Black Magic – Marrakesh

3rd May 2008

Today really went and made a liar out of me. I had a really good day. I slept in and then went out to find a net café. I then decided to follow some other tourists who were being led around by some random Moroccan.

He led them all the way to the souks, which were truly a sight to see. I also went to see the wool being dyed and stood under the lengths of thread being dried in the sun. The exotic pet shops fascinated me the most. Just about every man and his dog had a cage full of Chameleons and one guy in a spice shop I went in actually let me hold a baby one. I also went in a shop where the guy had a pet tortoise and some really big lizards. This other shop, which I called the most illegal shop in the world, had in it, leopard and lion skins, elephant and Rhino tusks a live falcon, Chameleons, desert foxes and god knows what else.

I also went in a “magic shop”, which is not a shop selling trick playing cards and fake dog poop. This place is a real magic shop, where they sell items used in black magic. The had one jar of snakes, dead ones and a jar of black scorpions and a jar of yellow scorpions, which I was actually brave enough to look at up closely although, I was shuddering the whole time. They also had a few jars of leeches, used for Berber white magic. I eventually arrived in a small square and let a Berber lady give me a henna tattoo on my left hand.

I then wandered off and got horribly lost again. I was swearing and cursing at myself for getting lost yet again and I popped out quite unexpectedly at Djeema el Fanaar, the main event here. There were shops everywhere selling all manner of wonderful things, from the fantastic to the utterly disgusting. There were performances going on everywhere, belly dancing, acrobats and musicians to name a few. I stumbled around in awe of my surroundings, before a strange sound caught in my ears, a sort of high-pitched instrument, What’s that? I thought as I turned around. My breath literally caught in my throat at what I was seeing. There was a man sitting on the ground charming two black cobras. This is something I had always wanted to see.

Snake Charmers in the Djema el Fna'a
Snake Charmers in the Djema el Fna’a

The locals saw my reaction and instantly grabbed me and sat me down next to the charmer and the cobras, who just stared at me and I stared straight back. I was then covered in about 3 other snakes and had my picture taken, by men who then demanded 200dm. I just walked off. I think they were a little surprised I didn’t even flinch at the snakes.

I then jumped into a moving cab and managed to explain where I was staying in sign language, to a cabbie who spoke no English. I got back to the riad and went out to get a drink, I was going to sit in the lounge area and do some writing, but I met Ali from Ireland and Emmanuele from Venice. I sat and chatted to Ali for ages about my travels and what she and Emmanuele were doing. I asked Ali to sign my book and she invited me to go and stay with her in Ireland. I then went off to bed and was kept awake until the early hours by the Spanish Inquisition.

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