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Dining with a few thousand people isn’t an everyday event; it is however possible every night at the Place Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, Morocco. The smells of grilling meats mingle with that of exotic spices; more interesting is the mix of cultures colliding. King Hassan II explained Morocco as a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breathe in European air.
The floor shows in the Fna are a jumble of snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats. If you’re in need of a spare tooth or care to rid yourself of one giving you trouble, head for the man in a blue cap; the doctor is in. His office is a table set up amidst throngs of revelers.
What is more amazing was the day spent shopping ancient souks and living in the past, a time when bargaining for goods was a way of life. Wizened faces etched with worry dressed in the hooded jellaba sharing equal billing with movie stars could only make sense in this city beneath the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. I was almost convinced that a Berber rug I bargained for might just be able to fly; almost anything can happen in Marrakech.
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