A very bad night in Budapest—

Mango Moon Hotel Manuel Antonio Costa Rica---May, 2014
Mango Moon Hotel
Manuel Antonio,  Costa Rica, May, 2014
                                                                                            I knew better than to listen to the hawkers on the street—especially in a city like Budapest.  After all it was 1994 and I was  52 and more than halfway through my three month solo backpack trip around 17 countries in Europe—you would think by now I would certainly know better.

It was my third night in this strange enigmatic Hungarian capital city on the Danube River.   I had actually exchanged smiles and small talk with this pleasant little man the night before.   Strolling off my dinner on the famous retail walking street I was not looking  for anything in particular when I saw his  smiling face approaching once again.

“Hello Americano” he greeted me stretching out his crude sales book of cellophane covered pictures featuring scantily clad young Hungarian  girls.    “See the pretty girls working in my club—only $5 for you to enter and only $3 for beer” he pandered on.   “Please come with me—mixed drinks for you only $5”.

I was bored and he was nice, so I thought “what the hell’.   “OK let’s go” I said and like a lamb being led off to slaughter I followed him around the corner.

It  was a small non-discript building with no sign and  3 bouncers standing in front of a plain looking entrance.    I paid the $5 and went  inside first passing thru a small transition room before entering the main show place.

The dimly lit room was not large.   There was a full bar covering the back wall.    The wall to my left was lined with chairs filled with about a dozen clantily clad girls  waiting for their turn to dance.    The waitress pointed me to a couch and chair to my right.   I sat down  as a partially clad  girl slowly worked the pole located between the bar and me.      ” Heineken” I said in answer to her question as she walked away.

“Man this has to be the  tamest strip show I’ve ever seen”,  I thought to myself as I surveyed the sparsely populated room.    Then from out of  nowhere an extremely cute young girl  dressed like a college coed was sitting  on my right.   “Hello” she said in very good but lightly accented english.    “May I join you?”    “Hell yes”  I thought  “why not?”    This girl was dressed so conservatively—not like a sleezy prostitute—it really took me by surprise.

“My name is Sophia and what is yours”  she smiled.   “Scott” I answered.   “Do you work here?”   “Yes” she replied “but I am really a student at the local university.”   We chatted for a while before she asked me to buy her  a “cocktail”.    No problem I thought, there only $5 and she’s very nice.

The waitress brought the cocktail as we continued chatting back and forth.   After about 15 minutes another consevatively dressed and equally beautiful young girl was now sitting on my left.   I actually recognized this girl from seeing her a few  times on the street the last couple of days.    “My name is Anna” she said, ” may I have a cocktail as well?”   “OK” I said “I’m Scott.”    Again thinking “why not” it’s only $5 and buying  pretty girls a drink is no big deal—besides these two coeds were really hot.

The chatting continued on for about another half hour and two more cocktails when Sophia said, “You don’t really think these drinks are too expensive do you?     Isn’t it worth it since we are so nice to talk to?”

“Oh Oh”  I thought something is definitely wrong.   “I’m out of here”  I said to myself as I stood up and put my coat on.   “Bring me the check” I shouted toward the bartender    calculating that I owed about $23 for the beer and 4 cocktails.   NOT!!!     The bartender handed me a bill for $125 to which I immediately shouted “NO, NO NO.”  He calmly picked up a sheet  of plastic covered paper  laying on my small table and pointed to the word “Cocktail $25”.   The word was  obscurely  written on what I now realized was a cleverly designed  menu.  “Is not correct” I said as I handed him a $20 bill.  I waited a couple minutes before he turned and left than I walked through the first door leading to the street.

What I didn’t  realize was that I had been drugged by something they had spiked my beer with.

BAMM—The second I entered the small separation room a bald security thug cold cocked me  with a  sucker punch to the mouth.   Simultaneously a  second thug hit me from behind  on the back of my head with a blunt object knocking me out  cold.

The first thing I remembered was standing at the bar while a waitress held a wet towel filled with ice against my swollen mouth.  I felt the back of my head, tenderly touching the bump on my skull while feeling my hair which was now matted with blood.    I must have passed out again because the next thing I knew I was standing on the sidewalk  outside the club.    Between the effects of the drugs and being knocked out I was very groggy.    I surveyed the  three bouncers and two policemen standing there looking at me thinking “what’s next?”

I must be in big trouble my foggy brain rationalized seeing the policemen talking to the bouncers in a foreign language —going to jail was the last thing I wanted.    Then the entrance  door opened and out came  a beautiful girl who looked very familiar.    She walked over to me to present “the bill”—“oh yea” I thought that’s  Anna the second girl to join me.    Still in a dazed stupor I asked her if she would accept a credit card—-no she said only cash.   I paid her in Austrian shillings  and waited for her to return with my change.     When she did I was so disoriented I amazingly thought to myself “how much should I ‘tip’ her?”

With the bill now having been paid, the police left and the others went inside leaving me to stand on the sidewalk alone.  Dazed, I stood there for awhile before I started walking  on the quiet side street.   As I walked I asked myself —-“where am I ?”  “Like I mean what country am I in?”    It wasn’t long before I came upon a taxi parked next to the curb—“where in the hell”  I asked the driver “am I?”    “BUDAPEST” he answered.    “That sounds really bad” I thought to myself as I walked off into the night, not knowing where I really was or where I was really going.