FULL MOON PARTY
World Traveller pt.I : A confused tale of a confused time.
Many things have been said of the Full Moon Party, a fortnightly knees up on the sunny shores of Koh Phangan. The Full Moon Party is a savage voyage through the inevitable red sea of Brits on tour, a who’s who of that summers Eton yearbook, a confused exhibition of rave era flair, thousands of young and old advertising free love, or simply the true traveller’s carpe diem philosophy (as seen on an uncountable number of forearms at said event) lived out through the actions of many, from all over the world.
It is a fair accomplishment to survive a night that involves a Full Moon Party. Although ‘night’ can find a way to turn into twenty four or thirty six hours almost unnoticed. Once the fungus shakes are kept down it can take no time at all to become afloat. It is at this point that the real jibber jabber commences. A true inhalation of different personalities and cultures, all with their own personal stories and reasons for coming.
The evening of a Full Moon Party begins on the main street. The staggering and disconnected mumbles of many were already to be seen and heard. A fully dolled up affair. Chavtastic garb accompanied by bare chests and unusual musings, sunglasses at night and recognisable dialects. A scrum of self proclaimed rugby lads tussled over press-ups and revealing each other’s unmentionables as a way to flex in front of passing ladies. Efficient. Fluorescent shorts go down a treat in this weather so we make purchases from a local merchant.
After escaping the bars the beach is crowded. You see faces that you remember from previous encounters in other strange locations along ‘the loop’ around the South East Asian sub continent. People are avoided. Some are embraced and questioned on recent affairs and experiences, plans for after they wake up, where to next etc? Beers are replaced with buckets. Memories begin to escape. We watch people dive through a ring of fire, some successful and some not. In the state we find ourselves in we concur that this would be a bad idea for all and refrain from the tom foolery. One goes into the sea with one’s iPod and fatally damages it. Onward to the thumping techno and shape cutting.
From up on the platform the sheer magnitude of this night can be truly realised. You can’t see any sand. There’s a person face down in it and stays so for a while so being the thoughtful bastard I am I check he’s breathing. He is. Back to the top. Everyone’s chatting. Some are engaging in deep words, full blown philosophies are being explained. This is glorious. Not one violent or aggressive act has entered into my perceptions. All the folklore proven wrong. Everyone a the Full Moon Party is getting on.
I can sense that the sun is on the up. Gathering my piers we head to the mountains to relax. I talk to a fellow who would bet his house that the other end of the beach, ocean and island itself, is in fact a painting.
“The only way to know for sure is if we go down and look,” he tells me, “if it’s a painting then there’ll be someone sitting at the bottom left, where it’s signed, trying to sell it.”
I allow him to fight his own battles and bid the bugger farewell.
Sometime after the others had retired, my last remaining companion and I venture down the staircase back to the beach thinking that we resemble Vincent and Jules slinking out of the diner in the final scene of Tarantino’s classic. In practice the descent is somewhat more disjointed and difficult. It takes us a while.
Eventually finding shade under the temporary shelter signposted: ‘Koh Phangan Police Station,’ now deserted apart from some unfortunate criminal’s discarded jeans, we sit and contemplate the evening’s events. A time was certainly had by all at the Full Moon Party. Many refer to The Full Moon Party as a trashy and stereotypical burn, a fever of lost morals and an event to be avoided. The original culture of the ‘hippy trail’ is buried far beneath the sands of Koh Phangan, on top of which now lies a stage for the kind of events that are frequented by clichÃ© travellers, scallywags and toffs of youtube and hearsay. There may be some truth to this but the reality is that what has replaced the old culture is a new one. All classes, all backgrounds, from all nations coming together and all seem to get along swimmingly at mother of all lolfests.
And so, as I lay in a broken, sandy bed in the jungle, getting munched alive by mosquitos and listening to my roommate argue with a monkey who was staring him out on the balcony of our cabin, I ignored the fuckers and drifted off to sleep, content that I’d finally been to the infamous Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan.