Monday, November 17, 2008

Study of Contrasts: Esalen.

My world went full circle this past weekend. A study of contrasts. It all began at the Stanford Shopping Center and ended in Big Sur at the Esalen Institute. The afternoon in Palo Alto aka "shallow-alto" was unseasonably warm and beautiful.
The shoppers in Bloomingdale's looking particularly well coiffed. The thing that I noticed though, was the sheer number of dogs on leash as the dog owner tried on shoes or sampled a new lip stick shade. Don't get me wrong: I like dogs. Perhaps I just don't get out much into the land of retail therapy but this was such an alarmingly weird experience that I needed to off load. Even the French have the good sense to leave dogs at home while shopping in larger department stores. Just from a sheer number guesstimate I gotta believe "accidents" happen..Eeww. The thought of trying on shoes while tip toeing around small fur balls on rhinestone leashes gave me paws or pause I should say to contemplate my reason for shopping. So much for stimulating the economy, I grabbed a cuppa tea to go and found my way back south..

Highway 1 Big Sur was made for my mini cooper. Tight go cart turns and vistas clear and fog free lead to Nepenthe and twenty minuets later to Esalen. As a newbie to the institute the overwhelming sense of scale of the place hits you over the head like a visceral postcard. As left wingy as I am nothing prepared me for the sheer airy fariyness of the place. Imagine if you will a far left version of Marin and then keep going left.
I suppose what I liked best was the feeling of being the odd ball. It must be what the republicans feel like right now.....

I could not or would not sign up for the Friday evening Anything-but-clothing-party: and I have a reputation to uphold as the moth to the flame when it comes to adventure but this venture into the wild seemed too bohemian, even for me. The natural hot spring baths (also clothing optional) were the high light…under an inky blue sky with the pacific crashing on the rocks below. This experience is worth the trek south, fyi.

As much as I love our small enclave of 95030, it was a slap to my senses to be pulled out of our Truman Show existence, only to experience another version of a reality show.. Makes me not miss owning a television. It also makes sailing to New Zealand seem normal in the whole scheme of things.

1 comment:

strawberryletter said...

not sure about the Esalen Institute..always more guys than gals at these nudy things and usually a bunch of Deadheads that missed Ken Kesey's buss ride..