SENSATION 2012: An Ocean of White, Care Packages and Beachy Destinations

Now THIS was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.  So happy that I took lots of pictures and video footage.
SENSATION is basically a touring rave party.  They hit hot spots in South America and Europe and have one stop in the US (NYC, of course) and its first-ever stop in Asia happened to be in Seoul this past weekend.

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Absolutely incredible.

The theme was “An Ocean of White” and the dress code was for everyone to wear white…hence the white clothes, and it was a really cool thing to see all those people (apparently sold out show at 50,000 people) in the same color.
It also helped the hype when you were on your way to the venue and you’d randomly see someone else all dressed in white and wondering if they were on their way to the same place that you were headed.  🙂
The rave (my first) started at 10pm and went to 6am.  I went with a friend of mine and we stayed til about 5:15am and headed back to try and beat some of the crowds for the subways and the trains back home.
It was busier than I’m sure it normally was at 6am on the subway, but not anything too crazy.

The event has a really good energy and lots of people were up and dancing around, and they had a few fun photo-op type things set up around the arena for before or during the event when you wanted to take a breather.
You paid for food and drinks with these little tokens that you bought (everything was obviously overpriced, but that’s to be expected).

I started to write out descriptions of what all happened, but it’s just one of those things that you’d have to experience it to fully understand.
However: giant inflatable, color-changing, glowing balls in the crowd; lasers; great dance music; fireballs; fountains; wristbands that turned on and glowed green on cue; dancers.

There you go.  Perhaps your own imagination can do better justice to the show than my writing can.  🙂

I also managed to lose my bank card while I was at the rave and tried hard not to let it spoil my evening.  I’m normally very organized and good with money, and that’s never happened to me before so I wasn’t too thrilled.
I told the information desk and gave them my number and they said they’d call if it showed up (made me feel a bit better that they had a stack of about 8 other cards at the desk).
I later found out that someone had charged 60,000 won (about $58) to my card while at the event…most likely on tokens since there wasn’t much else to purchase there.

On Monday morning (banks are closed on Sundays here too), a Korean co-worker went to the bank with me and talked to the teller about the situation.  We cancelled the old card (and thankfully, the person only used that card for that one 60,000won purchase and that’s it) and she issued me a new one on the spot.
My co-worker also filled out a form explaining what had happened (in Korean) and they’re going to see about getting me the money back.  It’ll take 1-2 weeks to find out whether or not I get anything back.  I might or might not…or I could get a portion of it.  Either way, I’m not expecting to get anything back, so if I do, it’ll just be a nice surprise.
Thankfully, I get paid this week and I’m not in a huge need for money right now (sure, the 60,000 would be nice), but payday is coming and I’ll take this as a lesson learned to be extra careful next time, because if there is a next time, I probably won’t be so lucky.  They could have easily drained the whole account or kept making additional purchases.

Anyway, I also got another care package…this time from my mom! 😀
It had a bunch of food and magazines in it.  And MAC AND CHEESE!  And Angel Food Cake mix!  haha.  Apparently sending the cake mix was an accident, but I’m happy it was sent along.  🙂
Oh!  And I got more lotion from Bath and Body Works!!  Hurrah!!

Annnnd last but definitely not least….

BALI IN THREE DAYS!!!!!

Count’em!  3! Days!! 😀
Summer vacation is almost here!!

I can definitely use it because I already teach a lot of classes and Summer Intensive classes start up tomorrow (ie: adding more classes into our schedule.  1 more for me…making 10-11 classes a day).
Friday can’t come soon enough.

MUDFEST!

Ah! I’ve been so busy recently–but what a fun month!

Two weekends ago I went to MudFest or the 15th Annual Boryeong Mud Festival.

It’s one of the biggest festivals here in South Korea and a massive event attended by tons of foreigners and Koreans alike.  (But mostly foreigners).

It goes on for two weeks with most people going on the weekends from what I’ve noticed.  I went on the first weekend (July 14-15) and had an amazing time.  It’s held on the beach and has everything from: inflatable slides and obstacle courses, mud wrestling, and body painting with regular and colored mud.
The first night they also have fireworks as a celebration of opening weekend, and there are booths for food and drink everywhere.  It’s a really, really fun time.

