Exotic Cities, Part Fourteen: Goma, Congo (DRC)
September 21, 2009
Hey, all you hot and horny singles! We’re going to party! We’re taking a trip to — wait for it — GOMA…CONGO! Bring your friends! If you don’t have any friends, you’ll make some when you get there.
Now, let’s be clear on which Congo we’re talking about, because there are two of them. We’re talking about the big one — the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The good old DRC. And any country that calls itself the Democratic Republic of whatever has got to be a great tourist destination. (Remember how much fun we had in North Korea? Scroll back to June 11 if you missed it.)
The other Congo is that little wiener country on the left that’s shaped like a turd. That one’s called the Republic of the Congo, or “Congo-Brazzaville,” which is only known for the song Brazzaville Teenager, written by Bruce Jay Friedman. It’s populated mainly by mincing fairies, not like the big black studs in the DRC, whose grandfathers stripped the rubber off trees with machetes way back when. These are the kind of men chicks go for. So it’s no surprise that loads of single women flock to the DRC to meet the sort of big, hard masculine men they can’t meet here in North America (we won’t count retarded Hispanics). And Goma is the magnet that draws them, because it’s always been known for its night life and singles scene.
An air-conditioned luxury bus will take you from Goma’s international airport to the front entrance of the Novotel Citygate Goma, managed by Rod Munro. Rod numbers among his friends such celebrities as Chris Brown, Ozzie Osbourne, Rachael Ray, Johnny Depp, Sen. John Edwards, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Federline, Venus Williams, John McEnroe, and Dr. Phil McGraw, all of whom have stayed at the Novotel. (Paul Bernardo also stayed here a long time ago, but he’s not a friend.) Rooms run from $275-$475 a night, but there are package deals available from several online travel websites. Many suites are decorated with romantic Valentine themes. Nicole Richie and Joel Madden spent a week in the most expensive suite and went through endless bottles of pink champagne and a mountain of caviar.
Rod was too busy to show me around, so he turned me over to his good friend Mutiat Titiola Olubi, who owns the DRC’s biggest magazine publishing company, Modern Congo, Ltd. Her stable of magazines includes Modern Congo Homemaker, Modern Congo Beauty and Fashion, Modern Congo Gardener, Modern Congo Single, Modern Congo Woman, Modern Congo Business, Modern Congo Health and Fitness, and Modern Congo Mercenary. Because of my reputation as the funniest living writer in the English language, “Muti,” as she prefers to be called, was only too happy to take some time off to be my tour guide. She enjoys the single life and the glamor of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city like Goma. “Kinshasa is bigger, but it’s dull. Goma is the happening place in the DRC.” And most of what is happening is in the district known as the Magumba Quarter, which reminds me of the Yonge Street strip in Toronto in the 70’s, before immigration turned it into a sewer of imbecility.
Did you know that Goma is the comedy capital of Africa? Bet you didn’t. The Magumba Quarter is famous for its comedy clubs, where up-and-coming stars hone their skills before moving on to the big clubs in North America and Europe. (What famous comic with initials C.R. has been hiding his Congo roots for years?) At the Club Ebola, we caught an act by Benjamin Okey Ahuama (don’t change that name!), who was hilarious. Here’s one of his jokes: Mike Tyson goes into a supermarket looking for rapeseed oil. He goes to the aisle with the cooking oils, where a stock girl is stocking shelves. He can’t find rapeseed oil, so he says to the girl, “Don’t you got no fuckin’ rapeseed?” The girl says, “I don’t even know what that is.” “You don’t know what rapeseed is?” “No,” says the girl. And Tyson says, “Bitch, I’m gonna show you what rapeseed is!” The crowd couldn’t stop laughing over that one! (Congo is the rapeseed capital of the world, so that’s why the joke works so well there. In the West we call rapeseed “canola” — I guess because we don’t like to call things by their proper names.)
Mike Tyson, by the way, is the biggest celebrity in the DRC, even though he’s never been there. He’s so popular they even renamed the Virunga National Park the Mike Tyson National Park. The park, which is not far from Goma, is the home of endangered mountain gorillas, and it has almost as many monkeys as Los Angeles. It is also the home of Murray, the Congo Wonder Dog, a cartoon character in a rare, collectible comic book by Robert Crumb .
A great place to eat in Goma is the Mkundu Restaurant, owned by Eustace Kwarko Adjepong, who is also the head chef. The specialty of the house is rapeseed-fried fish, served on a bed of rapini. Fresh fish is supplied daily from nearby Lake Kivu. Ratfish is very popular, as well as striped burrfish and cabezon. Congo truffles are also on the menu, and they are as good as the most expensive truffles from France.
