Nothing but ‘Lunacy’ (Full Moon Party) (Aug 26th-31st)

Back in Bangkok, we were just dropped square in front of Khao San Road from another overnight bus, this one lasting us 11 hours. We went back to our familiar guest house where we paid a couple Baht to shower and clean up. It was about 6 in the morning and I needed a new shirt, so as soon as the street became alive with vendors I made a purchase while Michelle guarded the backpacks. We switched positions, and then Michelle hit the street for a new outfit.

At 8am we were excited for the restaurant at the guest house to open since we had been craving Thai curry ever since Cambodia. “Two orders please,” and when it came out both of us were in Heaven. We dropped off our dirty cloths to get washed and dried by 5pm (luckily, because normally it’s a two day operation), then hit the market/mall (MBK) for some supplies we needed to replace (shaver, belt, yatta, yatta, yatta).

We made it back to the guesthouse to watch ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ by 2 and in my opinion it wasn’t nearly as good as the first two…and that’s not saying much. At 6pm, yet again, we hopped onto ANOTHER overnight bus, this time heading to Surathani, a city way in the south of Thailand. This is our third overnight bus in a row, which may sound bad, but it allows us to kill 2 birds with one stone. You get sleep and transport all in one!

In Surathani we went from the bus to taxi, then taxi to ferry. Finally, after leaving the Yahoos over 1 week (and three countries) ago, we were on our way to reunite in Ko Phang Ngan. Three hours later, after a pit stop in Ko Samui, we propelled our way through the Gulf of Thailand and arrived to our destination.

Prior island insight taught us about taxi prices, so instead we rented 2 motorbikes at only four bucks a piece (for 24 hours). After a brief lunch (more curry) we went to the resort where Shane and Ruthless were residing. “Hello”, and we were all excited with stories and pictures to share with one another. Shane P. and Ruthless rented a motorbike as well, and we decided to head to the northern, more desolate part of the island in search of beautiful vistas.

After a few kilometers on a dirt road, then following unclear signs and indistinguishable trails, we found ourselves on an enormous boulder overlooking the island and the sea from an eagle’s perspective. The wind was firm and steady, so a little unnerving as we crept across a rocky outcrop. The crawl was entirely worth it however, for the view revealed miles and miles of palm trees stretching from inland to the coast, opening up to virgin beach, then turquoise sea all before our eyes. After a few breaths to absorb the beauty, we hit back the trail and returned to the town where together we ate some Greek humus with pitas before calling it a night.

August 28th, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! One of the biggest parties in the world, right up there with New Year’s Eve in Time Square and Marti Gras in New Orleans. We kicked off the day by motorbiking a little more of this surprisingly large island before returning the bikes by the 2pm deadline. With some purchased bottles of Thai liquor, we walked back to the resort to start the fiesta!

Eventually, time ticked away along with some brain cells, and we found ourselves in a taxi heading for the heart of the celebration, the beaches of Hat Rin. It was dark, but the streets were electrified with loud foreigners and Thai vendors cramming the axis-ways to the sand. Music was blasting in all directions, some with reggae vibes but most with a techno beat. As we navigated through the hoards, the beach emerged along with the full moon in all its glory glistening over the glassy sea.

We decided to head over to a corner of the beach where we could overlook the coast from a bar rightly named ‘Mellow Mountain’. You live once right, so I ordered a ‘Special’ (fungus) shake to experience the ambiance from a different perspective! Glow in the dark body paint was passed around and before I knew it, Michelle had turned me into a neon rave machine. I had my chance to repay and gave her cute little spirals along with glowing eyelids. Shane P. and Ruthless also joined the festivities by finger-painting each other to perfection.

When the screaming kicked up a gear with more sweaty partiers, we left the safety of Mellow Mountain for the chaos of the beach. Black lights illuminated the shore and raised staging was placed randomly throughout for the Ravers that really wanted to be noticed. Michelle convinced me a couple times to rock the stage, but we were never successful in dragging along the Yahoos!

It was a blast!!! People of all nationalities gathered here simply to celebrate. The shroom shake never really affected me like I was hoping. People that took it with me would comment on the excessive glowing of trippy colors but all I was feeling was the product of the Thai whiskey, which I can’t complain about!