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There are tons of different organized tour-like groups that go down there in buses and pre-arrange accommodation for you and everything too.
I went with some friends and we went with a group that was pretty much bare-bones so we could save some money.  Some of the other groups with the fancy buses are $100^^, but they also include dinners and such.  Our group was about $40 and just had accommodation, but food and everything was pretty cheap down there so we were able to save ourselves quite a bit of money.
…which is good because my July has been pretty jam-packed with stuff.

I’m pretty much all for paying the least amount that I can on lodging (as long as it’s safe and clean) and transportation so I can spend money on other things and/or save it.

Anyway, Mudfest is an amazing time and I’ll definitely be back 🙂

Jimjilbang

Hello! Hello!

On Thursday, I ended up going to a jimjilbang for the first time.  I’ve basically been getting up the courage to go since I got here.  I wanted to try it out because it’s a very Asian experience, and as I’m here in Asia, I wanted to experience it.  One way or another.
In case you didn’t read my last post, a jimjilbang is a public bathhouse/sauna/spa.
It depends on the size of the one you’re going to but for the most part, each of them has different pools (different temps)–like hot tubs, steam rooms, common areas and hot rooms (it’s like a dome-shaped stone room that they have set at a high temp. to help relax you and make you sweat out toxins/cleanse your body.  They also have ice rooms too.
Anyway, you’re required to be nude if you want to use the [gender separated] saunas and hot tubs/pools.  There’s a belief that the hot temperatures bring out toxins from clothing and bathing suits when it’s in that hot of a temperature. Also, (according to Wikipedia) some people will assume that you have something (some gross infection, etc) if you try and wear a bathing suit.  1st–I don’t think it’s even allowed to wear one, and if you did, you’d stick out even more.  (Same goes for the bathhouses in Japan).  All common areas and the hot room things are mixed and they give you a special uniform to wear.
The review:  REALLY NICE.  I went with a friend and I had heard of a really nice (and massive–7 floors!) one that was really popular in this city.  It was really awkward at first and we couldn’t stop laughing, ha.  We decided to do the common areas first and explore a bit and then go into the sauna.

It ended up being ok because we went around midnight (got a late bbq dinner) on a Thursday and it wasn’t overly crowded.  I had heard that “you WILL get stared at” (being a foreigner/having curves/etc etc) but perhaps because it wasn’t very crowded, it didn’t happen as much as I expected.

Anyway, it was super relaxing and I loved the hot rooms.  You just go in and lay on the heated stone floor.  I saw some people with books in there too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jjimjilbang

Next Post:  Mudfest 2012

She Bangs! She Bangs!

With any luck, I got that Ricky Martin song stuck in your head.  😛

In this entry I’m going to focus on the bangs ( 방) or rooms, in Korea.
Bang (not pronounced like it is in English–the b is a slight mix of the b and p sounds and the a is pronounced like “ah”)
Anyway, there are a few different varieties here:
PC bangs: (computer rooms–basically where all the gamers go–but a giant computer lounge where you pay for internet access by the hour–really nice computers too.  I used these when I first got here and didn’t have my internet set up yet.

Noraebang:  (Pronounced “Nor-a-bang”)–Karaoke rooms!  I’m completely dumbfounded as to why these aren’t in the US yet.
It’s a private room that you can pay for and you can have a karaoke party with your friends.  (Mostly done after you finish up at the bars, but can definitely be done at other times too).  Comes with two microphones, a giant flat screen tv, 2 giant song books (English and Korean song choices), wrap-around couches…and you can bring alcohol into the rooms.  (Alcohol is a very big part of the culture here so it’d be really strange for it not to be allowed…but that’s beside the point.)
You walk into a noraebang, pay at the counter and escorts you to your private karaoke room.
Personally, I don’t really do karaoke in bars or in that sort of scene because I don’t want to sing in front of all those people, but this is really cool. Sing until your heart’s content…judgement free!  (hopefully :-P)

Jimjilbang:  a Korean public sauna/bathhouse.  They’re really popular over here (uh…planning on trying it out for the first time later this week)…just the one catch:  you’re naked.  Ya.  Naked.
There are a bunch of them all over, but I haven’t gotten the courage to go yet…I just want to try it at least once before I leave.
There are mixed parts of the bathhouse where (you’re fully clothed here) you can relax or get a massage (apparently these are not the same as the ones you’d expect back home.  a bit rougher, I believe.)
But in the actual saunas, there are a bunch of different rooms to choose from, varying in heat and types of saunas themselves.
I’ll be able to update more on this after I go.
It’s supposed to be a really relaxing thing (aside from the Koreans staring at you because of your foreigner body (ha) and a great way to detox your body).  Plus, it’s not something you can find in most places.

