WORLDROMPER

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller


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Thailand Full Moon Beach Parties

You are dancing under the blazing full moon on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, your arms flailing about wildly, your bare feet turning around and around on the white sand, your legs doing things you didn’t know they could. Electronic music stomps it’s way up and down the crescent beach, and the Gulf of Thailand seduces the party people successfully with its warm, foamy waves. You are surrounded by thousands of travelers from around the world; backpackers, worldrompers, budget tourists, fire-twirlers, old hippies, new hippies, artists, hedonists, jugglers, dancers, musicians, deejays, and wanderers. It is mere minutes until the fireworks show, and many, many, hours until dawn. The night has just begun.

Are you smiling? Scheming how you can get a ticket to Thailand? Already Googling “Ko Pha Ngan Full Moon Party?” If not, then maybe you shouldn’t go to THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BEACH PARTY.

Or maybe you need to go the most of all. Continue reading


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Thailand Revisited: Mai Ko Puun Kah- Until Next Time, Goodbye Thailand

Written in October 2008

SukhothaiOne final time I write to you from the glorious beaches of Thailand. My last evening and morning here progressed in the slow, musical rhythym of the islands that I have quickly grown accustomed to and fallen in love with; a swirling mix of beaches, blue drinks, fresh food, laughter, coconut oil, salty hair, crashing waves, fireworks, and smiles. I am so sad to leave, but will be so happy to be home. I long to look once more into the eyes of the friends I love, to dance with you and to cheers with you and to celebrate life with you.

There is so much I have experienced my three weeks here in Thailand that I have not written to you and can only hope to remember myself. Like the people walking around with gibbons and eagles on their arms, hawking photos for $5. How soup is sold in plastic bags. When you are getting a Thai massage, ‘OW!’ means, “harder please”- ‘OY’ means stop. How I was riding along in a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, wondering why all the barbed wire across the road and riot police, and then realizing I was driving by the SukhothaiThai Parliament Building, site of all the protests that left hundreds wounded and some dead. How I have run into very, very few Americans at all. How the whole country freezes at 6PM to listen to the national anthem. The sound of the Thai language in my ears. How some toilets here don’t flush- you just rinse them down. Cows riding in backs of pickups. Restaurant tables set up between train tracks. Corn in a cup as a popular snack. Hotdog pizza. Sanuk.

Sanuk is a Thai phrase that means fun, or enjoyment, and this idea permeates every aspect of life and every action in this beautiful land. Thais believe that everything you do in life should be filled with sanuk, not only if you are vacationing but also if you are washing dishes, or helping a friend, or waiting in an airport. I really like this idea and try to live it, and will try even harder. Sanuk is where it’s at.

Elephant Conservation CenterThey also have a saying here: Same same but different, which seems to apply in almost every situation you find yourself in. It is true- outside of America you may order a Big Mac and a Coke, but it will taste completely different from those at home. Same same but different. It applies to people all over the world, from a young Thai girl playing with a snorkel to a loud Aussie party kid to an old British couple eating breakfast to a girl from Seattle pecking away on a keyboard. We are all same same, but different.

Mushroom FarmLife is so incredibly colorful here, much more so than in the US. Boats, houses, restaurants, clothing- all are splashed in the beautiful brightness of the tropics, as if they are reflecting the flowers and birds and bugs themselves. Blue, orange, yellow, pink, red, purple- with no apologies. Life seems more passionate here, as if it is infected by the sunny climate and warm ocean water, and has no choice but to be happy. People smile more and laugh more. Life is slower, and more deliberate.

When your eyes are filled each day with plants and animals and vistas you have never seen before, it refreshes your soul in a way that nothing else can. There is a reason it is called the ‘travel bug.’ Before you travel, you do not know what you are missing out here. But after that first trip, something grabs a hold of you and will not let go. It will not let go of me; I am a life-long addict with no desire to be cured.

