Arriving in Marrakech is a bit of a shock to the system. I don't think I had actually seen the sun since leaving New York in November, and suddenly, what might this giant yellow fireball be? Also, there are scooters darting and donkeys pulling carts and I'm pretty sure that car we just passed is on three flat tires and a rim but still being driven.
Djemaa el Fna is the huge square, and the center of the city. It's pure insanity, day or night. Snake charmers, dancers, singers, storytellers, monkeys in diapers, henna artist, and even small children boxing each other was all seen within the first 10 minutes of wandering around.
Like everyone who has ever been here, we got totally lost in the narrow, twisting streets of the Medina. Everything we found and saw was pure happenstance.
The thousand-year old souks were sprawling and packed with people, and scooters without mirrors were weaving their way through the crowds. An amazing symphony of noise and colors and smells.
This wasn't the place to go if you wanted a relaxing break from it all (and no alcohol to make things easier to deal with either). We were constantly being harassed and hassled. If you stop to look at the map, dozens of children offer to show you where you need to go (for a fee), if you are going away from a shop that a merchant wants you to stop in, you are told that the "way is too dangerous" and they will try to hook you in. It was hard to take a breath without uttering, "Non, merci" or figuring out who to trust.
The craftsmanship was outstanding though. The leatherwork, the metal-smiths, the jewelry, the rugs, the pottery. It seemed as though there wasn't a square inch of free real estate anywhere, and anything you wanted could be had for a price.
It might have been the most overstimulated I've ever felt.