The Magumba Quarter buzzes with activity all night with clubs catering to singles. The music is loud, the drinks are strong, and the women dress for sex. Wet t-shirt contests are the latest craze. (Girls Gone Wild will be putting out a video produced in Goma.) The college students from Kinshasa flock to Goma during spring break. The hottest club is Disco Mbwajike. You’ll see people lined up around the block to get in. (Dress like a pimp or a whore and slip the doorman a fiver, and you’ll get in a lot faster.) It’s a good place to score drugs, and the police never set foot in the place. The owner is Mpindi Mbunga, who has a cousin with the same name in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mbunga says that a lot of Congolese trace their ancestry back to America and should therefore be referred to as “Americo-Africans.”
Goma also has its own Oktoberfest (in October, of course), which is a bit of the old Belgian influence. (The DRC used to be a colony of Belgium, and don’t they wish they had it back!) The favorite beer is Leopoldbrau (in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, of course). Goma really swells with visitors during the Oktoberfest — especially visitors from Rwanda. Goma is right on the Rwandan border, and Rwandans love Goma for its night life, hot women, and great shopping.
Goma is right on the shore of Lake Kivu, and the lake is a great attraction for its natural beauty, clean water, fishing, and speedboat racing. The Lake Kivu speedboat races have become a big event, and ABC is planning to televise them. The current reigning champ is David Sunkwah Yeboah, who is sponsored by Castrol.
About 20 kilometers north of Goma is the majestic Nyiragongo Volcano, which is a great climb for an experienced climber. The volcano is active, however, and every few years it erupts and makes life interesting for people in Goma. The lava flows are picturesque, and if you’re a boomer, you go, “Oh, wow! Psychedelic!” And you put on a Ravi Shankar album and get stoned and watch the lava go by. And when it cools, you can go out and collect nice, fluffy pumice, which you can wash with and not pollute the environment with soapy chemicals. And then you can make carvings out of the pumice and sell them by the side of the road so you can live frugally in a commune and not have to conform and be a wage slave and pay taxes for the Evil War Machine. And if the lava destroys your little house, you just build another one and don’t get angry with Mother Nature, who is just doing her thing. The volcano is the result of the Congo tectonic plate subsiding into the Sub-Saharan tectonic plate, leading to a metamorphic fractal collusion. This phenomenon was illuminated poignantly in David McFadden’s book A Trip Around Lake Kivu (Coach House Press, 1990).
The Ebola River lends its name to lots of stores and businesses in Goma, such as Ebola Pizza, Ebola Escorts, Ebola Cinema, and the Ebola Candy Company, which is famous for its licorice women. Of course, when most people hear the name “Ebola,” they think of Ebola virus. And it’s true that the Ebola virus originated in the Ebola River region, but that’s more than 500 miles away from Goma, so there’s no need to worry. (Ebola virus got started by jigaboos fucking chimpanzees, but we shouldn’t criticize them, because white people have spread some diseases, too.)
Goma now has a “sister city” in Canada — Ottawa. Mayor Larry O’Brien loves the new arrangement. “We need some Congo people in Ottawa. We need their spiritual purity. We’ve got lawyers who can get them in as refugees. They’ll like it here,” he says. And he points out the similarities between the two cities. Both cities are on a border. Goma is right across the road from Gisenyi, Rwanda, and Ottawa is right across the river from Hull, Quebec. And, like Goma, Ottawa is the comedy capital of Canada. O’Brien’s wife, Colleen McBride, was actually born in the DRC, in the village of Bunia. The Mayor and his wife like to visit the DRC whenever they can. The Mayor finds some public official to have lunch with, he calls it official business, and Ottawa City Council pays for it.
Before I left, I had a nice dinner with Rod Munro, and we talked about the bad press the DRC has gotten and whether it’s a safe place for Americans to visit. “It’s safe,” he insists. “Americans have no problem here. However…there is one person who must never set foot in the DRC.” And who might that be? “Michael Moore. There’s a tribe here called the Jambazi, and they practice cannibalism, and they have a major cannibal hard-on for Michael Moore. I met their leader, Kuchigku Bunga. He told me, ‘We gonna cook and eat de big fat man Michael Moore. He feed de whole village.'” There’s no obvious explanation why the Jambazi have selected him. Maybe it’s just the way he looks. They just want to eat him. According to Munro, the Jambazi have a plan to lure Michael Moore to the Congo on some pretext of doing a documentary. And once he’s in their clutches, he’s dinner. Well, I, for one, would not be sorry.
Recommended vaccinations: elephantiasis, leptospirosis, Forbes Disease.
Copyright@ 2009 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada. E-mail: email@example.com