Monday, 18 January 2010

The madness that is Marrakesh

OK - I have a prediction for you. Later this summer, all things Moroccan are going to be "de-rigeur". I can say this with confidence, as I've just come back from a trip to Marrakesh, where I discovered that S.J.P (as in Sarah Jessica Parker) has been filming a third Sex and the City film. So stock up on stuff from the souks and get yourselves some Moroccan style, because where S.J.P goes, fashion tends to follow. Marrakesh will certainly look stunning as a location. The main square (the Djemaa el-Fna) is probably one of the craziest places I've ever been. Everywhere you look there is something unusual happening. Last week, I'd just stepped off the plane, and headed to the Fna to get a sense of the city. I was immediately grabbed by a woman who thrust what I thought was a syringe towards my arm. I tried to pull away, but before I knew it, she was painting my hand and wrist with henna. Now back in Britain, I might pay a couple of quid for the privilege, but I found myself being ripped off to the tune of £10! Needless to say I learned my first lesson in Marrakesh - say NO and mean NO! Henna hoars aside, the square is amazing. Fire jugglers, donkeys, snake charmers, monkeys, story-tellers, witch-doctors, plumes of smoke from makeshift snack huts, fresh orange juice by the gallon and pedlars plaguing you for cash. Night-time it comes alive. It feels like a cross between an open-air circus, Islamic burlesque, and a little shop of horrors.

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