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Night in Marrakech

MOROCCO | Friday, 2 May 2014 | Views [290] | Scholarship Entry

The heat was settling and the first cool winds were sweeping in from the desert. The sky slowly turning from a clear blue to an unapologetic black, penetrated by the white light of a thin moon shiver. Tunes from the snake charmer’s flute float to my rooftop on merciful winds. Lanterns in red and orange light up on the surrounding rooftops, accompanying my own humble iron wrought lamp. Hands decorated with intricate geometric patterns indicate that the time has come to leave. As I stand a musical prayer ring out from the nearby minaret. The sound is filtered through the metallic rustle of a microphone, maintaining its surreal beauty.
I walk down a steep staircase and a wall of heat meets me as I abandon the safety of the rooftops and head out on the streets. They are narrow enough for me to touch both of the earthen walls that surround me and still motorcycles drive past me, some getting stuck with meeting bikes causing a commotion as the handlebars interlock. A group of young girls hurry past and young men follow them with their gaze. One boisterous man asks; ‘How many camels for your hand in marriage? How many? I will give one thousand.’ But even faced with this lucrative offer the women hurry on.
A man cleaning the street outside of his shop throws water onto the street before it. Settling the sand. Traders call out to all passers by, trying to convince the last strollers to commit one last fools bargain before the end of the day.
The hot air is caressing my face, enveloping me in equal shares of spice and excrement. A whiff of henna reaches me and my eye is drawn to the last herbologist, still soldiering on in the stuffy night. A cat is lying lazily on a shelf yawning at passers by.
The music of the snake charmers is getting louder as I approach the Square of the Dead, Jemaa el-Fnaa. This is where people gather at night to see all the marvels on offer, from fire-eaters to monkey trainers. The hustle increase in volume as I get closer. ‘Very good price for you!’ ‘Ramadan price!’ I can do good price.’ I ignore these cries, having heard them all before. Dodging donkey carts and motorcycles I manage to cross the square, I trip and put my foot into one of the numerous holes decorating the square and brown water splash the dark blue of my trousers. I disappear from sight in one of the labyrinth like alleyways, bordered by freshly hung meat and ceramic pots. The colors of the shops fade behind me into a union of beige and brown.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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