My Mercedes Is Not for Sale
From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou : An Auto-misadventure Across the SaharaBook - 2008
“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”
A journalist’s intrepid endeavor to sell his used car abroad results in a high-spirited and revealing look at West Africa.
“Look, there’s my car,” I say, pointing at my Mercedes in the parking lot.
“Where?” a fellow desert traveler asks.
“There, that Mercedes,” I say.
He looks at me, questioning. “You want to drive that through the Sahara?”
Jeroen van Bergeijk came up with what seemed like a great scheme for making a quick profit: buy a clunker of a car in his native Amsterdam and resell it in the Third World, where a market even for jalopies still thrives. His chariot of choice is a rusted-out 1988 Mercedes 190D with 220,000 kilometers on its odometer; his route will take him from Holland through Morocco, across the Sahara, and into some of the least trodden parts of Africa.
My Mercedes Is Not for Sale is a rollicking tale of an innocent abroad. The author finds himself facing a driving challenge akin to the Dakar Rally but encounters obstacles never dreamed of by race-car drivers: active minefields, occasional banditry—mostly by the border guards—and a teenage, chain-smoking desert guide with a fondness for Tupac lyrics. Food and water are scarce, sandstorms are frequent, and all he has to patch up his many car breakdowns thousands of miles from civilization is a bar of soap, some duct tape, and a pair of women’s nylons. Then there’s the coup he survived.
My Mercedes Is Not for Sale captures more than the adventure—it vividly portrays the impact of globalization on Africa through a surprise-filled journey into its thriving car culture, while asking the question: is the white man’s burden really a used car?
Baker & Taylor
An Amsterdam-based journalist describes his rollicking adventures and misadventures as he journeys through Africa in the hopes of selling his dilapidated, used car in the Third World; chronicles his odyssey from Holland into some of Africa's most remote areas; and details his encounters with minefields, bandits, colorful desert guides, and a coup along the way. Original. 25,000 first printing.