OK, I am somehow doomed on this trip.
Last night was the full moon party, where thousands of people take to the beach from about 9 at night until well after the sun rises in the morning. Boats come up from Koh Samui, ferries, speed boats, everything… we’ll come back to all that.
Anyway, I took a lot of pictures that we’ll assume would have been amazing encapsulations of the mood here last night.
But we will never know, as my camera was either stolen (there are a LOT of pickpockets on the beach for full moon) or it just fell out of my pocket. And, realizing you lost your camera, on a beach with 4000+ people, at about 4:30 a.m., basically, it is just lost. I mean, we (we’ll get to the “we” later as well) looked where we were sitting on the beach, but it was not to be found.
So, you will never see: pictures of Asian teens and twentysomethings juggling fire dangerously close to tourists on woven rugs spread out on the beach; the full moon up in the sky; the whole spread of the beach with its Disneyland for Drunks colored lights and colored displays up and down the beach; people painting day-glo tattoos on people for when they dance under the blacklights on many of the outdoor dance floors; some hot Asian boy dancing on a stool outside one of the bars, making it an impromptu gay section of the beach; Dae (the one from Koh Samui) who found the impromptu gay bar, danced with me and immediately started dancing with me; Dae and his friends; me and Dae dancing; me and Dae kissing; me in front of the sign saying Full Moon Party; Dae, wearing a white sarong (and nothing else but flip flops).
The last picture I remember taking was Dae with the sarong, as we were walking by the place where they sell food, and had bright lights, and I remember this camera isn’t the best for shots of people at night (like the pics of me and Jamey are a bit dodgy on the beach, hair blends into the night, etc.). So, we took that shot, used the rest room, and then maybe we danced, but ultimately we ended up sitting on the beach and resting, and when I did my pocket check, everything was there, except the camera.
So, bad camera karma in Thailand. Needless to say, I am switching to disposables for the last week. The upside, I intentionally shot off the end of the previous roll before heading to the party, so nothing prior is lost.
But the night was a fun time, the camera thing is just annoying, especially since I already lost one camera on this trip. Well, it is actually back in SF now, but for all intents and purposes, it is lost.
I started the night having an awful pizza in a restaurant here. Basically Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Koh Phagnan lure customers in by showing illegal DVDs of american movies. Many are very recent movies, some are just in theaters now (I wouldn’t know) or will be soon. Some flick called Underworld is being shown here now, and signs claim it is in the top ten in the US right now. One place was showing Once Upon A Time In Mexico last night, which wasn’t playing yet when I was home.
So, instead of looking at actual menus, since they are very similar, most people pick eating destinations based on the movie. The other day, I had an “About A Boy” lunch, and last night, I had a “SWAT” dinner. I never understood the appeal, aside from price, of buying these illegal DVDs, but after SWAT, I am hooked.
They technically showed the movie in English with English subtitles, which seems to be the case everywhere here, although I’m unsure why people want to read what they can also hear. But then I realized the person who did the subtitles couldn’t be bothered to make sure they are accurate, spelled right, or much else. They were hilarious.
One of the main characters is called Hondo, which was translated consistently as “Don’t know,” which makes a line like Hondo is one of our best men out there, to “don’t know is one of out best men out there.” In the movie, they are escorting a prisoner that speaks with a Spanish accent. Most of the time, it was apparently too thick for the guy who wrote the subtitles, as he just didn’t write anything. Actually, it seemed like there were huge gaps where he couldn’t be bothered, and when he did, he messed them up famously. I may have to buy that one.
So, after dinner, I head down to the beach, which was already transformed into an event. Some bars had large woven rugs on the beach, and “molotov cocktail” torches on the corners of the rugs made with oil, cloth, and Coke bottles.
Up and down the beach, you could buy buckets of booze, basically little sandpails with a bottle of rum, coke, and some red bull-like substance, to mix yourself. Or, down on the beach, they would serve you drinks in these buckets. But they actually filled the bucket up with ice, and mixed the drink in it, so you had maybe a liter of very strong mixed drinks to carry around in your pail.
Of course, I am in the tropics, so getting coconut rum and pineapples is a no brainer, but that doesn’t come in a bucket-size.
One of the bars in the beginning of the night was playing REM (Losing My Religion, some unplugged version), Pearl Jam (Do The Evolution), and Nirvana (Come as you are), so I thought I had found my roost for the night, but they switch DJs up frequently, so that scene eventually went techno, and later in the night it would be R&B, hip hop. Only one bar played relentless electronic music, the rest kept switching it up.
