Tag Archive: outdoors


Mudfest

Mudfest is a festival in Boryeong that goes on for 9 or so days in July. It takes about 2 hours from Seoul or 5 hours from Busan on a bus, but you can take the KTX as well. There’s groups that leave from Busan and Seoul (and I’m sure other cities and towns) so you don’t have to worry about planning anything.

Mudfest 003There is some free mud, but most you have to pay to get into an area where there are slides and the like but the lines are massive. In hindsight I wish I had not gone there because we didn’t go in for long because we didn’t want to wait an hour (with no food or drinks) in the sun to get back into mud. The one that we did do was fun, where you run and jump onto a slide, like slip n slide but inflated. There were some rocks on it though, which I think was from peoples feet.

The beach there was nice because it had real waves! That’s something we’re not used to in Busan and one guy got hit with a wave so hard he fell and got all cut up! He was okay though. Going in the ocean is great for cleaning off if you don’t want to go all the way back to the minbok (the place we were staying, and it seemed like everyone was staying) which is like a hostel but you sleep on the floor.

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At one point, the Blue Eagles were there and did a mini-show.

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At night my friends played music and there were fireworks.

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Second time going to this park, thought I’d end up at the same entrance as before, but nope! Not sure how the bus schedule works out here, but we took the same bus and ended up at at the Naejangsan National Park Office and not the Naejangsan National Park Southern Office.

We left Sunday morning on the first bus (8:15) from Gwangju, getting in around 9:15. From the town we walked to the Park Office and paid 3,000 to go in. From there, to the Information Center, past Woohwaejeong Lake, the Cable Car and then the Wooden gate, or Iljmun. From there we went to the Temple of Naejangsa, and up to Wonjeokam and up further to Bulchulbong which is 622 meters. Next was up to Manghaebong (679 meters), down to Yeonjibong (670 meters), up to Kkachibong (717 meters) and then down though Geumseong Valley back to Naejangsa. See below for the map, we followed the purple line.

Hiking Course 2The buses leave from near the National Park Office (10 minutes away) at 9:40, 12:00, and 4:15.

From the Park to the Naejangsa you will be walking under trees like below and past Woohwajeong Lake which has a pagoda.

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The Wooden Gate, or Iljumun, is below and is 10 minutes before Naejangsa temple.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 209Naejangsa Temple has a 3 story pagoda and many lanternsSome food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 228 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 231 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 234The next temple, Wonjeokam, was up quite high and had a view, half golden painted Buddha, and a dog!

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 243 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 247From there, it took 30 minutes to go .8 kilometers, which should give you a hint as to how difficult it was! Basically stairs the whole way.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 252 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 254 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 257 The next peaks were 678 meters and 670 meters. Finally, the highest was 717.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 280 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 281The way back was mostly following a river.

Manjanggul (Manjang Cave)

From Seongsan (Ilchulbong) you can take the Ilju Road East Direction (Road No. 1132) but going in the west direction (the Ilju Road West Direction goes West from Terminal). It will take 40 minutes and cost 1,000 won. A few buses go by the Seongsan Office stop so make sure to ask the bus driver if the bus goes to Man-jang-gul. If you’re going from Terminal, get on the same bus but it will take 50 minutes and cost 2,000 won.

From the bus stop you can walk 2.5 kilometers or take a taxi. We walked there and took the taxi back and the walk was quite nice. There was no sidewalk for more than half of it. Just before the caves there is a maze (500 meters before the cave).

You need to pay 2,000 won to go into the cave and it is 1,000 meters long (well, 1,000 meters that you can access). The second you walk down you will feel a change in the temperature and humidity which was a VERY welcome break. There is a sign saying to not speak loudly, take photos, or take creatures out of the cave. Since it’s Korea you can’t expect people to not be loud–it’s not the subway–and I assume they meant no flash. I, sadly, saw no creatures to steal. This was specified by a later sign with pictures of bats but I still didn’t see them.

There were a lot of informational signs inside, however many people seemed to just blow past them to get to the end. None were very extensive and I found them interesting.

