Djemaa el Fna ساحة جامع الفناء
A few weeks back, my wife and I took a little siesta from the spring rains in Morocco. We went with no expectations aside from sun and couscous. We got our fill of the sun, but the couscous? Not so much.
We read all of the Lonely Planet's and Rough Guides we could handle, watched Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmerman ingest all sorts of non-edibles on youtube and thought we were well prepared for our trip. We weren't prepared for Djemaa el Fnaa.
Djemaa El-Fina, site of the April 28, 2011 explosion, is a vast yet unassuming square in the center of Marrakech. Filled with tooth pullers and snake charmers by day, it explodes with life unlike anywhere else by night. Daytime touts are replaced by medicine men who pump out age old erection remedies, cyphers of wildly playing musicians welcome any and all dancers for a few dirham, drink stands squeeze out orange juice and concoct a fiery tea from cinammon and ginseng. Food stalls cook a plethora of meats with a hihglight on lamb skewers and snail soup with while the waiters attempt to lure in customers with jokes bad enough to land them a sitcom on Comedy Central. "come to stall 117, 118 is just too late."
In short, it's amazing.
I usually can't handle crowds this big, or of any size really, but with so much happening it's hard not to be sucked in by the amazement that is Djemaa El-Fnaa. One word of advice though, keep your hands on your wallet. Even the locals aren't immune to pick pockets here.