catching balls of light in Jemaa el-fna

 

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Jemaa el-Fna is always fascinating. During my stay in Marrakesh I loved to grab a cold beverage on one of the surrounding balconies and watch the happenings below. The square has been a public gathering place since 1050 AD, and there is really nowhere else like it. During the daytime the medicine sellers, caleches, story tellers and shouting orange juice vendors provided plenty of entertainment, but at dusk things would become even more interesting.

square-at-night-2After sunset I would watch the square become more crowded and energetic. Dozens of food stalls appeared, and the smell of delicious Moroccan food reached from one end of the square to another. It also become much louder, with drummers and Gnaoua singers mixing in with the sounds of the snake charmers flutes. The music and smoke from the food stalls and the lights from the adjacent souks blended together to create an amazing atmosphere that felt very ancient and exotic despite the fact that tourists made up a good percentage of the crowd.

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people-in-the-square

One evening we had an early dinner at a cafe overlooking the square, and we watched these toy vendors throwing balls of light far up into the air and then easily catching them as they fell back to earth. The coordination amazed me. They flew so far up – it looked like 50 meters! But among a crowd of hundreds the vendors managed to catch the balls so casually as they arched back down. I had to take a short video of it…it just looked so effortless. It really made me want to buy one of those balls so I could try it myself. A successful sales technique, apparently!

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