Djemma el Fna is the big square in the centre of the Marrakesh Medina and is not like anywhere we have been. By day it is filled with handcraft vendors, snake charmers, monkeys (and their humans) and horse-drawn carriages. At night the food stalls are put up and there is BBQ everywhere.
We have been here for three days, including several visits both day and night to Djemma el Fna.
We saw snakes.
We avoided the fresh juice vendors.
We drank the mint tea (although this one was ginger tea, and we all got tummy turbulence later).
We saw monkeys.
We also didn’t drink water from this guy. He distributes it in shared cups he wears on his sash. We did have to pay him as he saw me take a photo, so I took a posed one too.
We have walked through the crowded Medina streets to get to Djemma el Fna, dodging the donkey carts, pedestrians, bicycles, motor scooters, cars and sometimes even trucks all on the narrow roads. At times it was frightening.
Looks like fun, doesn’t it? I think it is all about frame of mind. We have visited several times, both day and night, and at first I didn’t like it at all. What you don’t see in the photos is that we stand out as European looking – and we are singled out for “donation.”
Everyone has their hand out. Performers stop when they see us join the crowds and come over with a hat. One man would point to our camera, wanting us to pay him for a photo and no matter how much we put in the hat it was never enough and he would shout something in Arabic to the crowd, who would then laugh at us. It is very interesting to sit on the other side of racial profiling. I hope my girls learn from this experience.
And if all that wasn’t enough, a man pinched my teen’s behind. A common problem in Djemma el Fna, but not one my teen is used to dealing with so we left for that evening.
Our final evening I was determined to have fun. We came up with a plan. We would not acknowledge any language. So it began, Francia? Espanol? Italian? Deutch?
And then hubby says, “Niskreet Bampaya” and we all tried not to laugh.
Then, niskreet, niskreet and we burst out laughing.
This is just one of many sites in Marrakesh.
Love it or hate it, how do you feel about Djemma el Fna?
We carried the Lonely Planet Morocco.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this page ©Rhonda Albom 2012