Friday, June 12, 2009

A Treasure Trove of Touristy Tackiness

Today's Wonder of the World is...Terribly Tacky Tourist Traps!

Flickr photo by Melodist
Can you say that five times fast? (Gotta love a tongue twister!)
Try it now before I plunge us into the bizarro world that is South of the Border. The kitsch overload just might leave you speechless!

Do you like the tacky? Or does it make you break out in hives?
I LOVE tacky from afar. Not so much up close.
Please, my friends, I beg you. Share your tackiest tourist traps with me. I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Long, long ago my parents took me and my brother on a car trip to Florida. We headed south on I-95 and before long we started seeing billboards.
Ticky tacky billboards like this, but less politically correct.

Flickr photos by tom.arthur
Yes, I know they're still not PC, but believe me, they used to be worse. And there used to be more of them. Like every other mile.
I remember one of them said, "Keep yelling kids. They'll stop."
So of course Steve and I kept yelling. We had to know. What was this wonderland called South of the Border? And what sort of genius made up slogans like "You never sausage a place!" and "You're always a wiener at Pedro's!"?

Flickr photo by obethwan
We crossed the border into South Carolina and then we saw it! There on the horizon, the big sombrero in the sky!

Flickr photo by tom.arthur
My father refused to stop. Can you believe that?

See, it even stunned the C-SPAN crew during last year's election.
Who wouldn't be impressed with our own tacky version of the Tour Eiffel?

(Blurry Photo by me)
If nothing else, you can at least visit Pedro's bathroom.

Flickr photo JuanJ
Who knows who you might see there.
Maybe the future chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board!

Flickr photo by plate of the day
It's true! Ben Bernanke worked at South of the Border during his summers home from college. I wonder if he wore a poncho.

If you go, be sure to ride the Ferris wheel...

Flickr photo by jakilevy
and tell me why it's named that.

There are several fine dining establishments to try.

Flickr photo by lovesitsinthelobby
(A Diner!)
And plenty of tacky junk to buy.

Flickr photo by eclectica miami
Rest assured they've got velvet paintings too.
And plenty of fireworks, as if I need to tell you that. It's South Carolina. We LOVE explosives!

Flickr photo by Cary Scott Photography

If you have an urge to pose on a cement giraffe, Pedro's got one of those too.

Flickr photo by lis_glass
Oh Pedro. You're tackiness astounds me.

Flickr photo by point&click

So share, people! What tops the tacky-meter near you?
Who wins the Tackiest of Them All?
Like Napoleon, I vote for Pedro!

Have a wonder-full Friday and a super weekend!
Love, Becky


JaxPop said...

UGH! South of The Border - Have driven (or ridden) past that place more times than I can count - since I was a little kid - & NEVER STOPPED. The signs were obnoxious (those & Stuckey's - every 1/10 mile?).

In St Augustine I recommend avoiding Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Way lame but not as bad as Pedro & his gang.

lotusgirl said...

It's hard to top South of the Border. That's the main one I remember.

Suzie said...

I used to love going there as a kid when we drove from Philly to Florida but didn there used to be a big pair of legs you drive under? I used to love seeing those signs I cant ebelive its still around.

Stacy Nyikos said...

There is something just like that on the road from Chicago to Tulsa. I took that road a lot while I was going to Notre Dame and traveling home for holidays. Somewhere in Missouri, when you feel like, truly, you will never ever ever make it home, there is the wooden bowl store. For three years, I saw the miles and miles of signs. And then, when I graduated, a friend and I finally stopped. It's not much to look at, the wooden bowl store, but I have one now. My own "spoil of war" from all of those tedious road trips!

Susan Sandmore said...

Those SOTB billboards have gone through several incarnations, I think, but my favorite will always be the super-tacky ones of my childhood. No, my parents would never, ever stop, so it wasn't until I was a teenager/young adult with driving friends that I got to see inside those buildings. Oh dear. The "dirty old man shop"--word to the wise. Never go in. Never, never, EVER.

I'm trying to think of something equally tacky in my area, but nothing can beat SOTB!

Lisa said...

Is SOTB still open? I'd heard that it was closing a few years ago.

My grandparents lived in NC, and we loved to look for the signs. I think we tried to count them once but there were so many we lost track of them.

I went once in 1977, and we took our daughter back in the early 90s.

Tacky, but yet a slice of Americana at the same time.

Thanks for bringing back some fun childhood memories.

Please stop by and enter my giveaway today!


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Lisa, it's open! We passed by it last weekend, with my Sam begging, "Please!"

Susan, I heard that the dirty old man shop closed. When I think of dirty old men going to south of hte border to shop it makes me feel sickish inside.

Stacy, a wooden bowl stop sounds much better than Pedro's. I'll have to check it out if I'm ever in the neighborhood.

Suzie, you can still drive under those legs!

Lois, yep. It's hard to beat!

JaxPop, I haven't seen Stuckey's signs for ages. Are they still around?

bj said...

Hi..I just wanted to say that my maiden name was Ramsey...:)

adrienne said...

Our family only drove to Florida once - I remember those billboards!
For a dose of tacky, I love those seashell stores that have weird seashell animal sculptures and toilet seats embedded with shells...

LW said...

Not much of the 50's 60's fads left here....

But I would agree this is the tackiest by far....


cityfarmer said...

evokes childhood vacation memories!!!!!

TattingChic said...

That is pretty funny! Thanks for the chuckle! :)