Chiang Mai Cooking SchoolEvery time I travel I am filled with a renewed gratitude for my life, my home, my family, my friends, and myself. I love Seattle now more than I ever have before, especially for the people and music who make up the electronic community- we really have something special, you guys. You don’t just stumble across that shit anywhere. You must cultivate it, and we are doing that, and we will continue, and it is just going to get better and richer and deeper. The music pumping out of speakers every night in our city trumps anything I have found out here; I wander into clubs and wonder, is this the music that people who don’t listen to music listen to? Because for the most part, it really sucks. Granted, I am not traveling in Berlin or San Fran or Montreal, but I am homesick for our music scene.

I have had many homes in this world since I left my parents’ house at 18 and went out into the world: Austin, Maine, Paris, New Zealand- but none have meant as much to me as Seattle does right now. I have almost-tears in my eyes writing this, BangkokI am so overwhelmed with love for my world. This trip has inspired me, of course, to do new things and retry old things in my life. I must plan another trip as soon as possible. I need a major move, next spring, there is something boiling inside of me that I can’t yet put my finger on. I am enamoured of Southeast Asia and want to go to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I want to get my bicycle fixed and ride it. I want to start sketching and drawing again, I have the skills but not the patience for it, and it would be a good way for me to learn the virtue. I want to cook more, especially Thai food. And as always, I need to slow the hell down. Slow down, Shilo.

In Thailand everything seems more potent, perhaps just because I am traveling, but the bananas taste more banana-y, the sun seems hotter, the nights seem darker. I feel more like Shilo than ever before, I feel I am more me than I ever have been. Even sharing this with you is proof of a newfound sense of strength and sensual sureness of myself and my world. I am a loner, which might strike some of you who know me as the epic party-girl as odd, Ko Pha Nganbut it is true. I never mind being alone, I enjoy my company. However this trip, much of which was spent with new friends, has reaffirmed that yes, life is more fun when shared with other people. Dammit. Time to trim in my loner ways and my nature of being independent to a fault.

Sharing my adventures with you through this blog has made my trip so much better; funny how we all affect each other that way. This world is so so small. I have never blogged before on a trip, though I have always kept a journal, and I have found the blogging experience so inspiring. From thousands The Green Lagoonof miles away you have made my trip to Thailand more fun, more rich, more real. I have loved sharing it with you; your comments as always put a song right into my soul that seeps out of me for days and gets shared with everyone I meet in the form of positive energy, of smiles, of a bounce in my step. Thank you so much for reading; it truly has added a layer to my trip that I have never experienced before, and I now will always blog wherever I travel.

In just a few hours I begin my long journey home from the other side of the earth. I fly from Ko Samui to Bangkok (1 hour), have a six hour layover, fly to Seoul (5 hours), have a 12 hour layover and then a 12 hour flight to Seattle. That is a hell of a lot of time to think. I will return to you a different person, afterall, that 

Ko Tao

is what ‘tripping’ does, and if the travel gods and party gods continue to smile on me, I will see you on a dance floor soon with a fat grin on my face and a smile in my eyes.

Reason # 9287 to travel: To go home.

For now, I go- where else?- to the beach, for one more slice of paradise. Mai ko puun kah,

Shilo


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Thailand Revisited: Chaweng Beach Fun

Written in October 2008

Last night I had a blast! I hopped on a songtaew (aka glorified pick-up truck) to Chaweng Beach, the place where all the action is on Ko Samui. You can rent jet skis, go parasailing, ride a banana boat- this is where dreams come true.

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach

My dream came true in the form of a cheeseburger last night- oh it was SO good. I have eaten more Western food than I should have on this trip and more than I ever do while traveling, hamburgers especially. I have eaten more hamburgers in Thailand than I have in previous year combined- maybe two. The Thai food is fresh and fantastic, but eating Thai food three times a day for three weeks- it gets a little old. This cheeseburger was fantastic, served with grilled onions, actual pickles, and cloth napkins instead of the standard toilet paper. Turns out the restaurant’s chef was Australian- so that explained the immense goodness of this hamburger, which inspired me to write a whole freaking paragraph. Geez. FREAKIN’ TOURIST!

This Dog just stood there for about 20 minutes

This Dog just stood there frozen for about 20 minutes

Chaweng Beach is a bit like Haat Rin Beach (the Full Moon Party beach) in the sense that it is very colorful and festive, with lights, fires, music, dancing, flaming lanterns set off into the starry sky, bouncing bars, restaurants, and young people all up and down, looking to have fun and party. The beach itself is absolutely gorgeous and the water just pulls you in- I can’t seem to walk by without jumping in for a swim. I think every meal I have eaten here on the islands has been right on the beach- and you can’t ask for a better setting than that.

