I do my usual mental run-through of the previous night, followed by my physical run-through that all my limbs and belongings are still intact. They are...phew! I turn off the air con to allow the circulation back into my extremities and have a "rousing" shower (I have no choice in the matter since most of the lower-end accommodation in Thailand has only cold water showers). Feeling better, I gannet down my approximately 48th green curry of the trip so far and spend the day on the beach listening to chill-out tunes on the iPod, rebuilding my strength for the Full Moon Party that evening.
The view here is absolutely breathtaking - white powdery sand, crystal clear waters....and geckos freaking me out by plopping out of the palm trees from a great height, landing next to my head every 10 mins of so. Don't get me wrong, I love these little critters, but their rotating beady eyes suddenly appearing next to mine as I'm in a trance listening to my tunes does little to calm my frayed nerves from the night before...
I have arranged to meet a group of young lads from Newcastle at the Full Moon Party later - Chris, Michael and chums are staying in Koh Samui, just taking a speedboat to and from the party and not staying in Koh Phangan at all. As there will be an estimated 30000 people on Sunrise Beach tonight for the party, I give them strict instructions to meet me at 11.45pm in the Sunrise Hotel reception, which is one of the few places the wifi will be switched on and I know will not be totally overrun. They agree and I'm excited to have some fresh new blood to party with.
Retrieving the dregs of last night's bucket from the fridge, I finish it off (sand and all) whilst I get ready, before heading out into the night at around 10pm. To my surprise I easily hail a taxi and about 8 of us from various nations exchange excited banter on the bumpy journey to the party. We are stopped by the police, who give us a cursory glance and a flick of the torch around the taxi onto each of us, before sending us on our way. 20 minutes later and we disembark into a seething, writhing crowd of bodies, all swigging from colourful plastic buckets containing a variety of ominous concoctions, each one fired up with an unhealthy dose of palpitation-inducingly strong Thai Red Bull.
Most of the crowd are wearing illuminous vests and have painted their bodies in day-glo paints. There are body-painting stalls lining the roads and everyone stops to adorn their bodies, splashing the paints about. As half the island is in bandages or plaster from various motorcycle/fire-limbo-dancing accidents they have a clean white canvas to work on. The paints are eveywhere and I pass several paint-splattered stray dogs looking entirely bemused....
As we hit the beach, the music reaches ear-splitting levels and thousands of people are dancing frenetically to the music, perched on tables, speakers, in the sea, every platform, stage and flat surface is covered with a writhing mass of tanned and youthful bodies. Pleased that I fixed an exact meeting point with the lads, I soak up the atmosphere (and the vodka) for a while before heading to Sunrise reception to meet them. To my amazement, we instantly find each other - good skills!
Then it's off to meet their friends at Mushroom Mountain for midnight. This is the point where everything gets a little sketchy, but to sum up the night it basically went like this: bucket, mushroom shake, dance, strip off to our swimming gear and run into the sea for a dip, another bucket, chat, dance on a speaker, shake, sea, take the piss out of various casualties, shake, bucket, chat nonsense to randoms, dance, sea....repeat ad nauseum (literally in some cases) or until 7am, whichever comes first.
I don't remember at what point I lost my flip-flops, only that by the morning light there were several random odd flip-flop mountains. To be fair, it's a miracle that my flippers were all I'd lost by that point, as I'd left my bag containing my cash, phone, bank card, room keys and other wildly important items with a whole host of randoms whilst I'd run off into the sea without a care in the world several times throughout the night. One time I emerged from the sea to find the random bag-watcher gone and my bag just sticking out of the sand, hundreds of people dancing nearby. How the night would've ended differently had it been swiped...eep!
We do come across several girls sobbing their hearts out over their bags that have been lost or stolen, and I give one particularly distraught girl 1000 baht (£20) to calm her down and help her out, regretting being quite so generous later when I realise I appear to have lost my cash too. (I say "appear" as they is a distinct possibility that I spent/distributed the cash myself).
Of particular amusement to my new gang of mates is the "Sleep Area", which is basically a portion of the beach sectioned off for casualties of the party who are suffering from "exhaustion", shall we say. In other words, it's a drunk-tank and bodies are strewn and stacked unconscious, and makes for some hilarious photo opportunities. It's like something out of 28 Days Later. We get some cracking shots, and continue on to Cactus Bar for another lil dance-off on the tables. ( Later I say to Chris how much I liked the South African girls we spent ages chatting to at this bar and he gives me a withering look before informing me they were Irish. Hmm, maybe I was more tipsy than I thought....)
Suddenly I'm aware that it's broad daylight, my Northern pals have taken a speedboat back to Samui, and I have acquired a whole new set of reprobate mates. I am also using Mark's crutches to stand (although he has a broken leg and probably needs them more than me to be fair), so perhaps 8am is a good time to leave. Like a scene from Shaun Of The Dead, we all stumble off, barefoot and bleary-eyed, zombie-like in various directions into the distance....