Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eumseong Pumba Festival

In mid-June, I decided that going to the Pumba ("Pretend Beggar") Festival in Eumseong would be just the ticket. What made me decide on this, out of all the festivals Korea has to offer? Absolutely no reason! I did, however, convince a small group of friends to come along, and they're what made the trip fun.

We started out the morning by meeting at the bus station 15-20 minutes later than we'd all previously agreed. Every one of us was late, so much so that I began to laugh out loud on the subway while getting a series of apologetic texts from my friends. We are all lindy hoppers, though, and had spent Friday night dancing at various different venues around Seoul. It was really unreasonable to expect any of us to be punctual the next morning.

Maybe this lack of sleep is how we agreed, after finally making it to the festival, that silkworm larvae would make the perfect breakfast. We yawned; we stretched; we ate larvae.

It did wake some of us.

Perfect for both foreigners and children, the play did not use any spoken language; it instead relied upon colourful costumes, music, and players who engaged in a lot of physical activity.

Well, the lion baby did yell "Omma!" when she kicked her legs and threw a tantrum, but we could all easily figure out this meant "Mama!"

The local public restrooms never had any toilet paper. We did, however, see this guy perform. Just where did he get his costume? Looks sus to me . . .

While at the festival, we saw a little open-air bus, which was actually more like a glorified golf cart. It stopped where we were standing, so we bounded onboard. It drove us around in a circle and deposited us back at the festival's entrance, all the while playing 70s era music.

("And it arrived out of nowhere, just like a gift from the disco gods." ~ Eimir)

There were three living statues near the festival's entrance. They wore robes in bright gold or green and had their faces painted to match. These performers posed while standing on wooden stools. Their long robes covered the stools and pooled onto the walkway beneath them, thus giving the statues the illusion of height.

While I was taking a photo of the statues, some random festival photographers decided it would be a swell idea to photograph me with the statue. Joseph offered to hold my bag, but the photographers saw this as a two-for-one foreigner deal, so he got placed in the photo, too. Blue eyes = B-list celebritydom in Asia.

(photo credit: Eimir)

To end our day, we took the bus back to Seoul and saw the very first World Cup game with Korea (Korea vs. Greece) on a giant TV outside the Coex Mall. Millions of Koreans were watching the game on giant TV screens embedded in skyscrapers throughout the city, though the crowds were slightly less than anticipated due to a steady drizzle.

Here are hundreds of excited World Cup Korea fans watching a screen filled with hundreds of other excited World Cup Korea fans. It's meta-spectatorship!

Joseph, Katie, and I assimilate to the local culture.

And for the perfect day's ending, Korea won the game.

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