Regardless of the truth it’s still “such a lovely place” in my heart

I have driven the “dark desert highway” between Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos, Mexico.

Actually, it was a bright and sunny desert highway along which my former wife and I ran across such desert fauna as roadrunners, scuttling iguanas, and a challenging bull that stood in the middle of the road and wagged his head at us in a rather challenging way.

“For fuck sake don’t honk the horn at him!” said Trudy in her delicate way.

The warning was unneeded. I knew about people who had made that mistake with moose in my own province. Anyway, ultimately he went away, and we continued along our way in our little rental VW that sunny day in July of 1994.

Anyway, I was on a quest, just like knights of old seeking the Holy Grail. My HG was the famous ‘Hotel California’, which mythologically was located in the little Baja town of Todos Santos.

And we found it. And it looked just like I thought it would. We had a drink there and while I felt no great spiritual convergence within me, I was happy I’d made the trip. I’d always loved the Eagles’ song (and still do) because I find it mystical and enchanting in its assorted nuances of ancient legends and all. And finally I’d been to the actual place.

Later we wandered around Todos Santos, which is a kind of artsy-fartsy little place and quite enchanting in its own way. My personal and blogger friend Vic lives there part of the year and I can certainly understand why. It’s right on the coast, with fabulous beaches, and it’s just (in my recall) a good place to hang one’s sombrero.

Later we found a decent little joint for lunch. I had a taco thing of some sort and Trudy, who was loath to take advice from anybody, did not take my advice in this instance either and ordered a grilled shrimp kind of thing. Unfortunately, this left her with a brutal case of the Montezuma trots, which isn’t a nice condition to be in when one is flying home. You make sure you find a seat near the head.

So, for all the years since I have lived with my Hotel California myth. And then, just a few days ago, I got slapped up the side of the head with the damn truth of the matter.

Here’s what I found on the Internet:

In 1997, travel writer Joe Cummings became intrigued with the legend (of the Hotel California). He talked to everyone he could and decided that the stories just didn’t seem right. He sent a fax to Don Henley and asked about the hotel in Todos Santos and the rumors that he and/or the band had been here and possibly even written the song here. To Joe’s surprise, Don Henley immediately returned his fax and stated that “I can tell you unequivocally that neither myself nor any of the other band members have had any sort of association – business or pleasure – with that establishment.”

Sigh. I don’t like believing something and finding out it is untrue. I like to think I have been to the real place.

Maybe I’ll just go on thinking that. I mean, it’s not as if it’s hurting anyone. I am just wondering now what other beliefs that I’ve held for years are also untrue.

*As an ironic postscript, the cover of my CD Hotel California by the Eagles (see above)  shows a photo of the Todos Santos hotel. Obviously I wasn’t the only one sucked in by this.

11 responses to “Regardless of the truth it’s still “such a lovely place” in my heart

  1. For a second I thought you wrote “We had a decent little joint for lunch”. That would’ve been quite appropriate actually. 🙂

  2. It is a lovely stretch of country I’ve been told. One day. One day. It is bubble popping to learn some of these stories aren’t true.

  3. Andrea: Considering the company I was keeping that could have been a distinct possibility, but it wasn’t.

  4. Enough people still believe it is the real place that, perhaps, it really is. It is quite magical now having been reborn under new ownership about 7 years ago.

    And they serve pink champagne on ice on New Years. Of course!

  5. Great story Ian. One of the most haunting tunes ever. Whatever does it mean?? A lot of theories. I think the Hotel is “real” because there are enough of us that believe it to be so. I think Don Henley is yanking our chain. There’s something more to this story, me thinks and I love a good conspiracy.

    “Don Henley is sick of questions about the inspiration behind the band’s iconic hit Hotel California – because the truth is far more boring than the myths created by fans.

    Legend has it Satanism is at the song’s center – but Henley insists the lyrics are merely an observation of life in America in the 1970s.

    He says, “It’s so boring. It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream, and about excess in America which is something we knew a lot about.”

  6. Interesting point, Sonya. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to believe the myth, thank you.

  7. I had always assumed the song was about the soulessness and hedonism of L.A./show business in that era and that the picture was just random cover art. I guess I’m smarter than I look.

  8. Heh – I never even wondered, or cared.

  9. I’m with geewits. 🙂 I had assumed that the Hotel California was symbolic! 🙂 I like that you went looking for it — and as far as I’m concerned, you found it.

    …cool wind in my hair…


  10. Cool wind in my hair, indeed. I think I’ll keep living with the legend, regardless of the truth of the matter.

  11. I like the myth much better than the truth too Ian. Sounds much more interesting. I had always heard (gee, what planet was I on?) that the Hotel California was haunted with the souls of those musical greats like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janice Joplin to name a few.

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