Sleepy Mexican pitches tacky tourism oasis


If you ever take the I-95 road going North from South Carolina you will hit South of the Border, a tourist attraction featuring all kinds of fun and entertainment “Mexican-style” para toda la familia. The place includes a dedicated amusement park, Pedroland, named after the site’s “lovable mascot:” a sleepy Mexican called, what else? Pedro. Visitors are greeted by a gigantic sombrero-clad character (Pedro?) who stands guard outside a gift shop, while cars roll between its legs.

Described by its owners as “a unique amalgam of Dixie and Old Mexico” South of the Border offers visitors the added benefit that “its inhabitants speak English and its water is safe to drink.” The tacky tourism oasis employs around 750 people, all of whom are dubbed “pedros,” and features sombrero-shaped restaurants and a mini-golf course aptly called El Golfo de Mexico.

Although one might appreciate the effort by the park’s creator –the late Alan Schafer– its management could use some help from the real Mexicans quickly populating the South to polish the Spanish on its Web site. See? you cannot say “Coméis con Pedro” to pitch the park’s restaurants; nor say “Compramos!” to promote shops, in which you are actually “vendiendo” not “comprando” anything. Hotels and camping sites are for sleeping, not for “siesta aquí.”

And don’t get me started on the sleepy Mexican featured on the “Contact Pedro” page. How on earth is he supposed to answer our emails when he’s always sleeping it off?

12 thoughts on “Sleepy Mexican pitches tacky tourism oasis

  1. Looks like the late Mr. Schafer had a good time in Mexico, brought his new found friend Pedro to the US and took advantage of the poor uneducated folks in the South. And the issue here is…


  2. It appears that some who have posted on this thread neither appreciate nor understand what South of the Border and Pedro advertising is all about. To get a better idea, just Google “South of the Border” if you’ve never been there in person.

    Like any other business, the full service Pedroland plaza advertises to bring in customers, which was one of the reasons for the large number of billboards about South of the Border featuring Pedro for miles and miles along I-95 before you even got close no matter if you are going north or south.

    Unfortunately, because of the thin-skinned, politically correct simpering whiners, the billboards have disappeared because of government edict, and driving that stretch of I-95 isn’t as much fun as it used to be with Pedro’s smiling face saying all kinds of things in Spanglish.

    Might as well take the Auto Train, except — like Pedro — it’s just another sad story of decline also due to government intervention.

    The advertising built around Pedro was designed to be unique, different, attention grabbing, and humorous.

    And like some other business ads, it presents misspellings and at times uses even the incorrect words deliberately to draw attention and make viewers not only remember but actually stop at South of the Border for a meal, or gas, or to overnight in a comfortable motel among other things, simply because “Pedro sez….”

    For those who have no sense or sensibility, for those who have nothing better to do with their time than engage in name calling (using terms such as “racist” because they have no substantive rational position to take), and for those who are simply thin-skinned noise-makers who want to preen in public, or call attention to themselves, they can keep on moving.

    The tragic, uptight, humorless name callers who complain about Pedro are more to be pittied than censured.

    Oh, well, as Pedro sez: “Here today, gone tamale.”


  3. I Whole-heartedly agree w/ sterling. WHY don’t you people learn that the only weapon against TRUE racism is humor. the place employs 750 people who might not otherwise have jobs and the PC A**holes are going to try to put anyone who MIGHT be able to find work on welfare so the government can control them !!! shame on all of you for your narrow-mindedness , when you want everyone else to follow YOU in LOCK-STEP!

  4. @ Sterling:

    My (and our) main problem with your argument begins with a few questions for you: Where can the line be drawn between “Humor” and full-blown humilation? What’s the difference between laughing at the “El Mexicano” stereotype and perpetuating it? And finally, how will this influence the many children the park tries so hard to attract, who have never even encountered a culture other than their own before?

    See, these are some things to think about. Sure, a cute little mexican joke here or there won’t do too much harm. But to make a stereotype an entire atrraction to “ride” and manipulate for the sake of profit- it’s completely unheard of!

