It’s crazy busy, colourful, noisy, and still, it feels safe to be there. Even for me, a first time visitor. From the airport it is a short taxi drive to the central Jemaa el Fna, the square where everything exciting takes place. My accommodation for the first night was booked in a hostel off the square, so I could enjoy all a Marrakech night can offer for a tourist. I tried one of the restaurants on the side of the square and while waiting for my food I watched people from all corner of the world immersing themselves in this special atmosphere.
I went without a guide book, mostly because in the last few years I have realized that a guide book only restricts you. If you are aware of the amount of sights you are obliged to see as a tourist, then you will arrive home exhausted, without feeling the place and space where you were supposed to rest and relax. And I didn’t have much time in Marrakech anyway, because the next day we moved on to the next stop of our journey.
But before that we paid a visit to a special place, where most of West Africa was gathered in a couple of shop. By most of West Africa I mean arts and crafts of West African people and their cultures. I was shocked, to say the least. When you know the background of these objects, and you know the price of what these cultures have paid on the altar of the so called development and international trade, what is the cause of these pieces being gathered on this market now, that is heart breaking. Of course, they are beautiful and wonderful to look at. Even if most of them cannot be considered as traditional or authentic, that is made solely for trade, the amount of information these objects emit is just overwhelming. Even if you don’t know much about their origin, you might feel that they belong to somewhere else, and that they deserve more than being piled up in an antique shop.