Welcome to the January edition of our newsletter, featuring Morocco.
As always, your feedback is welcome.
The MyTripJournal team
FEATURED STORY: Snake Charmer
Back in the main square, crowds gathered around story tellers, dancers, charmers, and mystics. I bustled my way to get an unobstructed view of a story-telling, two-toothed, elderly snake charmer. Although I couldn't understand the words, the passion and intensity in his voice, as well as the viper resting quietly on the shoulders of another man made this spectacle unforgettable. Another viper lay on the ground, brooding. The charmer walked circles around the snakes and the man still as a rock, collecting coins from the audience. As he circled, spit protruded from his mouth when he spoke, dissolving in the warm air. This build up and yelling, this vibrant story telling continued for ten minutes, all the while the viper lay resting on the weary man's shoulders.
Quickly, the charmer grabbed hold of the viper on the ground and pulled it to the center of the large circle. It was still dazed from a previous charm, and did not fight. The old mystic pointed and shouted, saliva gathering on his bottom lip. The charmer slowly moved towards the viper, with a bag in his hand. As he opened the flap to the bag, the viper suddenly bolted up and snapped at the man with full force. Its jaws opened wide before it coiled back in striking position, hissing. I jumped... as did others around the circle. The on-lookers were all Moroccan, other than Bobby and I. The man again slowly moved closer to the snake, and it again snapped at him. He backed off quickly. The charmer began to recite something while the snake sat cocked in striking position, still hissing.
The mystic took these small gold rectangular charms out of the bag and walked circles again around the crowd. He was reciting various things and pointing to the sky, and trading the charms for dirims. All the while, the snake sat in striking position. Armed with one of the gold charms, the charmer chanted to the snake and ran a circle with the charm around the snake's head. A second time he waved the charm around the snake's head in a circular motion. Unbelievably, the charmer then placed his hand directly in front of the snake, moving it back and forth. The snake must have been completely unconscious, for it did not seem to mind at all the man now. I was in shock.
The charmer began to tell another or continue the same story... I am not too sure. He continued for a few minutes, then walked to the snake still laying on the poor man's back. It lay still silent, as well as the man. He pulled the snake off the man and into the middle of the circle. The snake seemed rattled, but not upset. The man quickly jumped back, and he looked up, very, very unhappily at the charmer. The tooth-less old man then roused this viper in much the same way, and again charmed it into unconsciousness. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. After this, no act seemed quite so fascinating.
Fruit for Sale
Courtesy of Michael Perry
We entered the medina. It was like nothing that we have experienced before. There were a variety of sights, sounds and smells. There were all types of food for sale including pigs, pig's feet, fish and even a camel's head. The medina was built in the 800's and is home to 500,000 people. There are over 300 mosques in the medina and 900 small alleys. This is no place to go on your own. We had a guide in the front and in the rear of our little caravan of tourists.
We wound our way through the market taking in the sights and sounds and smells of the medina all the while watching for donkeys, locals and donkey poop as we moved in the small alleyways. We saw people working on brass, clothing, furniture, and sharpening knives. more...
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Bonnie and Tim
Here's what Bonnie and Tim have to say about their travels:
We travel light...small backpack and daypack, to expedite our journey and not be too conspicuous.
Our intent is to go as the locals travel and see/experience as much as we can via osmosis. This is not easy being very obviously still "tourists" to the locals but we try! We do not have any special language abilities but always attempt to learn the basics of the local tongue. [We get by with]
a lot of pointing, gestures, and respect for the people and land through which we travel".
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