Gassoline for your Scooter!

Gassoline for your Scooter!

After dinner I had a bit of time before the 11 o’clock ladyboy show, so I wandered up to the main street which was filled with souvenir shops, manky dogs, food carts and taxi drivers. The action all seemed to be down the side streets; I turned down one and heard a boom: “PUT YOUR HANDS UP FOR DETROIT!” 

I will ALWAYS put my hands up for Detroit, I don’t care WHAT motherfucking continent I am on! The beats led to the Hardcore Bar which looked cool but the one next door boasted FREE POOL and had three empty tables for my girlfriends and me. Outside this

Buddhist Altars for Offerings

Buddhist Altars for Offerings

bar was a colorful Buddhist shrine, the likes of which you see at almost every house, hotel, bar, or restaurant in Thailand. Thais put offerings on the shrine, like a plastic bag of fried rice or maybe some pineapple. This one had a Fanta, some cigarillos, and two shots of dark liquor. Given the Buddhist admonition of drinking, I thought this was pretty funny. We went in to play the free pool.

I ordered a Sex on the Beach and was surprised to see it delivered blue. Weird, I thought, until I noticed it was a 7 year-old mixing drinks under the watchful eye of dear-old dad; her 9 year-old brother was shaking them up with a verve I have seldom seen behind a bar. I thought the father could at least take the time to teach proper drink mixology, but then I noticed he was too busy instructing his children how to dirty dance. I’m talking one leg up, humping the wall with the spanking hand move- you know you know it. The little boy was catching on quickly though the girl seemed to prefer the super-fast ass shake. With these skills they will get on just fine in this world.

Travel Pro Tip: Always book a pimp hotel the last night of your trip!

Travel Pro Tip: Always book a pimp hotel the last night of your trip!

My friends will think it’s weird that I was ordering a Sex on the Beach; I almost always and only drink vodka and never order frou-frou shit like Blue Hawaiians or Pina Coladas. Never. I never even order Margaritas, which my bartender friends (my many, many bartender friends and I love you all! Shout out!) will attest to. But the tropical sun goes to my brain and frou-frou is all that I want and all that I order. Rums and fruit juices please, no vodka here. I can’t figure out if it is really weird or really normal.

The free pool in the bar had distracted me from the awful music emanating from its speakers. Have you ever been in a club and heard Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams and then ‘Eye of the Tiger’? No, you haven’t, because if you had you would have run right out and killed yourself, which is what I thought about doing. Thank Buddha it was time for the ladyboy show.

These Chicks Got DOWN

These Chicks Got DOWN

Ladyboys are like drag queens except HOLY GOD they look like women. Some have boobs, most have tucked it away, and all have an exaggerated femininity that no female I know could get away with. They were really really good; I saw Cher and Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner. They were beautiful. The guys in the audience were feeling a bit uncomfortable and the girls in the audience were just jealous of their outfits.

Ladyboys

Ladyboys

I have mad respect for people who will be who they are, even if that person is not who they should be. In Thailand ladyboys are the accepted third gender, and it is really cool to be in a place that is so tolerant. Tina Turner began her act as a wo-man and then through the act took off her dress, eyelashes, wig, and makeup and traded them for men’s clothes and there before us stood a ma-an. Wow. Complete woman to complete man. It makes you rethink what exactly gender is.

All the performers were insanely passionate and I found myself relating to them as a

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach

dancer- they were about as into it as anyone ever has been. The ladyboys were having a blast, and I love to see people having fun. Some dancers did verge on the brink of scary skinny as they tried to tame their muscley shoulders and man hips by a lack of sustenance, which made me very grateful for my natural womanly shape. Or as one of the premier performers and lyricists of this century calls it: my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps.

(And if you guys don’t know I am joking by now, I am going to need more than a Blue Hawaiian). It was a fantastic show full of feathers, sequins, and sass, and it makes me want to give the drag queen shows in Seattle another try.

