Family members have planned a private burial service for Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of slain civil rights activitist Malcolm X, in Hartsdale, New York tomorrow. He was beaten to death in a bar fight on May 9 in Mexico City. But in the widespread news coverage of the killing, one fact has been curiously underplayed: Shabazz was the unwitting victim of one of the oldest scams in travel.
Shabazz, 28, had recently traveled with a friend from Tijuana, Mexico, to Mexico City, where they were approached on the street by two women who suggested they go for a drink at a nearby bar. If you don't see it coming already, then you should read this story I wrote several years ago for this website, which described how the con goes down:
The Scam: Two male travelers in an unfamiliar city meet two pretty young women who invite them to a private room in a bar. When the bill comes, it is hugely inflated. The bartender demands cash (no credit cards, of course), and the doormen tell the travelers to pay up and leave.
Advice: Beware complete strangers who offer to take you to a bar or nightclub.
The two women took the men to a dodgy downtown neighborhood near Plaza Garibaldi and a bar called the Palace Club, which has been described by Mexican news outlets as little more than a brothel. Once there, the four of them began ordering drinks--the exact number isn't certain. When the tab was presented to Shabazz at around 3 a.m., he objected to the $1,200 bill. And that's exactly how the scam is supposed to work: an out-of-towner ends up in a dingy gin mill at a late hour, thinking he might find friendship from the pretty woman who brought him there, only to discover the young lovely has been replaced by a couple of tough-guy waiters insisting that he pay cash for an outlandish check--or face the consequences.
In many such cases, the victim pays up and skulks away, grateful to avoid a possible beatdown and public embarrassment. In this particular case, though, Shabazz and his friend apparently refused to pay. For whatever reason, his friend escaped relatively unharmed. Shabazz, though, was allegedly beaten with a bat or stick by two waiters (since placed under arrest) so badly that he died of his injuries.
Shabazz had a troubled youth stemming from age 12, when he purposely started a house fire in Yonkers, New York, that killed his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X. Malcolm Shabazz served 18 months in juvenile detention for that crime. He spent additional time in prison time on other charges, including robbery. "The guys on the corner were the closest thing I could see to a male role model," Shabazz was quoted in the 2012 book Fatherhood. "I gravitated toward the gangsters and the hustlers and that lifestyle." In recent years, Shabazz seemed to have turned his life around. But in the end, the ex-hustler got hustled, and this travel scam turned out to be the worst kind: fatal.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter @orwoll and like him on Facebook.
Runaway Bay, Jamaica Runaway Bay's white-sand shores are blissfully less crowded than those of nearby Ocho Rios. Private beaches, a championship golf course, and daily children's programs make the recently rebranded Jewel Runaway Bay an all-inclusive retreat for the entire family.
This month, travel to Machu Picchu and the Peruvian Andes is almost in full swing: if you’re headed to the region and haven’t already asked an outfitter to wrangle your Inca Trail passes, you may be out of luck this season. Luckily, there are plenty of other delightful ways to reach Machu Picchu, which we outline in our Trekking, Walking, and Hiking guide (May 2013). Here’s one of our favorites:
Best for: Creature comforts.
Known as the back door into Machu Picchu, Salcantay is also the area’s highest path (it reaches 15,200 feet). Mountain Lodges of Peru, a string of stone-and-timber inns along the trail, is the only lodge-to-lodge way to reach the lost city of the Incas: take this route on a trip with Wildland Adventures (11 days from $3,800).
Jennifer Flowers is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru and Wildland Adventures
Can you guess where this clock tower is? Hint: You might find it in our slideshow of beautiful clock towers. Do you know which one it is? Head over to our Facebook page and leave your guesses there. Check back on Monday for the answer!
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
Think we’re making progress in lightening our footprint on this planet? We've got a long way to go. Emily Badger of the Atlantic Cities reports on a project involving NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, Google (of course), and other organizations to turn 30 years of satellite photos into timelapse videos of anywhere on earth. The resulting GIFs are sobering. Don't miss the map tool that lets you zoom into any location to see the change over time. (Amy Farley)
Google Maps just blew everyone else out of the water, unveiling new apps for Android and iOS (coming to an app store this summer) that integrate all the content, innovations, and intelligence of its varied recent acquisitions, as our friends at Skift report. Apple, your move. (A.F.)
