|Like most travelers our time is short in Burkina Faso. The most notable thing about this country is the slow gradation from desert and dry Sahel in the north, to woodland and savanna on the central plateau, and then lush rainforest in the south. This morning we left Bobo Dioulasso bound for Yamoussoukro, the sleepy capital of the Ivory Coast (or as it is officially called by the Franco-snobs, the Cote d'Ivoire). We drove all day to reach Yamoussoukro, which shows us how large these African countries can be; Cote d'Ivoire is about the same size as Germany; Burkina Faso is almost as large. We passed easily through the border posts into Cote d'Ivoire. It seemed as if we had passed through a curtain of humidity. Rain fell as we drove through green farmland and coconut plantations. The heavy air carried the strong, damp smell of wet vegetation and chocolate. Cote d'Ivoire is the largest cocoa producer in the world. That's why some people call this country the 'African elephant.' It also produces the most cotton and coffee in Africa. For awhile Cote d'Ivoire carried strong economic power until the markets for these commodities collapsed in the early 80's, spiraling the country into major debt. Now it is the world's largest debtor on a per capita basis. At least some of the infrastructure from the old wealth survives. The road system is notably better than anywhere else we've been in West Africa. As you may have guessed from its name, Cote d'Ivoire is a French speaking country.