Friday, October 14, 2016
Untold Story #13: South of the Border...& Pedro
I need to acknowledge from the outset: I don't know that it's possible for me to visit or write about South of the Border and remain politically correct. This place is crazy. If you've ever driven from one Carolina into the other on I-95, you've seen it. There's no missing it; there are 350 acres of it, and the welcome sign (of mascot Pedro) is over one hundred feet tall.
I'm pretty sure that--if my daughters' Pocahontas costumes are inappropriate and offensive to some people--the South of the Border theme is, too, so let me just say: I've never meant disrespect to Native Americans or Mexicans. I had a boyfriend named Pedro, once. He's in heaven, now, but I wonder what he would've said about South of the Border. He was a very fun-loving person, so I think he would've been forgiving, if not downright amused.
I love statues, especially of the campy variety (I mean, just give me a giant King Kong!), and South of the Border has tons. I was pretty overstimulated. I wanted to photograph the kids with every single one, including Pedro the welcome sign.
But I didn't, because 1) the big kids didn't seem amused; 2) it was the hot center of the day; and 3) the place is a little run-down. I had the sense of being on an abandoned movie set. I'm sure that, back in its hay day (the 60's), it was quite the place to be, but these days, the amusement-park portion is closed. The day we visited, it seemed like maybe a lot of other things were closed, too. I wouldn't have been surprised to see tumbleweed.
Several people approached the minivan to ask for money, and again, there's probably no way for me to write about that experience with the appropriate level of sensitivity, but I felt very uncomfortable, especially when I was standing outside the van, getting something from the trunk. I'm not used to that sort of thing. I had five children in my care.
So I took very few photos but drove through the compound several times. I would've driven through several more if not for the protests of my young charges, the end.