Some schemes are so sublimely bizarre and harebrained that I suspect the universe’s sense of humor dictates that they succeed.
On his first drive through this central Virginia town, Noor Naghmi didn’t notice the barns or cow pastures, or the tractors trundling by. He imagined gardens and domes and spires. He pictured arabesque archways reflected in glossy pools. He saw all the grandeur of his home town of Lahore, Pakistan, which he had left more than three decades before.
So he decided to buy the town.
"I didn’t know where to start, what to do," he recalled of that day two years ago. "So I went to a Realtor there, and I said, ‘Look, I want to buy Lahore.’ "
If the $3 million deal goes through, he will renovate a handful of boarded-up buildings in hopes of turning them into a regional tourist attraction for South Asians and others.
If he can reproduce some of Lahore’s culinary delights, the place will be positively mobbed. And not just by Pakistanis (of whom there are legions up north in the Washington area), either.
But let’s just hope he doesn’t reproduce Lahore’s dust and resulting wealth of microbes.