Sunday, 26 June 2016

Review: It's on the Meter: One Taxi, Three Mates and 43,000 Miles of Misadventures around the World

It's on the Meter: One Taxi, Three Mates and 43,000 Miles of Misadventures around the World It's on the Meter: One Taxi, Three Mates and 43,000 Miles of Misadventures around the World by Paul Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like most great ideas, this started in a pub; why not drive the iconic London cab from Tower Bridge all the way to Sydney, just see how much it would ring up on the meter. After they sobered up, they still though it was a good idea, and this was why they found themselves clicking ‘buy’ on a cab not long after. If only they knew they just what they were letting themselves in for…

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. Ernest Hemingway

First though, their new vehicle needed prepping. It was given a full service, new tyres and a roof box were fitted. Leigh, the trip’s mechanic, welded in extra seats and he even decided to fit a winch, just in case. The decided to use the journey to raise money for the Red Cross and thought whilst they were there that it would be nice to set a world record as well. Their leaving day fast approached and Europe and the world beckoned.

They were intending on using the Couchsurfer website to find people to stay with on their trip, as well as pulling in favours from friends to make it as cheap a trip as possible, the days driving around Europe were a fun filled, alcohol fuelled blast. As they came closer to the Middle East and Iran, they suddenly realised that it was going to be a lot more dangerous. The people there were lovely, but they found that stopping to take photos in a restricted area was not the cleverest idea… However, that was a piece of cake compared to the journey through Pakistan where they were accompanied by armed guards. India next where they absorbed the sights and smells scared themselves witless on the roads and the acquired the odd bug or two. In Tibet and China they needed an official guide as their car was not Chinese registered, and so they collected Fred. It was a bit of a culture shock for him to be in the same car as three 20 year old English guys. After China came Laos and an opportunity to make their once in a lifetime trip even bigger.

This book is full of amusing anecdotes and occasionally some very scary moments. Remarkably, they managed to survive all the trials and tribulations of being stuck in a small car for over a year. The idea of taking random people they met as passengers was great, as they brought their own personalities to the trip was a great idea; some of them even joined the guys twice. I liked the way that the two authors wrote from their own perspectives, for me it works so much better that having a homogenised text. If you want an alternative travel book to read, you can’t go far wrong staring with this one.

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