It’s the 31st, maybe about noon. My first attack on the senses are the multitude of cicadas all going off around me, as they do two or three times a day. But this time they seem so loud, it almost pains me. As I look down, there’s fluorescent yellow, green, and red body paint all over my shorts, reminders of the previous night. It’s all a little to bright and loud for me, making my headache worse. I try to make sure the hammock I’m laying in doesn’t sway and increase my nausea, close my eyes and try to remember how this happened.

Haad Rin. This is the beach on Koh Phangan where the legendary Full Moon Party takes place. So every 29 days people come from all parts of the world to the Gulf of Thailand. And every 29 days those people and more come from all over the island and from neighboring islands to descend on Haad Rin. Last night, about 30,000 people made the trip.
We arrived to a brightly lit neighborhood of storefronts and restaurants selling the standard fried chicken and pizza party food and buckets of alcohol. The streets overfilled with people in clown wigs or fluorescent body paint. The energy of the place was contagious as Mari and my excitement kept growing. We were about to join in and buy a bucket when we turned down another street and saw the beach. Masses of people drinking and dancing everywhere. On platforms, on decks and spread over the entirety of the beach. Turns out we hadn’t even entered the party yet, just the on-deck circle so to speak. As soon as we stepped onto the beach, a girl stumbled towards us, grinning goofily. Apparently, she decided she could no longer stand, and enlisted 3 strangers just to my left to aid her in her descent by tackling them as she fell to the sand. It was just before 10 pm. Looks like someone needs to work on her pacing in the future.

We walked the beach checking out the party, drinks in tow. At this point, we both were probably a little excited from the atmosphere, but also a little wary. Every once in awhile we would see a shady looking dude or two walking around probably waiting for an easy pocket to pick. And for 2 non-partiers, we felt a little old. But with each sip and then gulp, anxiousness gave way to excitement as the Full Moon lured us in. We came across a large gathering of people as they circled what looked to be an undulating light. As we edged closer, it turned out that it was not a light, but a fire. A huge rope was continuously doused in petroleum and set on fire, the alternating light coming from the ropes swinging. Turns out this was jump rope for the adrenaline junkies. People would happily go in and jump to the crowd’s delight. It would continue until someone’s rhythm failed and would end with drunk people stopping, dropping and rolling.
We walked down the beach more and saw the party’s bathroom facilities. People waded into the water and peed into nature at low tide. I saw a high stakes game of limbo, as the limbo stick, like the jump rope, was of fire. People would pass under it, lighting their cigarettes on the bar as they went. I was contemplating how low I can safely go when Mari ran up and high-fived me. She had just returned from peeing with the masses in the ocean. The rest of the night turned out to be loads of fun and consisted of more buckets, more fire games, and more stupidity. We eventually rolled into our bungalow about 4am, after I tossed my cookies just outside it. Looks like I need to work on my pacing too.

Posted: February 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Thailand | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »