tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN April 15, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
>> anthony: after nine days of threats of imprisonment, confiscation of footage, and what was the most chaotic, difficult, yet amazing trip of my life, the last thing that stands between us and our flight home is the reason we came, the congo river itself. >> crew member 1: a un truck just said he's been here since this morning. >> crew member 2: i'm going to tell him straight, i've been held up for days. >> crew member 3: what's up, freddy? >> crew member 3: they're starting the engine. awesome. it just broke down again. yeah. >> crew member 4: we now have one hour of daylight left. >> crew member 3: okay, great. here he comes, yeah. >> anthony: you learn quickly. in congo, things change in a moment's notice.
welcome to the jungle. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha la la la la sha la la la la la ♪ ♪ sha la la la la sha la la la la la la ♪ ♪ >> anthony: everyone gets everything he wants. i wanted to see the congo, and
for my sins, they let me. ♪ in "heart of darkness," joseph conrad writes of his alter ego, "when i was a little chap, i had a passion for maps. at that time, there were many blank spaces on earth. but there was one yet, the biggest, the most blank that i had a hankering after." this, then, is the congo. the size of all western europe combined. it should be africa's wealthiest nation. but people forget, or never even knew, that the 20th century's first holocaust happened here when belgium's king leopold managed to bamboozle the world into giving him the personal title to the congo.
leopold's agents, of whom the mythical kurtz was one, raided, slaughtered, mutilated, and pressed into forced labor much of the population in a blood thirsty quest for first ivory, and then rubber. when independence finally came, the belgians trashed what they could and left behind a completely unprepared, tribally divided and largely ungovernable land mass filled with stuff that everybody in the world wanted. and things pretty much went downhill from there. ♪
>> anthony: but this story begins with a truck stop in rwanda. we're stocking up in rwanda because my expectations for food in the congo are more measured. ♪ if you're looking to get to the eastern congo, and many would ask why you'd even want to do that, the best way is to drive across from neighboring rwanda. this country, of course, not too long ago suffered its own appalling genocide. behind the wheel, dan. he's been living in the drc for two years working on a
documentary about some of the several dozen rebel groups in the country. riding shotgun, dan's close friend and associate horeb, a congolese. they're taking me across the border. one side, rwanda, hotels, paved roads, internet and paperwork to be filled out. just a few feet of barbed wire, machine guns, and cement walls away, this. welcome to goma.
a city of 1 million, a significant number of whom are idps, internally displaced people, sitting, rather inconveniently, as the base of mount nyiragongo, a still smoldering volcano. current street level is about 12 feet above where it was in january 2002 when it last erupted. lava everywhere, which explains the less than smooth ride. one of the first things you notice out the car window -- the un. about four months ago, the m23, one of the various rebel groups holed up in the jungle nearby, invaded the city. the ngos battened down the hatches. the un stood by, hands tied. everyone else had to fend for themselves until the rebels withdrew. the congo is a place i've dreamed of visiting since before i ever thought i'd get the chance to travel the world.
actually being here, i'm not so sure. ♪ dan, horeb and i head for a local restaurant. good food is going to be a challenge soon, so we take the opportunity to fill up on what we can. grilled chicken, ugali, piri piri pepper. a pretty nice meal. >> dan: goma in the '50s, you know, tourists used to come from as far down as rhodesia up here to vacation. >> anthony: they're not coming anymore? >> dan: no. >> anthony: no? you're just saying no? >> dan: it's a red zone. >> anthony: it's looking like there won't be house to house fighting or artillery or mortars dropping into goma. was today a good day?
>> dan: well, right now we have a rebel group just 10 kilometers north of us. >> anthony: right. >> dan: and then, we have, uh, maybe seven other rebel groups that are all caught in the blender, you know? so -- >> anthony: confused yet? virtually all of the eastern part of the country is being contested by rebel groups, some local, and others, allegedly acting on behalf of interests based in neighboring countries. recently, the largely tutsi rwandan backed m23 has been active in the area around goma. but the mostly hutu fdlr is also here. the maimai can refer to either somewhat generic local self-defense groups or specific entities like apcls or shaka. some groups, like the frpi, are principally defending a stake in a resource like gold. and others, like the raïa mutomboki, are mainly interested in fighting with a particular enemy. in their case, they have a beef with the fdlr. and lots of other organizations controlling territory who
haven't come up with a name or a cool acronym yet. this is only a fraction of the rebel groups in a single area of the congo. and be advised, this map was hopelessly outdated before we even got here. >> dan: it's, uh, all these variables kind of knotted into one big mess. and these are the reasons why media has a difficult time, and why the western world doesn't hear much about congo, because how can you sum it up in a three-minute report? >> anthony: but for us, goma is just a stopover on the way to the congo river. so we need to keep moving. and roads, forget it. certainly nothing even remotely safe between goma and where we're headed. we're flying to kisangani. this is -- this is the preferred route. so we've chartered a bush plane, formerly queen elizabeth's flying wardrobe. when the queen traveled, presumably in her younger years, her clothes followed in this beast, or so we're told.
i have not seen this model of plane before. it's a first for me. of course, you'll learn to take nothing for granted in the congo. [ thunder crash ] uh oh. just as we're about to take off, thunder, lightning. >> dan: i don't see what the problem is. the weather looks fine to me. >> anthony: let's get this thing airborne. [ thunder crash ] wow, nice. best to wait this one out a little bit. crashes are pretty commonplace. not so long ago, a plane with nearly 100 people on board went down on the same route we're taking today. >> dan: well, most planes that crash in congo crash because of the weather, right? >> pilot 1: yeah, most of the time, yeah, but -- >> anthony: not us. don't worry. [ laughter ] >> dan: impossible, man. >> anthony: the weather clears up, sort of, so we decide to give it a go. >> airport employee: when the weather is very bad, stay on the ground. >> dan: what about rebels?
they're shooting at the planes? >> airport employee: no, normally, no. [ laughter ] okay, we'll see you after, after your trip. >> dan: yeah, yeah, yeah. >> airport employee: okay, have a good one. >> anthony: lifting off from goma, we head out over the shores of lake kivu before circling back north, northeast. our destination, what conrad referred to in "heart of darkness" as the inner station. here, surrounded by dense jungle, lies our rendezvous with the congo river, a waterway responsible for both building this country and helping to destroy it. so much lobster, so little time. at red lobster's lobsterfest any of these 9 lobster dishes could be yours.
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♪ >> anthony: two hours out of goma, we land at kisangani. ♪ this was once stanleyville, and the country's second largest city before war and neglect cut it off from the rest of the congo and the world. stanleyville, known in "heart of darkness" as the inner station. ♪ the congo river stretches across the country's middle. conrad describes it as a twisting snake with its head in the atlantic ocean and its tail buried deep in africa's heart.
to europeans, it was a natural route to transport slaves, ivory, rubber, minerals. the commodities upon which modern-day brussels and antwerp are built. for the congolese, both before and after the belgians, it provided more basic things. water, to wash, to clean your clothes in, to cook with, to drink. also, fishing. since long before the expeditions of dr. livingstone and henry morton stanley, the wagenia tribe has been fishing the river in unique fashion. ♪ highly coordinated and acrobatic, the wagenia dive into the treacherous rapids of what is still referred to as stanley falls. navigate downstream between baskets that need tending.
perched on a precarious network of wooden poles, they hoist together. the catch these days? not much. >> anthony: oh yeah? >> ogi: yeah. >> anthony: ogi is a wagenia fisherman, and was a guide, bringing tourists to his village. since the last two wars, kisangani tourism has been pretty much nonexistent. chief of the wagenia, pierre mosala abeka, it is said, is a direct descendant of a king, who greeted stanley in the 1870s. please, uh, please thank him for the privilege of, uh, seeing his community. [ speaking foreign language ]
it's a present from the chief. >> anthony: the wagenia tribe made what was in retrospect, the mistake of allowing stanley to pass. the famous explorer, of course, pretty much shot and raided his way along his historic route to the coast before effectively jumpstarting the colonial period. ♪ using stanley as administrator, king leopold of belgium claimed the congo as his personal property. under leopold's reign, men, women and children were tagged with numbers, separated into groups, given production quotas. if they fell short, they were whipped with the chicotte, their hands cut off, hanged. an estimated 10 million congolese were either starved,
worked to death, executed, or just killed where they stood, all in just over 20 years. by the end, half the population of the country was gone. have you ever thought about all those years ago, if your people had just killed stanley? >> anthony: somebody else would have come. ordinarily, a large tiger fish like this one, it's going to the market, considered way too valuable to eat. but today, guests. it's a mean looking fish. >> ogi: she used to sell fish in the market. >> anthony: the congolese standard, limboke. it can be pretty much anything wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. >> ogi: a typical tradition. >> anthony: excellent meal.
>> pierre: yeah. ♪ >> anthony: a lot of work. well, it looks like they're not having an entirely miserable time with it. that water looks good. on a good day, how many like this? >> anthony: 50? >> ogi: yeah, 50. >> anthony: right, hundreds of them used to come, yes? >> ogi: oh yeah. >> anthony: well, things get a little better here, maybe they'll come back. >> ogi: i hope so. >> anthony: i hope so, too. ♪
after leopold, the belgian government took over and pretty much continued as before. an apartheid-like system of what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. by the '50s, there was a beautiful modern infrastructure built, railroads, hotels, sports clubs, schools, the envy of africa. humphrey bogart and katherine hepburn were here while filming "the african queen." they stayed at the luxury hotel, the pourquoi pas. this is the pourquoi pas now. like everything else of that time, a hollow ruin inhabited by squatters or simply eaten by the jungle. but none of this was ever for the congolese. they weren't allowed in any of these buildings, except as help. not even allowed to walk their own streets after dark.
not a lot of dependable electric power left in the city, but what lights do glow around town, much of it comes from places like this, small kiosks serving the congolese version of barbeque, and what passes for cold beer. christian is one of our fixers, tasked with keeping us on track and out of trouble. which, believe me, is a big job around here. you know, it's an amazing looking city. if you just blur your vision a little bit, you can see it in the way it used to be. >> christian: beautiful. i think it, it could be the, the best place to live. very kind people. people like listening to music, sitting, taking their beers, eating. >> anthony: what's the congolese word for barbeque? >> christian: uh, barbeque. [ laughter ] >> anthony: cheers. >> christian: cheers. >> anthony: i like any meat on a grill.
this'll be good. grilled goat with cabrit, a traditional goat stew on the side. now we're talking. >> christian: they roast it and then they put some sauce on it. >> anthony: it's delicious. >> christian: as you can see, people don't eat meat. meat is quite expensive. it's almost $2, which is -- >> anthony: which is a lot. yeah, it's more than most people make in a day or even two days. what are the first things you buy, if you're very, very, very poor? >> christian: very poor, soap. >> anthony: soap? >> christian: yeah, because you have to look a bit clean. >> anthony: so soap first? soap? >> christian: first soap. but in between as congolese, you've got to think of dressing, looking smart, clothes. all these congolese you can see -- >> anthony: right. >> christian: if you give them $10, they will think of at least buying soap or food and keep maybe $1 to buy a shirt. >> anthony: so that's called pride. >> christian: yeah. and there is hope. >> anthony: you can plan for tomorrow. >> christian: for tomorrow.
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>> anthony: in "heart of darkness", conrad writes about the greed of the belgian colonizers. they grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. it was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale. and after 75 years, the congolese had had enough. but independence came quickly, and when the new country managed to inaugurate their first democratically-elected leader, patrice lumumba, the cia and the british, working through the belgians, had him killed. we helped to install this miserable bastard in his place,
joseph mobutu. he stole billions of dollars from his people, and pretty much became the template for despotism in africa. needless to say, the situation deteriorated over the next 30 odd years, and by the time mobutu was done, the congo was mired in a series of civil wars, the government was no longer paying its bills, and the trains basically stopped running. this is kisangani station. ♪ there is one short run left, service once a week, when operational, which isn't often, i'm guessing. abandoned by the belgians. shot up and stripped by rebels in the '90s. the station, the engines, the
ancient passenger cars, and the tracks themselves have slowly receded into the jungle. [ metal pounding ] and yet all these years later, with hardly any resources, monsieur aloub emile, the railway administrator, and a staff of clerks, conductors, mechanics and engineers show up at work and do what they can in an attempt to keep things in working order. how do you do? >> christian: he said that you're welcome to see this place. >> anthony: how many employees, still work here?
so at one time you could dispatch a freight to south africa? so, a hypothetical question. if the government said, "okay, we're ready. we have the money. we would like to, as quickly as possible, get operational." does he have the workers ready to go? and this is one of the few things here that's working today. a feature of great pride to the staff. the railway employees, i'm told,
do not get paid, yet they continue to show up and work. [ engine revving ] ♪ >> anthony: it is said, of the building of the country's once vast rail network, one congolese died for every single tie. like many congolese we meet, they are all these years later, and in spite of everything that's happened, ready and waiting for the situation to improve.
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>> anthony: "you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, 'til you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once." so conrad described the congo after piloting steam ships in the early days of belgian colonialism. i've had something of a multi-decade obsession with the congo. it's been kind of a, a personal dream, if you will, to travel the congo river. and now, for better or worse, i get that chance. we've rented a trusty vessel, and i shall dub thee the captain willard. all right, did you maggots load the chickens? finding food along the way, it's anticipated, will be a challenge. refrigeration of any kind is impossible. okay. well, i'm psyched. my dream has finally come true. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> anthony: blocked by officials? this could be months. okay. let the probing begin. [ speaking foreign language ] >> dan: we need this boat to move here now. how do we do this? >> anthony: let's get underway before they figure a new tax to levy on us. >> people: bye. bye, bye. ♪ >> anthony: our trip downriver will take us some 120 kilometers even deeper into the jungle. but instead of kurtz and his ivory horde, a crumbling belgian research center with a shadowy past awaits us at our destination. this is a turn of the century map, so kisangani was then called stanleyville. leopoldville, that would be here.
>> dan: well, it's 3,000 kilometers or something like that. >> anthony: we have a long way to go if we're taking the full ride. >> dan: that's what we're doing, right? >> anthony: all the way to the atlantic? >> dan: you didn't tell them yet? >> anthony: i don't think we have enough spam, gentlemen. a half day's journey downriver, there's a local dignitary we've promised to visit. we arrive, late, but the king is still waiting for us, traditional head gear, not so traditional suit. the medals, given by the belgians, proving his royal lineage. ♪
>> horeb: uh, this place belongs to the bambole ethnic group. >> anthony: and he is the king? >> horeb: my father ruled from 1928 and i come after him in 1963. >> anthony: that's a lot of history. incredible. we give him a goat as a way of saying i'm sorry for being so late, and sorry we can't stay longer. and he gives me a simple, yet hefty looking bracelet, which only later do i come to appreciate for what it is. now horeb told me this goes back to, uh, arab, portuguese times. it was arabs who taught them how to do this, so they wear them on their wrists and their ankles.
this is older than our story probably. the chief said, uh, his father gave it to him in 1935. so, who knows, man, wow. so, where'd you get the bracelet? oh, an african king gave it to me, the congo river. where'd you get yours? we've come a long way down river, but with many kilometers still to go, attention is turned towards the evening meal. i figure i'll make coq au vin, which is a pretty simple way of dealing with a bunch of tough, old, stringy birds in one pot. getting close to killy time. the moment of truth. it's quickly getting dark and i'm very aware of a number of things. how do they usually kill chickens? >> dan: a small knife. >> anthony: a small knife, cut the head off? >> dan: a small knife. >> anthony: our chickens are thin, straggly, and tough. >> dan: ah, he's biting me. >> anthony: in order to make anything, any kind of edible, i'm probably going to have to
stew the crap out of them. but first, we gotta kill these things and collect their blood, which if you know anything about chickens, and most of my crew don't, takes time. i'll hold the bucket, you kill the chicken. you want to eat? you gotta kill your own chicken and pluck it, too. time to get killy, killy. but every man has a breaking point. and in retrospect, perhaps, this was ours. >> dan: saw harder. >> anthony: harder, harder, you're almost through now. >> man: i'm not. >> dan: you're killing him. >> man: it's stuck. >> dan: clean kill, clean kill. >> anthony: now he can join our tree house. by the time our birds are cleaned and plucked, the sun is down and dinner is still a long way off. ♪ we got the chickens it's time to kill chickens ♪
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it's getting darker and darker and the damn generator keeps kicking up. and i really need a light so i can see what i'm cutting. i can't cut what i can't see. >> crew member: well, there's three light bulbs out right now. >> crew member: there's only 240 watts. there's no way it's, it's the draw. >> anthony: they're not going to eat at all. i'm never going to get through with this knife. >> crew member: would you like machete? >> anthony: no, maybe we should figure out how to cook dinner, unless you don't want to eat any dinner because we are really not going to eat any dinner tonight. okay. i've had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and i would like to eat, especially as we have gone through all of this misery with these chickens. all right, uh, where's the machete? it would be apropos to point out that we do not want to be moving at night. we would not like to run aground in the middle of the freaking congo. >> crew member: he's going to swim in now. >> crew member: he's worried about crocs? >> crew member: i can't see any.
