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Travel The Lure of La Jolla

La Jolla isn’t your everyday sea-and-sand town. It’s a see-and-be-seen destination with a New Age attitude.
By Kimberly Goad |

POPULAR WISDOM SUGGESTS YOU SHOULD be gone by now.

It’s August. (In Dallas.)

I-like Tom Hicks, the Murchisons, Strausses, and other Dallas swells whose lot in life allows them to use the seasons as verbs-am summering in La Jolla. (Technically, I am long-weekending in La Jolla, but never

Just now, I am contemplating what is no larger than ii s hoi glass full of thick, murky-yellow liquid. It’s lunchtime at The Chopra Center for Well Being, spiritual guru/celebrity magnet/Oprah endorsed Deepak Chopin’s who come not to see Chopra himself (he maintains a home in La Jolla, but is rarely here), but to indulge in ayurvedic massages and facials. And, oh yes, to find spiritual enlightenment.

I have just received a treatment called the Pizichilli (pronounced, ironically,” pizza-chili”) that is designed to open the channels of energy within my body and help detox my system. All I know is it felt really, really good. For 70 minutes, a continuous stream of hot herbalized oil is poured over your entire body as two therapists gently massage. If there is a spa treatment more indulgent than this, I don’t trust myself to know about it.

Feeling like a limp, oversized herb, I have made my way into the dining room thinking about the glass of Chardonnay I plan to order with lunch-touted as “gourmet vegetarian”-only to find the murky yellow liquid, instead. “It’s an elixir” made of fresh squeezed ginger juice, lemon juice, and purified water spiked with black pepper and honey “to rev up your metabolism,” explains the man seated across from me, a Chopra Center regular from Hollywood named Joe. I down the tonic and try (unsuccessfully) to keep from wincing as it burns the lining of my throat.

Hollywood Joe is here for a weekend of treatments. As recommended by the Chopra staff, he fasted for several days beforehand in order to detoxify. There’s a lot of talk around here about dosha (body type) and how the flow of energy throughout the body is disrupted by. among other things, the buildup of toxins from a bad diet or unhealthy habits.

How very La Jolla. The Chopra Center is not your average day spa any more than La Jolla is your average beach town. Chopra’s aim is to heal.

Hollywood Joe asks about my dosha. I’m not entirely sure, I tell him, avoiding mention of my three-hour meal at Roppongi last night-the grilled lamb chops with deep-fried potato “haystack,” me Tahitian Bananas (buttery, rum-sautéed bananas with vanilla ice cream covered in caramel and topped with an almond-brittle cookie) 1 had for dessert.

As me waitress arrives with the main course-steamed vegetables, rice, a cup of dahl (lentil soup), baked pita bread, and curried potatoes-Joe talks about the difficulty of maintaining this kind of ayurvedic diet (that honors his dosha) back home in Los Angeles.

“This as a way of life?” I ask.

Yes, he nods.

Hollywood Joe, as it turns out, is a writer. A very successful television writer. For E.R. In other words, not your average Joe.

But then nothing in La Jolla is.

Indeed, the 13 miles of rugged coastline, world-famous Cove, surrounding mountains, and 350-fool-high cathedral caves almost seem like a backdrop for what is, at heart, anything but just another laid-back beach town. (Actually, La Jolla isn’t even a town. It’s a neighborhood of San Diego, 20 minutes north of downtown. But you’ll hear east coast swells calling the Hamptons “Long Island” before you’ll hear west coast swells calling La Jolla “San Diego.”)

Besides the world-renowned Chopra Center, the high-minded hamlet, let’s call it, is home to one of the best regional theaters in the country, the Tony-winning La Jolla Playhouse, located on the campus of the University of California San Diego and known for staging original works (like Rent) that eventually make their way to New York; the Irving Gill-designed San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art: Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Aquarium; as well as, of course, the string of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants along Prospect, La Jolla’s “Main Street.”

All of the above have something to do with the influx of well-to-do Dallasites to La Jolla this time each year, but not everything. The real lure is mat otherwise rarest of summertime commodities: a cool breeze. Daytime temperatures during La Jolla’s high season (July through September) hover in the mid-70s; nighttime temperatures, in the mid-60s. Not coincidentally, the high season overlaps with the social season, beginning unofficially with the opening of the race tracks at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in mid-July and officially with the Jewel Bali, the first Saturday of August at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. The members-only beachfront club has 12 tennis courts, one golf course, a pool, private beach-and a years-long waiting list; the club’s 90 hotel-apartments, however, are available to everyone.

Until 1994. the season kicked off with the Trash Bash, a 25-year tradition started by Texans staying at the Beach & Tennis Club who liked to converge on the beach for cocktails around sunset each night, prompting a local La Jollan to call them “trash” and their impromptu party, a “bash.” But the event died a natural death five years ago when me visiting “trash” decided they had, alas, outgrown the annual bash.