Sleepy Puppy

Sleepy Puppy

Today I have been lazy and just messing around at the beach and pool. I am now staying on Chaweng Beach which is a lot of fun, noisy and crazy. The planes zooming loudly overhead every hour or so (LIKE RIGHT THIS SECOND! WOW!) are a blatant reminder that tomorrow, I will be on one.

But not yet- for now, I hit the beach. AGAIN. If I was planning to stay here much longer, my blog would get pretty boring! Or maybe simple is a better word, and that is why people come here- to simplify their existance, if just for a week or two.

Much love Seattle! I will put my hands up for you too!


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Thailand Revisited: Thai BBQ, Jellyfish Soup, Green Lagoons & Crazy Kayaking on Ko Samui

Written in October 2008

Waiting for the Ferry

Waiting for the Ferry

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh life is good on Ko Samui. 

I arrived here yesterday afternoon from Ko Tao on a slick high-speed catamaran ferry with AC, a movie, snacks and everything, then had a short ride to Bo Phut beach, one of the quieter and prettier beaches on the island. I hit the beach immediately and finished my 4th book of the trip, Memoires of a Geisha. All the hostels have book exchanges, so you just bring one on your trip and then trade it in when you are done. This bookworm has lucked out with some good ones so far: The Beach, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and About a Boy; unfortunately the only book in English OR French I could find to trade next at this place is The Awakening, which is the legend of a Vampiress and looks pretty stupid. Oh well, I will give it a go. 

Hungry?

Hungry?

Last night after happy hour (a banana milkshake and a Bloody Mary) I enjoyed traditional Thai barbeque for dinner. Mr. Poo’s barbeque, to be exact. It was the crack; all-you-can-eat for 99 baht ($2.89). You have a burner on your table on top of live coals; the burner has little slits in it to let the heat out and then they put a big lump of lard on top to drip down as it melts and keep the fire going. All around the raised grill is a doughnut of almost-boiling water, and this is where you make your soup. You go up to get your choice of meats and veggies; I counted 27 different meats including bacon, chicken, calamari, liver, prawns, octopus, and a hell of a lot of mystery meat that I could not identify. 

Bo Phut Beach

Bo Phut Beach

You pick up veggies etc. for your soup- garlic chives, parsley, chopped garlic, bean sprouts, glass noodles, whole eggs, plus tons more and then you sit down with your friends and go to town. While you wait for your meats to cook you can munch on all you want of Phud Thai, fried rice, spring rolls, French fries, dumplings, and several other dishes as well as fresh tropical fruits and green salad. I love when the meal is cooked right on the table; it is fun and at Mr. Poos’s, the food was fantastic.

After the grilled meats and soup came all-you-can-eat ice cream: Shilo heaven. It was silly

Life sucks, obviously

Life sucks, obviously

hot sitting next to the burners in the open-air restaurant; I had two servings of ice cream along with a large Chang. Chang is the PBR of Thailand; the word ‘Chang’ means elephant in the Thai language and all the Thais joke that the beer is really elephant piss. The Thai BBQ dinner was my favorite I have eaten thus far, along with the meals at the homestay up north.

Today I got up early to catch a sweet speedboat over to Ang Thong National Marine Park, about a thirty minute ride. The day has been overcast and a bit rainy, and the trip over was choppy and really fun- I adore boats of any kind and do not get seasick. There are heaps of islands dotted around the tropical sea, jutting violently up out of the ocean; under the cloudy sky the sea was a slate-blue carpet of rolling glass.

An Thong National Marine Park

An Thong National Marine Park

It was the kind of day whose realness smacks you in the face, a day that lets you know without a doubt you are alive. The white-purple clouds above me had seams on them from where they had lifted off the ocean; here and there the rain drops would materialized and sting my cheeks (because I was in the front of the boat, of course). The wind was so strong if you opened your mouth it would blow the spit right out of it- a bit like being at the dentist with the water and air pick going at you. The trip was a blast, like a roller coaster, only real. In Thailand when they tell you to hold on, or jump, or watch your step, they are not freaking joking and they aren’t just saying it so they won’t get sued. They mean it. HOLD ON.

