- There were Confederate flags everywhere in Rutherford County. Flying outside of houses, stuck on bumpers, and printed on all manner of souvenirs. A couple times I thought I'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in Alabama.
- There were also all manner of "hillbilly" souvenirs (no doubt the coexistence of the two is not coincidental), some of which were good for a chuckle. Like the "Bald Man's Hairbrush," which was basically a wooden paddle with no bristles. Or the "Wooden Exercise Block," directions printed thereon: "Place block on floor. Walk around it. Congratulations, you've taken a walk around the block!"
- Asheville is not anyplace I am dying to return to. I would like to see the Biltmore Estate still, but the town itself is a little disappointing. I'd heard it described as "artsy," but "bohemian" is more like it. Nearly every shop had patchouli burning. The ratio of shops selling new merchandise to those selling used was about even. The median age of the people I saw: 19. The median age of the buildings: 90 (and showing it!). Fashion statement of choice: clothing meticulously chosen to achieve the "I'm too concerned with real life and important issues and my art to care about how I look, so I just wear clothes I find in the trash--ok, I buy some at thrift stores but only independent ones" look. Which are not necessarily bad things, but it's just not my scene.
- I am officially a fan of Holiday Inn Express hotels. [Sidenote: I am going back over what I wrote, and this line made me laugh, especially considering the paragraph before it! I am so clearly the polar opposite of your typical Ashevillian--you would sooner see donkeys fly than hear them comment about their favorite upscale budget hotel!] Anyway, this is the second one I've stayed in, and I've found that they offer the best amenities for the price.
My room was awesome--good bed, good linens/pillows, nice furniture, fridge, microwave, granite in the bathroom, free wireless internet, and a great free breakfast in the morning. The Renaissance Hotel, a big fancy establishment which I booked cheap on Priceline, was nice too, but there was no free internet (they charged $9.95/day), no free breakfast, and no fridge/micro in the room. I rarely find a microwave necessary, but the fridge is always good to keep my water cold.
- I think they accidentally hung the wall art sideways in my room though:
- The absence of a free breakfast, paired with a very tight and early schedule this morning, meant that I had no other option than to order room service for breakfast. Twist my arm why don't you. It was my first room service ever, if my memory serves. I went for the Eggs Benedict Florentine, and it was mighty tasty.
- I got not one, not two, but three brand new Colorado quarters as change from the Zaxby's in Forest City! The excitement and glee were abundant. And luckily confined to the privacy of my car since I was in the drive-thru. ;)
- On the way home I saw the most unusual truck. I didn't know they made these.
- On the way to Chimney Rock, I caught this stately but aging house up on a hill as I sped by on the highway below.
I'd love to buy it and fix it up. But on second thought, it's more interesting to imagine all the events it's witnessed over the years as its paint has peeled. [Another sidenote: Why do old city buildings make me grimace, while old country buildings make me feel whimsical? The more I travel, the more I am becoming aware of how much I simply do not like cities, and how strongly I favor suburbs and countryside.]
- Couldn't resist this photo of more ivy monsters...they're practically leaping onto the road to scare passing motorists!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
My little trips are full of simultaneously insignificant yet memorable moments. Does that make any sense? I find myself wishing that someone was with me so I could turn to them and say, "Isn't that hilarious," "Whoa, check that out," or better yet, just share a glance and a giggle, or a meaningful look. But I guess I'll have to settle for bullet blogging for now.