Having consigned another battle of ‘should’ into my past, and having been allowed to stay at Kate’s house for my short stop-off in BKK, I set about procuring a ticket to the beach. I found a company that would get me a bus ride to Surat Thani and from there a boat to Samui. The red-shirts tried to thwart me, as their demonstrations started to heat up with the introduction of hand-grenades and therefore greater police presence, shut roads and swollen traffic. The tuk-tuk took almost 2 hours to get me to the Khao San road where I was meeting my bus at 6.00pm. Arriving there at 5.58 and having to lumber be-laden down the road, I made it by a Siamese cat’s whisker.
The bus journey a blur and only a short, hours wait for the boat and I was heading for my quarry – the beach. Watching the mainland slip away and the boat heading straight out towards the island I felt enormous satisfaction. Soon, really, really soon, I would be swimming in azure waters and walking on white sandy beach once again. I stood on deck watching the water spin and foam around the boat, in my smug contentment (and the relaxing ease of one beer) I managed to get sunburnt arms; suntan and sun-damage whether I wanted them or not.
I had been given a recommendation by Lydia of where to go once on Samui, but that is as far as I had taken in – get to Samui, was all I remembered. Having achieved this I suddenly realised I needed to tell the taxi where to go. Dashing to the nearest internet I soon had all the information I needed. The island looked beautiful from the Songthaew (a bus, taxi, tuk-tuk hybrid), jungley and not unlike Havelock Island in the Andamans. The driver, clearly hating the Falang (foreigners), pretended not to understand where I had wanted to go, meaning I had to walk down the street about half a kilometre in the baking sun. No problem for me, I managed to find the guesthouse and get a room at a knocked down rate.
For me that was as good as Koh Samui got. Full of resorts and restaurants showing football games, I found it very tacky and made my mind to leave the next day for Koh Phangan and the promised delights of the Full-Moon Party. Meeting a lovely Irish couple in the taxi to the boat was my first stroke of luck, the second was meeting a Spanish boy and two Italians on the boat. They rented bikes and transported me and my stuff all over the Island until we found the perfect spot. “Two Rocks” guest house on Baan Tai Beach. I took the hut right on the sea and strung up the hammock that I have been carrying since Gokarna and haven’t used since Havelock.
We managed find the only party on the Island that night, and dragging an American brother and sister (Thomas and Tess) with us, went to a dreadful trance party on the beach. This was great as I now had people to go to Full-Moon with, because my boat-friends were leaving the next day.
No-one else came to the guesthouse, so for days I had the place to myself. Lying in my hammock, looking out to sea, reading, going for walks along the beach. The only hitch being the inability to swim; the sea just doesn’t get deep enough and the sand is slimy underfoot which makes me feel queasy.
Finally the 28th came – Full-Moon party, Koh Phangan. It has been going since the late 80’s and now attracts around 10,000 people each time. Locking up my hut, and ensuring that I had enough money to get home should I need to, I made my way to meet Tess and Thomas. I was being so careful not to get drunk too quickly, having only two vodkas before I got there but I think all my previous partying had caught up with me.
The thump of the music always arrives first, building excitement of the impending evening, of course in Asia, more often than not, that music is heavy trance. We wended our way down to the beach, paying our 100Bhat entrance and receiving a rubber bracelet thing (which I then lost within 2 hours). The entire stretch of beach was heaving with people. Different bars had set up huge platforms at intervals for partiers to dance on, between the bars, stands had been set up selling buckets of alcohol, their patrons calling at you trying to get you to buy from them. On arrival we bought a bucket of vodka/redbull to share, and I think that was my downfall.
I went to the loo, and emerging had absolutely no idea where I was or where the Americans were. This didn’t bother me one iota. I was actually secretly pleased, I was now free to do exactly as I chose (I am getting intolerant of how long it takes groups to organise anything looking like a plan). Solo travel=solo Full-Moon. I spent the next six or seven hours walking the beach, stopping here and there for a dance, or talking to people. I even met up with the lovely Irish couple from the taxi and we spent ages together until I went in the pursuit of food and consequently lost them too. I spent a fortune on water that night, not needing anything else alcoholic, about 300Bhat, the price of one bucket – bonus for the budget!
The crowd was unsurprisingly a lot younger and had all daubed themselves in neon paint. Among the revellers, those who had got too drunk and injured were being tended by the many medical stations set up or those who had fallen asleep in the sleeping area like innocent babies, curled up on mats. Then, of course the drunk and uninhibited who had stripped and ran about splashing in the waves or worse (much worse….).
As the sun rose, the emptying beach looked like the set of a disaster movie. Rubbish strewn everywhere, bodies prone on the sand – lifeless, and zombies wandering the beach looking for the last of the hardcore partiers. I, however, was only looking for one thing – western junk food. I found it, in the shape of a bacon and cheese toasted baguette, it was delicious. I jumped in the songthaew with a heap of other partied out girls and slumped in my seat to watch the island flash by.
So with yet another thing I swore I would never do under my belt (tubing is looking more and more like a distinct possibility – if I ever go that way), I am ready for something else. I now want do do something more with my day than recover from amphetamine-laced-Redbull hangovers. And that something will be snorkelling, I don’t know if I an push the extremely fragile budget to actually going diving, but in my experience it can be very hit and miss – snorkelling on the other hand, is free.
Oh yes, one more thing. I have made a very big decision… I am going to, for the first time since forever, I am going to get a suntan! I will actually do sunbathing and everything – I am very excited and hope you are too (especially my sun worshiping friends Jenny and Karen – I will dedicate my tan to you xx).