Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Beach-bummed Out

I am sitting in an Internet cafe in Haad Rinn, the party capital of Koh Phangan. Overhead the fan is buzzing, but it just isn't cooling anything, least of all me. It is hot. In the four odd days I have been here the weather has never been less than excellent. My bungelow, rip-off expensive by other bungelow standards, had pretty good air-conditioning and was right by the beach. Each morning it was a very short walk - twenty steps - to a glorious beach.

Why then am I leaving?

As mentioned Haad Rin is the party capital of this island and every month holds the infamous Full Moon Beach Party, usually attended by 10,000 people. I missed it by a day or two and I'm not too sorry as accommodation would have been impossible to find. Also I've done enough partying at the warm-up to the Half Moon Party, and the party itself. What these parties usually entail is the beachside bars putting on fire shows with experts swirling flaming sticks or balls on chains. Meanwhile the games begin, hoopla and football games with the object of winning a bucket (of alcohol). After the buckets are gone (the free ones) the flaming hoop and skipping rope comes out for the drunken revellers to play with. My cousin was badly burned by one of these diversions and so call me chicken but I stayed out of these mad accidents-waiting-to-happen.

Instead I drank. The drinks are sometimes free and always cheap. I am never the most alluring catch for any young female backpacker, but one must try. So I spend most of the night trying then wander home.

So the day rundown looks like this: breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, dinner, movie, then party. Well, that was usually my schedule. Yesterday I felt a little dodgy in the stomach, a l;ittle groggy in the head. With so many mosquitoes, flies and ants, not to mention wonderful hygiene standards in the kitchen and bathroom, it is tempting to fall into hypochondria. The reality is it was mild and passed quickly and probably had more to do with dehydration and a hangover than anything else.

Oh, and those movies. Every day each restaurant and bar screens the most recent movies, and I mean recent ('Blood Diamond', 'Chaos'), not always the best quality either. I didn't get to 'Chaos', but I managed to see most of 'Borat', 'Blood Diamond', 'Casino Royale' and 'Night at the Museum'.

I've met a few good people too, particularly Leisa from California and Nicola from Balinteer.

However, I must leave. I have very few days before I must return to Bangkok (principally to get a visa for Vietnam) and I really did want to see the western islands, or at least one of them. I could head to Phi Phi (and still might), but first, and in less than two hours, I go to its lesser known sibling, Koh Lanta, apparently less spoilt by rampant tourism. We shall see. I am in two minds about the forthcoming journey as Thailand buses (part of the trip) are notorious, but for me travelling itself is part of the joy, so I am welcoming it.


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