Traditionally, the Monte Carlo Ball-the annual beneifit for the Museum of Contemporary Art-was held in late August, but now it’s held in mid-September (this year, September 18 at the museum).

For the B-listers among us-those of us summering (OK, long-weekending) in La Jolla for the first time-there’s plenty of social scene in what’s known as La Jolla Village. Of-the-moment Roppongi serves Asian-fusion; George’s at the Cove offers arguably the best beachfront terrace dining on Prospect (don’t leave without trying George’s signature Smoked Chicken, Broccoli, and Black Bean soup); the dark, clubby Whaling Bar & Grill, in the lobby of La Valencia Hotel, is always packed.

Until last May, La Valencia-the 73-year-old dowager duchess of La Jolla-was considered the only place to stay. But then Hotel Parisi opened across the street (above Victoria’s Secret), touting itself as San Diego’s only luxury boutique hotel.

What the small and intimate Parisi lacks in amenities (room service and an in-house video library are months away), it more than makes up for in looks and sincerity. Twenty custom-designed guest suites provide a study in marble, steel, and mahogany minimalism.

The woman showing me to my room politely points out the fluffy terry cloth robes and custom toiletries in the marble bathroom. She instructs me on how to work the stereo, how to turn on the 27-inch television, and video player.

“If you’d like room service, I have a list of restaurants that deliver,” she says, ’if you want to watch a video, I can recommend several places that offer videotape rentals. And if you want to work out, there’s Club La Jolla over on Fay Street.”

Donna Karan and Madonna stay at La Valencia-the Spanish-style, pink palace known among locals as “La V”-whenever they slip into town for treatments at the Chopra Center. Since its opening in 1926, the grand dame of La Jolla hotels has been a favorite hideaway among the Holly-wood elite (initially, Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Lillian Gish, the Talmadge sisters).

This summer. La Valencia is in the midst of an overdue feature-by-feature facelift expected to be complete by the end of the year. From my suite overlooking the cove, I take in a stunning view of the Pacific-a view that’s only slightly hampered by construction of the hotel’s beachfront bungalows on die lawn down below. The renovations at La Valencia are the subject of much debate in a town that has very little to debate-unless you count the ongoing deliberation over the origin of the name. Was La Holla derived from woholle, the Indian term for “hole in the mountains” or is it Spanish (la joya) for “the jewel”?

FDA Information for Women Considering Saline-Filled Breast Implan

Saline-filled breast implants (silicone envelopes filled with salt water) were already in use 1976 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating medical device Under this 1976 law, manufacturers could continue selling devices already on the mark(“grandfathered”). But the 1976 law made it clear that at some time in the future, FDA wou require manufacturers to submit their research data showing that these products are safe a effective. Women need to know that until this call for research data occurs, laboratory, an mal, and human tests on some of these “grandfathered” products-including saline breast implants-may not have been completed by the manufacturer or reviewed by FDA.

Women considering saline-filled breast implants for breast enlargement or reconstructi should receive the following information about implants (and, when appropriate, other options for reconstruction) before surgery is scheduled. This will allow them time to revi the material and discuss possible risks and benefits with her doctor. For some women, breaimplants can improve their quality of life. Some breast cancer survivors believe that getti implants has been an important part of their recovery. However, other women find externreast forms to be satisfactory. Reconstruction options include breast implants or surge using tissue from a patient’s own abdomen, back, or buttocks to form a new breast. This surgery requires sufficient fat tissue and a longer operation, and like any other procedure, is not always successful. or each woman, whether her goal is augmentation or reconstruetion, the benefits may be different. With her doctor’s advice, each woman must deci whether or not she wishes to accept the possible risks in order to achieve the expected result

Breast implant surgery presents the same general risks associated with anesthesia and a other surgery. After the surgery, there are other special risks related to saline-filled brea implants. (The manufacturer’s package insert for these devices gives additional, more detailed information. Your surgeon has a copy and can provide it to you

Most Common Risks

Deflation. Breast implants cannot be expected to last forever. Some implants deflate (or ruture) in the first few months after being implanted and some deflate after several years; yet some seem to be intact 10 or more years after the surgery. It is not known when deflation most likely to happen. The implant can break due to injury to the breast or through norm wear over time, releasing the saline (salt water) filling. Researchers are doing studies to dete mine rupture rates over time. Whenever a saline-filled implant does deflate, it usually ha pens quickly and requires surgery to remove and, if desired, replace the ruptured implan Since salt water is naturally present in the body, the leaked saline from the implant will absorbed by the body instead of being treated as foreign matter.

