Friday, October 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Islands, Part 3: The Final Act

Our night consisted of more relaxing in the Irish pub followed by another visit to Reggae Bar across the street. The few days of non-stop activity finally had caught up to me and so I called it a night rather early. Everyone else seemed not to care that we were in for a long day of traveling the next day...

I woke up the next morning at the crack of dawn to wake up the two exhausted friends of mine. The long journey from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Pha Ngan was set to begin at 10:30 A.M. It was comprised of a ferry ride back to mainland Thailand, followed by a bus across the country, then a ferry from east coast Thailand to Koh Pha Ngan. We didn't reach our final destination until about 7:30 P.M.

Despite the late arrival, we quickly found accommodation and met up with fellow NUS exchange students who had left Koh Phi Phi the day before. Soon thereafter, we found ourselves on the infamous Haad Rin beach, home to the Full Moon Party. It was only Tuesday and the full moon wasn't set to come until Thursday. It didn't seem to matter as an incredible sight unfolded before my very eyes: people juggling fire sticks, jumping through rings of fire, UV paint all over the place, and masses of people running up and down the beach. The music blared from a number of beach bars well into the night and morning of the next day. People literally stayed out all night dancing and partaking in many of the aforementioned activities involving fire. This made for an odd sort of routine that involved many of us sleeping throughout most of the daytime in Koh Pha Ngan. Then we would wake up midday to afternoon and get ready for another night on the beach.

The night before the Full Moon Party on Wednesday went over pretty similarly to Tuesday night. A number of us exchange students from Singapore, about twenty or so, got together for a nice Thai dinner before starting up with the festivities. Once again, we stayed up well into the night conversing, drinking, dancing, etc. It made for an interesting night when I met up with one friend who had jumped through the "Ring of Fire." He hadn't made it completely through the ring untouched by the fire and had cuts on his arms as well as black char marks scattered on his shirt. While it is an accomplishment to have the courage to take on such a feat, I think I'm happy I sat this one out. For the second day in a row I saw one of the most stunning sunrises ever. A group of us sat on the beach at 6:30 A.M. and watched a view none of us would surely forget.

After two nights in a row of non-stop partying, it was time for the real Full Moon Party. On this night, us exchange students got together to start the night off properly. We put UV paint all over each other as if we were preparing for battle. Little did we know we would be battling a number of things like the weather, which initially did not cooperate, in addition to more people being on the beach than previously imagined. It was so easy to lose whoever you were with after looking away for only a second. At the same time, if you just stood around for a minute or two, you were bound to run into an NUS student and carry on the night with them. The funniest part of the whole ordeal had to have been the "Sleep Area" designated for any people that passed out on the beach. It was funny to walk by and see all the people that had fallen asleep at various points of the night. In fact, I witnessed one of the most comical scenes of all-time at this spot on the beach. As I walked by the sleep area, I saw a very intoxicated individual stumbling around. He then lost his balance and fell into the sleep area on top of an unsuspecting victim who, as you would imagine, was out cold. The guy sleeping didn't flinch at first, not realizing what had taken place. The intoxicated fellow eventually got up only to then get close-lined by the "Sleep Area" banner hanging at the entrance and fell right back onto the ground. Moments later he then got up and ran into the water. It was quite something seeing it all play out. I stayed up for another sunrise, tired and all, yet people were still dancing at 8 A.M. as if the night had just started. I stood there almost disturbed by what I was seeing as the sunrise shed light on the individuals. On the tables, on the sand, some even in the water. After three straight days, I had seen enough. I went to sleep at 8 A.M. knowing I would have to get up in four hours to head home. I will just say it was a very rough day of traveling.

I will wrap up this recap of the Recess Break by saying that it was one of the best times I have ever had in my entire life. Thank you, fellow exchange students for sharing these many moments with me. May there be many more.

I must also add that regarding our group of NUS students in Thailand, whatever could have gone wrong, went wrong. Approximately fifteen people caught pink eye during and a few days after this trip. Not only that, but multiple people lost their passport, wallet, etc. Yet, somehow I am pretty confident in saying everyone had a great time in both Koh Phi Phi and Koh Pha Ngan. While lucky to have escaped from disaster, I will be more careful in the future.

Thanks for reading!

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