Morocco - The Marrakech souks and vicinity

October 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Not everyone is so easily convinced it is safe to approach the snakes, but note the limp snake in the charmer's right hand.

There's absolutely no need for an alarm clock, at least in the medina; there's a morning call to prayer at 6:00. Although it sounds like the loud speaker is directly overhead, my laptop's mic barely picks it up. I started the day with the typical Moroccan breakfast of Berber flat bread, a hard-boiled egg and coffee in Dar Limoun's atrium, below. Although they do not call it Turkish coffee, they use the direct boil method, where the grinds and water go into a pot and are unfiltered. The beauty of the Dar Limoun is that, although it's only a three to five minute walk to the Jemaa el Fna, it's far enough away that one can retreat from the noise of the square and relax.

Venturing into the souks

The Marrakech souks are a labyrinth of narrow streets, attached to and northeast of the Jemaa el Fna. While the evening market in the Jemaa el Fna is marked by the wonderful aroma of charing meats and the repetitive drones of Gnawa musicians the souks are a souvenir hunter's paradise. It's not just the shop-owners and people they have working the streets and allies, calling out, "What you want, my friend" and, "Come. I will make you good price.", there's also the aromas (sometimes pleasant, other times assaulting the senses) of spices, nuts, locally-tanned leather and the air of the exotic. It doesn't take much to imagine a camel caravan, just having brought their wares across the Sahara to the souk...maybe they just did. There is everything you've always needed, but just hadn't realized it: tin lamps, handwoven berber carpets, tassels, spices, clay Tagines, etc. 

 

The Jemaa el Fna by day

Snakes are evidently not the only ones being charmed in the Jemaa el Fna. There are a variety of local hustlers who seem know how to entice dirhams out of tourists' pockets.

Snake Charmers harassing lethargic Cobras, Desert Vipers and a variety of undetermined snakes that act as if drugged. Monkey trainers.

The French influence is obvious in the carriages, which take tourists on rides around the Jemaa el Fna and vicinity. Water sellers in bright costumes.

 

Want to see more...?

I am blogging this trip to build content and traffic for my website. Please visit my gallery to see my best images of Morocco. Feel free to comment.


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