Whether it’s a hot, steamy shower on a cold morning in Idaho or a deliciously cool one on a sticky hot North Queensland evening, there’s a lot to be loved about the humble shower.
Who amongst us hasn’t come back from a hard day of hiking and eagerly washed away the day’s sweat and dirt in the shower. Felt knotted muscles relax a little and messy hair become something just a tad more manageable as a day’s worth of dust, sweat, and detritus just washed away.
It’s probably odd that I remember this particular shower so well, but a good shower can be a near religious experience – especially after a day or several days of going without.
It was July 2008 and the day was as hot and sticky as the two that had preceded it. I threw open the door to my spacious (by Korean standards – which puts it on par with a large college dorm room in Australia) apartment and hurriedly threw open the windows to let some of the only marginally cooler air in. My travel bag was hurled into the corner and I was peeling clothes off within the first minute or so.
I was fresh back from two days at Boryeong’s very awesome Mud Festival and my skin resembled an impressionist artist’s latest work as a mish-mash of mud, sea salt, sand, and face paint used every inch of me as a canvas. Is there any reason that this all reads dangerously like a softcore porn title?
For those not familiar with the mud festival – imagine 70% of Korea’s party happy foreigner population packed into one small seaside town. Add liberal quantities of good quality mud, a beach with surf during typhoon season, plenty of cheap alcohol available in 1.5 liter plastic pitchers, and music for good measure. It’s a mix for the closest to a hedonistic orgy you’ll encounter in Korea.
My favourite weekend in my two years of South Korea was visiting the festival with a newly made mate by the name of Dean. A fellow Aussie who liked a good beer even more than me, we paired up for the festival and found that a good wing-man is a thing of great value. A day spent running and cartwheeling on the sand and floating alongside our blissfully buoyant pitchers of Hite was just what the doctor ordered after a long week of dealing with hyperactive Korean kids in classrooms not blessed with AC.
I was fresh off of a breakup and looking to forget about all of the dramas, and the Mud Festival was a perfect way to do that. I mean seriously, if a gorgeous Korean beach covered in bikini clad drunken revelers isn’t enough to get you out of the dumps – what is?
Making friends with a wee bonnie Scottish lass and her definitely not high maintenance (sorry, in joke) American friend certainly helped matters too.
The entire weekend saved my Korean experience from becoming a dreadfully emo one, and I remember bobbing in the Yellow Sea under the stars and realizing how glad I was to be alive as fireworks cracked and whistled overhead. It was a surreal moment and one that, in a lot of ways, further cemented the travel bug in me.
The weekend was fantastic and the shower was heaven. Two days wrestling in mud and messing around in the sand adds a lot of grime.
Maybe I’m giving too much credit to the simple shower, but I have a feeling I’m not alone in my appreciation of a good shower after a long few days of partying or hiking or whatever else takes your fancy.
Boryeong Mud Festival
Just about the highlight of any Korean visit. As close to a hedonistic drunken orgy as you’re likely to come on the peninsula.