You know, dear reader, that I spend lots of time looking for books that might inspire, amuse or educate you. My Mercedes is Not for Sale by Jeroen van Bergeijk is one of those books that I hope will do all of the above but will probably also have the dubious additions of filling you with fear, irritation and a dose of shock.
Let’s make one thing clear. I am not saying that Jeroen’s book is irritating, but his travels present him with people who I at least would love to smack. It’s an edgy adventure so it was on the cards that he would encounter the seedy sorts… and he did, at almost every turn.
It’s compelling reading that will keep you turning the pages. The plan is to buy an old Mercedes in Amsterdam and resell it in a far-off African state. To this end our hero finds a 1988 Mercedes 190 D (this will mean something to some of you) with 220,000 km on the clock (probably one lady owner who only used it to go to church?). His trip takes him from the relative safety of Holland through Morocco and across the Sahara.
If you consider travelling to the less civilised African countries then I suggest you arm yourself with this book. You can start to read it on the flight over and finish it on the next flight back! Second-hand cars are big business in Africa and there is indeed money to be made but you will have to bear in mind that you’ll be keeping company with guys that would cut your throat for thrupence. It’s a game for the strong and savvy. If Jeroen had been either of those he would have had a less “exciting” trip.
This is a rollicking read and a real Boys’ Own adventure of danger, privation and sandstorms that scour the paint off your car quicker than you can say illegal drugs… Oh, I forgot to mention drug smuggling!
My Mercedes is Not for Sale
Author: Jeroen van Bergeijk
Published by: Nicholas Brealey
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018