The boat’s first stop was on a neighboring island for a snorkel dip. I jumped in and promptly bashed my big toe on a tall coral rock; it was really cool to have a bleeding

The wet season arrives

The wet season arrives

appendage in shark-infested waters. Snorkeling here was different than Ko Tao and just as neat- tons of inky black sea urchins with hundreds of foot-long spikes, dumb-looking goober fish that looked like a box of fluorescent-colored crayons had been left out in the sun and melted together, smiley-eyed pufferfish, and near-transparent jellyfish everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I wasn’t just swimming with jellyfish, I was swimming in jellyfish soup! From pea size to fist size, they were all over and around me, though they didn’t bite much and the stings I received didn’t hurt too bad; aka no one had to pee on me.

The next stop was on a sandy strip of beach in the national park for a little sea kayaking. The rain that had been mostly holding off all day let loose in a torrential downpour, and as I paddled out towards the island we were to kayak around, I was thinking: really? However it all turned out well and fun; the rain in my eyes was a bit cold and annoying but the waves that washed over me were blankety-warm. Paddle paddle paddle.

As Sharp as Knives!

As Sharp as Knives!

We hung tight in the rain near the island whose cliffed edges had been eaten away at the bottom by the water, giving us little caves to chill out and catch a breath in- but the rocks were as sharp as knives and would cut you fast if you forgot and used your hand instead of your oar to fend off. It was quite the ride getting around the island with the ferocious wind, waves, and rain, but once I was around the other side I saw the home beach, the wind turned in my favor, and I glided back to the shore with tired arms and a happy face. Lunch was (what else?) Phad Thai, rice, Tom Yum soup, sweet and sour chicken, fried chicken, pineapple, watermelon, and water. Ar Oy! (Delicious!).

The Green Lagoon

The Green Lagoon

The next stop in the national marine park was a small hike to an overlook of a jade-green lagoon in the middle of awesome grey-black cliffs, filled with darting fish as well as a few gawking tourists. Most of the waters here are a translucent jade color, but the hue seemed more dense here in this captured lagoon, and the fish were speedy little devils that reminded me of pirahna. Beautiful.

I am now back on my beach and planning to visit Chaweng Beach tonight (the nightlife hotspot of the island) for a ladyboy show and to shop at the night market. And dinner, of course. But not before another swim on my beach in my ocean in my world. It is yours too, you know. You should come say hi and jump in. The water is fantastic.

Until tomorrow, and everybody in Seattle go to the Eprom show! *jealous*

Shilo


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Thailand Revisited: Swimming with Sharks and Barracudas on Ko Tao

Written in October 2008

I write from the spectacular island of Ko Tao, a little gem only 45 square kilometers, beautiful and very sedate compared to wild Ko Pha Ngan. The island is ringed not with a

Ko Tao

Ko Tao

road but with giant rounded boulders and a brilliant blue surf, topped with lush green palm trees and thatched bungalows. Most of the island can only be reached by boat or ATV. There is one main beach with one little thoroughfare which is a sidewalk and a road all at once. Watch out for those scooters! Beep beep!

Ko Tao has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world and is the second most popular place to get certified to SCUBA dive (the first is somewhere around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). The whole island is powered by generators and completely shuts down November to December for the rainy season. I had a taste of the impending wet yesterday after breakfast when a massive rainstorm flooded the one street, making it a rushing river under 3-4 inches of water.

Snorkeling!

Snorkeling!

It was a deluge of crazy, heavy, bouncing rain for about ten minutes- then it stopped completely, and the rest of the day was a crystal-clear perfect sunny day of blue skies.

I am not here long enough for the four day course in SCUBA and am in fact waiting at the port right now to catch a ferry to anolther island, Ko Samui. But I did spend all day yesterday snorkeling in pristine waters, submerging myself in another world, a fish world. Fluorescent fish stared at me, long silver barracudas darted by my legs, and bright golden jellyfish the size of half of my pinkie drifted along with two even smaller fish for company. Huge schools of tiny shimmering minnow-like fish washed over me, making me feel like I

*Sigh*

*Sigh*

was flying more than anything on earth has (with maybe the exception of skydiving). Lumpy, prickly sea cucumbers did nothing on the sea floor, miniscule glowing blue fish darted around yellow and purple coral, anemones pulsed with the waves, tiger fish came right up to my mask to inspect this weird-looking sea creature and ever so often, a shark would drift by. Not a Great White, mind you, only about two meters long- but still a startling sight in the open sea! I suppose they were reef sharks but I didn’t ask them. Either way I can now brag about swimming with sharks! I swam with sharks!

