Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Living Mobius Strip

Travel, as they say, is a broadening experience.  And, sometimes, a frustrating one.

In 2010, we found a living Mobius strip.

It is called Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville is famous for a lot of things, including its"New Age" population.  Some of these people believe that Asheville has special energy fields.  Upon feeling these fields, people have been known to move to Asheville immediately, and never leave.

The really strange thing about visiting Asheville, for my spouse, was that normally he can find his way around nearly anywhere.  He can drive somewhere once and (even years later) can find his way around thereafter. 

Not in Asheville.  He was so scrambled up (and of course wouldn't ask for directions) that he kept getting lost.  And even I felt somewhat disoriented, and I have no sense of direction at all.

Spouse kept saying his ability to tell direction was totally not working, and, for him, it was so frustrating.

At one point, trying to navigate I-40, I-240 and I-26 in a vain attempt to find a Wal-Mart we never did find (confession: yes, we sometimes shop at Wal-Mart), spouse remarked that Asheville was one huge Mobius strip. 

If you don't remember Mobius strips from science class, check them out on the Internet.

We still don't know why that is, but we have never experienced that before.  And maybe never will again.

When we visited Asheville again, in September of 2012, I owned a smartphone.  This time, thanks to Google Maps, we did not get lost, but my spouse continuously argued with the app - although it was right every time.

We kept meeting people from New York State (our native state) in Asheville.  Maybe they were lost, too.  Maybe Asheville is full of lost souls who gave up trying to find their way, and decided to retire there.

So, what is so great about Asheville?  Many things.  Great shops, great food, the greatest Farmers Markets..excuse me, Tailgate Markets ever.

That's what makes a city great.

To me, the coolest thing I saw in downtown Asheville were the Woolworths and the Kress's.  But wait.  Didn't these go out of business years ago?  Well maybe they did worldwide, but not in Asheville.  There is that "other dimension" again for you.

Take a look.  There's a simple reason why downtown Asheville has so many of its historic buildings.  It was simple - in the 1970's, when urban renewal ended up claiming so many historic buildings throughout the United States, Asheville didn't tear theirs down.

They couldn't.

They were bankrupt.  By the time they had dug themselves out, what was old was now desirable.

It still is.

Woolworths and Kress's are fixtures of my childhood, living forever in my memory on Fordham Road in the Bronx.  And now, in Asheville, North Carolina, the buildings remain - although these have been converted to indoor shopping malls.

But it was nice thinking we had gone back in time, if even for a few minutes.

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

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