revisiting the mecca of my childhood.
on wednesday i set out on a 900-mile road trip down the east coast. following 95 south from dc i passed into virignia, then north carolina, recalling the simlilarities and differences of this trip to florida. when i was young, my family traveled down to florida a few times a year – always making the familiar 15-hour drive down 95. these trips were so exciting to me – not just because of the destination (florida! grandma mary dot’s house! the beach! and of course, disney – the playground of my youth.) but also because i thoroughly enjoyed the journey. i loved watching all the passing cars, counting the miles, and marking down statistics: the time between stops, the price of gas, the number of miles in each state, even the number of times we heard certain popular songs on the radio. by and far the most memorable thing about the florida trip was south of the border – a crazy pit stop on the border of the carolinas full of strange statues, colorful restaurants and souvenir shops inspired by and devoted to all things mexcian. billboards begin advertising south of the border at least 150 miles away, and pop up every few miles with quirky messages like: “YOU NEVER SAUSAGE A PLACE!” and “CHILI TODAY, HOT TAMALE!” as well as plenty of pleas from pedro to stop for “free advice” and of course, fireworks.
south of the border, i discovered the other day, is both as fantastic and terrible as i remembered it. i loved getting out of the car (after 6 hours of driving) and exploring the eerie statues and brightly painted buildings – viva pedro!