The date is set for the next Washington Spa Alliance Symposium! See you June 5th a that National Press Club, just blocks from the White House.
I just got back from 5 weeks in South Africa, where, by the way, the spa and beauty industry are thriving. In Johannesburg/ Sandton, there is an emergence of Thai massage spas, with traditional masseurs, who deliver traditional Thai massage. Fantastic! The salons are located in either shopping malls and/or stand alone properties, but all celebrate the tradition of washing of the feet, slippers, Thai pajamas and a tea ritual afterwards. I had (2) 90-minutes massages that were absolutely 5 star.
While visiting the Drakensburg mountains, the Midlands Meander, and even to Kruger National Park, spas were located or at least accessible in all locations. I celebrated my during during this trip and was treated to a lovely massage at the famous Oyster Box, located in Durban. The spa is gorgeous, with a full banquet in the relax area, steam room, pools and therapists who are well trained in Oyster Box brand. Meaning, as routine they asked the “right” questions about the service, they share the meaning of the ritual (or their spa brand concept) and ended with a promotion of retail.
During all of this travel and spa treatments, a historical passing occurred, that of the beloved Nelson Mandela. I found out about his passing while in Washington, DC the night before my departure to South Africa. Basically my flight the next day was one of the first flights out… packed with Secret Service Agents, security and press. I was concerned about what the Johannesburg airport would look like during this time, but I landed in a quiet and somber place.
It was a very quiet time the entire week I spent in Johannesburg, glued to the news and watching events of Mandel’s funeral services. Even visiting Mandela Square in Sandton, felt quiet and orderly. Piles of flowers were left on the square and a queue of mourners/tourists/locals waited peacefully to have their picture taken in front of his statue, me too. Grocery stores were empty, streets vacant, traffic sparse.
I was unaware that we would pass the “capture place” of Nelson Mandela my drive through the Midlands. I guess I did not fully do my homework, and was surprised at the number of people who roamed through the rustic museum and grounds (pictures attached).
As a spa consultant, I am always interested in our industry, no matter where I go in the US or abroad, I find myself at a spa or wellness/new age center trying out new services and observing new concepts. But as circumstances unfolded last month, my trip (even though it was during Christmas and New Years) developed into a different type of participation and celebration~ it was a participation in celebrating a global figure, a man who gave South Africa and its people a chance for peace. And then the country, if even for just a week, became very quiet.
This week is extra special at Rancho la Puerta, as it is the celebration of Dia De Muertos. Yesterday afternoon a team of students from The University of Tijuana, lead by Jose Flores, Ph.D. decorated the dining hall with an altar in memory of Professor Szekely, (the founder) and his son Alex. All of their favorite foods, wine, sports and hobbies… even a trusted dog, decorated the altar. Tonight is a huge fiesta with the Ranch guests and Fiesta Band! Viva Dia de Muertos.
The 29th Annual Fall Arts Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming starts this Thursday September 5-15th. (click link for more info and schedule)
This Saturday the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming will come together for a walk, run, stroll to raise money for the Community Foundation. Old Bill’s Fun Run has collected millions of dollars for hundreds of foundations in Jackson Hole. Join us at the town square this Saturday at 10am, and let the “giving” begin!
This October in New Delhi the Global Spa and Wellness Summit will be presenting the first Wellness Tourism Congress, with a special speaker… His Holiness the Dalai Lama. See you there!
Saturday, April 27th at American University, SELF Magazine is sponsoring an amazing fitness event, “Workout in the Park”~ Yoga, Crossfit, Pilates,… and the list goes on! See you there for a great day of health.
Handel’s Messiah was performed 3 times this week-end at the Washington National Catherdral, last night I was fortunate enough to see one of the performances. I say, “see” as I had front row tickets, located on the side of the magnificent altar. Which was really like having back stage passes, or a seat at a private rehearsal. I had an insider’s view of the concert that the other 2000 guests did not have privy to. My direct line of vision was the animated face of Conductor, Michael McCarthy. He is physical, emotional, gracious, alluring, fun Conductor, and brought to life the music Messiah. For me, it was not just multitudes of voices and violins that held my attention and imagination, it was that the Messiah was acted out with the raising of the conductor’s eyebrow, or directional signal with his hand, a grin, and intensity of musical expression. Hallelujah in deed!
Just an hour west of Washington, DC, The National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes is tucked away in the quiet woods of the Catoctin Mountains. The Grotto is part of the Mount St. Mary’s University but feels worlds away. Once you park and get away from the construction of the new visitor’s center, the pilgrimage begins through wooded paths that lead you to a circular reservoir, a 100 year old chapel, the grotto cave area, amphitheater, dozens of mosaics and a climb to the cross of Calvary. It is peaceful and touching as you see people reading in a quiet spot, or filling up their empty gallon jugs with holy water, praying, lighting candles, standing in front of a saintly statue, or on knees in the chapel.
The last time I was at the Grotto of Lourdes, I was collecting holy water for a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. The only container I had in my car was an empty water bottle. So I filled it, prayed, drove back to DC and gave it to her. The bottle of holy water accidentally put into the refrigerator by one of her nurses, and later that week, she ended up drinking it. Luckily it did not make her sick as it was from the grotto, (where the water is unfiltered) but I am happy to report, a year later she is cancer free.