“You’ve never heard of the Full Moon Party!?” Anna gasped, her pigtails flying in the wind. She leaned back on the rusty paint-chipped railing.
They were on the top floor of the high-speed catamaran that was skimming its way across the sparkling Gulf of Thailand to Koh Phangan. The ferry was rammed to the rafters with young, 20-something backpackers chattering excitedly amongst themselves. The indoor downstairs seating area was completely full, so they’d had to opt for the open-air seating area above it. Chara preferred being outside, and was enjoying the strong whip of the salty breeze.
“Nope,” Chara shook her head and smiled. “What is it?” They were both talking at full volume, as was everyone else around them, to be heard above the roar of the engines and the smack of the waves.
The hard plastic seat didn’t provide much protection for her bum, which was bumping and jumping up and down with the rhythm of the boat. Around them was nothing but deep blue ocean, as Koh Samui disappeared into the distance. Chara could make out the soft outline of what Anna had pointed out a few moments earlier as Koh Phangan--or simply “Phangan,” as Anna had called it. Koh, Anna taught her, meant “island” in Thai. So locals tended to refer to the islands without the “Koh” designation.
“Only like, the biggest beach party in the world!” Anna exclaimed, putting a cigarette in her mouth. She pulled a lighter out of her pocket, and turned away from the direction of the wind, putting her hand up as a shield while she lit it. Unsuccessful, she groaned loudly and shook the lighter aggressively, and tried again. Finally, she had it lit.
“Yeah, it’s massive. It gets like 30,000 people.”
“Wow! That is big!”
“It started before there was electricity on Haad Rin beach. Back when you could get a bungalow on the beach for like 50 Baht. Think it was like the 70s or 80s. The tourists noticed that the full moon provided enough light to illuminate the whole beach, which meant they could party all night long. So, the Full Moon Party was born,” Anna talked through her teeth as she stretched out her arms for emphasis and leaned her head back. The cigarette hanging out of her mouth stood straight up.
Anna wore teeny tiny overalls with a tight T-shirt that showed off her ample tits. Large sunglasses covered the top half of her petite face.
Chara felt a bead of sweat drip down her chest, under her tight blue tube dress, and was glad for the breeze. She still wasn’t used to Thailand’s heat, and wasn’t sure if she ever would be. She made a mental note to pick up some lighter beachwear from the street stalls in Lamai she’d noticed while she was walking around the other day. The clothes she brought with her were just slightly too heavy for this sort of swelter. They had been fine for her holidays in Mexico and the Caribbean, but the combination of higher heat and thicker humidity called for airier attire.
She reached into her bag and pulled out two beers they’d bought at the 7/11 before getting on the ferry, handing one to Anna. They were both nursing their hangovers with a bit of ‘hair of the dog.’ “So, this Full Moon Party goes back quite a while, then?” She was enjoying the lessons in Thai culture and Samui and Phangan history she was getting from Anna.
Anna nodded, blowing a veil of smoke out from her mouth. It wafted in Chara’s direction, and Anna attempted to wave the ashy cloud away with her hand. “Ages. And it’s just gotten bigger and bigger every year.”
“What kind of music?”
“Anything and everything. You walk down the beach and select your genre. There’s EDM, rock, hip hop, R&B, whatever you want.”
“Sounds like my kinda party! And how often is it?”
“Every full moon,” Anna winked, taking a draw of her cigarette.
Chara immediately felt stupid. “Right, of course,” she rolled her eyes, taking a swig of her San Mig Light.
“In fact...I wonder when it is, this month. We should go!”
“Oh my God, I’d love that!” Chara was also really happy to have a girlfriend. It had been so long since she’d had a friend who didn’t judge her for what had happened with Mike, or who she didn’t suspect of gossiping about her behind her back.
Anna pushed herself up and, without hesitation, tapped the guy beside her on the shoulder. He wore a cap and a black tank top bearing the Chang logo with which Chara was now familiar.
“Excuse me, do you know when the next Full Moon Party is?” Anna spoke loudly.
The man’s eyes started at Anna’s breasts, and moved up to her eyes. Chara guessed that Anna got this a lot. His friend turned to face Anna as well, his eyes following the same path. Anna obliviously sipped her beer while she awaited an answer.
He made a funny face, and turned to his friend. “Tonight, isn’t it?” he yelled to his buddy in a thick British accent, who nodded.
“Oh! Great! Thank you.” Anna turned back to Chara. “Well, that explains why there’s so many people heading to Phangan. The Full Moon’s tonight--I can’t believe it! What are the chances? Will we go?” She asked Chara with a look full of excited hope.
Chara wondered for a moment if she should get a good night’s sleep tonight, to help her body adjust to the time difference. But she quickly put the thought aside. It was one of the biggest parties in the world, happening that night, right in the location to which they were headed. It was fate. It had to be.
“Let’s do it!” Chara gladly agreed, nodding eagerly. She hoisted up her beer to cheers Anna. “To a new island, new friends, a new adventure…”
“And one hell of a party!”