Day Thirty Five, Asheville

My bus to Asheville was around midday so I could take it easy this morning.  I didn’t have to rush and I had time to have a shower and a nice breakfast.  (More English muffins that aren’t really English muffins and some fresh fruit).  I finally spoke more to the couple who’d arrived at the hostel on the same day.  I don’t think I’d really wrote about these guys but I kept seeing them in Charleston and felt to awkward to go up to talk to them as they were clearly a couple.  It felt a bit of a shame that I had finally made a connection with people in Charleston and I had to go but at the same time, I was so ready to leave this town behind.

I had to check out by 10 so, I had plenty of time to get to the Greyhound station.  I planned out my route on Google Maps and decided that I should stop at a supermarket on my walk to the bus stop.  The supermarket was fairly quiet and, the shop workers eyed me up suspiciously on account of the two backpacks on my body.  I got some more granola bars, crisps, water and a couple of apples.  I wanted to eat something that resembled real food.

Again, I awkwardly saw the couple as I was leaving the supermarket, I waved goodbye and continued on my journey.  It wasn’t very clear which side of the road I should be on to get my bus to the Greyhoud Station so I asked an elderly man who was happy to help.  A mother and her four children came and waited with me at the bus stop.  The children seemed really curious by me, perhaps it was obvious that I wasn’t local or maybe they wanted to show off and say hi.  They were definitely trying to get my attention which resulted in their mother telling them off for being so dramatic. 

I arrived at the Greyhound station with time to spare, I could sit in the blissfully air conditioned room away from the humidity and heat of Charleston.  The bus thankfully wasn’t too busy and I was able to sit by myself again.  It makes me sound like such a loner but I far prefer sitting by myself on coaches as I feel it gives me to space to think and not have to worry about being an annoyance.

There was a two hour layover at Columbia which was just as dull as the first time I sat in the small bus station.  I was reading Harry Potter on my tablet so it wasn’t terrible but it was so boring.  I have learned that switching coaches is far more dull than switching planes.  Frustratingly, the coach was further delayed by a stoner couple as they were so confused by whether they should be on this bus or another one.  Our driver was very patient and it was nice to see that if they were missing people then it would wait but my patience was definitely tested as I was sat on the bus for another hour before it left the station.

It was the quietest coach thus far in my journey, thankfully I could listen to my music and blot out the rest of the world.  I felt really good about the journey even though the sunlight was fading and I was going to be arriving into this strange city in the dark.  I was excited to meet new people and to see what Asheville was like.  

I decided to get an uber to my hostel as it was after 10pm when we finally got into the city.  The driver went up a winding road, up a hill, there were no streetlights and he spoke about how great the city was and how much fun he’d had in West Asheville in his youth.  As he pulled onto the main street of West Asheville, the bars and restaurants were buzzing with people.  This city had a good vibe.

They were waiting for me to check in at the hostel as I was supposed to check in earlier.  Chris (hippy Chris – there were two Chris’ who worked at the hostel) was so friendly and suggested that I join everyone in coming to the funk jam.  I was ready to be social so I dumped my stuff in my locker, changed my tshirt, put on fresh deodorant and went out for food.  A good sign about this hostel was the Steve Zissou mural on my wall which let me know I’d be amongst my people.  Chris said to meet back at the hostel in one hour and recommended a burger joint down the road.

I sat outside the restaurant, ordered a watermelon beer and ate tater tots for the first time.  The tater tots were divine and ate them eagerly, I also had a sweet potato falafel wrap which was good but oh my god the tater tots.  I finally understood why everyone in American TV shows/ films love their tater tots.

When I got back to the hostel, I met the other Chris (with long hair) and Fabian from Switzerland and was also travelling across the US.  The Chris’ suggested going for a walk whilst Francesca had a disco nap.  As soon as the hostel was out of sight they brought out their joint which thankfully, they were happy to share. We shared it between us as we walked the back streets of the neighbourhood finding out who each other were. It was a perfect summers night.

We got back to the hostel and Francesca was awake, brewing a fresh pot of coffee. I chose not to partake in the caffeine but everyone else got their fix. Hippy Chris (I really wish I got their surnames now but this is how they introduced themselves!) Called us an uber and off we went downtown to the funk jam.

We got there a little after 12 and the place felt electric. The house band were amazing, soulful yet funky, rock but r’n’b. It’s hard to describe but the musicians looked so alive as they played their songs. I got a pint of beer and joined the rest of the gang near the band. I wasn’t bothered about dancing prettily or sexily, I ugly danced to the jam and so did everyone else. No one was trying to look cool, everyone was genuine in their appreciation. I wish I had recorded their cover of Kendrick Lamar because that was insane! 

There was a second band who were local and releasing an ep the next week. They were not as funky but they were just as passionate. The lead singer was putting his all into his performance, shaking as he the songs left him. 

The really cool thing about the funk jam was they would let a mix of people in the audience just come up on stage and jam with one another. Fabian straight away went up and started playing on the piano, he was so good and really helped set the tone with the others. Chris with the long hair joined in on the last song on the drums.

The house band played for another hour or so and then we were kicked out of the bar. They literally shooed us away from the smokers area. I figured they must have a strict license and the band had over ran. The only thing that would have made my night better was if I hadn’t gotten my period in the club. We all got another uber back to the hostel, said our goodnights and went to bed.


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