Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yamoussoukro (10)

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Yamoussoukro, the capital of Cote d'Ivoire, was the natal village of Houphouet-Boigny, father of the modern state. HB lavished billions on the new capital, building a fabulous Basilica, wide, paved roads with majestic streetlights, etc., all on the World Bank's dime. Today, the capital is quiet. There is a university here, an airport, but it does not have the feel of a commercially important urban center.

The suffix, -kro, means "village" in Baoulé, which is the local ethnicity.

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Sign with instructions for visiting the Basilica. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

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The heart of Yamoussoukro is a series of lakes. One is practically covered with water plants. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

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The presidential palace, which one is forbidden to photograph, has never been occupied by an Ivorian president. Surrounded by a narrow lake lined with stones and populated by crocodiles, it is said that Houphouët-Boigny liked to throw his opponents to the crocodiles, as he preferred single party rule. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.

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My assistant charged me big bucks for this dilapidated Peugeot. Here, the driver is squirting ice water into the radiator. We didn't have a starter, so we spent a week paying strong young men to push us. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.

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Statue commemorating Houphouët-Bloigny outside his church. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.

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A most unusual couple. Whom or what do they represent? Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.

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Standing in front of the Basilica in Yamoussoukro.2007.

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The presidential palace is protected by a moat containing crocodiles. For fun and $5, you can purchase a live chicken and watch the crocodiles devour their prey.

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This chicken knows that it is doomed. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2008.

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