Djemaa el Fna, the main square of Marrakech’s old medina is likely to be the main tourist attraction around these parts. By day, it is a bustling hive of snake charming and henna. But at night, the square changes, morphing into a gigantic plume of barbecued meat that hangs over everything and entices everyone to take a seat. But, let’s not forget the tagines…

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We have arrived. Djemaa el Fna, the beating heart of the “Red City” seems to be the first stop for the vast majority of visitors to the medina, and it is little wonder why. With snake charmers, monkey men, henna artists and dudes with spinning hats, the opportunities for the naive to be swindled are great and plentiful. That isn’t to say that this is all that happens in the square! Of course not! Markets and shops line the perimeter. Men sell fresh orange juice from covered wagons. A gentleman walks around with a car battery connected to a stereo and cells CDs as he serenades the denizens with the local top 20. If every city has a kind of spirit by which it is regarded, we had undoubtedly found this city’s soul.
But this is the story of a tourist and as tourist stories go they tend to be superficial and throw you straight into the shoes of a singular experience, and will not be indicative of all.
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And now the adventure really begins. Spain long behind me, I have entered the realm of Morocco and with it comes the true meaning of travel and a true exploration of something new and unknown. A place where reading about it in your specialist guide book just wont quite cut it and the traveller must be prepared for anything.

First stop, Marrakech! Centrally located at the foothills of the atlas mountain range, Marrakech assaults the traveller with the old medina as well as the many sights and sounds of the souks and roadside stalls. On first arrival, I expected something quieter. But, as I get buzzed repeatedly by moped after moped as I attempt to cross the comparatively chaotic streets, I realise that I must be on my guard! There are no crosswalks here, and certainly no pedestrian signals in this Darwinian system. Soon I realised the trick. Latch onto a local, close your eyes, and jump.

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