My initial thought was that the music I hated the most (the relentless electronic) would possibly be my best chance at finding some semblance of a gay scene. Of course, once everyone’s ecstasy kicked in, finding the gay scene among all the boys on sensory overload who just wanted to hug everybody made everything a bit difficult. (No E for me, I stuck with my rum).
Actually, I was shocked at the lack of drugs. Full Moon Party has a history of being a huge rave, with hallucinogenic mushroom shake stands, people openly selling ecstasy, pot, you name it, but I didn’t see any of it. The Thai police are really cracking down on that stuff lately, apparently. Of course, I saw a lot of people sharing pills with their friends, and smoking joints, so people coming to find that certainly won’t have too much trouble. People tend to be generous with their drugs, especially if you buy some from them.
Anyway, I was shocked by the lack of drugs, but then I saw one end of the beach was kind of dark, with a large space between bars, so I figured, that must be the drug area. I wanted a picture of a stand selling drugs on the beach, which, of course, had I found it, wouldn’t have mattered in the long run anyway. But apparently, the dark spot of the beach is not for drugs, it is for prostitutes.
Thai girls, well, I’m not sure if they were all girls, but they were dressed as girls kept coming up and walking arm and arm with me, and then being very clear about what they wanted to do to me for 100 baht over in the shrubs. Saying no didn’t make them give up, saying you weren’t interested and they just hang on to you, saying you like boys… they just say they can find a boy for me. One said he/she could be a boy for me, so straight boys beware here.
On the way back, there is a VERY skinny Asian boy (which is saying a lot here) standing up on a stool in front of the one bar, with something written in flourescent on his back. I initially thought he was there working for the bar, but it turns up, he is just there because he wants to be. He is obviously gay, especially after his graphic description of what he told some guy he would do with him later, but more importantly, his obvious gayness, up and above the crowd, serves as a gay beacon and a small gay dance area forms around him. Lots of drugged out queens, with groups of friends, alone, hard to say, because they all look intimate, but then when I talk to one, he says he is from Scotland and then kisses me on the cheek, so I suppose, to other people he and I know each other, too.
There is a much younger Thai boy dancing next to his friend on the stool, and he is putting away buckets of booze. Well, that’s hard to say, he keeps buying buckets, but he is drunk and generous as hell. I know several times, I would be dancing, my glass empty, and as soon as he saw that, he would run over and fill my glass up. He didn’t even seem to have a favorite drink, one time it was red, one green, one blue. Maybe he just liked different colors.
I don’t know if he had even been to Full Moon before, because he kept looking everywhere, dancing, and saying “It so crazy!” and then laughing and laughing.
But, like I said, the boy on the stool was a beacon, and after I was dancing with a group of german(?) boys, I turned around and see that Dae from the gay bar in Koh Samui has spotted me and is approaching. We’re past the small talk phase now, so he immediately kisses me.
We dance and dance, and I realize now that Tevas are great sandals, but for beach dancing, buy cheap flip flops and kick them off when you dance if you don’t want some weird sore feet the next day from wet, rubbing sandal straps.
So, Dae and his friends adopt me, although we abandon them quite a bit. We dance in probably every area, with a few double takes when people see we are both guys. But it isn’t negative. People usually take our picture, and other westerners high-five me, although the reason for that eludes me.
We finally take a break and sit on the beach together, looking at the frenzy, the boats coming in and out constantly, at the light projections the far at the far end of the beach is making on the entire mountainside with a powerful beam, at one bar that keeps lighting different shapes fires (elephants, etc.) and at fireworks that people bring with them and fire off dangerously directly above the crowd.
Dae says he wants to be my boyfriend. He says he loves me. I tell him I’m going to Koh Tao soon, then Bangkok, and then America. He says he can come with me. He says his sister married farang (westerner) and she very very happy. I wonder several times during the night, the more he talks, if he even is a prostitute. He could possibly just be some gay 22-year-old Thai boy who wants someone to take him out of Thailand. Of course, his method is working at a gay bar and adding a flourish, shall we say, to the end of his massages. He does give me a partial massage on the beach, and he was rather good.
