My blog has been silent for a while now for no better reason than me being on a much anticipated and needed vacation. Telene and I managed to sneak out for a whole month of April, and spend a few days in Tokyo doing typical touristy things, before venturing off to our final destination - Thailand.
We haven't really had too much planned out, but one thing we knew is that we wanted rest - beach, sun, water, lots of sleep and massage. As our vacation is nearing the end (and I am writing this from Thailand), I can assure that all of those things we have thus far successfully achieved. And much more.
Most of our trip we ended up spending on the island of Ko Phangan - where the famous monthly full moon party happens on the beach. We are missing the full moon party, but this is not a big deal because every other phase of the moon is celebrated here with just as much fervor and scale, if perhaps by a smaller crowd. Which is actually a good thing, considering that full moon party gets up to 30,000 people (I don't believe these numbers, I'd say it's probably around 10,000 - there's just not a lot of space here for 30,000 people, it's a pretty small island!).
Tonight we are going to check out Half Moon party - it happens in a particular spot in the jungle that's specially outfitted for these parties: there are supposedly two "rooms", cheap massages, multiple bars, even a "chill space" of sorts. There's definitely no shortage of understanding how to professionally throw a party here, but what is lacking is the community feel of a true party scene I am so used to in the Bay Area and Europe. The parties are thrown and organized mostly by local Thais, and attract mostly tourist crowd (although many locals that work at our hotel promise to come too to have fun). The result is that it is a tourist version of rave culture, just as local restaurants serve Italian pizza, they also serve Goa trance - it's mostly the same, but not quite. On the platter, for 300 baht per person, with all amenities and one drink included. But something is also seriously lacking, judging from the three parties we went so far - black moon, the other half moon on Ko Samui, and out-of-moon-phase party in some new location which kind-of tanked, with only 50 people attending at best.
One problem is the attendance - there are just too many "out-of-place" british dudes in shorts that you would never see at any similar event elsewhere. They come to Ko Phangan as the party place to be, which is cheap and you can score (in more ways than one). As the parties happen, they go where the chics go and inevitably end up at the party. You can spot them because they are wearing all white and baseball caps, standing with beer or buckets in the middle of the dance floor and loudly (very loudly) talking over the music about some British soccer crap.
Another problem is the music itself. What could really spice up local party scene is more diversity in genres: we've heard predominantly psy trance here at the parties, some of it pretty good, but also some really outdated. Tonight's party promises house and breaks in the first few hours on the flyer and we are seriously looking forward to that. We've heard some house tunes here in local bars, and with the exception of one particularly good DJ we met from the UK (Dj Silver), locals really don't get house as much as they get psy-trance. It must be the hot climate, and it's indian / goa influences and origin that appeal here, much more than Latin or Caribbean house tunes. It could also be that Thailand happens to be one of the most popular destinations for Israelis, and everyone knows that Israelis pretty much only love goa. But enough on the party subject...
Besides being entertained by really stupid tattoos that belong to British, Scandinavians and Israelis, we indulged in a very comfortable living on a luxury resort with a beach-front pool and a bar, attending to local mini parties in the jungle and on the beach, riding mini dirt bikes around the island and exploring it's attractions (one of my favorites was archery - turns out I can actually shoot with a bow and arrow! My young undying love of Robin Hood has finally grown into something that's not going to pointlessly raise eyebrows in the Castro :). We also did some elephant trekking, snorkeling, socializing, reading and even power yoga (which at air temperatures in mid-30's Celcius is not far from Bikram yoga). If the goal of a good vacation is to slow the time down, then we are definitely on the right track.
There will be plenty more blog entries about stuff we've seen and pictures we took, but for now this will do. Once thing for certain, is that no matter how great the place is we always seem happy to go back home. We just can't help but love San Francisco. And what's there not to love? :)
Adios until the next post, Konstantin from Ko Phangan.