Marra-kesh. Pronouncing the word slowly and purposefully, the letters roll deeply off my lips, ending in a whisper. The name itself takes on a mystical quality and has the ability of conjuring hazy images of golden windswept dunes and small market streets glittering with trinkets and lanterns.
The City of Morocco is vividly brilliant and extraordinarily colourful. The walls are dominated by muted tones of coral and terracotta, unforgettable when contrasted against the deep blue of the sky. As I stroll down through the Souks (translates into ‘Market’ in Arabic), my senses are overwhelmed with the plethora of colours, smells and sounds. As I look around me, I see richly woven tapestries, stained-glass lanterns twinkling and silk scarves and slippers in every shade softly gleaming out the corners of my eyes. The doors and gates are painted solid shades of indigo, vermillion, yolk-yellow and turquoise, boldly reflecting off the bright sunlight.
Standing in Jemaa el Fna, the main city square, I was surrounded by a crazed flurry of activity from all around. During the day, the square is scattered with vendors selling wooden snakes, orange juice and exotic nuts and spices. The pavements are dotted with burka-adorned women offering to draw intricate Henna patterns and designs on the next un-assuming tourist, whilst cobras dance out of little wicker baskets as their charmers chirp twisting tunes from their gourd-shaped flutes.
After sundown, Jemma el Fna clutters with an array of food stalls and tables selling traditional Moroccan plates such as Tagine and cous cous and dessert carts selling an assortment of colored doughs and sweets. As the stars start to come out and the diners start to head home, the square transforms into a music venue for emerging Moroccan bands to jam. The music is tantric and uncontrolled, drum beats mix with sitar strings to form a sweet cacophony, as the locals clap and beat their feet upon the cobblestones, dancing the night away.
Text & Images by: Steph Chan
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