COMMON COURTESIES AND LOCAL CUSTOMS : This is a Belgian territory with European customs. It is customary to shake hands when you meet someone or say good-by. In better restaurants it is customary for men to wear coats and ties in spite of the heat.
COMMUNICATIONS : Wireless cable and telephone connection via Brussels to the U.S. The airmail rate for postal cards and letters to the U.S. is 10 francs or 20 cents.
CURRENCY : The official monetary unit is the Belgian Congo franc. One dollar equals 50 Belgian Congo francs.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR UNITED STATES CITIZENS : Passport and visa. The internationally required yellow fever and smallpox certificates. Also a police certificate, a general health certificate, and ticket for transportation out of the country. One opened bottle of liquor, a carton of ciga rettes and non-professional camera allowed duty free.
DRUG STORES : Almost all American drugs are available.
ELECTRIC CURRENT : 220 volts, a.c., throughout the Congo.
FAUNA . I. The Belgian Congo abounds in all kinds of tropical birds and animals. The African gray parrot is one of the varieties of bird to be found only in the Belgian Congo. The small red buffalo and the tall kind of elephant are also peculiarities of this colony.
FLORA : The Belgian Congo is rich in all kinds of flowers. In the eastern mountainous part, roses and other flowers of the temperate climate are to be found. In the lower parts, the Bougainvillaea, hibis* cus, the firetree (flamboyant) and the poinsettia are the most common ones. At Kisantu (100 miles from Leopoldville) there is an internationally famous botanic garden containing many varieties of orchids and unusual plants and flowers from all parts of the world.
FOOD : The moamba is a Congo specialty. It is a chicken or duck boiled in palmoil, with pali-pali, a very hot spice, and served with rice and boiled cassava leaves, or spinach. The variety of fruits is enormous: banana, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, papaya, avocado, coeur de boeuf, mango, among others. Fresh milk is available in Kivu and Katanga only, elsewhere condensed or powdered milk is used.
LANGUAGE : French is most widely used. Many Europeans here speak Flemish, but English is fairly well understood and spoken by people in contact with tourists. There are over 60 native languages, four principal ones.
GAMBLING : There is no gambling in the Belgian Congo.