Rainy Night at Jemaa el Fna A Six Photo Story

Story and photographs by Brenda J Pederson

March 2016

I was determined to visit Jemaa el Fna, the famous night market in the medina, on my first day in Marrekech even though pouring rain and blustery winds challenged every step I took on the short walk from my riad.

I arrived in the market about 7:00 pm. On a more typical night the square would be filled with snake charmers, monkey handlers, story tellers and more. Tonight, the covered food booths and stalls around the perimeter of the square were open, but pedestrians, bicyclists and motorbikes scurried across the empty square, seeking shelter from the elements.

People scurry by the nut and dried fruit stalls without giving them a second glance.

Although soggy, the 70°F temperatures felt balmy to me - a feeling not shared by the Moroccans who were bundled up - some in parkas. I attempted to stroll the open stalls but soon sloshed my way to the crowded and slightly chaotic, food tents.

Checking his display of menu options, waiting to be grilled upon request.
The air is filled with smoke from the grilling stations. People keep dry under the tarps as the rain pours down.

Conviviality filled the warm and smoky tents. Friends gathered around tables enjoying plates filled with grilled meats and vegetables, egg-stuffed sandwiches, bowls of warm soup. I wanted to try one of everything but my stomach was in a different time zone.

A sweet and sticky dessert, chebakia.

I found a stall serving soups and small plates. The u-shaped, stainless steel tables were full, but the proprietor saw me searching for a spot and soon had me settled in at the table. I don't speak Arabic and my French, the second language of Morocco, is atrocious but the vendor understood my request for soup and chebakia, a deep fried pastry covered in rose-flavored honey and sesame seeds.

I drank in the scene around me as I ate the comforting and delicious soup. I'd finally made it to Morocco and to the heart of Marrakech, a long time desire. Even with the rain and wind, it was better than I'd dreamed. The best part? This was just the beginning. I'd be in the country and in several more cities over the next few days. But these first few hours in Marrakech will always be the most special.

Hustle and bustle across the square.
Created By
Brenda J Pederson
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All photos copyright Brenda J Pederson.

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