    See, this encourages blunt, nearly brainless relations between “Mexicans” and Hispanic culture. In terms of embodying a particular race of people- South of the Boarder COULD have celebrated specific Spanish Traditions- the right way to generalize. But NO. It goes into all these fiendish puns and silly images of sombreros and bulls and tacos.. It’s really sickening- and far from funny.

    Plus, it’s not the park alone that offends me. It’s the park’s digital connection to the web that remains both outdated and extremely offensive. I’m talking about the website. Now, I’ll admit that I snickered at a pun or two, (From the park that fun for every JUAN) but the horribly “translated” spanish is too much to bear, even for someone who hasn’t even taken a full course in the language. Opening up to the site, the viewer is happily greeted with text that forces you to speak like our heavily accented Pedro: “pedro VER’ GLAD YOU COME!!”


    Pedro is a mascot. He is an embodiedment- a full representation of the company and their ethics. Heck, I’d be much less offended if Pedro was a talking sombero-wearing Armidillo- or even a freaking lizard of some sort! But to take a person- color their skin a specific color, put certain colors in their clothes, and slap a really horrible accent that we’re all reminded by in everything he says is just- to primitive for me. If this kind of stuff is accepted as funny, then it won’t be long before someone creates a “NEGROLAND” or a “DOUBLE DRAGON SUPER HAPPY SQUINTY EYE PARTY”.

    Because if folks want to discriminate against one group, why not make fun of them all? It’s all in “humor”, right?

  5. I originally looked up this site after finding it listed in the World’s Worst Tourist traps on MSN. Finding an amusement park with my name on it seemed interesting enough. After reading the comments above, I feel I have to make a few of my own.

    First and foremost, I have to side with the humor arguement. If I thought that this Schafer guy was a real racist, I would probably be offended, but he was probably some ignorant redneck that just wanted to bring in some money like the talking rat in Florida and California. All the stereotypes are blown so far out of proportion that I cannot help but laugh. Of course, I live in California where the majority is Latino and I don’t run into many people that don’t understand the difference.

    I feel that when the icons are cartoonish and the imagery is completely beyond reason, the parents and families must make the distinction and teach the children the difference. If we make it disappear from sight, it does not necessarily go away. When someone tells me they hate a local restaraunt because of the “lazy Mexicans”, I have to agree that the Mexican people that work there are lazy (and yes, they are Mexicans). When someone complains about the gardner at my building being a lazy Mexican, I have to step in because the gardener is Asian and the person complaining is ignorant. No reason to get militant, but make sure people understand.

    For me, I think the cartoonish nature of Pedroland is humorous because of the play on words and cheesy atmosphere. Maybe when they open a second location (like that rat from California did in Orlando, Florida) they can have their own ‘Epcot’-like area where they can educate people about the proud Mexican culture, the beautiful land, and a tradition that pre-dates the rednecks in south by hundreds of years.

    Finally, I have to make a distinction to Nicol3. There is a difference between Mexican and Hispanic/Spanish. The Spanish raped our lands and people. I am sure that everyone has he or her own person break point, but that is mine. Columbus did NOT discover America and my ancestors are NOT Hispanic. Once again, the Latino culture may be stronger in California, but being downgraded to “hispanic” is unacceptable.

  6. I can not belive how RACIST this place is. Redneck crackers .
    Hey Sterling and Aaron, I am talking to you. Just because you and your friends Biff, Skyler, Dakota, and Trace like it proves my oint.

    Try it in California, and you will get your %$%$ kicked.
    Your weak argument that should stay in the closet with your white hood !

    I also agree with Pedro, here in Northern California the Spanish Missionaries ie .Father Serra enslaved the Indians, just like Cortez did in Mexico.

    I live in Salinas California, John Steinbeck country, and I have never seen a quote unquote LAZY MEXICAN .

    Coming from a West Coast point of view, you frurther stereotype yourselves as inbred racist rednecks.

    Peace out

  7. i am Juan in a million. Q-Vole ? I say Pedroland needs me, an authentic Mexican.
    I want to be in charge of all the Rednecks, and I will service the Mujeres also.

    I do not mow lawns, wash windows, or do manual Labor. Mi primo es Manuel Labor though.

    I would like to close by saying..No Justice No Peace.

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