By evening time, Chara and Anna had showered and changed into their party outfits. Chara wore a tight black dress that revealed plenty of cleavage with a black choker and had pulled her thick, brown hair back into a high ponytail. Anna wore tiny neon green shorts and a matching tube top that showed off her flat, toned stomach. She, too, had her hair in a high ponytail, with a green sweatband around her head. They had done one another’s makeup in Jak’s guest bathroom. They’d gone heavy on the eyes, with thick eyeliner and mascara, and colorful eyeshadow, and light on the foundation. “It’ll just melt off anyways,” Anna had explained, while she applied another coat of mascara to Chara’s eyelashes. For the final touch, Anna had pulled out her sparkles, which she’d applied liberally to both of their foreheads and temples, in spiral designs.
“Seems like you’ve done this before,” Chara commented, watching Anna put on her own sparkles.
“Oh yes! There’s no party without sparkles!” Anna sang.
Jak was in his bedroom, taking a nap before the party. “Gotta get my beauty sleep,” he’d explained with a wink, before heading to his bedroom that afternoon. “You girls help yourselves to anything you want from the fridge.” Jak was a generous host. They promised to see him later. He’d smiled sweetly at Chara before shutting his door.
The sunset wasn’t visible from Jak’s vantage point, but they had watched the sky turn majestic pinks and purples at dust, and darkness had set in quickly thereafter. The darker it got, the more intense the beat of the bass had become, rumbling through the ground all the way from the beach below, up the hill to Jak’s villa.
After taking a selfie, the two girls had bounded down Jak’s steps and followed the heavy beat to the party. Once down the hill, they wound a corner and found themselves smack in the center of the bustling beach town of Haad Rin. Chara immediately realized that neon shorts, tops, and sweatbands, as Anna had on, were the unofficial uniform of Full Moon Party revelers. Groups of vibrantly dressed 20-somethings skipped, ran, jumped, wobbled and danced through the narrow streets, all clutching equally vibrantly colored buckets.
“What are those?” Chara asked her friend, pointing at one that seemed to be the central focal point of one particular group, who were all gathered around it, drinking from it through multi-colored straws.
“Buckets! We’re just on our way to my favorite stand to get one. You can get whatever you want in it, but traditionally, they’re made with Sangsom, coke, Red Bull, and lots of ice. They’re potent.”
“Yeah, it’s Thai rum. It’s quite sweet and gives you a rotten hangover, but it’s cheap and pretty tasty!”
Sure enough, the next block they strolled down was lined with pop-up stands, all with colourful, handpainted signs, imploring revellers to “F*ck it, grab a bucket!”. Some were even more crude, insisting that “Jesus loves buckets” and one offering “Free bum sex” for all bucket purchases.
“What. Is. Up. With these signs!?” Chara cried, laughing hysterically as they passed them.
“I know. It’s like a competition for who can come up with the weirdest, most ridiculous signs. But partiers love them. Drunk people go for that shit, man. These bucket stands make a killing every Full Moon Party. Oh! Here’s mine up here. Nancyyyyy!” Anna cried, waving at a Thai woman a few stalls down, who waved back enthusiastically.
Nancy had long hair down to her mid-back, and eyelashes that put theirs to shame. As they approached, Chara realized that it was because she was wearing eyelash extensions and a whole lot of makeup. Still, she was beautiful.
Anna and Nancy squealed and hugged, and Anna introduced Chara. “Nancy, this is Chara, my friend from America. Can we get one of your famous buckets please?”
“Yes, of couuurse!” Nancy beamed, winking at Chara. Nancy was taller than most of the Thai women Chara had seen and encountered, and her voice a tad deeper. She quickly made their drink and handed it to Anna, who already handed exact change to her in exchange.
Anna held up the bucket so that they could both drink from the straws. Chara took a sip. It was syrupy, sweet, and incredibly alcoholic. Chara choked on her first sip, surprised by the strong alcohol content. Anna and Nancy laughed in unison.
“Oh my God, Anna!”
“I know, they’re strong, but honestly, you need to be a bit drunk for this party.”