What’s particularly weird about Congo is that things should be so much better. The country has repeatedly been a victim of its own natural profusion which has acted as a magnet to exploiters. The Belgian Prince Leopold started this trend back in the 1890s when he relieved Congo of much of its rubber, became wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice and offed anywhere between two and 15 million Congolese into the bargain. Subsequently, diamonds, copper, uranium, coltan (a rich metallic ore) and cadmium have had their moments – each could have made the country rich, each has brought only powerlessness, violence and misery.
Snow ends in a cadmium mine containing some reasonably optimistic workers. Inevitably, the mine is run by Canadians. Not cheerful viewing, then, but if you’ve ever wondered why phones, laptops and tablets come so cheap these days, you could do worse than take a look.
A light and airy, modest Japanese cafe a ten-minute walk away from Clapham Junction. Stop in here for a light bite, lunch or dinner. The menu offers authentic Japanese dishes (thanks to owner Atsuko Inoue), including sushi, sweet chili chicken karaage don (deep-fried, tempura style chicken on rice), donburi, curried udon and takoyaki (filled dumplings). You can get your hands on some matcha ice cream for afters and wash it down with a pot of green tea.