Some overview: Manjanggul cave is a 7.4 km-long lava tube locally with a multi-level structure. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world having a main passage with a width of up to 18 meters and a height of up to 23 meters. Numerous lava tubes are found worldwide, but Manjanggul Lava Tube is an outstanding example because it has well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features in spite of its very old age. Thus the cave possesses significant scientific and conservation values. Three entrances to the cave developed due to a collapse of the ceiling, with the Second Entrance being the one used by tourists. A variety of lava formations and decorations, such as lava stalactites, lava stalagmites, flow lines, lava benches and lava rafts are present. The 7.6 meter high lava column is known to be the largest lava column in the world.

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Lava flow lines: When lava flows in a tube, the level of the flow is often recorded on the walls. These features are called lava flow lines. Numerous flow lines are found in Manjanggul Lava Tube, indicating that the level of lava flows was falling continuously inside the active tube.

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Rock falls: Abundant rock fragments that fell from the ceiling are found on the floor of lava tubes. They fall from the ceiling either during or after the lava-tube formation. The fallen rocks rest on the floor of lava tubes when the lava stopped to flow and is solidified. Otherwise, fallen rocks are either carried away down stream by active lava flows or melted down.

Lava Raft: A lava raft is formed when rock fragments from the ceiling or sidewall fall during lava flow and then are carried away by lava before settling and solidifying at a certain location. In some cases, fallen rocks are completely coated by lava to form mound-like or ball-like lava rafts, which are called lava balls. The one photoed here is called Turtle Raft and resembles Jeju Island and is a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube.

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Quartzite fragments: Most rockfall debris in Manjanggul consists of basaltic rocks but also comprises light-colored rocks, called quartzite, that are distinguished from basalt. These rock fragments, ranging between 1 and 5 centimeters in size, are interpreted to have been derived from the metamorphic basement rocks and then incorporated into the lava flow.

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Lava shelves: Lava shelves form when the liquid lava, only partially filling the tube, is accreted and hardened on the cooler walls. Lava shelves are further divided into lava balconies and lava benches by their shapes. (I feel like the people naming things just got lazy here and looked outside).

Lava toe: Lava toes formed when the lava flowing though the upper-level tube poured down though a  floor opening into the lava tube below. The poured-down lava flowed in a series of elongated and entangled lava lobes, each of which is reminiscent of an elephant toe, giving it its name. (I don’t see it)

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Lava flow stones: Lava flow stones form as the heat of lava melts the ceiling and walls inside a lava tube. The melted lava flows down the walls and take on varying sizes and shapes depending on the temperature and amount of lava. The lava flow stones also form when liquid lava inside the wall seeps out though small holes.

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Lava Column: A lava column forms when lava pours down from the ceiling to the floor and congeals. Lava columns are found in many lava tubes elsewhere around the world. However, the 7.6 meter-high lava column in Manjanggul Lava Tube is the largest lava gest known. The lava poured down from the ceiling spread across the floor of the lower passage and made well-developed lava toes.

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Here’s some photos I just likedJeju 272 Jeju 293 Jeju 301 Jeju 307

Outside, there is a Lava Column Cascade which is a fancy name for a cascade, like above, that has been turned into a water fountain. There is also a convenience store, bathrooms, water fountains and a restaurant.

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While we were on Jejudo (Jeju Island) it was cloudy nearly the whole time, and that included the morning of Sunday, when we wanted to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong, or the sunrise peak. At times you could not even see the mountain, and I wasn’t too upset because all the pictures that you see of it are with beautiful skies so this gives a different perspective.

You can take the bus that says Ilju Road East Direction (Road Number 1132) to ‘Seongsan (Ilchulbong)’ as it says on the map or ‘Seongsan Office’ as it says over the bus speakers and at the bus stop. This will take 90 minutes from Terminal and cost 3,000 won.

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The bus goes along the coast so I was able to take some nice pictures there as well.

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Once arriving at Seongsan Office we were a bit concerned as it might have been better to get off at the next stop–Seongsan Entrance–so we walked there and then left to the ‘beach’. There is great view of Seongsan from here, and it is where people who want to go scuba diving can leave from.

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From there we walked toward Seongsan and to Dongamsa Temple, which is right in front. At this time I thought it would be great to get a picture with the sign and mountain in the background but went to the bathroom first…to come back to no mountain! The clouds had come in in those 5 minutes and the mountain was hidden. We waited 10 minutes and it came out again though.

