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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.
Sign with instructions for visiting the Basilica. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007. Photo by Stan Thompson.
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.
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.
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.
Statue commemorating Houphouët-Bloigny outside his church. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.
A most unusual couple. Whom or what do they represent? Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2007.
Standing in front of the Basilica in Yamoussoukro.2007.
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.
This chicken knows that it is doomed. Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2008.