Wednesday, 18 June 2014

ASHEVILLE, NC- A Mixed revue

I got my first impression of Asheville in Maryland talking with two guys over their broken down car. "Man you gotta go the Asheville, your gonna love it!" one of them says. "My dad's a Busker and he spends a lot of time there"
Later, after VA beach, we were told how much we'd love Asheville by a guy we gave a ride to. After that I had to see it for myself...
We drove down out of the blue ridge mountains into civilization. The road widened and the trees and wild turkeys gave way to Autozones, McDonalds and Rooms-To-Go.
I mentioned I wanted to find some internet and a power outlet so we could get our bearings and recharge our assortment of battery powered items. The good lord must have heard me because no sooner had I said it than a public library popped up on our right and we stopped.
After charging and blogging and filling our water jugs we followed the signs to downtown. I could see why people recommended it. There were blond dredlocked hippies and mandolin playing travler kids. there were business hipsters and chilled-out police on segways. We parked the car and did a scout walk.
We passed by cafe's on sunny streets advertising all local produce. and I felt a bit like I was back on Agricola st, Halifax. after buying some Georgia wildflower honey we had a beer from a microbrewery  (ninja and coconut porters) and I could almost smell the ace burger down the street (a prominent Halifax burger place).
We met many happy hippies that day, one of whom directed us to a neighborhood where the cops 'probably wouldn't bother ya' if you stayed the night in your van. They didn't, and we woke up to find we had three vans full of "rubber tramps" (people like us living out of their van) as neighbors.
CORN PUDDING!!!! A must!
Competition for busking space was abundant but good natured. Asheville has no street performance laws so it attracts many different types of folks. we saw balloon twisters, mimes, drummers with full drumkits, 6 pc traveling bands, met a firebreather, a violinist with a loop pedal, sitar players, and of course legions of acoustic guitar and had drum wielding busker savants all of whom called Asheville their temporary home.
We met a traveler kid who showed us around the town, some good spots to busk and some free places to eat. He showed us to the river where we all got rip roaring drunk more than once. And from then on we didn't have to pay for food or lodging. truly a mecca for freewheeling musicy folk like us.
A few days went by and we were breaking even. The money we made from busking paying for our expenses, mostly booze and a bit of food when we missed the drop in. The partying went on with trips downtown to make more money but often enough we had to resort to our acoustic guitars due to our hangovers and other injuries incurred from this lifestyle.
girlie with sake looking like cable-one of the few pics I snapped while drinking
This went on until the Thursday marking our third week on the road where we woke to a less than savory reality. Someone had pissed on the seat in the van the night before. So much for keeping drunk folks out of the pouring rain.
The good thing about living in a van is that if you don't like your neighbors you can just move. So we did, left for Greenville that fateful morning. I don't hold anything against Asheville or the people we met there. if I learned anything while cleaning the hell out of the Hardwoo, it's that if someone mumbles 'just leave me right here' in the pouring rain. maybe they mean it.
So a mixed revue, the murder and missing persons rate is alarmingly high and there's stiff competition busking on the streets. But we made every cent we spent there and had a good time partying. The repetitive make money/spend money lifestyle seemed to be a point that bothered the full-time locals, but that seems to be the way it is all over.
would I go back? certainly! I just wouldn't let anyone sleep in the van...
not many pictures of Asheville, too busy working or partying. will try for more next time.
the back of the hardwoo after the Asheville debauchery.
cleaning and resorting ensued

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