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Walking further past Seongsan you get to the entrance where you have to pay 2,000 won to go in. We didn’t want to go up because our legs hurt from hiking Hallasan the day before, there were a million people and it was beyond humid to the point where you just felt sticky. Plus with all the clouds you would not be able to see out. However the sign said it would take 50 minutes return to go to the top and back. There is another observatory to the left of the mountain that allows for great pictures of both the mountains and famous female divers. They are ‘grandmas’ who dive to the bottom without masks to get shellfish for the local restaurants. They put on shows at 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

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From there we took the bus to the Lava Caves, bus stop Manjanggul (ManJang Cave) which takes 40 minutes and costs 1,000 won.

This weekend I went to Jejudo (Jeju Island)! It’s a special part of Korea that has 7 UNESCO sites and is considered a honeymoon spot as well as an adventure area.

Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea (and one of the sites). It is easier to climb than the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks because it is a volcano, and thus not as steep. Only two paths go up to the top: Seongpanak (the way we went up) and Gwaneumsa (the way we went down). You have to get to certain points by certain times, depending on the sunlight. For Seongpanak, you have to get to Jindalrae Office by 12pm in November-February, 12:30pm in March, April, September, October, and 1pm from May though August. This Office takes 3 hours to get to from the start, according to maps. For Gwaneumsa, you have to get to Samgakbong Shelter by the same times as Jindalrea Office on the Seongpanak trail, but I’m not sure how long that takes to go up–I believe it is longer as I read that it was harder.

From the Airport, you can take the 100 bus to Terminal for 1,000 won, then the 5.16 Road bus to Seong-panak for 1,500 won. The Jeju book says that you can take a bus to Gwaneumsa, but at the Airport they said you could not. Also there was none when we came down and we took a taxi to town for 15,000 won (should be about 20,000 won to the airport, or from the airport if you want to start on this hike). See below for the bus times from terminal.

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We arrived at the start of the park at 10:30 (should get there at 10:00 to start) to a ticket lady who was telling us we had to rush…but she kept talking and talking…anyway, you will go past Sara shelter, a detour (which takes 40 minutes return that we did not have) called SaraOreum Observatory, and then Jindalrae Shelter. We made it though! with 6 minutes to spare before 1:00! Myself and everyone who had just gotten there before us or arrived after were very excited but when I gave a thumbs up to the guy in the box with the loudspeaker he just seemed bored…so be warned of him!

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From Jindalrea Shelter it should take 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the top of the volcano/mountain. It is mostly wooden stairs. The view on the way up isn’t amazing…compared to whats on the other side!

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You ‘have’ to leave the top by 2:30 to be sure to make it to the bottom before dark but I didn’t see anyone enforcing that rule (again, a guy in a box with a loudspeaker).

The walk down via Gwaneumsa was beautiful. There were more places to stop and a bridge that looked a lot like the one we went over for the Jagged Ridge Hike. There was also a warning for falling rocks so be careful! Also some cooled lava to walk over, and an old cave for storing ice. The last 1 hour and 30 minutes of this trail is a nature walk, so there are a lot of information signs about wildlife and vegetation which was pretty interesting. Jeju 121 Jeju 134 Jeju 138Jeju 158 Jeju 162

From here, as stated above, we took a taxi to town for dinner, as the only restaurant at the bottom was closed.

Jagged Ridge Hike

Busan Haps posted an article about the Jagged Ridge Hike, making it sound much easier to get there than it actually is.

You can take a bus from Sasang to Goseong or Tongyeong and catch a boat from there. I’m not sure the times so you will need to have a Korean speaker call the port you want to go to. They leave more often from Goseong than Tongyeong and Goseong is quicker. From either bus station you will need to take a taxi to the port. If you have a large group, like we did, you can hire a bus to take you direct to the port. It was 350,000 won and split with 16 people it worked out cheaper than buses and taxis (we think, including convenience).

The boat from Goseong has a cute whale on the side! At least some of them do, our return one didn’t.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 202From the boat ride, we saw a lot of fishermen. They set up the buoys with ropes on them to grow clams and the bigger fish come by to try to eat them so fishermen set up shop around the buoys trying to catch them.

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Below is our route. We had our bus come over on the boat with us and it drove us along the pink route and we hiked the orange route.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 227aBelow are photos of the hike with some descriptions under them.

