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My Mercedes Is Not for Sale My Mercedes Is Not for Sale My Mercedes Is Not for Sale

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  41 reviews
""Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?"
"-Janis Joplin
A journalist's intrepid endeavor to sell hisused 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 t
ebook, 240 pages
Published July 15th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published April 13th 2006)
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I have read other Sahara/travel books and enjoyed them, so I picked this up. I gave up because the style didn't engage me, and the writer seemed to be stalling for time, dragging out the opening. First, a long summary of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," apparently connected to how he views his car, then a long description of his trip to the Mercedes factory in Bremen. At that point I gave up.
I liked this quite well - the Dutch author's laconic narrative was fine for me, although it might drag for some folks. He intersperses a bit of history of the Mercedes and the previous owners of the aging D-190 that he is driving to sell in Burkina Faso, but not such that it detracts from the main narrative. And really, there is something funny about how some countries are associated with particular used car makes - a New York Times article in the last few days talks about the popularity of Toyo ...more
Afrikaanse Toestanden
Vooral de ondertitel van de Engelstalige editie van Jeroen van Bergeijk’s Mijn Mercedes is niet te koop (From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou.. An Auto-Misadventure Across the Sahara) doet een doldwaas avontuur vermoeden. Dat blijkt bij lezing wel mee te vallen. Dat komt vooral omdat Van Bergeijk niet eens zo heel diep van binnen niet de avonturier is die hij stiekem wel graag zou willen zijn.

Waarom met een oude Mercedes dwars door de Sahara rijden als je niet geplaagd wordt door avonturendrang? In het
I'll file this one under the genre of "Questionable Travel Narratives". It's a breezy and quick read...provocative on a number of worthy points ("Africa" as something writ large for non-Africans), the unintended consequences of global trade, Western (and now increasingly Eastern) consumerism, NGOs and the rise of the "African Internship as Resume Line For Sale" industry, meditations on 'time' and 'waiting' as they relate to travel and especially non-Africans traveling/navigating/negotiating thei ...more
There's a certain breed of travelogue I enjoy, in which some intrepid person sets out on an outlandish adventure that I would never take myself, but am eager to experience from the armchair. This book, about a Dutchman who drives a Mercedes from Amsterdam to Benin to sell it, fits my parameters perfectly. It's a short and sweet detailing of the trials and tribulations involved (none of which should be surprising, from the con-artist guides, to the bribe-demanding border guards, to the inevitable ...more
This book meanders for a while, taking up nearly its entire length before the stories become interesting. It reads like a not-all-that-exciting magazine article that has been stretched by 190 pages, full of summaries of better books, until the very end when the stories finally become interesting and the portraits of the places begin to feel fleshed out.

The problem is that Jeroen Van Bergeijk is a jerk. He is easily duped by a few con artists and so becomes bitter about the experience, making mil
Since I'm home all day with three preschoolers, I'm looking for books that allow me to travel - not just fantasy literature, but authors who have really traveled somewhere interesting in our world today. This book is more than a travel adventure, as the author has some good insight into how to really "help" the developed world. He points out that he has no scruples about the trade in used cars. He drives his 1988 Mercedes Benz from Holland, through the Sahara and down through several more Africa ...more
I like travelogues, so I liked this one to but just a little. I can't really put my finger on why I didn't really liked it. Maybe it had something to do with the recurring references to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, although I'm currently reading that book as well and I like it... I just don't need to read that book through someone else his eyes... Maybe it had something to do with the tone of voice... Maybe... well I don't know. It could only engage me for a ...more
This was a brief but entertaining read. The author buys a used Mercedes to drive from Europe to West Africa...don't forget that the Sahara desert is smack in the middle of that journey!

Van Bergeijk is not the first to take this type of trip nor will he be the last; his account is engaging though not ground-breaking as he weaves in history of others' journeys, the provinence of his particular used car and tales of his missteps along the way.

We'd rather be an armchair traveler on this kind of adve
Book club book for March.

As the two-star rating should tell you: it was OK. Something about the tone/voice left me cold. I felt like I still didn't know the author very well even after being "with" him on the road for three months. And it seemed like he didn't meet very many nice people or have many positive experiences.

But he does give a pretty good picture of West Africa from a foreigner's point of view. It was fun to read his perspectives on Bamako, Ouagadougou, and Dakar, all places I've b
A Dutch guy drives from The Netherlands through West Africa, in order to sell his car. I like travelogues, this one's modern and goes through a part of Africa I have only read about (he goes through the Western Sahara, where they shipwrecked in one of the books I read earlier this year). It's a little different from most of the ones I read, because instead of just wandered around, he had a specific purpose.