>> anthony: the current's unpredictable, visibility, nil. time to tie up for the night. >> anthony: generator issues, more or less fixed, but now, another just as serious problem presents itself. with the lights burning, it becomes insanely buggy. crush the wrong one of these moths while swatting your face and you will blow up like a balloon, seriously. okay, take the other two bottles of wine and pour all three bottles of wine into the, into the onions. all right. let's, uh, put the top on, bring it up to a boil. three hours later, and it looks like the jungle style stew might actually work out after all. okay, someone wants to bring this over carefully to the table? all right. let's eat.
>> crew member: bon appétit. >> anthony: bon appétit. in the end, my coq au vin was a bit scraggly, but passable. it is written that i should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice. i think i now understand what that means. ♪ the next morning on the river, and of course, we're not alone. fishermen from all the surrounding villages have heard of us and have, long before we're even awake, come by to check us out.
hey, uh, you ever find a couple of onions for me? don't go crazy. if we don't have, we don't have. >> dan: i will not go crazy. >> anthony: all right, i will get on the spam and egg patrol. we may have invented the stealth bomber, really this will be our crowning accomplishment as a culture. >> once we finally get there. we still have to go all the way back. >> coming back was never part of the plan, man. we're never coming back. >> they'll find us make the in the bush with a necklace of spam cans. that was glorious. time get back out on the river. we have places to go. two days down the congo we're finally nearing our destination.
>> it's an abandoned belgian research station and it's still functioning in some capacity. it's about 30 kilometers in. over 250 buildings. a they're doing it all here. >> much myth and legend surrounds this place. oh, there we go. it has been inferred by some that belgians conducted uranium enrichment and a host of bazar experiments here. however, the facts would suggest the scariest thing to ever happen here some genetically modified banana vuritles. and pull up a seat to the table. that's why she takes the time to season her turkey to perfection,
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with independence began a rapid decline. the eventual cessation of funding. of the hundreds of structures built here what used to be housing, laboratories, hospitals and research facilities, the vast complexes library is clearly the most important to those who remain. though crumbling like everything else, the grass is cut and grounds maintained. rilt it's swept and kept clean and most incredibly this man still fights a daily bat tool stave off firthder cay for the volume ofs of books and research mat materi materials. did people to continue to do vesearch? >> there's new stuff.
>> for those that have been there for long, they get an alouns from the government. >> what happens here? so the those who remain, their mission all these years later has been to preserve the pat ramony that existed. >> all this was state of the art in the '50s when the library was built. but for 20 years there hasn't been electricity to run the dehumidifiers to keep out the damp. he has maintained this facility to an extraordinary degree.
why? >> staff still show up to work and organize, catalogue and write requests for funding. perhaps a central office where someone may or may not ever respond. he was here preindependence, yes? does he remember the belgian rule? >> horeb: oh yeah, he remember, he remembers the, that period of colonial life, colonialists, that, that was the good, the best time that they were living. [ speaking foreign language ] >> anthony: what do you say to
someone who suggests that belgian colonialism might have been the good times? ♪ the road home, such as it is. rotting bridges, makeshift ferries, it's an adventure. fortunately, ours was a good adventure. the congo is a place that's always fascinated me. this is a trip i've been wanting to take since i've been writing stories or making television. but what i found was something unexpected. i met a lot of people who, for a long time, have been waiting, hoping for things to get better. a lot more hope here than there's any right to expect.