Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Full Moon Party

The Rough Guide to South East Asia describes the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan as, 'Like Apocalypse Now, without the war'. With this in mind and given other descriptions I had read I was hoping for a chaotic Mad Max style post apocalyptic rave. I was a bit disappointed. The two words I summed up the party as were: Lame and Tame. From Bo Phut beach we got a speedboat across to Koh Pha Ngan. We went early so that we could grab something to eat over there and check out the lay of the land before the party kicked off in earnest. It was quite chilled at this point, not too many people, but as we sat having some food the place began to fill up slowly.

Basically the strip of Hat Rin beach becomes the venue for the party, with the beach front bars cranking out whatever their particularly brand of music is. There were only really a couple of decent places, one playing some OK House music, the other some Old School Jungle. Unfortunately the place that got the biggest crowd was what I termed 'MTV Spring Break', a place playing chart hits (like that 'You got the music in you' song and the god awful 'Drop it like its hot'). This in my mind does not make a rave. I guess at best it was like wandering the markets at Glastonbury -there were some cool fire twirlers and some interesting UV decorations. It did get rammed with bodies, although I got the impression that it has become much more of a spectator sport than it maybe used to be. Or perhaps the makeup of the crowd has become such that they demand a chart hits venue these days -the public gets what the public wants. I didn't hear any Crusty Techno or Hippy Trance, or see a laser or a strobe light. At the last Glastonbury I went to, Adam exclaimed that he was sick of 'tourists', I think he would have had the same opinion here. I honestly did try to give it a go although there were a couple of events that conspired against me.

We met Carly & Charlotte when they turned up, having got a cab from their hotel on the other side of the island. They'd been drinking before coming out and were quite merry by the time they reached us. Before they arrived I had discovered the pleasures of the Whiskey Bucket, this being a small childs plastic sand bucket filled with ice, a quarter bottle of local whiskey and loads of Thai Red Bull. It is rumoured that Thai Red Bull contains speed or something very like it. The mystery being enhanced by the fact that it is manufactured by a pharmaceutical company and sold in small medicine bottles. I don't know what the composition of the stuff is, but it is certainly not the same as the UK Red Bull. The buckets began to sink down rather quickly. It's wierd getting drunk but maintaining complete alertness. That was me, and more than can be said for some of our companions. In hindsight I should have maybe not let Carly at the buckets, but isn't hindsight a wonderful thing. She got very plastered and Gemma & I had to spend a not inconsiderable time looking after her until she sobered up some.

Carly & Charlotte went off back to their hotel in a cab at around 03:00 and Gemma and I looked forward to having a bit of a dance. Unfortunately I found a semi concious and vomiting girl in the toilets, plainly the casualty of a pill she wasn't able to handle. I got Gemma to chuck me her water and with the help of another guy set about trying to get the girl to drink some or wake up enough to tell us what she'd taken. She wasn't really responding too well, with her head just flopping around and her eyes pretty much rolled up in the back of her skull. Gemma ran off to see if there was a doctor nearby and returned saying there was a clinic up the road, but they'd said get a taxi. There was no way a taxi would get down that road through the throng of people so we grabbed a limb each and carried her through the street to the clinic. It's amazing how someone can weigh so much and be so difficult to carry when they are flopped out. I was at the front so tried to get through the crowd, simply shouting, 'Move out of the way please', didn't work, so I ended up telling half of Koh Pha Ngan to, 'Get the fuck out of my way NOW'. That did seem to have a little more of an effect and we eventually got to the clinic. They were completely uninterested when we arrived and in fact laughed at the girl, shrugged their shoulders and said 'Taxi, hospital'. We asked them to call an ambulance or give some help and they just shrugged again.

By now a bit of a crowd had formed around us, including a group of medical students. Clearly as the only course of action was to get her to the taxis and off to the hospital, Gemma and I thought, 'Too many cooks...', and left the rest of the group to carry on. I figured it was better to let the medical students go with her to the hospital rather than us taking up room in the taxi. I did make myself useful in the meantime by getting more water for her though.

After this we were thoroughly fed up and decided we best just jump on a speedboat back to Koh Samui. It sounds simple but it was also a complete shambles. The speedboats of different companies were all trying to get in to the beach to pick up their customers. Unfortunately not all were clearly labelled and most of the people trying to get back didn't know which company they were on (everyone had tickets so it would be fairly easy to work out). This led to everyone being in the water trying to rush every speedboat that came in. We spent 2 hours standing in waist deep water trying to push our way through the people to the speedboats we were supposed to be going on, missing a couple that we couldn't get to. The crush was so bad that one bloke even got nicked by a propeller. Eventually we got on one and zoomed back towards our island. There was one more incident of a bloke jumping off the back of the boat when we were a few hundred metres from the beach. The girl next to me laughed. I didn't find it very funny. I did get to shout, 'Man overboard', though, which I have always wanted to do (I also want to shout, 'Land Ahoy' and 'Thar she blows', but only in the correct context).

I was glad to get off the boat, down the beach into our bungalow, showered and to bed.

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