There's a little history, a little musing on development (only sanctimonious in a couple
Armchair traveling, for sure! A Dutchman describes his trip driving a 16 year old Mercedes from Amsterdam to Burkina Faso. Armchair traveling in that this is not something that I would ever attempt and the whole book is from a traveler's point of view--road conditions, border crossings, auto repairs, accommodations from a tent to an upscale hotel. Van Bergeijk throws in some tales of early trans Saharan travel, the background that he can find out about his car, and some of his own musings on Afr ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Amanda rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Boring people
Recommended to Amanda by: A misguided travel bookstore
I expected so much more from this story.

Think of the potential: A man, dragging a REALLY old piece o'junk Mercedes across the African desert in order to sell it for a profit. Very cool.

Instead, we get Van Bergeijk's bland account of what could be much more interesting. He gets stopped by border police all of the time, his car breaks down, he meets some very interesting characters doing the same thing that he is. However, he tells all of this in a flat, telling NOT showing sort of way.

I didn't ex
Fun, interesting, kept me flipping between the page I was currently reading and the map of West Africa at the beginning to track his journey. A nice complement to "Long Way Down" which I just finished. Two treks into Africa, accomplished in two totally different ways.
Loved the fairly truthful (I'm assuming...) assessment of the people he encountered along the way: the hardworking, the honest, the struggling, the lazy, the cheats, all of them.
Interesting read about some places I know well, though pretty superficial and full of stereotypes, especially of himself and the guys who take a gap year to drive from Europe to Africa, selling their car for more than it is worth to pay for their trip - no particular insights gained, though it is a bit curious that he went back again taking his family - not sure whether that meant his siblings and parents or his girlfriend and child.
I don't know why I can't get into this book. It has a moderately interesting topic and I am not a super fiesty book critic. I usually devour all literature. I have 25 pages left in this book and I WILL finish it tonight.
I do have to say that the way the author jumps around from past to present is a bit confusing. There is not a good transition between. Meh...
Short but interesting book about a man who decides to drive an older model Mercedes across north Africa to sell - not an uncommon trip, apparently. Learned quite a bit about the car trade in Europe and Africa, and about Africa itself. I love non-fiction like this - something I'll never experience myself, presented interestingly and thoughtfully.
Todd Tyrtle
Sometimes I want to read an introspective travel book where the author explores their own psyche as much as they explore the outside world. Other times, it's fun to just read about someone having interesting adventures in far away places. This book's a fine example of the latter category. A very light, quick read but also quite enjoyable.
Fun book - I like the spirit of adventure this author brings to his tale - he shares both his frustrations with his journey, but also with his "wish" for his journey, or his "dream" of what it should be like. Not sure I would try the same thing (the border crossings sound fairly sketchy for an inexperienced person).
Saskia Watson
I've been doubting between 2 and 3 stars, because of the bad after taste this book left. Even though I still would never want to venture into West Africa, I enjoyed his stories. I felt decived however when I learned at the end of the book that this wasn't one amazing journey, it was two; pieced together.
A man's diary of buying a very old Mercees and driving from Europe to West Central Africa. Apparently this happens more often than we would ever believe it would. It's a challenge to rive a car across the Sahara Desert and that's some of the allure.
Thoroughly enjoyable book about a Dutch man who buys a used Mercedes Benz and travels to Africa to sell it. He describes his 3 month adventure in West Africa and at the same time researches who the previous owners of his car were. Fun to read!!!
Interesting travel book. Things I liked: the travelogue across the Sahara, the historical accounts of Saharan explorers through the years, interwoven throughout. Things I didn't like: the profanity.
Pretty interesting journey. I only picked this up because this book was the only one available to me while on vacation, but it kept me entertained and I learned a lot about cars and Africa.
Although I wasn't all that interested in the author's secondary quest to track down the vehicle's previous owners, the main story of driving through Africa made for a good travel narrative.
Probably most interesting from the perspective of what happens to a great number of cars from Western Europe when they're 'used up'. Fun travel adventure to read about.
Not what I thought this would be... was expecting a little more humor, or a little more about the culture... still enjoyed the book, but not as great as I was hoping.
Sorry, but this book was not what it was cracked up to be and is a bunch of fabrication. It just makes me not want to ever visit West Africa.
Jon Miner
A great tale of a travel across Africa and the process of falling in love with a car and learning about yourself along the way.
Interesting. I wish there had been a little more about the economics of it all, which the author touches on at the end.
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Journalist / writer / publisher / documentary maker. Co-founder of Fosfor ( )
More about Jeroen van Bergeijk...
Goudkoorts of: Hoe ik dacht rijk te worden in de Australische outback U.S.1 Meer dan de feiten Goldfieber: Wie ich in Australiens Outback reich werden wollte U.S. 1 - Amerika na 11 september

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