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Rice fields a plenty here

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Too many hikers!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 243

Lots of rock formations. Mostly in prayer towers, but there were some cute house like things built.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 245 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 248

So steep to climb up! We felt like mountain goats.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 262

Another shot of what we climbed up. If you go to the right you can go around it.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 283

Hope I don’t fall! So steep here we can’t climb up but there are lots of places to sitFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 284

Poor tree!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 285

We went around this little village.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 291

Lots of ups and downs.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 298

This guy sold us makgeolli and did a little show with his drum and symbol.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 311 Don’t lean on the bridge, but you can set fire to it. Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 325

Traffic jam! This and the bridge are new which has lead to a lot more people doing the hike. Many people seemed to be scared to use the steps!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 328

The new bridge! They had to use the ropes to pull it up.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 329

A bit bouncy.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 336The final view of the town, from the other side that we started from.

We finished just after the boat we were supposed to catch and were able to get one two hours later. In our extra time we had our bus go to the ‘beach’ which isn’t great but there were lots of seafood restaurants there as well. It is at another boat port and people RAN to get on it.

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Caribbean Bay

Caribbean Bay + DMZ + Seoul 003

Long weekend for Buddha’s Birthday so a friend and I went up to Everland’s water park–Caribbean Bay! You can take a bus via Pusan Tours to Everland and swap the ticket for a Caribbean Bay ticket (but you need your guide with the ticket receipt). Once they start selling more tickets for Caribbean Bay I’m sure you’ll be able to buy them from Pusan Tours too.

The inside part of Caribbean Bay opens at 9:30 and is open year round but the outside part (which opened when I went–MAY 17th!) opens at 11. Not all the rides were open, some open June 1st, but I’m not sure if we would have had time for all that!

Overall, you have to take off all jewelry (or anything that can fall off) and earrings–for your safety which I call b.s. because they just don’t want to have to find your necklace at the bottom of a pool. Many people wear life vests, but have them not buckled, so its competently a fashion statement. 90% of the water is not deep enough for adults to drown in (I could stand everywhere and I’m only 5’3″).

You can put money onto a wrist band to pay for things, but I don’t suggest doing that because the line for a refund is HUGE around the time people start leaving (and you don’t wanna spend half a day there, right?). What we did was take some money and put it in a mini locker with shoes, jewelry and shorts so we could access it easier than going back to the big lockers.

We started heading for the Wild River area right away but got detoured in Fortress by the Surfing Ride! Some people are basically professionals (at the ride–I don’t think they’d be good at a real beach). They brought their own bogy boards, wetsuits (yep wetsuits at a water park), hats, sunglasses, Roxy gear, Volcom gear, etc. and were in the line almost the whole time. We went for our first ride and last and saw the same people. There are many ways to fail at this ride. You can go left or right and get Lazy River’d–aka fall into another ride called Lazy River which goes around Fortress–or you can do what I did every time and get pushed over a bump and into a pool. I guess I was too light because the same thing happened to the little kids. Still fun.

Next we went to Wild Blaster which is a two person raft ride which was tons of fun! Lots of tubes to go though and splashing water.

Next we tried for Aqua Loop but if you have any jewelry you can go…so I couldn’t. My friend went and said it was basically water up your nose and a wedgie.

Next we tried to find food…but all the lines and restaurants were super packed and not veggie friendly. Lots of meat on a stick. I did get something similar to a snow cone though, with real fruit! Well, syrup and real fruit. They had churros which were dry and seemed like something new that year.

Next was Tower Boomerang Go and Tower Raft. They are right next to one another and Boomerang will probably have the longer line as it is just a massive drop. I felt my but in the air on this ride. While in line you can watch people and that is half the fun. Looks of fear and screaming…from grown men while their children laugh is always good. Raft had lots of turns and no big drops  but I went more than 50% up the curved walls which was terrifying. Screamed like a little girl (and not little girls on rides because they just laugh).

Next we went to the Wave Pool, where there is a green part where no one is allowed to stand EVER. If you don’t have a life vest you can’t be on the far side, even though with waves you just go up and down….the green part is the crash area which is the only ‘danger’. I still had fun. My friend who was on a swim club in school was pretty pissed though. There are a few pirate ships in the area and I got yelled up for going up it but then when the lifeguard saw my face he let me go…very strange.