Pan Pan

Pan Pan

I spent the whole beautiful day yesterday on a long blue and orange boat, diving into different areas of underwater wildlife and coral reef, stopping only for lunch and a banana-coconut milkshake. Now when you are me, it doesn’t matter if you spend all day long applying and reapplying sunscreen, and I did- you still get burned if you are lounging for hours in the tropical sun. Having a lobster back makes carrying my pack a bit difficult- luckily I have just a 2-3 hour ferry ride to Ko Samui, and that’s it- back to the beach and the ocean.

Beautiful

Beautiful

Ko Tao has to be one of the most beautiful islands on earth- a sedate, sleepy place with little more than dive shops and crepe carts. I toasted the sunset on top of the island last night then went for barbeque. Ko Samui is another party mecca and I will be glad to experience the difference between the islands once again.

I am not sure what day or date it is, my computer says 9:10 AM, and I am guessing Thursday or Friday or Saturday.

Much love to everyone,

Shilo

One more!

One more!


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Thailand Revisited: Full Moon Party on Haat Rin Beach

Every full moon there is a big rave on the beach on a little island in the Gulf of Thailand. During high season, it is the biggest in the world! Read on, please, but I will tell you now that by far my favorite part of the party were the fire twirlers! Fire twirling just may be my dessssss-tiny.

No room in the songtaew? No worries! Just hold onto the back! No seriously- HOLD ON. And hold on to your alcohol too!

Getting there: No room in the songtaew? No worries! Just hold onto the back! No seriously- HOLD ON. And hold on to your alcohol too!

I have discovered the home base of fire twirlers in this universe, and it is Ko Pha Ngan’s famous beach, Haat Rin. I have seen a lot of bad-ass fire spinners at festivals in the states but nothing to even compare with what was going down during the Full Moon Party. The speed at which these guys (I was the only girl I ever saw with a fire staff in her hands) spin SO fast it is hard to believe- it makes me want to pump iron to bulk up my arm muscles and start an apprenticeship with a Thai master. The twirlers only give themselves about 8 inches of hand space as well, so practically the whole staff is on fire, unlike at home where most twirlers just light the tips of the staff. The Thai boys are daring fate to light them on fire, and I want to do it too.

Fire limbo!

Fire Limbo!

At the world’s biggest beach rave you also find people on flaming stilts twirling fire poi, fire limbo sticks, and a giant flaming jump rope, which is all fine and good until the naked guy jumps in (everyone’s like AHHHHHHH! Quit jumping up and down over the burning rope, please!!!!) – but then again, as I have said before, you always know it’s a party when the naked guy shows up! 

At the Full Moon Party about 90% of the people are about 90% fucked up, which makes for some really interesting firey accidents- I saw the flaming jump rope wrap around someone’s body no less than ten times, and people face-planting into the firey limbo stick.

From booths labeled “Fuck-it bucket” and “Love you long time in a bucket” and

Thirsty? Sober? Have a Fuck-it Bucket!

Thirsty? Sober? Have a Fuck-it Bucket!

“Jesus’s favorite” you buy plastic pails filled with a fifth of liquor (your choice) and a couple of cans of mixer. Not doin’ it for ya? Go for the GALLON bucket. THAT not doin’ it for ya? Try a “trance shake” (use your imagination) or buy some mushrooms, available anywhere and everywhere. They even have a new herbal hallucinogen on Haat Rin which lately has been landing farang (Westerners) in the loony bin for days on end. I didn’t try it because I am not stupid- however tons of people on the beach were obviously tripping balls, like the guy who ran up to me and my friend, grabbed us by the arms and screamed in our faces: “THERE’S A PARTY IN THE SKY- and NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT BUT MEEEEEEE!!!!” then threw his shirt into the ocean and ran away zig-zag style up the stairs and climbed up the roof of the bar.

