We say goodbye to Burkino Faso and head along the dusty, excessively potholed roads into Côte d'Ivoire, upon entering you get a bit of a tropical feel to it, with palm trees dotted around very now and again.
Our first stop is Korhogo we camp at a hotel that boasts not only a pool (completely maxed out with local lads preening) and nightclub but a gym promoting muscle finesse, by the looks of the hand drawn pictures on the outside I think its a gym specialising in Arnold Schwarzenegger physiques, circa 1970. I splash out here and grab a room, which came with a free local lady showering, or perhaps the hotel also offers another service not on the sign?
It's an interesting town, the surrounding villages have created various co-ops based around the natural resources of the area, spend the day cruising on the back of a motorbike visiting them, this is also where I acquire my cashew nut juice addiction.
The clay from the local river is used in Kapele to create the most stunning, colourful beads, that the local people no wear as part of their dress and which I'm easily persuaded to buy, they are smarter enough to realise not everyone wants a necklace or bracelet so also offer larger beads which can be used as ornaments/collecting dust knick knacks.
Cotton is the resource of choice in Waranieine, where men when they turn 18 are first trusted with preparing the spools before gaining the necessary skills to do the actual weaving, the village has 456 weavers, generally with the skill being passed from father to son...and yes I buy something did here too, a nice throw for the bed.
On the way back into Korhogo it's batik and wood, with a guy showing us how he produces his batiks, he knocks up a pretty impressive batik of an antelope type animal in no time, just using the juice from different crushed leaves as his paint. Unfortunately the wood place is more just an opportunity it's for them to sell so we don't learn too much about their trade, which is a shame as they produce some incredible masks that are representative of their culture and tradition.
We are invited back in the evening to watch the Boloi-Sanfou dance, which is an incredible display of acrobatics and local music. The dancers come out in the creepiest head to toe covered costumes which we later learn represent the panther, the kids who learn the dance at school as part of their mandatory education scurry back in both awe and fright, but once they start their acrobatics everyone is completely engaged and mesmerised.
Great way to start our week in the ivory coast