As we walked/danced through the maze of sweaty bodies, we made it to an area where the sand was roped off and passed out people were dragged in to sleep off their over-indulgences. Probably over 100 bodies littered the sand and they continued to pile in. For the partiers that were less fortunate to make it to this protected zone, any passed out person was fair game to being scavenged. Several times throughout the night you would see people raiding the pockets of an out-cold individual. Everyone is warned to leave valuables at home since pit-pocketing and stealing is ramped.

Shane P. and I needed to take a leak, so we hopped over a sand bank and found a dark place to pee. Ruthless and Michelle waited for us only about 20 meters away, but before we unzipped we noticed we were not alone. This Thai guy, who seemed four feet tall at the time, without warning whacked me on the side of my bicep with a metal pipe!!! (What???) Apparently, he didn’t know how to communicate in any different way how he did not want us there. At first, I didn’t know what was happening because I was in a ‘One Love’ style mood, but when that pipe nailed Shane in the stomach leaving him hunched over and gasping for air I became furious. Ruthless and Michelle heard the commotion and came over to see what was going down. While Shane was retreating, the guy aimed with his pipe for my head which I blocked with my forearm. Not to sound full of myself (which I am, as you all know), I remember looking into this punks eyes and seeing fear. With his weapon just recently exposed, the tiny window was open to brawl in and unleash a (T) storm, but something sympathetic held me back. I turned and left, a part of me questioning if this was the honorable way to end the confrontation, but at the moment I felt like I had nothing to prove to anybody, for I knew inside there was no competition if things were to progress. I caught up to Shane P. and the girls who were just as confused as myself, and we found a place some distance away (back on a packed street) to analyze our injuries.

I couldn’t stop from laughing at the scenario. Shane was making funny comments even though still hunched over and grimacing, while I had a nice souvenir emerging like a mountain on my forearm. For one thing, the party was taken immediately out of us all, and although I was anxious to stay up till sunrise, at this point I was just as content doing it from the beach in front of our resort. After people-watching for a little bit, we piled back into a taxi and around 4am returned home. Michelle and I walked along the shore near the resort and witnessed the emerging sun mark the end of an unbelievably crazy evening that left us with an overwhelming feeling of joviality, despite the stupid little incident that attempted to ruin the night.

After sleeping away part of the next day, I felt my arm throbbing before I even opened my eyes (Awww, poor me). Today’s itinerary….relax! Shane was fine from his run in with metal, and no one seemed to have too terrible a hangover. The Yahoos went to the beach while Michelle and I hit up a Mexican cafe, then checked a couple emails at an ungodly price/minute. We lethargically walked back along the coast and watched the movie ‘Knocked Up’ on Shane’s new IPOD. Eventually, the Yahoos returned and we all re-ventured to Hat Rin (by rented motorbike) to stroll a bit before sitting down and having a nice, relaxing meal. The detoxifying day came to an end when we returned back to our beds and closed our eyes.

I awoke before everyone to a beautiful day with yet another reason to celebrate…….Michelle’s Birthday! I decided I should capitalize on the situation and make the morning as special for her as possible. I snuck out of the room, jumped onto a motorbike (which we still had because of a 24 hour lease), and shot over to the supermarket then fruit stand. At the market I bought different favored yogurts, while at the stand I bought a pineapple, watermelon, and bananas. I hurried home to start slicing and dicing. My brother awoke during my butchery and helped out. Not before long we were singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl while she was still snuggled up in bed. Her face couldn’t hide the surprise and excitement which in turn lit up everyone’s face in the room.

With full and satisfied tummies, on request of the birthday girl, we headed out to ascend the tallest mountain on Ko Phang Ngan. When the mountain was in sight, no longer were Shane and Ruthless in my rear view. Michelle and I turned back to check on what was keeping them. The dirt road was attempting to sabotage the trip to our mountain destination………the Yahoos popped a flat!!

