We headed back to the main vein, and continued our wanderings, making turns based solely on which direction seemed more interesting, and then we stumbled back out in to the open cacophony of the Djemma El Fnaa. I was snake draped. After extricating myself from this situation (they say the snakes mouths are sewn shut, but who checks the stitches?)

We retreated to the upstairs terrace of a restaurant overlooking the spectacle and ordered our first tajines. Like paella, tajines are named for the thing that they are cooked in, in this case a heavy earthenware dish with a matching conical lid. Food is arranged in a heap, with meat in the center and vegetables piled around. The idea is to eat your way into the center. Chicken, olives, lemons, potatos, saffron, cumin, a nice balance of weet and sour, and very tasty.  We also had our first pot of mint tea, the standard drink of Morocco.

With full bellies, we wandered for a bit more, and then, going on rumour and instinct, we found a terrace bar and settled into a few beers. This sounds like a simple thing, finding a drink in an Islamic country can be a bit of an undertaking.

After this respite, sunset, and another meal, we headed back out into the Djemaa El Fnaa. Changed now in the darkness. There were more food carts, a flotilla of them. They looked amazing, all lit up with white light and steam. Everything imaginable was on offer. Whole sheeps heads, snails, every vegetable under the sun, coucous, tajines, sausages...

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009