As the false teeth stared at me from their prominent position, I knew the thought of going to the dentist would never be the same again. I was perusing bric-a-brac on sale in the Djemaa El Fna, the main market place in Marrakesh. In existence for over seven hundred years, it has sold a multitude of items from dentures to douara (a casserole of marinated lambs tripe, liver and heart). There was the opportunity to watch the hypnotic trance with which snakes rise from woven baskets in rhythm to the pipes of their captors and listen to story-tellers regaling tales from the ‘Arabian Nights’. Wandering through a maze of passageways, I felt like a sitting duck with locals trying to sell me an assortment of cheap souvenirs.
The visit to the square was a culmination of a week long trip around many of the interesting cities of Morocco. Travelling by both bus and train it was a fantastic way to see this area of North Africa.
Tangier was once considered as having international status by foreign colonial powers and became a destination for many European and American diplomats, spies, writers and businessmen. Walking down the narrow alleyways of the city, it was easy to get lost after every twist and turn. Only with the help of the local guides were we able to escape the passages that have been here for centuries. As we passed the different stalls, it was evident that many of the people retain their way of life despite the draw of twentieth century living.
Words and photography by Mark Davidson
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