So, it’s kind of sad, in a way. Of course, it is hard to explore a lot of this, given the language barrier. He just says, he will come to USA, I go to work, and he take care of me, and we be very happy and married. He gives me a ring to remember him in Thailand, to show we will get married, and that I will come back for him. I tell him I will take it to remember him, but that is all. I am wearing it now as I write this.
We go back to dance and one of his friends is really drunk now, and he is pleading with me, although his English is much harder to parse than Dae’s. Dae tells me he ran out of money and wants another drink, or something, anyway I give him 40 baht ($1) and he runs away. When he returns, he starts telling me a story that I can’t make heads or tails of, except that it is very serious, and then he tells me that he gets very sad, and he unwraps a handkerchief on his left wrist and there are eight or nine scars where I assume he tried to kill himself previously. But I don’t know if it because he is gay, or what. I look to Dae for help, and he is smiling, and whispers in my ear that his friend gets like that when he has had too much to drink.
His friend (Det, I think his name is, they all pick short names that are easy for farang to remember, it seems) just looks at me, pleading, like he wants me to say something, help him, who knows, maybe he wants to come to America with me, too. Don’t they know that I couldn’t bring them if I wanted? That if I marry a female prostitute in Thailand the US would accept her as my wife, but if I actually fell in love in Thailand with a boy, he would never get any recognition as a result?
Not that I am considering any of this, mind you, but it is odd being asked for something that is too soon to exist (my love for Dae, my desire to marry him) or couldn’t exist (him living in the USA).
Dae finally pulls me away, and his friends pleading eyes follow me as I leave, and I wonder what I am walking away from. I just don’t know. I would help, but I don’t really think I could, and I don’t know what he wants or needs.
We head to the beach, and dance some more, although I am beat. I don’t think I have it in me to make it past sunrise, where the crowd gets renewed energy at having been here all night, and the party has one last revival before everyone goes to bed.
We finally head back to the beach, with the gulf lapping at the shore about 10 feet from our feet, and this time, Dae sits between my legs, pulled close to me, and we both stare out at the sky, the boats, everything. We kiss every so often, and he continues telling me about the life we would have together. That he wants to come back to my bungalow and spend the night with me, that he wants to go to Bangkok with me, that he wants to spend his life with me. At times, his words are as intoxicating as all the rum I am coming down from, as they are words I like hearing, were only the context different. If I met Dae in SF and he still couldn’t speak English, but he just moved there, etc., who knows. I race through all of these thoughts, as he continually attaches to my schedule. I am clear to not tell him where I am staying, when I am going to what city, and such. I no longer think he is trying to get money out of me, I think he sees escape and freedom in me, somehow, although Thailand is notoriously gay-friendly. Of course, my western mind keeps trying to find his angle, what he is saying beyond what he is saying, which may not exist.
He says they have e-mail at the gay bar where he works and that he will write me letters every day until I return for him, to let me know how much he loves me. On the few occassions when I ask him why he wouldn’t want to stay in Thailand, he says he loves it here, he just wants to be with me. He said I could move here and be with him, too.
A slight drizzle comes down on us, and I question whether I have another 90 minutes or however long it is until the sun rises.
But I don’t want to just abandon Dae, if that is possible. I do care about him, in some odd way. He is fixated that we will be boyfriends, and married, and together. So, I finally tell him that he makes me happy, but that I need to go to America and find someone that makes me happy, and he needs to stay here and find someone that makes him happy. That when I get on the boat to my bungalow, it will be when we say goodbye.
Finally, he seems to accept what I am saying, as there is a sadness that is evident in his eyes. We kiss some more. Hug. Tightly. I kiss the back of his neck.
I tell him I need to go, that it is starting to rain and I need sleep. He doesn’t ask to come back with me anymore. He just seems sad. He helps me up, and this tender moment of sorts is abandoned when I realize the aforementioned camera has taken missing. We both dig in the sand where we were sitting, unearthing bottles that are already buried from earlier in the night. But it is a fruitless search. Having practice at this point, I accept the death of my camera, or more likely, and in keeping in Buddhist tradition, its new life reborn recently with its new owner. Someone who will have a lot of pictures of asian boys and some white guy in a orange Chuck Palahniuk T-shirt and army green cargo shorts dancing with some cute Asian boy with a great body and a white sarong with flower petals painted on it here and there.
Dae walks me to my boat, and we kiss. There are no more plans. No more talks of our life together.
We are kissing goodbye.