Day 87: The Full Moon
Trip Start May 20, 2008
77Trip End Aug 19, 2008
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We made good time in arriving on Ko Pha-Ngan, with a decent chunk of daylight hours remaining and plenty of time for exploring its allegedly nicer, more "authentic" beaches (ha!)
The island itself was much more like Ko Phi Phi than Samui, with its only settlement being a tightly backed traffic free web of cobblestone alleyways, pancake stands and surprisingly little stench. The "sunrise beach" was, as promised, sparkling clean with crystal clear water though the water had a strange stinging effect. My first impression was one of charm; what an adorable little innocent beach town this was. Little did we know what heathen abomination it would transform in to once the sun went down and the full moon rose. We lazied about Sunrise Beach for a while, where the locals were busy setting up shop for the craziness to come
We left Sunrise Beach briefly to go watch the sunset on Sunset Beach. The ensuing psychedelic majesty was hands down the most jaw-dropping, perfect sunset I can remember seeing. A resident kitten befriended us as we watched it and began purring up against our arms. We showed it love and in return it betrayed us and lightly bit my wrist (though not deep enough to bleed), prompting what must've been a funny-for-Jeff panic attack on my part as I demanded we rush to 7/11 and use the rest of our money on a bottle of rubbing alcohol, to sterilize the theoretical Rabies I'd just "contracted." Two minutes later I calmed down and realized there was nothing to worry about
We stepped out onto the beach and... all holy hell was about 30% unleashed. Scattered crowds of shirtless dancing 20-somethings, fire dancers juggling flaming nunchuks, GoGo-girls making stealthy rounds, even the beginnings of a laser-light show. In the background boomed the recent Coldplay song "Viva la Vida", its beats matching up to the bobbings of moonlit longtail boats along the shore. If there was a song that accurately conveyed the epicness I felt thinking back about the trip as a whole, it was this one. Soon, a commotion... a local firedancing teen had lit the fuse to a rocket in his hand, stuffed it into an empty water bottle, stood up on a chair like a warrior leading his men on a charge, and launched a makeshift firework into the sky. Spotlights swinging around, silverly moonlight on the water, increasingly deafening techno beats, ravers high out of their minds... Holy Hell was at 90% and it added up to a shocking catharsis of debauchery and mayhem that would remove any faith the viewer had in humanity's future. This wasn't a dance of dozens, or a hundred, or even hundreds but rather thousands. Thousands of Australians, Europeans, Americans, and Thais, all of whom plastered out of their minds were crammed onto this formerly modest beach dancing away in ways that only illicit substances of the most severe order could inspire. My humble little beer could do nothing to numb my senses and help this all make sense. After it all became too much, I retreated to a quiet corner of sand to (successfully) pass out. Jeff stayed awake and spent the rest of the night watching fire dancers nearly kill their audiences with errant fire.