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Bucket Stalls

bucket stalls

bucket stalls

One of the most profitable businesses in Haad Rin is the bucket stall. These are make-shift stalls that only spring into life during the Full Moon Party. They are loved and loathed in equal measures and in many ways epitomise the party itself.

On the night of the party the bars along the front have got their DJs and bar staff in place and are raring to make money. The crowds come attracted by the loud music coming from the speakers stacked up and pointing at the beach. The bars seem busy – they are continually taking money and making drinks. However, a lot of their trade goes to all the bucket stalls dotted between the bars.

These stalls are jerry built frames that create a simple table piled high in bucket sets. While the original bucket is Samsong Thai whisky with coke, ice, Red Bull and straws the choice is now greater. You can get gin buckets, Absolut vodka buckets. Instead of coke you can lemonade, orangeade or diet coke.

The Red Bull is not obligatory but there is no substitute for Thai Red Bull. It is a drink made in Thailand and famous around the world. What many people are unaware of is that it is stronger and weirder than Red Bull sold in Europe or Australia. It contains lots of extra chemicals that are banned in most countries. Numerous people mention that it is the Red Bull as much as the alcohol in the buckets that make them feel great on the night and horrendous the next day. If normal Red Bull gives you wings, Thai Red Bull puts a rocket up your backside.

The thing about the bucket stalls are that they are numerous and easy to access. Many people can’t be bothered to queue at the bars and instead opt to use a bucket stall. None of the bars are refusing customers because they bought drinks from outside into the bar. The party is too chaotic to enforce such rules.

This is a key economic point: the bars pay huge rents to be on the beach. They need the windfall of the party every month to keep going. The bucket stalls pay a comparatively small rental fee.

For those attending the party for the first time the slogans daubed in fluorescent paint on the bucket stalls are shocking and surprising. These handmade signs say things like ‘Fucked Up Buckets’, ‘No Bucket No Boom Boom’ and ‘Fuck My Buckets’. The signs get obscure and even ruder for example: ‘Fucking Sucking Cheap Bucket’ and ‘Fuck My Pussy Sex Bucket’.

Such signs in Thai would be immediately taken down; they would break long held Thai traditions of respectful behaviour. Is it that Thais think Westerners have no standards? Or are they perhaps right in the sense that the more obscene the graffiti on the bucket stalls the more alcohol they will sell?

Humour can often be shocking, but these signs soon stop being funny to those Haad Rin old hands. The vulgarity and brashness announces the delights of the party are getting drunk and having sex – nothing about music or experiencing a full moon in a topical idyll.

Maybe the fact that I notice these things mean that I am too old to enjoy the party.