This morning we committed to a lazy day, knowing this evening was going to be a big party.
Last time I was here the party was much more spread out across the town. There were pockets of hostels and bars with satellite restaurants and niknak shops. Now it’s all concentrated along one street parallel to the beach. The other major change is that 5 years ago everything was very “make do” and kind of podged together to do the job. The shops were mostly just locals front rooms with some seats and maybe some decorative graffiti art. There was the occasional more professionally fitted shop, but it was still not western standard. This time when we arrived I was first hit by the scale of the place. Its gone up and out a long way, so its much bigger. But also pretty much every other shop or restaurant is now purpose built or shop fitted to a really high standard. There are full on fashion shops, not just trashy tshirt shops.
It’s very different, more mature. But only in terms of time invested in everything, it’s certainly not a mature environment.
We had spent the day on the beach, right down the end at a bar called Sanskara. It’s a timber built, wide open fronted bar with a patio filled with pot plants and easy seating. There are shade giving palm trees dapling the sunlight into the beach where people laze around on beanbags, drinks on low tables nearby. It’s a really idyllic spot so once we had chosen our table, we didn’t move, it was too good to lose. We just ordered beautiful fruit smoothies and played Uno. Well the rules of Uno that I’ve been taught. Aimi says I keep cheating!
As the evening drew in we could see all the bars getting ready. Lots of them had set up platforms or bright neon signs or colourful displays on the beach. Eventually the music started thumping and we knew it was time to go and get ready.
Again, the hostel put out free UV paints to decorate yourself. This time we weren’t daft enough to paint our faces. Aimi put some flames on my arm, and I did my best to paint some Studio Ghibli forrest spirits and Calcifer on her. I was quite happy how Calcifer came out.
Down on the beach, even in the short time we were getting ready, it had filled up. Everyone was shoulder to shoulder from the bar down to the sea. Pockets of space opened up were locals were fire twirling and fire rope skipping. Everyone was standing well back, but it was too much to resist so I went and had a go.
The most common drinks vessel here is the bucket. Sold from in nocked together stands you can have any well known (fake) liquor you want in them, and pay lots for it. So we chose the local Thai rum and coke. You get a bucket with a 200ml bottle of rum, a can of coke or some mixer and a concentrated version of Redbull. We forego the Redbull, split the bottle of rum, and had a can of coke each in our own buckets. And still we ended up plastered. At one point, after a lot of dancing, we walked out of the main crowd down the beach. We had to sit down and just hiccup for 15 mins like giggling cartoons.