Bar @ the end of the beach, next to the party in the sky!

Bar @ the end of the beach, next to the party in the sky!

Haat Rin Beach is a perfect crescent of paradise lined with bar after dance club after booth selling liquor buckets after bar after bar after bar. Bright colored Christmas lights and rainbow spotlights run down the beach; for a few bucks you can buy giant paper lanterns to light a fire under and let loose until they float up into the sky towards the bloated moon, coming together to form Orion’s belt. It is very beautiful, as are the crowds of young men and women dancing and going nuts.

pa1301061

Black Light Art

Besides hella fire twirlers there is also TONS of blacklight body art. They have huge sheets of designs to choose from, and one of the more popular designs by far is the 7-11 logo. What? 7-11 seems to be the national store of Thailand; they are everywhere. Yeah, can I get a big 7-11 across my back? Sweet! Dude! Sweet! Dude!

Music booms up and down the beach: electro, drum and bass, progressive house, breaks, hip hop, tech house, and of course, psy trance. It isn’t the tropics without some frickin’ psytrance! There were probably about 15 different stages set up along the beach; the weird thing is that often the speakers are about 30 feet from each other, so unless you are in the thick of it up at the front, the bass booms together and you hear a trainwreckish mix, like drum and bass and Deadmau5. 

I was very disappointed to find that most stages did not have DJs, only music. In fact I saw only two DJs all night, and I was looking- one playing breaks at the bar on the end of the beach with a great view of the chaos, and a drum and bass DJ named Sith. In case you didn’t know, I am a fan of DJs. I think the personal interaction with the audience creates an energy that is missing when all you have are speakers. No DJs? Just lame. Sorry.

Drunken Beam-Boxing

Drunken Beam-Boxing

The beach is beautiful, the sand is perfectly soft and white, the night clear, and the party is ON! I wrote earlier about how there are no assholes or jerks on the island of Kho Pha Ngan. Boy, was I wrong! There are TONS of them, and they congregate together on Haat Rin Beach to howl at the moon, get drunk, and box with each other on a balance beam over three mattresses- quite entertaining to watch, I must say.

All down the beach there are eight year-olds selling glowing red horns and flower leis and whatever. The amount of beer bottles in the ocean is only outnumbered by the number of cigarette butts. Partyers just throw their butts into the surf while standing next to an ashtray bucket on the sand, which really ticked me off.

I started to pick up a few of the hundreds of glass bottles floating in the ocean, but then I noticed this guy urinating right beside me into the waves and decided otherwise. People all up and down the beach are pissing in the ocean, dancing in the ocean, puking in the ocean, fucking in the ocean- often within a few meters of each other. Girls who have lost their shirts. Guys eating sand. It is funny and sad all the same.

Fire Jump Rope!

Fire Jump Rope!

I wish I could report that the world’s biggest beach rave was the best party of my life, but as you might be able to tell by now, it was not. It could have been; maybe I should have had a trance shake. The rave was really pretty messed up, although I wasn’t. When I travel alone I try to keep my wits about me because it is just really stupid not to. No one is getting me home but me, and it would be days before anyone realized Ms. Shilo wasn’t blogging anymore.

That said, the atmosphere of the Full Moon party was great, and had I been there with a group of Seattle homies rather than just a few friends I just met, it would have been a different story. But it wasn’t. I had a great time and danced my ass off in the sand, but I didn’t eat any of it or lose any clothes or go home with a stranger- but yall should know by now that I am not like that anyway.

Round about 3AM I started getting that feeling of wanting to be elsewhere, the feeling of being stuck where you don’t want to be; you know when you are at a party and you want to leave and go home, but can’t, because your ride isn’t ready or maybe you don’t have cash for a cab, or your car is locked with the keys inside or whatever? That is a really bad feeling to have when you are about 36 hours away from your own bed in a foreign country halfway around the world. So I left the party and went home to my little bungalow on a quiet beach and slept a perfect sleep, then got up and played with puppies and had pineapple cheese toast for breakfast. It was fantastic.

I strongly encourage you to check out the Full Moon Parties on Haat Rin Beach on the island of Ko Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand for yourself. And of course, everywhere else in this world!

Much love from the tropics,

Shilo