After delaying us a good hour, our goal was finally back on track. We parked our bikes in the shadow of the peak and headed upwards. The trail was small but navigable, passing through tiny streams and towering clumps of bamboo. The going was easy and smooth with the incline gradual and the terrain firm. Despite the ease, we reached a point where enough was enough for Ruthless. The plan was to have a picnic lunch at the summit, but with her whining to return we decided it best just to picnic there (half way), then separate. While Ruthless pouted, refusing to join us, we split up lunch which consisted of roast beef sandwiches (with Dijon mustard), PB & J, and a can of Pringles…mmm mmm good! Succumbing again to Kathleen’s wants, the Yahoos turned back leaving just me, Michelle, and the mountain!

Now at a hasty pace, onward we continued, and a half hour later we found ourselves perched on a boulder at the peak. The view was barricaded by monstrous trees, but the disappointment was replaced by the satisfaction of reaching the top. Spending only a few seconds to come to this realization, we turned back to descend. At a certain point, to mix things up a bit as well as save time (not to mention we had no idea where we now were) we decided to head towards this little village at the bottom, only occasionally visible through the trees. This direction unexpectedly led us to an abandoned cottageesque-type structure on the side of the hill where we uncovered several marijuana plants growing in ‘pots’ (get it). Not spending too much time in association with the contraband, we continued down and about forty minutes later we stood on flat land! We found a road, then followed it to where we had parked our bikes. The time was about 5:45pm, leaving us to race against the setting sun to meet the Yahoos at a beach rightly named ‘Sunset Cove’!

With a few minutes to spare, just enough time to unwind with a glass of red wine for Michelle and a fruity Pina Colada (I know, I know) for myself, we reunited with Shane and Ruthless to watch the sun sink into the ocean. As far as beauty is concerned, the colors and patterns of the sky were not the most stunning, but the ambiance of the entire day came through to create a gorgeous evening.

After an hour or two of reclined resting, back on our bikes we went in search for dinner. Michelle was craving Mexican, but we had no idea if that existed on this side of the island. Her birthday luck must have came through, because only about 300 meters down the street we discovered an international restaurant with 2 full menu pages dedicated to south of the border cuisine. We split fajitas, quesadillas, empanadas, chips and salsa, tacos, and everything else that fits the stereotypical expectation. The food was delicious and Michelle left Ko Phang Ngan, drifting away to a land of euphoria! Still on Cloud 9, we began the hour long drive home in the tranquil, quiet darkness of this part of the island…till half way when we found ourselves making a detour in the direction of Hat Rin. Why you ask??? How about for a little ink…..I’ll leave it at that!!

With only a tiny amount of sleep, but a lot of memories, the next morning was time to leave the island. We boarded a truck to the port, then sat in the ferry. Back to Surathani all four of us went, but for the Yahoos, this was the final chapter of their journey. They were anxious to re-emerge into their former lives while Michelle and I were as excited as always to continue ‘living’ ours. At Surathani we parted ways with hugs and kisses, leaving them waiting for their bus to Bangkok while our taxi-bus took us to the town’s local bus station. The time with the Yahoos sometimes oscillated up and down, but always ended on the up! Despite our very different views of what this vacation was about, we still managed to incorporate everyones interests into the itinerary. Ko Phang Ngan was a great setting for our final fling together; Kathleen got to pet her elephant, Shane got to bask on the sand, and we all got to experience the World’s largest beach party. From Palau to Thailand, and literally every country in between, we created shared memories that I for one know will last with me forever. In Palau Kathleen swam across a tiger shark-infested channel (barely), wile Shane squished a developed duck egg in between his teeth in the Philippines. It’s events like these, and the idea of looking back on them sometime in the future, that saddens my soul with tears. I have come to the understanding some time ago about how short life is. It will be just a blink from now when I can only see my brother looking like a bad-ass on a motorcycle from a photo album or deep within my memories. We are all growing up and it’s one force we can’t fight. I truly appreciate the opportunity I have to be out here, living the dream, but it saddens me to think this ‘dream’, my life, will one day be nothing more than an adventure tale told by an old man to his grandchildren.

Enough with the sob story Travis, you have much more life still in you. Get out there and orchestrate some amazing chapters to your book of life. Create something worth reading about, worth sharing with friends, family, and strangers alike. But most of all, produce a story so intriguing that you yourself will be satisfied with long after your fairytale making days are over.

Enough said…’s time to Rock and Roll…………….To Myanmar we GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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