Watching subcultures or strangers
People of various less or more strange, odd or just interesting (choose what you want) subcultures (hippies, funky, punks, raves) come and settle or just live for some time in Asheville. Watching them was very interesting for me. Look at my pictures.
This about 30 years old guy dressed in hooded sweatshirt was sitting on a low little wall opposite to an entrance to the Asheville Civic Center where Craft Fair took place. He pointed his right hand towards the sky to show where the policemen from the opposite side of a street should go. He was talking loudly something about God, bad cops (police) and no justice. Well, he didn't use any offensive words. Almost no-one among numerous pedestrians passing by paid attention to him except just me :-). A few policemen on the opposite side watched the entrance to the Craft Fair and didn't pay special attention to that guy either.
Another, younger, long-haired guy in a woolen cap was sitting a few feet away. He had large backpack. His skateboard was put by him. He observed things and expressed probably his disappointment using well known gesture (see picture 5). But he used the second instead of the third finger. Does it change anything?
Diversity in hairstyles
If you are interested in hundreds of different hairstyles Asheville is a perfect place to watch them. They should have boom for hairstylists there.
Unlike other animals, human beings of many cultures cut their hair, rather than let it grow naturally. Although in Asheville you may see something opposite as well. Hair styles are often used to signal cultural, social, and ethnic identity. Men and women naturally have the same hair but generally hairstyles conform to cultural standards of gender. Although in Asheville it maybe sometimes difficult to identify gender by hairstyle.
If you have growing kids you should better know some hairstyles to identify what subculture your son or daughter tends to belong, right? :-) Let me only mention four hairstyles I could see in Asheville:
1. Dreadlocks (or simply dreads or locks): originally matted ropes of hair which will form by themselves if the hair is allowed to grow naturally without the use of brushes, combs, razors or scissors for a long period of time. Now, hairstylists created a wide variety of modified dreadlocks, including multi-colored, synthetic dreadlock extensions and "dread perms", where chemicals are used to treat the hair. Well, do you know Bob Marley, reggae music (it's from Jamajca) and the anti-establishment philosophy of Rastafari? Nowadays in white culture dreads have become popular among groups such as the "anti-globalisation" movement and environmental activists.
2. Bob cut: a short cut for women, first popular in the 1920s, considered a sign of a liberated woman (Madonna now).
3. Mohawk or "Mohican": long hair divided into sections which are then braided and worn down, both sides are shaved or buzzed, long and usually spiked in the middle. In punk fashion, the Mohawk is often dyed brilliant colors and the center strip of hair worn so that it points straight up, often to impressive height.
4. Ronaldo cut (after football player Ronaldo): shaved head except for the front thirdish which is buzzed.
Less is always more. And Asheville is not too impressed with frilly things. Comfortable walking shoes and/or hiking boots - depending on the nature of your visit. Asheville has some of the best regional medical centers in the area -if you stub your toe or fall out of a tree you can get patched up easily. Definitely bring a camera - there are tons of photo opportunities in the area. Some great campgrounds can be found just outside of Asheville and in Brevard, about 45 minutes away.
I do warn people NOT to drive...
I do warn people NOT to drive down roads they are not familiar with, but by doing so, you will always find something of interest! I have come across great scenery, good cafes' and that oddball store that does not belong yet does.
They make the best black bean burrito I ever had. While in Utah I met somebody also from Asheville, and after a half hour of talking we both craved Rio Burrito. This craving was so powerful that we both were considering 8 to 10 hour detours in our drives across country to get one. Any black bean burrito on the menu.