Also, you’re able to spend the night there too!  It’s a cheap option (cheaper than a hostel) and I’ve heard of people doing it at the airport (I think there’s one in the Seoul-Incheon airport) if they have an early flight the next morning.
The whole thing can range from $4-10!!  Closer to 10 if you stay the night!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jjimjilbang

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1KJfTwj2lU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvJWdK6DOn0&feature=plcp

There are a few other types of 방 here (as it means “room”), but I think those are the most common.

Ok, headed to bed!
Happy Thursday!
MUDFEST this weekend!!

Ankle Update

Just a heads up–This is kind of a whiny/vent-y post.

If you aren’t aware, I messed up my ankle a bit ago while ziplining (go read the original post for more info), and I’ve had my leg wrapped up in a splint for not-even a week. A week on Thursday.  (And I’m pretty much counting down the hours til it is removed this Thursday.  Uh.  I hope.  More on that in a bit.)

This is what is basically going on:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00341
and I think a bit of this too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematoma

Fun times.
It doesn’t really hurt or anything…just swollen and purple.  And a bit tender if you push on my calf or ankle region too much.
Aside from that, I feel (with my overwhelming amount of knowledge on the subject, haha) that it’s healing well.  Aside from the massive bruising and swelling, my ankle feels a lot stronger than last week.
Last week, I couldn’t put much pressure on my right leg, and had a pretty nice limp.
However, now I can put full standing pressure on my leg.  I don’t overdo it or anything, it’s just something I’ve noticed.
I can also use my toes and wriggle my foot to the point where if the splint were loose enough that I could pull my foot out (with no hands).  Again, if it were loose enough.  That was definitely not the case last week.

I’ve been trying to elevate it as much as I can, and pretty much have been lounging around for hours at a time after work, just watching movies with my foot propped up on a bunch of pillows.  Also applying ice for 20 minutes at a time every few hours (as able).

I’m honestly just really nervous (too much reading stuff online) that I’ve messed up my ankle for good.  I’ve read a lot from people who have permanently swollen ankles (or sore) because their foot didn’t heal right after something similar to what I have, or sprained ankles, etc.
I’m a runner, dancer and a generally fairly active person…and the thought of messing up an ankle at age 25, which would keep me from doing a lot of those things…is beyond horrifying.
Especially because this injury was just a split-second decision.  Granted, I had a fun time while I was ziplining, and would have gone again, definitely….but after this mess, now I feel like I’m scarred from the experience.

Anyway, I just needed to get a lot of that off my chest.  I feel like I talk a lot about it with people and I don’t want it to wear on them.  It’s just on my mind a lot.
I really, really hope I didn’t mess up my ankle for good.  😦 😦

I also really hope I get cleared to have this darn thing off my foot on Thursday.  My leg feels dirty with it on.  A wrapped foot..from the ball of the foot to about 3 inches below my knee…during summertime is really sucky.
AND Mudfest is coming!  😦

I’ll continue to be really careful with my foot after it’s out of the splint…I just feel like it’s gotten a lot stronger and is ready to move around on its own now.
And because I want to shave my leg.  And not have my foot feel all sweaty and gross.  haha 😀

//end whine-fest.
Goodnight!

Ooohh!!! and….

No current plans for tomorrow or anything.  I know of some BBQs happening this weekend though.  Probably be attending something like that assuming the leg thing pans out accordingly.  😀

Happy 4th of July!!
Thank you to all of our past and present servicemen and women for all of your sacrifices that you’ve made toward ensuring our freedom.  It’s appreciated more than words can say.