Babak's first night in town was a drunken tragedy which left us in pretty bad shape the following day.
I woke up in a haze and glanced to the other bed—good, I thought, at least Babak had made it back to the hotel. I leaned up a little, and with it my focus shifted to an open pizza box on the table behind him—where the hell did he find a pizza? I was happy to see that I had at least taken off my clothes before climbing into bed, but unhappy when I noticed that I had to clean up an ice bucket that contained a few remnants of my meal from the Hard Rock a dozen hours earlier. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
Some time later I awoke to Babak standing in front of the mirror, exclaiming "Craig, what happened to my face?! …and where are my necklaces?!" There was a huge bruise on his cheek, complimented by a cut above his lip, a sprained finger, and a few other bumps and scraps on various parts of his person. His pillow was covered in dry blood, and his two gold necklaces (that he's worn for most of his life) were missing. As he cleaned himself up, so began our day of trying to piece together the events of the evening prior.
With a six-pack of cerveza in hand, I greeted an intoxicated Babak at the Cancún airport. Having barely made his flight out of Phoenix a few hours prior, his first class seat received a steady flow of vodka-cranberry's from the America West cabin crew. It was great to see my old Persian friend, and after an entertaining haggling session with a taxi we were off to our hotel (which he was generous enough to pick up the cost of).
Our hotel room is plush and private compared to the hostel life I've had of late, but the lovely view of a construction site from our window leaves much to be desired. I'm really digging the big, comfy bed though. Babak; however, didn't appreciate the $100+ telephone bill for a few brief calls to the States (US$4/minute from the hotel)!
We had already polished off about a case of beer by the time we headed out of the door to begin the evening's festivities. First was a late dinner at the Hard Rock, followed by entry into The City, an absolutely massive 4-story nightclub in the heart of the Hotel Zone. The cost of admission into the nightclubs here are as expensive as New York; US$20 at the door to get in, or (in the case of The City) US$45 for access to the "all you can drink" bar. The thought of dropping nearly $50 just at the door of a nightclub we didn't know (the occupancy of) seemed pretty crazy to me, so I only paid for admission (while Babak got the "take me home in a wheelbarrow" open bar pass).
The inside of the club is an amazing sight—like Cirque du Soleil meets Girls Gone Wild. We soon discovered the extreme prices for alcohol (think $14 for a drink), and it became clear that I really needed to get access to the open bar section (controlled by security). …and this is where things being to fall apart.
Babak and I decided we should try and pay off one of the guards instead going through the hassle of buying a wristband from the front door (which I was still a little apprehensive about). Half-way up a flight of stairs, Babak discreetly greased me by an enforcer while I rolled down my sleeves to conceal the wristband of a wrong color.
But instead of slipping the man the equivalent of $10, we later figured out he ended up giving him close to $100! Unable to recover the exorbitant bribe, I was told that "my ass better drink at least $100 worth of alcohol!" And so began a serious combination of tequila shots, flanked by cups filled with Corona and vodka-cranberry.
Lord only knows what time in the morning it was, but at some point I lost sight of Babak—all I know is that it was before I ended up spending an indeterminate amount of time losing my dinner in the bathroom. At some point the restroom attendant kicked me out of the stall, and to my surprise the entire upper level (that had been host to the open bar people) had been cleared out and shut down. I later learned that this was sometime after 4:00 in the morning.
I made a b-line for door, and then back to the hotel. It was only a 300-yard walk, but the entire way my mind was fighting my body for competent control of my legs—what a mess.
Babak's Mystery Evening
The worst part for Babak wasn't waking up bruised and missing a pair of his most beloved possessions (the necklaces that were given to him by his grandparents over 16 years ago)—it was waking up bruised, missing his necklaces, and not being able to remember what had happened to him after our second shot of tequila together.
He had vague memories of being escorted out of the club, but didn't know when or why. Other than that, it was all missing. Making things more interesting was the fact that he had apparently picked up a pizza someplace (which he thought I had bought when he woke up), but the box wasn't damaged. Did he get mugged? Did he get into a fight in The City? Did he fall down some stairs? We just didn't know.
As we both lay in the room—in pain—we tried to piece together the events. My theory was that he got into a scuffle with some drunk dude inside the club, his chains were unknowingly ripped off in the tussle, and he went and nursed his wounds over a pepperoni pizza someplace nearby. I figured returning to The City to speak with the security detail and offer a reward for the necklaces was about all we could do. A mid-afternoon stop back to the nightclub revealed that there wouldn't be anyone to speak with until nightfall, so the remainder of the afternoon was spent nursing our wounds and theorizing.
The head of security for The City, a plump Hispanic woman, knew Babak well. It was a friendly conversation, but we were surrounded by a half a dozen of her subordinates (while we got the story through a translator). It would seem that around 2:30 in the morning a drunken Babak had made the mistake of slapping the wrong ass—this one belonged to the wife of the Vice-President of the club!
He was promptly escorted out, where he walked across the street (reasons unknown) and was assaulted by some shady Mexicans hanging out in an alley. It looks like he took a strong punch to the face from someone wearing a ring, and was liberated of his necklaces (that were exposed around his neck).
After the mugging he apparently came back to the club to try and look for me, but they wouldn't let him in because of the wounds to his face. It's our guess that the pizza came into play sometime after (there's a pizza joint near the same alley), and he ended up back in the hotel room sometime after me (after 4:30 in the morning).
We put the word out to the security personnel and to some people on the street that he would offer up a reward, no questions asked, but it doesn't look like anything will come of it. It was a pretty messy start to the start of his holiday, which left has left a nasty taste in both of our mouths. I feel bad about his lost necklaces. Out of all the crazy places he's traveled to, we can't believe he got mugged in Cancún!
Now, Babak has added a little sunburn to his bruised face and finger, and is planning on lying low for the rest of the trip. It's still great to hang out with him though, and the care-package that he delivered to me from my brother in Oregon has been like Christmas in April.