the absolute roar that erupted every time the camera spotlighted Korea’s soccer god, Park Ji-Sung. Although he didn’t appear on the field until the last 20minutes of the game, that didn’t stop the entire stadium of 65,000 fans from chanting his name while he sat on the sidelines.
The match took place at Seoul’s impressive World Cup Stadium, built when the city hosted the games in 2002. Seoul FC put up a good match for the first half scoring two goals but that wasn’t enough to hold off the talent of Man-U, who ended the game in victory with three goals.
What really sent me into a frenzy was when Girls Generation came out on the field for their halftime performance. Brittany and I nearly died of excitement and shock. I have a newfound obsession with everything K-pop and I had no idea they would be performing (or lip synching).
Girls generation is one of the hottest all girl groups in Korea. They are pure manufactured pop goodness (which was embarrassingly obvious when the wrong music came on and they stood their awkwardly for a few minutes).
I seriously listen to K-pop all the time, maybe even more then some of my students. My favorite right now is the new group 4 Minutes; they are these cute little funky Korean hip-hop girls. Listen to their big hit "Hot Issue" I freakin' love it!
Then of course there is the most popular boy band, Big Bang. They are badass dancing machines. There are a few other boy bands like 2pm and Super Junior that have so many members it’s hard to remember their faces. Here is a little preview of some K-pop boy candy, its so addicting!
I just can't help myself the beats are just so catchy. When I am singing along I feel like I almost speaking Korean and I know what I am saying. My next step is learning the dance moves. Every major K-pop track has an elaborate signature dance routine, that of course all my girl students know every step to. But what was really more impressive was last week by the Gays, when seriously every boy in the club broke into a full fledge dance ensemble without missing a beat. Not only was I one of a handful of ladies in the club, but now I was a dance leper. I am never lettting this happen again, how embarrassing. Must practice dance routines before next visit to Homo hill!!
Side note I finally gave in and bought another camera. I went to the Techno mart and picked myself up a slightly older model camera for about a hundred bucks. Thanks to the help of a friendly Korean girl who helped me barter with the millions of sales guys in the overwhelming neon lit mall. Stayed tuned, lots more picture coming. Up next week: rafting, second attempt at bungee jumping, Andrew's visit and Thai paradise!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Although I have no actual photographic proof I was at said MUD FEST, it will probably go down as one of the greatest events of my year here.
It all started 9am on Saturday with a party bus to Boryeong Mud fest. An annual event held on the eastern coast of Korea that brings thousands of people to this small beach town for two weeks of the year. The mud supposedly has many beneficial minerals and it good for your skin but mostly it’s just fun to play in.
It was fairly overcast that day but that didn’t stop us from charging straight into the sea within the first 30 minutes of our arrival. I am pretty sure every foreigner in Korea had found his or her way to Mud fest. The beach and sea was packed with people, we were running into friends every two minutes.
It wasn’t long before we found the mud or better yet, the mug found us. It was complete chaos! There was hug inflatable slides into mud pits, mud fighting rings, mud cages and just all around debauchery. Every single person was covered from head to toe in thick mud. I imagine it was similar to the joy a pig feels when rolling around in fresh wet mud. It was awesome!
Everyone was having a great time getting messy and rinsing off in the water. Eventually the lack of sun and slight rain caught up to us. You can only walk around soaking wet with mud for so many hours. We headed back to the hotel room for a memorable bath and prepared for evening. We had heard rumors that some of the biggest K-pop groups would be performing at the outdoor stage later that night.
Sure enough that slight rain had turned to torrential downpour causing everyone to abandon their campsite and find shelter in the nearest alcohol establishment. The rain wasn’t enough to stop us from taking advantage of the local amusement park and the 3 rides it had to offer. I couldn’t believe they would actually operate these janky carnival rides in such questionable weather but that’s why I love Korea.
It would be impossible to run a festival like this in America. First it would be way too overcrowded, they would charge a ridiculous amount to get in (in Korea it was of course free), they would defiantly regulate and overcharge for beers (ours were provided courtesy of 7-11), there would have been a million cops there (I think I saw 2 all weekend) and it would be a breeding ground for law-suits (seeing how almost everyone came home with some kind of injury. One girl cracked a rib, another friend broke a toe and I was double heel kicked in the head by a flying-flipping girl in the ocean) It would just never go down in the States.
On Sunday I was really looking forward to getting back out in the Mud madness because but the sky had other plans. It was raining so hard that barely anyone was out on the beach and even less people were covered in mud. This whole concept of the weather deciding how I will spend my day is still quite foreign to me. I’ve been told this is only beginning of monsoon season. It has stopped raining since Saturday and I already think I might drown, along with my school that is flooding at an alarming rate. I don’t see how it could get much worse but I hope I will be chilling on the beaches of Thailand when it does.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wow! I feel like I haven’t updated my blog in weeks. Not much has really happened.
School is winding down. Only two more weeks till summer and 30 days till Thailand! Sounds weird but I am actually looking forward to summer school. I don’t have to come into work till 9am and I get off everyday at noon. Plus I get paid extra on top of my salary and paid vacation time. I guess another one of the perks of having a “real job”.
In other uneventful news, I did have plans to go bungee jumping last weekend but it was a no-go. I had been looking forward to doing it for weeks. I even stayed in on Friday night (which never happens) so I could wake up early and clear headed. When we showed up to the group meeting point at 9am there was already a large group gathered. The plan was to rent bikes near the Han River then cycle to bungee jump site. I was so excited to bungee jump that I must have forgotten to read the part about a 40km bike ride on the invitation. When we got to the jump site we were informed that only 15 of us would be able to jump, we had about 26 people. So everyone had to draw numbers to see who would get to take the plunge off the 40-meter tower over the lake. The girls and I made a promise that if we didn’t all pull numbers we would wait and come back another day. A decision I almost instantly regretted when I was the only one to pull out a number. But being the team player I am I gave up my place to our friend James. I was really disappointed but the fact that no of us got to jump is really motivating us to come back and take the leap!
It was so heartbreaking having to watch everyone get the adrenaline rush of making the plunge. Good thing there is a cure for heartbreak, BEER! We decided since we couldn’t jump we might as well make the best of a beautiful day with some drunk bike riding. We rode all 20km back with beers in hands having a jolly time and luckily without incident (I guess I didn’t learn my lesson from the broken-ankle fiasco of last summer). Why is it that summertime always brings out the daytime drinking?
Instead of This ...
We Did This!
Although this weekend had less sunshine it was in no shortage of good times. Ironically, my Irish friend Ross planned a Sports Day at the park for the fourth of July. Not to be out spirited by an Irishman. Lacy, Brittany and I got decked out in red, white and blue coordinating outfits with fabulous matching sweatbands. When we got to the park it was pouring rain and it looked like Sports day might not happen but the good thing about the weather here is that it’s always changing, you just have to wait.
So with in an hour the rain had passed and the dragonflies were out in full force. We graciously named ourselves “The A-team” and we were serious (and slightly buzzed) about this competition. There were about six teams made of 5 people, so imagine over 30 foreigners dressed ridiculous, playing odd games, drinking in a Korean park on a cloudy day. A classic recipe for the Fourth of July, minus being in America, having fireworks, BBQ’ing and beach part.
Sports Day had all the classic events: egg spoon race, three-legged race, an obstacle course, throwing contest and tug of war. Although we rarely came in the top three, we had tons of laughs and an awesome time cheering each other on. Spending our countries birthday in a park with more English and Irishmen then Americans was usual but still patriotic!