What a great idea for Memorial Day Weekend! I thought. And what a good excuse to get out of the scorching, Scottsdale summer heat for a few days. It seemed incredibly inexpensive for a seminar with Deepak Chopra, so I signed us up for the weekend course on Primordial Sound Meditation at La Costa Spa, in Carlsbad, California.
I hadn't been there for decades. My mother and her second husband (who had millions of dollars and a chronic weight problem) used to go there for weeks at a time, back in the days when it was basically an expensive fat farm. I remember when I once visited them, sitting with them in the restaurant at the "spa table" and not being able to order any real food because it would have upset everyone.
It has been extensively renovated and enlarged since then. My first impression was of acres and acres of blooming flowers. Big, yellow lilies, red and orange and yellow bedding plants, bougainvillea, hibiscus, palms -- it was like a gigantic botanical garden. And not just at the hotel entrance. There were banks of flowers and cascading, blooming hibiscus and ceramic pots of annuals everywhere you looked.
White stucco, two-storey buildings with red tiled roof are nestled throughout the property, so that you almost feel as if you're in your own apartment or condo rather than in an ordinary hotel room -- which in a sense, you are. Winding walks through flowering borders take you anywhere you want to go. And if you get tired you can hitch a ride in one of the little electric carts that cruise the property.
La Costa Spa is not exactly dog friendly, but dogs are allowed under certain circumstances. You have to negotiate this when you're making your reservations. And if your dog is accepted, there is a $150 charge for having a dog in the room. Just so you know.
Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and the weather was perfect. La Costa was hosting the San Diego Jazz Festival as well as a huge wedding, so the place was packed with musicians and jazz lovers and wedding guests. It was a relaxed, happy crowd, and the jazz was non-stop. If you closed your eyes you could almost imagine you were in New Orleans.
The plan was to attend the seminar Saturday and Sunday, and then spend a couple of additional days enjoying the ambience and the weather. Having arrived late Friday afternoon, we set off on a walk around the grounds to check out the Deepak Chopra Center, which has its own, separate building.
You're going to meet Deepak Chopra, I told Xingxing.
It was not to be. He was away on a book tour, it was explained, and the seminar would be conducted by other people. I was disappointed, but it was my own fault. I should have read the fine print. After all, what had I expected for $295?
You know what? I didn't really care all that much. It was so lovely to simply be able to be outdoors, which is something you can no longer do here in Scottsdale after the sun rises. Xingxing didn't seem to mind, either. There were rabbits hopping around everywhere, and grassy lawns and lots of exciting, new smells After a delightful walk we went back to our room and sat on our balcony and watched the sun set. It was heavenly. And we didn't even need air conditioning!