We then went inside and did the Quick Ride which wasn’t that quick compared to the other rides. Maybe it’s quick because of the wait if you want a raft. For going without a raft there is a huge wait, but waiting for a solo or double raft was not too long and the wait at the top was not too long either. Fun ride, beautiful inside just because of the run shining though the tube. That’s on the 5th floor. The floors inside are pretty confusing. It’s all about 1/2 stair cases.

The 3rd floor is the best way to get on the Lazy River (depending on time, I’m sure). Lots of empty rafts are there and being collected so you can grab one and jump on going outside and back in. I’d say do two rounds and ignore the kids splashing and be lazyyyyy. It’s hard. But at some point you’ve gotta give up and stop saying ‘don’t push me!’

Their spa is pretty nice with 2 hot rooms and a hot pool.

This last weekend there was a hike scheduled to start in Children’s Park and go further to the mountains to the West.

I was a bit hungover due to no food the night before and no food in the morning (not smart, but I didn’t think about it and was in a rush both times).

Children’s Park is beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. It starts with a a strange square statue and then goes into a pond with massive fish and swans followed by ramps to make it easier to go up.

Childrens Park, Hike, Lanterns, and Breakdancing 003 Childrens Park, Hike, Lanterns, and Breakdancing 017At the top there was a temple. It’s all decked out for Buddhas Birthday on the 17th.

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Childrens Park, Hike, Lanterns, and Breakdancing 048 On the way up to this point, every step up made me want to throw up, and it was only getting worse. I decided to walk down on my own and find a way out. Adventure Time!

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Yeongdo Night Hike

The night after a full moon, April 26th, I went on a night hike with Busan Daytrippers. I was supposed to go on two before when I lived in Ireland, but they got rained or snowed out. It was tons of fun and I hope that we do another one here!

We went to Yeongdo (do meaning island) which is where I went before for the taejongdae. We didn’t go that far out, as there are mountains in the middle, called Grandma, Son, and Grandson and those are the ones we hiked.

We took bus to the lion temple.

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We then walked along the beach to a mini Buddhist shrine and went up from there.

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Never sit on Grandma! It’s a curse!

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Son has a little building at the top.

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Grandson is where we saw the sunrise, but I think any would be fine for it.

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When the sun did come up we got a good view of oryuk islands, or four or five islands.

Jaipurs Holi Festival

That night I went to the Holi Festival which was supposed to have Elephants doing things like playing polo!

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But there were no elephants because of protestors. I guess the tug of war was too much for them, which is understandable. But at least let them show up and walk around! They were already painted and everything (I saw them at Amber Fort).

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I thought I was at the wrong festival for a bit because there were no elephants but this had signs saying it was the official Jaipur festival. Tourists kept pouring in too, so I must have been in the right spot.They did not have nearly enough seats! So many people were standing everywhere that the people who did have seats had to stand on them to be able to see anything. In the end, I kept moving and got better and better spots until I was in the front row (people were either leaving because there were no elephants–I don’t know why, the music and performance were great–or going into the field after the parade). The parade was about 10 or 15 different groups from different regions of Rajasthan playing their areas music. The parade went left to right; I’m not sure why this is important, but the announcer kept saying it.

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Because there were no elephants, the groups each did their own performance but people seemed confused by this as the announcer never said that everyone was going to perform. In the middle of the performances they had people do a turban tying competition, carry water on their heads, and a tug of war.

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I ended up leaving early because the tour guide next to me had his group leave because he said after the people competed there would be nothing more but after I called my driver more people went on! I wasn’t going to call again, and everything was starting to sound a bit of the same. Plus I was tired of being in such large groups. Well, large drunk groups who were covered in paint–Holi was the next day, why were they covered today!

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Also at the festival, there was a dog that got partially painted by an Australian guy which was really cute. I was sitting next to some Swedish people then and we could not stop laying with the dog. After I moved, there was a cute Indian boy who would not stop waving at me and the Russian lady next to me, but when his dad brought him over he didn’t look at us at all! Kid’s are weird. When he left, he kept waving. There was another Russian lady who slapped a kid for trying to sell her a henna tattoo. She then grabbed the girls arm and made her pose for a photo. Not a nice lady…Also some not nice English children who, when their parents told them to get off their phones and stop playing games and appreciate the festival (and then walked away), said to one another that they should go closer but sit in some way that their parents couldn’t see them so they could still be on their phones. The point of this is to show the diversity of the people there (and how you can’t really judge someone by their nationality).

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