Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jemaa El Fna Square MARRAKECH, Morocco

Jemaa El Fna is undoubtedly the beating heart of the medina of this city. Visiting it feels like one has walked onto a movie set - complete with snake charmers, belly dancers, story tellers and acrobats - and that is only during the daytime! Each afternoon about 5pm, hundreds of temporary food stalls cooking a variety of local produce begin to invade the square. The spectacle in the evening is incredible and some of the best (free) entertainment you could imagine!! It is certainly something that must be experienced during a visit to this city - I know some people avoid 'street food', but if you choose wisely (fried food, no salad items), eat early (no refrigeration) and go the stands that are busy (good turn over of produce), you should be fine (we were!). For about $10 we ate a delightful meal whilst being entertained by the stall vendors trying to encourage diners to sit at their stand - they use every means they can to try to engage you in conversation, the first step to getting you to sit down! Go with a sense of humour, a sense of adventure and a camera and you will have a fabulous evening.   
The men who 'charm' these snakes make their living this way, so you do need to pay to take their photo. Our guide said the usual fee is about 10 - 20 Moroccan Dirham (approx 1-2 Euro) - and I was more than happy to pay them for such a memory!  

Note the other 2 pythons curled up here in addition to the Taipan which was being 'charmed' 
The stall vendors certainly have a sense of humour, so play along and you will certainly
enjoy the free entertainment of the evening!

This man is a water seller in the traditional Berber clothes. He carries water in a goat skin bag around his waist and sells it to the local people by the glass.  He also earns money through being photographed by tourists