Menu

userImg showBgrSwitcher

Background by

userImg

Thanks!

Menu

The Story of Paul and Alice the Cooper

So there I was. The customs officer in front of me frantically waving a piece a yellow paper at me. Judging by the bulging vein in his neck he was about to explode. I had no idea what he was saying, but I was mesmerized by that rolling of the "R" that Argentinians do.

Rewind. My name is Paul and back in Munich I led a more or less normal life. Engineering degree all but sewn up, late twenties, good job prospects. Fast forward a few years and you might have expected to see me settled in an edge-of-town apartment with a patch of green, a solid desk job in a big corporation and a shiny blue estate car in the garage – everything perfectly arranged. But it all turned out differently, which is why I am writing now.

Alice the Cooper
Alice the Cooper: from online car mart to freight passage to Argentina

With graduation fast approaching, I suddenly had this idea. South America in a MINI. "Anyone can do it in a 4x4," I told my friends when they wanted to know why. I went right ahead and made a car freight booking on a ship from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. But when the shipping company asked me for the VIN number, I realized there was a slight problem. I hadn't actually bought the MINI at that point. But I had a clear idea of it in my mind. It would be red, because that suited South America best, a MINI Cooper and convertible (it’s that much wilder and you get to see a lot more with the top down). And then, finally, I found it, online. Amazing condition despite the high mileage. I was in love after the first test drive. But I couldn't take it away with me right then and there. "I need to keep the car another 2 weeks," I was told by the seller. Hmmm, that's going to be tight with the shipping deadline.

Alice the Cooper
Colourful mixture: impressions of Argentina’s capital from street artists to sport and traffic jams

Two weeks later: "Will we make it to the port by 8?" My mate didn't respond to my question. For about the last hour he had been sitting behind the wheel with a slightly scary grin and no intention of budging from the fast lane. "115 mph! And we're not flat out yet!" This was something of a turnaround for someone who until then had considered anything over 60 reckless boy-racer behavior. We made it. My MINI was loaded onto the ship at the very last minute. The journey was about to begin.

Alice the Cooper
Checkout queue: open top invites a sales pitch at every stop light

So there I was. Who would have thought that the adventure would start with this Argentinian official – or even end with him before it had actually got going. He was still waving the yellow document about. And then luckily along came Gabi, my customs broker. After she had greeted him with a kiss and then handed him the missing papers, he seemed to calm down like an unruly pet dog brought to heel by a treat from its mistress.

Alice the Cooper
Buenos Aires: a vast metropolis with impressive architecture, lots of dogs and quite a few MINIs
Alice the Cooper
American graffiti: German globetrotters’ car in Buenos Aires bears the signature of its travels

I drove away and was immediately stuck in a log-jam of lights. Rush hour in Buenos Aires. Two and a half hours and several litres of sweat later I finally completed the 10-kilometre drive to my friend Pablo's house. That first excursion in my MINI in South America had completely wiped me out. Pablo knew the cure and fetched out a large bottle of whisky from behind a cupboard. Before I went to bed, I paced around the car once more. Unbelievable, but we were there. Ahead of us lay many, many miles of tarmac, plenty of tricky twists and turns and breathtaking landscapes – ample material for the adventure of our lives. "See you bright and early." I said to my MINI as I patted it on the boot and headed off to bed.

Stay tuned for the rest of the South American road trip story…

Share

facebook
googlePlus
pinterest
stumbleUpon
E-Mail
seperate multiple email addresses with a comma

Comments (4)

Yorman Arley Giraldo O

posted by Yorman Arley Giraldo O | 06/17/2012 01:44 pm

Muy agradabele tu historia, me ha dejado una gran sonrisa. Saludos desde Colombia. Yo también amo a MINI.

Marcos Vicente Reis Junior

posted by Marcos Vicente Reis Junior | 05/23/2012 01:02 pm

this german guy knows how to live... =)

OriginalCrazyhH

posted by OriginalCrazyhH | 05/23/2012 11:40 am

Love this story and cannot wait to hear more on the journey... As I drive to work today (in my red convertable Cooper S with top down) will be thinking of Paul cruising where no Mini has been before....

Jordi Batlle Suñé

posted by Jordi Batlle Suñé | 05/23/2012 11:18 am

Very crazy and interesting adventure. Wish you the best, dude! :)

MINI Space Mixtape: Tracks for a Leisurely Late Summer

September 29, 2014
MINI Space Mixtape: Tracks for a Leisurely Late Summer

Sit back and watch the sun sink below the horizon with these six tracks to herald the arrival of autumn.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Behind the Scenes of the Future of Mobility

October 07, 2014
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Behind the Scenes of the Future of Mobility

As the designers prepared for the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers Exhibition, step into their studios and watch them working at the frontier of design, technology and innovation in mobility.

The MINI International Vol. 42

MINI Me: Go Your Own Way

October 02, 2014
The MINI International Vol. 42 MINI Me: Go Your Own Way

Meet the owners of four creatively customised MINI models - powered by personality as much as by petrol.

Next on Your Itinerary: A MINI Romp Through Historic Southern England

September 26, 2014
Next on Your Itinerary: A MINI Romp Through Historic Southern England

If you're looking for a journey worth replicating, read up on some of Britain's most beautiful counties, put them in your sat nav and hit the road.

The MINI International Vol. 42

Motorama: Two of a Kind

October 02, 2014
The MINI International Vol. 42 Motorama: Two of a Kind

They have been popular for years but are now more desirable than ever: the new MINI Paceman and the new MINI Countryman.

In Search of Surf: MINI Countryman Outruns the Storm in New Zealand

October 23, 2014
In Search of Surf: MINI Countryman Outruns the Storm in New Zealand

New Zealand offers rally-like roads and world-class surf spots - perfect conditions to take the MINI Countryman and a pair of top-notch Channel Islands surfboards out for a spin.