It has taken 24 hours but I believe I have finally recovered from the Full Moon Party. We were dropped off on the island of Koh Pangyong at seven. The ferry that took us there was electric with the revelry of all those who were going to the island for the party. Taxis were waiting for us when we disembarked, big 15-seat vans that slowed to a crawl as they struggled to get over the mountains to the party on the other side of the island. At this point I was already suffering from lack of sleep. Out of the last four days I had only been able to catch about five hours of true sleep from all the travelling from Spain to Bangkok and then from there on to the island. And the night ahead was sure to offer no reprieve. The ferry back to Koh Tao wouldn’t be returning until six the next morning, guaranteeing a full night ahead. But it didn’t matter, the party lay ahead of me and lack of sleep was no reason not to enjoy it.
The taxi dropped us off on the edge of town where the party was spilling out. As we headed towards the beach the streets had already turned into a carnival, crowded with young Caucasians dressed in tanktops of pink and yellow neon, the uniform of the evening. Thais stood behind booths, peddling clothing marked with the words FULL MOON PARTY, fried foods perfect for drinking on, and buckets of liquor with a straw sticking out that seemed to be the drink of choice for everyone at the party. When we made it to the beach we were confronted with a kaleidoscope of lights from one end to the other. The world had transformed into an ecstatic frenzy of color, an orgy of sensual bodies dancing and moving, feeding off of itself, getting bigger and rowdier and more passionate by the minute.
By midnight it was going full swing but still far from its peak, a crescendo on the rise. Young Thais spun poi to the starry eyed amazement of the spectators. In the sea at the fringe of the lights naked figures reeled in the waves while further up on the beach balloons full of nitrous hovered over incapacitated bodies lying with their backs to the sand and their eyes to the heavens. Back in the chaos of light and sound somebody had begun swinging a flaming jumprope large enough for three to stand in abreast. The revelers massed in a circle around it as it swung to the rhythm of the music, those behind urged those inside the ring to try their luck dodging the swinging flame. Soon burning rings were lit as well and the more daring tried their luck diving through them, some failing miserably to the wonderment of the cheering crowd. I succeeded diving through, many did not. Everywhere I looked I could see bandages on arms, legs, even faces. The Koh Panyang tattoo they were called. For the evening, at least, it was the price people were willing to pay for the liberty to party without inhibition.
At 5 in the morning the party music and dancers were still going strong, the only difference was the number of sleeping forms on the sand and pavement who had crashed and remained wherever they fell. By the first hint of the rising sun I was running on my fifth or seventh wind, forcing myself to keep moving or perish. We started meeting up with people we recognized from the ferry the night before as we gathered where the taxis had arranged to pick us up. Delirium was the only common thread to the conversation as we drove back to the dock. Fresh with another burst of energy I sat drinking beer under the morning sun as a French and Swede argued passionately over football. But when my ass finally landed on the deck of the ferry I used what energy remained to me to crawl underneath a bench to sleep for the entire return voyage.