Sunday, February 18, 2007

More on Marrakech

The Sunday afternoon we were invited to B's former in-laws out in the suburbs. They spoke no English and we spoke no Berber. Moroccans are very clear that they are Berbers and not Arabs who invaded the area in the 7th century and still haven't been forgiven. The communication difficulty was overcome by the constant provision of more food than I have ever faced in my life - not to mention some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten in my life. The women make everything from the bread you eat the tajines with to the tiny cocktail biscuits they passed round. All G and I were obliged to do was say 'Wow!' to every mouthful of food and everyone seemed quite happy. I lost count of the number of courses but left feeling we must have already experienced every aspect of Moroccan cuisine in the one afternoon.

Then O took us to Djemaa el Fna(Arabic: جامع الفناء jâmiʻ al-fanâʼ) which may or may not mean Assembly of the Dead according to who you believe. This is the largest square in all of Africa and probably the wildest place I have ever been in. It was teeming with people and entertainers ranging from story tellers, musicians, acrobats and snake charmers. I had been there all of two minutes before I found myself with a snake of some description (yellow, long ) wrapped around my neck, and then we spent the next ten minutes listening to the snake's owner and O argue about the going rate for a photo of me with a snake round my neck...about £50 according to the owner - 10 pence according to O. He ended up with nothing as none of us had any change anyway.

There are stalls selling spices,

oranges, all kinds of hot dishes and witch doctors come up from the Sahara to sell cures for all known ills.

We ended up having a drink on a terrace over looking the square and that was where we saw the sunset I printed before. No alcohol on sale there though!!!! My last memory of that evening was my desperation to get back to the hotel for a wee. A. B's son had been to the toilet there. I asked him what it was like. "Well" he said very brightly "They were absolutely.." and he paused as though he was going to say "Great" but did in fact say "DISGUSTING!" and went on to explain in detail which I shall spare you about just how bad they were. I crossed my legs till we got back.

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