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Friday, February 8, 2013

South of the Border

In two days the Carpetbagger is heading South.  Waaaaay South.  For the first time in my life I am leaving he United States of America and will be visiting Mexico.  While I could wait and talk about this trip (probably not), I wanted to take a time to talk about The South's own little slice of Mexico: "South of the Border".

South of the Border is my only reference point to what I assume is authentic Mexican culture.

Heading through rural Carolinas one notices a sudden influx of billboards.

The headlights light up at night.

Sometimes the sheep spin.

So what is the magical place that is beckoning?

The "South of the Border" name does not refer to the American border, but rather the North Carolina border.  South of the Border is located directly beneath the North Carolina border in Dillon, SC.  S.0.B was originally set up as a beer stand and the proximity to the state line allowed them to sell alcohol to the dry NC county across the line.  Over the years S.O.B took on a life of its own.

As you near the compound a magical site appears in the distance.

Out of the rural Carolina nothing pops a giant tower shaped like a sombrero.  To put it quite simply South of the Border is the tackiest place in the South.  It personifies what a Roadside Attraction should be.

That softly racist little fellow you saw on this billboards, his name is Pedro and he is ever present mascot of S.O.B.

Pedro's giant fiberglass visage can be found all over the compound in a variety of flavors.

 Here is patriotic American Pedro.

Here is Irish Pedro....

Here is concrete Golem Pedro....

He is literally everywhere.

On the surface S.O.B is America's most glorified truck stop, but it is so much more then that.  What is there to do at S.O.B?  Well, there is an amusement park, but it had a really odd abandoned vibe when we went there.

Let's take a closer look at that creepy giant Pedro head.

A highlight of S.O.B is the positively massive sombrero clad sign outside one of the gift shops.

Check out those tiny normal sized people at the base of the statue.

The place is a gorgeous sea of neon at night.

Here is my son chansing feral cats in a firework shop parking lot in the middle of the night.

In addition to the Pedro figures there is a truly impressive menagerie of fiberglass figures.  Including a rare Southern Jackalope

There is a collection of wonderfully strange and tacky gift shops on the premises.

Of course we spent way to much money and came back with this haul.

For dining options you can have a steak house inside a giant sombrero.

There is a motel on the premises as well, but we are not going to get into that.

Previously, they had a miniature golf course know as "The Golf of Mexico".

But during our initial visit is had been converted into a shop that sold concrete yard ornaments.

It has not been transformed into an alligator exhibit. I really need to check that out.

Of course the one thing that truly grabbed your attention initially was the Sombrero Tower.

Me and my daughter braved the elevator ride to the top.

 What can you see from the Sombrero tower?  Besides miles of nothingness, you get a good view of the freeway and yet another S.O.B billboard. 

It is truly mecca for those love all things over the top and tacky.  I just hope the real Mexico can live up to the high standards that South of the Border has set.

The Carpetbagger

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