The Meows are on a road trip south today, to more tropical lands. Since it’s a car trip and we got to cross the North Carolina-South Carolina border today, we were regaled with a million promises of "South of the Border" as we drove down "scenic" I-95.
South of the Border is a roadside stop and magnet for junk and useless purchases, which also happens to have a giant Mexican sombrero, a small amusement park, and a naughty-stuff store.
It also has a borderline-offensive mascot named Pedro, who greets motorists with his own signature sombrero and bandit mustache and is often quoted within the billboards in his own heavily-accented Spanglish, such as the kind that assaults you when you visit pedroland.com (the official home of South of the Border).
I realize that in our overly politically correct times, it’s often easy to jump the gun and be offended by absolutely everything, but I can’t help but cringe a little whenever I see Pedro’s kowtowing, brown, mustachioed, smiling face sprawled across both lanes of I-95.
In a world where most people wouldn’t hesitate for one instant to point out that blackface is more than just a little offensive but a downright hurtful stereotype and something that reinforces the most narrow and obtuse of mindsets, it seems more than just a little ironic that Pedro is alive and well.
But maybe I have a problem. Here are a few of the billboards I managed to photograph today. You judge for yourself: I’m pretty pooped.