Little late on this recap, but if you’re familiar with the week after a vacation, motivation to throw yourself into work is at an all-time low despite being significantly behind the eight ball. I’ve been sitting in the bullpen here at the Grandex office trying to readjust and catch back up with the daily grind of blog life, which will pass you by in the blink of an eye. I’m feeling like Jordan on the Wizards: showing flashes of my once former talent, but not quite bringing it on a day-to-day basis. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s the walls, which are freshly painted, and perhaps the fumes are starting to get to me, but most likely the culprit is not being able to get the view from two weeks ago out of my mental real estate.
Yes, I was in Cancun enjoying an abridged postgrad spring break at the very kind invitation of our friends over at Bud Light. Fox’s potato-skinned ass didn’t have a passport; I assume the other writers couldn’t work it into their busy adult lives for one reason or another; ipso facto, the youngest kid in the company (last option) was on his way to America’s amusement park, Mexico.
Bud Light, for a reason unbeknownst to the world, still rolled out the red carpet all week despite me being, well, me. They hooked up both myself and our video guy, Dylan, with plane tickets, personal ground transportation, and our own suites at the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach. We received the velvet rope treatment for big-time EDM shows like Oliver Heldens, DJ Jillionaire (from Major Lazer), and Steve Aoki.
Sure, I get that some of you reading this don’t care to know or get the esoteric genius of this musical genre, but as a twenty-three-year-old still freshly removed from school in Florida, this trip could not have been more in my wheelhouse.
As soon as we walked off the plane, Cancun’s manufactured Americana hit immediately. You literally have to exit the airport through a gift shop chock-full of the spring break essentials: racks on racks on racks of neon tank tops; a regrettable amount of puka shell and shark tooth necklaces; and I’m almost positive there was even some lady offering to bead girls’ hair into the Allen Iverson cornrows much to the chagrin of every guy in town. Driving to the hotel we passed a Ruth’s Chris, Señor Frogs, Hooters, and a freakin’ Dominos. It was essentially a non-English speaking I-Drive in Orlando — so exactly like I-Drive in Orlando.
Thankfully, the palace of a resort we were staying at was completely reclusive from these commercialized eyesores. Instead, we were treated to the breathtaking views one would expect from a tropical paradise: Crystal clear waves crashing into beach cabanas, ocean breezes calmly rustling through palm leaves, and passive-aggressive couples trying to save their crumbling marriage with one week in fantasyland that only led to more problems the fourth day in when the husband didn’t want to stick to the detailed trip itinerary his wife carefully crafted weeks prior.
After checking-in, we had a few hours to kill before our first “official” event, so Dylan and I did what any reasonable young heterosexual men would do — we grabbed the fruitiest, frozen drinks the poolside bar had available (in this case Miami Vices), strolled down the shoreline, and watched the sunset over the sparkling glass water. A single tear of joy streamed down my face from the majestic sight, and the realization set in that the next few days were most likely going to be the pinnacle of my existence.
We met up with the Bud Light team for a late dinner at an “authentic” Mexican restaurant, with a mariachi band that played everything from Pink Floyd’s “Time” to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Yeah, that’s what we in the biz call range. Everyone got acquainted with one another relatively fast, thanks in part to several rounds of drinks our hosts liberally ordered. Dylan and I gleefully accepted their hospitality and things were starting to go off the rails well before we entered the venue for Steve Aoki.
Being the professional that I am, I decided to pump the breaks remembering it was a business trip after all. And by pump the breaks, I mean I continued drinking Bud Lights because I’m a gracious guest who will gladly drink the product of those footing the bill. But like McConaughey and a certain car company, I drank Bud Light long before anyone paid me (in free tropical paradise trips) to drink Bud Light. From countless parties at the fraternity house, to game day on Memory Mall, to even a random Wednesday afternoon when I chose the pool in favor of the classroom, I can say with confidence at least 85% of my collegiate career at UCF was spent with a Bud Knight in hand. So needless to say, I was perfectly happy riding the night out with the blue aluminum bottle. Our personal bartenders on the other hand, had something else in mind.
This led to the night slowly progressing down one weird rabbit hole of debauchery, and appropriately so with the the night’s theme being Alice in Wonderland. I wish I remembered more details of the show itself, but I woke up the next morning with a crown on my head, (what I later found out was) cake splattered on my arm, and spooning an empty bottle of champagne.
Thankfully, we had the days for our own personal leisure to recover. This consisted of me bumming it around the beach or pool with some more fruity drinks in hand. Personally, I’m a whiskey or beer guy through and through, but you can’t not order a piña colada or mango margarita given the circumstances and setting. There’s nothing worse than the guy who denies himself such pleasures solely to keep up appearances or maintain some illogical sense of being a man. If there was any place to get away with sipping out of a giant straw next to a miniature umbrella, it’s Cancun.
The second night, we essentially were given a mulligan from the day prior. Again, we posted up in the VIP section at the same venue, The City, but this time with more company. It was a really diverse group accompanying us: from Texas students to locals who resembled a George Costanza fan group, but who were some of the most intimidating, smaller, doughy, bald dudes I’ve crossed paths with. They really gave off a Gustavo Fring vibe, which was unfortunate, because it made all the smokeshows that surrounded them unapproachable. So I kept my Ps and Qs and steered clear from those tables for the sake of me not ending up at the bottom of the ocean.
Instead, I bro’ed out with some UT frat stars and enjoyed the show. Apparently, Christina Milian made an appearance, and word is even had a little wardrobe malfunction, but again the details are one giant enjoyable blur.
Even though I’m only two years removed from my senior year spring break in Panama City, partying until four in the morning back-to-back nights took every fiber of my being to pull off. I’m ashamed to admit it, but the third night planned seemed like a daunting task. My once youthful body and spirit had already started turning against me and I was feeling a world of hurt the next morning I had never had the pleasure of experiencing before. Luckily, the group made a decision the last day that was the shot of energy I needed: jetskis. Now I know some of you may think this would be miserable in theory: bouncing up and down off waves with a massive headache and an unsettled stomach. But you’re wrong: 30 minutes of unrestricted full throttle cures all. From that point on, I was again, (seamless plug) #UpForWhatever.
By now you’re more than likely familiar with Whatever, USA. Fox and Dylan went last year and if it’s even remotely as insane as they described it, it’s definitely something you’ll want to experience on your own. You can apply on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with a 15-second video tagged with #UpForWhatever and #Audition on why you should go. So take a few moments out of your otherwise monotonous life and do so. You’ll be thanking yourself later.
The last night I made a conscious decision to take it easy. With no knowledge of when or even if I would be given another opportunity marginally close to this trip, I wanted to appreciate those last few moments where I peaked in this thing we call life.
We enjoyed the show, which was themed after Brazil’s Carnival, from on stage in a cabana with the beach directly behind us. The atmosphere was electric. Jillionaire and the other DJs crushed their sets, and I was shamelessly breaking out the whitest dance move known to man til the break of dawn.
That next morning, it was hard to say goodbye. I thought Dylan was actually following through with an earlier proclamation of staying for good and figuring it out along the way when he missed our ride to the airport. I wouldn’t blame him. We finally had a taste of the good life, and damn was it addictive. Three days of great music, gallivanting along beautiful beaches, carefree spending, endless Bud Light, and all in one of the biggest spring break destinations in the world — yeah, it’s all downhill from here..