Friday, August 7, 2009

The Heart of Marrakesh - Jemma El' Fna

Marrakesh I will always remember for its Jemma El’Fna. A grand plaza filled with all sorts of people and just a place of general mayhem! There were snake charmers, who were very happy to suddenly jump out and fling a snake around your neck – for a nice Kodak moment… Persistent henna ladies, fortune and story tellers (in Arabic), men with monkeys that you could hold for a few dirham, and then there was the juice stands, selling the best freshly squeezed orange juice ever. There was even a “dentist," whose quick extraction skills were advertised by a table full of teeth.

And that was just the plaza, beyond the plaza was the souqs. A world of shopping! I came out with a cute little teapot (Moroccan style), a scarf, some tea and my new price possession – a real Moroccan puf (you know, one of those round sets in leather). Everywhere you look goods are haggled for in tiny shops and stalls, often over glass after glass of what might be considered the national drink - hot mint tea as sweet as liquefied chewing gum.

You also have to stop by the “Magic Souk” where you can buy potions for all kinds of illnesses, live lizards, dried blowfish, turtle shells, shark fins and tea that will enhance everything from hair growth to fertility. Kids will also love this place!

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