Friends and Fraudsters

Tuesday morning was spent looking around the souks in Essaouira and having mint tea at the 1 cafe I hadnt visited. I was taking photos of some herbs and chatting to the owner of the stall. Some of the mixes his family had made for generations where being presented for me to smell and they smelt great. He started showing me all the spices – literally hundreds – in his tiny little shop. It was amazing to find out all this mad stuff, especially the powder that comes from shellfish which was unbelievably condensed. Hopefully some nice photos of the Opium jar anyway – was a little like being in a herb sweet shop.

Unfortunately the super-luxury bus had broken down when I turned up at the bus station, but it turned out to be much more of an interesting journey on the bus with the cracked windscreen, protuding metal for seat-rests, leaking windows and of course the stereotypical mad-driver. I was wedged in between Bella Embergs Moroccan sister but luckily the chickens went in the luggage compartment. Stopped at a couple of little towns on the way where the local nutter passed through the bus cursing everyone if they didnt give him some money. As we continued there where times when I wasnt sure if the bus was on the road or not. Finally arrived in rainy Marrakesh after 4 hours – not bad for a 2 hour 30 journey on the posh bus.

So I finally get to Jemâa el Dja (the main square) and my hand scribbled map doesnt look anything like it should so I take some “help” from a ‘friendly’ chap who leads me on a 20 minute wild goose chase to the hotel 100m from where we were. Then he was annoyed at the paltry tip I gave him. Oh well I sort of new I was getting scamed but it was daylight and he wasnt violent!

Note to mind’s eye: “Roads” on maps may not be roads but tiny little alleyways about 1 metre wide with motorbikes hurtling along in either direction.

The main square comes alive at sunset and is penned as the greatest show on earth. Well I’ll write more about that tomorrow evening. Still getting quite haunted by the sound of the Mosques – very hard to describe; sort of a groaning noise, not sure if it’s live or recorded though.

Another note: When you take 36 photos and take the film out and realise that it’s a 400ASA film and you had it set to 125ASA (Black and White film) make sure you dont do it again, anyone know if they’ll come out? Sorry comments aren’t working – email me (Hobson as you are doing a photography course you will probably know!)

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