Making Breast Cancer Harder to Find. The implant could interfere with finding breast cacer during mammography. It can “hide” suspicious-looking patches of tissue in the breas making it difficult to interpret results. The implant may also make it difficult to perfo mammography. Since the breast is squeezed during mammography, it is possible for implant to rupture during the procedure. It is essential that every woman who has a brea implant tell her mammography technologist before the procedure. The technologist can uspecial techniques to minimize the possibility of rupture and to get the best possible vie of the breast tissue, Because more x-ray views are necessary with these special technique women with breast implants will receive more radiation than women without implants who receive a normal exam. However, the benefit of the mammogram in finding canc outweighs the risk of the additional x-ray

Capsular Contracture. The scar tissue or capsule that normally forms around the implant may tighten and squeeze the implants. This is called capsular contracture. Over sever months to years, some women have changes in breast shape, hardness, or pain as a result this contraction. No good data are available on how often this happens. If these conditioare severe, more surgery may be needed to correct or remove the implant

Other known Risks

Calcium Deposits in the Tissue Around the Implant. When calcium deposits, which are not harmful, occur, they can be seen on mammograms. These deposits must be identified as diferent from the calcium that is often a sign of breast cancer. Occasionally, it is necessary surgically remove and examine a small amount of tissue to see whether or not it is cance This can frequently be done without removing the implan

Additional Surgeries. Women should understand there is a fairly high chance they will need to have additional surgery at some point to replace or remove the implant when and if wears out. Also, problems such as deflation, capsular contracture, infection, shifting, and calcium deposits can require removal of the implants. Discuss the risk of these additional surgeries with your physician. Many women decide to have the implants replaced, but so women do not.

Infection. Infection can occur with any surgery. The frequency of infection with impla surgery is not known, but a prospective patient should ask her surgeon what his or her exprience has been. Most infections resulting from surgery appear within a few days to weeks after the operation. However, infection is possible at any time after surgery. Infections with foreign bodies present (such as implants) are harder to treat than infections in normal body tissues. If an infection does not respond to antibiotics, the implant may have to be remove After the infection is treated, a new breast implant can usually be put in.

Hematoma. A hematoma is a collection of blood inside the body (in this case, around the implant or around the incision). Swelling. pain, and bruising may result. The chance of getting a hematoma is not known, but a woman thinking about breast implants should ask her surgeon about his or her experience. If a hematoma occurs, it will usually be soon aftersurgery. (It can also occur at any time after injury to the breast.) Small hematomas are absorbed by the body, but large ones may have to be drained surgically for proper healing Surgical draining causes scarring, which is minimal in most women.

Delayed Wound Healing. In rare instances, the implant stretches the akin abnormally, depriving it of blood supply and allowing the implant to push out through the skin. This complication usually requires additional surgery.

Changes in Feeling in the Nipple and Breast. Feeling in the nipple and breast can increase decrease after implant surgery. Changes in feeling can be temporary or permanent and may affect sexual response or the ability to nurse a baby. (See the paragraph on breast-feeding below.

Shifting of the Implant, Sometimes an implant may shift from its initial placement, giving the breasts an unnatural look. An implant may become visible at the surface of the breast as a result of the device pushing through the layers of skin. Further surgery is needed to correctthis problem. If the implant shifts, it may become possible to feel the implant through the skin. (Placing the implant beneath the muscle may help to minimize this problem.) Other problems with appearance could include incorrect implant size, visible scars, uneven appearance, and wrinkling of the implant.

Unknown Risks

In addition to these known risks, there are unanswered questions about saline-filled breast implants. For example, can the implants bring on symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis? Can they bring on neurological symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis in some women? Can the implants increase the risk of cancert (Because saline-filled implants contain only salt water, any risk that might be related to silicone gel would not occur with this type of product.) There is some concern, but little information, about possible risks from the silicone rubber material of the envelope, Also, questions have been raised about the potential for the saline to become contaminated with fungus or bacteria. If so, these organisms might be released into the woman’s body if her implant deflate

Autoimmune Diseases. According to scientific studies, women with breast implants in general are not at an increased risk for autoimmune or connective tissue diseases. However, these studies are too small to detect whether there might be a slightly increased risk of any one of these rare diseases. Also, these current studies have looked only for the symptoms of known autoimmune diseases, rather than the variety of symptoms that some women report experiencing. Some of the reported symptoms include:

● Swelling and/or joint pain or arthritis-like pain:

● General aching

● Unusual hair loss

● Unexplained or unusual loss of energy

● Greater chance of getting colds, viruses, and flu

● Swollen glands or lymph noder

● Rash

● Memory problems, headaches

● Muscle weakness or burning

● Nausea, vomiting

● Irritable bowel syndrome.

Breast- Feeding and Children. Questions have been raised about whether or not breast implants present safety concerns for nursing infants of women with breast implants. Some women with breast implants have reported health problems in their breast-fed childtenOnly very limited research has been conducted in this area, and at this time there is no scientific evidence that this is a problem. It is not known if there are risks in nursing for a women with breast implants or if the children of women with breast implants are more likely to have health problem

Cancer. At this time, there is no scientific evidence that women with saline-filled breast implants are more susceptible to cancer than other women.