Saturday, 2 May 2015

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

The car I learned to drive in was more of a ship than a car. I steered a ship on the road, not some plastic sardine box. The old white Merc 190 from the late 80s was my great-uncle's car, which my father had bought off him somewhere when we were living in Geneva. The car traveled with us to Mexico, and then was placed in a container and shipped back to South Africa, full of cases of red wine if I remember correctly.

The problem with this is that the Mercedes is a left-hand drive, and South Africa has right-hand drive cars. So any time the driver would have to turn right, seeing the oncoming traffic was made harder than necessary. Before the white Mercedes there was the blue station wagon, also a Mercedes, and much more of a ship to steer than the 190. It was a solid steel block, relentless in its stability. Someone clipped the station wagon while my sister was waiting at a robot and she barely felt it (probably an exaggeration, but I quite like the idea of her not noticing she is in a car accident).

Beyond these two cars there was another green Merc somewhere in the dark recesses of my childhood memories. My father still drives a silver Merc station wagon, and the white ship was my ride in Cape Town during last year's holidays. Somehow, we have remained fairly loyal to the brand.

Sticking with the horse. 
In Stuttgart, we had the option of going to the Mercedes Benz Museum or to the Porsche one. Since Mercedes has an older history, we headed there on Wednesday morning. The percentage of Mercedes cars increases exponentially the closer one gets to the imposing building that hosts the museum. The idea is to start at the top and then spiral one's way down automobile and world history whilst also seeing the various cars from different eras. Nina and I are both not car obsessed and I think one could spend a lot longer in the museum than we did. It is beautifully done, but after having spent two hours on the top three floors alone we speedwalked through the remaining six levels. In any case, the classic cars seemed more appealing due to their Great-Gatsby looks than the ones that appear from the 1970s onwards.

First patent. 

In the end we got slightly lost on the sales floor (where no one tried to sell us a car, wonder why) before eventually having to go up two floors again to escape the gigantic museum. Next time I might stick to art again.

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