It really is the week of Google news: as the Verge reported on Thursday, the company has officially unveiled a redesigned Google+ that automatically retouches the photos you upload (or that are automatically uploaded from Android phones everywhere). Creepy, cool, or just a last-ditch effort to get people to care about Google+? You decide. (Nikki Ekstein)
Unearthing the culture of a destination fascinates me. To get a true look into a Hawaiian local's perspective, pick up Kristiana Kahakauwila's new short story collection, This is Paradise. Her writing is as captivating as the politics behind it. (Maria Pedone)
And last but not least, in Berlin, a new Barbie Doll Dream House has opened to the delight of many fans and the horror of many feminists. Protesters see the plastic doll as an unworthy role model that reinforces strict gender roles, and formed the group Occupy Barbie Dream House, as detailed by Mark Johanson from the International Business Times. See pics of the pink palace on this BBC slideshow. (P.S.)
Listen up, airlines—it’s time to start playing Adele’s Someone Like You on the PA as you’re boarding your flights. According to research launched today by music service Spotify, the song is the perfect tune to settle travelers’ jittery nerves, thanks to its ideal tempo (67 bpm) and harmonious tones. About one in four fliers suffer from some sort of travel-related fear, says the study by London-based anxiety psychologist Dr. Becky Spelman, who helped Spotify identify characteristics in songs that are most de-stressing (see the full recommended playlist here). But tuning in is just the first step: breathing in time to the rhythm, listening on headphones, and closing your eyes will all work together to theoretically lower your heart rate and blood pressure, stimulate both sides of your brain, and calm your mind. Fly on, frazzled road warriors, fly on.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Get your fill of lobster rolls and oysters in this quintessential New England beach town. The charming Kennebunkport Inn has a large front porch and sundeck and an outdoor fireplace overlooking the Kennebuck River. You can enjoy complimentary bikes, beach passes, towels, and beach chairs; it’s a 15-minute drive to Goose Rocks Beach. From $169/night (3-night minimum over Memorial Day weekend).
Originally a collection of salt miners cottages, this recently opened 15-guestroom hotel in Provincetown offers crisp bright white rooms, plus bath products from C.O. Bigelow and LA-based Further brand. Co-owner Kevin O’Shea is also the Inn’s interior designer and its chef; he makes breakfast each day. There’s an outdoor dining area, a lounge, and a sun terrace on the landscaped grounds. From $250/night with free parking (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
On Florida’s west coast, this laid-back hotel puts you right on the beach. All guestrooms are individually decorated and have flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, vintage light fixtures and, in many cases, large-scale surf photography by local artists. A large pool is lined by bright yellow chaises, and PCI Beach Bar serves cool drinks on the sand. From $199/night.
Originally opened in 1929, this Spanish-inspired property launched the Casa Surf Project in 2010 with 10 one-of-a-kind suites dedicated to surf culture. Head to the outdoor rooftop lounge for beautiful ocean views—plus a menu with all dishes at $12 or less. The hotel, steps from the beach, provides guests with umbrellas, towels, chairs, and drinks for a day out in the sun. From $199/night on Fridays and $228 on Saturdays.
Just north of better-known Cannon Beach, the small town of Gearhart is big on antiques shops and picturesque hiking trails. It’s an easy walk from dunes along the Pacific Ocean to restored Gearhart Ocean Inn: 12 attached cottages, each with a kitchen or kitchenette. The owners of this property welcome pets and will provide beach cruiser bikes and a “clam gun” for scooping up clams from the sand. From $140/night (3-night minimum stay over Memorial Day weekend).
In many instances, airlines seem to assume that passengers have a pretty high threshold for discomfort and inconvenience. Yes, they seem to think, you can handle sitting on a tarmac for a few hours, perhaps with no A/C or working toilets. You’re tough, right?
But according to a recent CNN report, American Airlines has declared a limit to what humans should have to put up with while in transit, and the repeated singing of “I Will Always Love You” is clearly over the line.
Pros: As a sunscreen-addict whose go-to brands have leaked all over my bag on more than one occasion, I love the concept of a highly-portable (indeed, swipe-able!) sunscreen. The latest from Adventuress is an SPF 30, protects against UVA and UVB rays, and even has a little finger pouch for easy application. It left my skin looking dewy and feeling protected (and no, I didn’t burn).
Cons: Each packet contains enough sunscreen for your face but not much else. They’re also probably not the most eco-friendly things in the world, as you pitch them in the garbage after one use. But they sure are convenient!
Verdict: Packable—especially if you don't have a lot of room in your bag.
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.
It’s a good thing I’m heading to London this month since I just lost a button on my favorite Brunello Cucinelli jacket. A needle and thread is hard to find in a jeans-and-T-shirt world; my local drugstore sells mostly useless assortments (orange?). A good hotel, however, understands the art of the sewing kit: a discreet envelope or fitted box with a sliding top, colors I want, and—a thrill every time—threaded needles. I squirrel one away every night, hoping for another. If it doesn’t come, I’m not above filling my pockets at the housekeeper’s cart.