Leaving the hospital to many sweet "goodbyes" from the wonderful hospital staff, I made my way via taxi to the ferry station to catch the 4pm ferry back to Koh Phangan. While I waited, I took my first long wobble down the gnarly dock with my new crutches. This was my first real chance to wobble around beyond the hospital hallways and see how I could manage for a long night with my snazzy crutches.
No surprise. It sucked, but I remained positive because I always turn frowns upside down, so with a smile from the paid vacation from my vacation, I headed back to Koh Phangan! My injury, however, was still very tender and also susceptible to re-opening, bleeding, infection, or worse . . . amputation (j/k!), so I reaallllly needed to baby it during the next few days--especially on the beach that night.
Once I arrived back to Koh Phangan, I was greeted by Sam and friends in and around the town after dropping off my bag at the hotel. They were so positive about my foot, but they could barely contain their excitement because they were in the middle of making all the necessary purchases for the party: body paint, face paint, outrageous outfits, Full Moon Party shirts and tank-tops, bright colored accessories, numerous bottles/bags of ice/sodas/red bulls for buckets on the beach, and anything else tacky enough to wear while in the sea of thousands that would soon be gathering for a full night of dancing on Haad Rin Beach. My only accessory upon arrival? My crutches, so needless to say, I had a bit of shopping to do.
There is a brief note that must preface my Full Moon Party stories as well as for my explanation in my choice of attire. Well, there are two things actually . . .
First, I was not to get my foot wet, and based on the instructions from the doctor for showering each day, he said it was best for me to I sit down during a shower with my foot propped up or somehow rig my foot on the top of the toilet or something high enough to keep it from getting wet while I showered (showers in Thailand are typically part of the same part of the bathroom as the toilet and sink are in--think one big room with a drain--and the shower area has no curtains, bathtubs, walls, etc.).
Second, after I went around town making my preparatory Full Moon Party purchases, we gathered back at the hotel to start painting and then it started to POUR--the first time in at least a week. It seemed like the sky was making up for the lost time because it lasted for 3 hours straight! Therefore, I needed to take precautionary measures with my foot, so I decided it would be best to wear two socks and have a plastic bag between each sock as well as another plastic bag rubber-banded around my heal outside the two socks to prevent water from penetrating my cut.
Because I needed to take the crazy contortionist-style showers, I did not want to be in the shower any longer than I had to, so I kept the paint off my body and instead painted my new FMP tank-top. USA played their first Round 2 game that night (they lost), so I decided to look like a football fan and went to work painting a big US flag on the front. Then, I put a little slogan on the back to taunt the thousands of Brits on the island (about 95% of the tourists there) since they were going to play their first Round 2 game the following night, which was also a loss for England (same same, but different).
Alas, here are the pictorial highlights from our group's Full Moon Party preparations!
After the rain finally let up, it was almost 10:30pm, so we made our way down to the beach. It was on this walk that we realized the massiveness of the party. People had filled the streets leading down to the beach, and it was incredibly easy to lose members of your group. I, however, was able to clear a fairly large path (with mah crutches) and keep people together by raising them high in the air if we got split up. I swear, I was probably the ONLY person on crutches that night since most injuries occur the night of the Full Moon Party--not three days before.
My crutches worked great as a method through the madness because we managed to stick together and arriving to the beach ready to party under the moon. Unfortunately, I had an even harder time once on the beach because of something that happened on our walk . . .
So in the middle of most roads throughout Thailand, there blocks of cement that have been cut out and replaced by cement drains with holes cut into them to prevent flooding and standing water. As you can probably imagine, I was already having a hard time dodging these damn holes on my crutches in the crowded streets, and of course (!), I managed to get my right crutch stuck inside one of those freaking holes just a block away from the beach.
Getting my crutch lodged into the hole wasn't much of a problem at all. The problem came when I went to pull it out and realized the rubber footing at the end of my crutch was now stuck deep inside the hole! Just great. Getting situated and coming to terms with the fact that I was not going to get another rubber piece, my right crutch was now about an inch shorter than my left, and I made a "ting-crunch" sounding noise every time I took a wobble on the cement.
This new situation was good for a few laughs, but it turned out to be worse than I imagined because once on the beach, the crutch without the rubber footing would sink about 4 inches down into the sand every single time I wobbled. It really couldn't have been more frustrating (I mean, I guess I could have been in a wheelchair where it would have been impossible to go on the beach), but what's more is that water was now soaking through my socks and USA was now out of the World Cup because they had lost their game against Ghana. Boo freaking hoo.
Nevertheless, all of my friends were patient with this added burden to my already-getting-sore-under-the-armpits-and-blistering-of-the-hands-wobbling around, so shortly after making out to the beach (with buckets in hand, mine in Sam's), we realized we could make the most of the situation by not moving around too much and instead using my crutches to start an impromptu limbo competition. It didn't take long to get a long line formed with numerous limboers getting very serious about their limboing. As well, some of them managed to get extremely low on the sand that night--not an easy feat!
The remainder of the Full Moon Party was absolutely incredible: thousands of tourists and Thai people dancing side-by-side on a night celebrating the full moon.
After hours upon hours of dancing, singing, and wobbling up and down the beach visiting dance floor after dance floor, I had to call it a night around 5am, and I did not, unfortunately, get to see the sun rise that morning. Staying up until the sun rises is a big part of the party. I, on the other hand, went home with tender/bruised armpits, a gnarly blister on my right hand from my lopsided crutch, and amazing memories from the week at Koh Phangan and in the Koh Samui hospital. And actually, I will never forget my time there because I now have a scar on my left foot to always bring me back!
The next morning, I was up around noon and found an internet cafe to have lunch and surf the web. Honestly, my time that afternoon at the cafe was the most memorable experience that week (next to getting stitches) because while I sat on the second story on the street, eating my lunch, I saw countless people stumbling back from the beach--searching for their hotels, into random restaurants for meal, or into 7-Elevens in search for who knows what because it didn't seem that they even knew where they were or their own names. It was absolutely hilarious and priceless to see that part of the party.
My time in Koh Phangan had been really good; the chance to attend the Full Moon Party was epic to say the least. Meeting Sam Bullard there on the dock was also completely unexpected and having him as a travel partner in Koh Phangan was really a life-saver. Finally, I was excited to get the move on and go to Koh Phi Phi for a possible meet up with Andres and quite definitely for some exploration of another island during my time in southern Thailand!
Next up on The Dandygram: Off My Crutches On Koh Phi Phi, Muay Thai Boxing, and Andres' Arrival!