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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 02:57 AM        South of the Border!
Ah, South of the Border. The first and last time you will ever see a tourist trap/amusement park/Stuckey's-on-Steroids that is located in South Carolina and based on a southerner's cartoonish approximation of what Mexico might be like.

I don't know how many other people have been here, but if you're taking the I-95 route to Florida, it is not to be missed. There are billboards stretching for 200 miles on either side of the attraction. They used to be in broken English and make jokes about Mexicans, but they had to stop. They also had to stop calling every employee Pedro. They really used to do that.



South of the Border is almost 150 freakin' acres of souvenir shops, giant fibreglass doodads and unrepentant racism. Pedro is the mascot. You can drive between his legs on your way to the SOB Motor Inn/Pleasure Dome, which is what the Gobbler could have been if only it had tried a little harder.





Perhaps the 200 foot Sombrero Tower stands out to you from among the candy-colored rubble. If you've got a dollar, you can give it to the arcade attendant at its base and ride the glass elevator to the top. If you've got two dollars, you can get dust blasted at you in an ancient "hurricane simulator" between Ms. Pac Man and the coin-push machines.



Is there a leather shop? Yes. Is there a store that only sells novelty hats? Absolutely. Is there a store devoted to West African souvenirs? You betcha. Can you buy a dildo in one shop and wander to the next for some ice cream? At South of the Border, anything is possible.



Can you eat a steak in a restaurant shaped like a giant sombrero? Yes you can.



There is even a new "Reptile Lagoon", a distinct improvement from the snake and gator pit attractions of days gone by. The animals looked like they were halfway healthy and decently kept, even if this pignosed turtle is looking a little morose:







Do you think these mambas had any idea they were going to wind up in a faux-Mexican theme park in the Carolinas?



Of course, the ubiquitous "Pedro" statues wear gator-print shirts outside the reptile lagoon.



Here's one yellow SOB:



There are so many souvenir stores, most with names like "Peso Little"(and all of which, oddly, seem to carry the exact same flotsam of anything that can have the SOB logo stamped on it) that a pedway was built so visitors could safely cross from "Mexico" to "Mexico West".



There is an amusement park called "Pedroland", which looked shabby and sorry enough that we kept our distance. If it weren't near 100 degrees with debilitating humidity, I would have gone and gotten more pictures of that. For now, you're just going to have to picture bottom-of-the-barrel kiddie rides that have been given the South of the Border mexicanization treatment.



So, Pedro, it's adios for now, but I have my South of the Border back scratcher, kitchen magnets, bumper sticker, cup, eraser set, gator grabby thing on a stick, oven mitts, shot glasses, coffee mugs, placemats, pencil case, friendship bracelet, hair clips, totebag, t-shirt, hat that looks like a pizza, wallet, flip flops, ashtray, lighter, keychain, rain hat, windchime, pressed penny and snowglobe to keep you in my heart till next we meet.

Last edited by Kitsa : Jun 3rd, 2012 at 10:11 AM.
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Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:14 AM       
DUDE I TOTALLY WENT THERE WHEN I WAS A SMALLER APPROXIMATE OF MY CURRENT SELF.

We spent a few summers in Myrtle Beach - South of the Border was stupid enough for my family to want to drive out to it.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:15 AM       
What did the smaller approximate of your current self enjoy most?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 12:21 PM       
Aside from the intentional racism it could be Mexico.
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10,000 Volt Ghost 10,000 Volt Ghost is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:03 PM       
What's with that son of a bitch ape?
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:18 PM       
SOB is local lingo for "South of the Border".
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10,000 Volt Ghost 10,000 Volt Ghost is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:27 PM       
It must have a silent the in it
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kahljorn kahljorn is offline
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 11:23 PM       
bitches dont deserve definite articles
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Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 05:53 AM       
When I went there, I just remember all of the shitty trinkets.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 09:56 AM       
There's a big yellow SOB water tower, too. You can kind of see it in the background of the pedway picture.

I think I read that SOB has 14 different souvenir shops packed along that little stretch of road. We went in Mexico West (the Mexico Shop was closed for renovations), Peso Little, the Hat Shop, the Reptile Shop, the Myrtle Beach shop (which was connected to the African Souvenir shop), the T-Shirt Shop, and some other shop I can't remember the name of. Most of them had generally the same stuff. Some of the stuff had obviously been there since the early 80s.

We didn't go in the Dirty Old Man Shop because we had a 2 year old with us.
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Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 04:24 PM       
I want to know what Darkvare's perspective is.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 04:59 PM       
That's what interested me too. I wondered if this offended him.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 05:12 PM       
1) Someone with the power to do so should put HEY DARKVARE, INPUT NEEDED or something in this thread title.

2) Here it is in Google Earth, you can kind of see Pedroland.
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darkvare darkvare is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 06:37 PM       
i knew someone would say that so here goes yes is kinda offensive i don't think there are gorilas in mexico though specially not yellow ones and how can you have reptiles and not have axolotls?
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kahljorn kahljorn is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 06:50 PM       
darkvare do you have any american souvernoir shops in mexico you coudl give us a racist review of
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10,000 Volt Ghost 10,000 Volt Ghost is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 07:36 PM       
I think mexican gorillas might be my new favorite thing now.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 07:46 PM       
I'm just kind of stunned the place exists and that it's stayed so blatantly offensive for so long.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 08:27 PM       
Being a North Carolinian all my life, I've been through this place hundreds of times on family trips to Myrtle Beach, Atlanta and Florida. I've always been thrown into a fit of unimaginable wonder every time we'd drive by this place as a kid.

Then I went there.

The funnest part about this place was the hundreds of absurd billboards on your way out of state. That's about it.

Why don't they just call it Dirty Spicslevania
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 08:48 PM       
I guess the story is that the guy described his beer stand as "South of the (North Carolina) Border" so often, it being right on the border, that he just got to thinking why not make it this giant Speedy Gonzalez-like generalization of a theme park.

I'm not kidding when I say that they used to call every employee Pedro. Charming story there, too. He hired two "Mexicans" to work for him, and without the benefit of having asked their real names decided they were "Pancho" and "Pedro". It was too hard to remember both fake names so he just started calling them both Pedro, and it stayed that way for years upon years, every employee of the place was Pedro.

Now they're mainly heavyset, middle-aged, completely indifferent women in yellow poncho uniforms.

Edit: This reminds me very much of an old neighbor, who employed two Latino handymen and called them both Juan. He would wait for someone to ask their names and then joke, "Well, this is Juan and that's Juan too...because when you've seen Juan....you've seen 'em all!" (riotous laughter) Juan #1's wife taught me Spanish, starting with "puta", describing her employer as I was helping her windex individual tiles of the kitchen floor.
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Old Jun 5th, 2012, 10:44 AM       
Yeah, went there as a kid. There might still be a South of the Border magnet in my dad's house.

All I remember is a bunch of cheap colorful souvenirs and stuff.

I got one of those balancing birds there, but I don't know if anything else.
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Old Jun 5th, 2012, 11:37 AM       
I'm sorry, but that's just great. I love all this old timey-Americana stuff, the less PC the better.
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Otto Otto is offline
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Old Jun 6th, 2012, 02:12 AM       
I've driven by that place so many times when I'm leaving SC, but I never bothered to stop, because it always looked like the kind of place where people get stabbed.
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