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A Night at Jeema-El-Fna

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The huge Jeema El Fna square in central Marrakesh turns into the largest open air restaurant in the world as soon as the sun sets.

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As I walked through the night food market at Jeema-el-Fna in the old city of Marrakesh, each and every restaurateur tried to drag me in. A large Swiss glutton would indeed be a fine catch for any of them. My protestations did not stop them. Sit here my friend, for the best sheep heads in Morocco! I protested: But I have already eaten my supper! He sized me up quickly, then replied: It doesn't show at all, eat again with us! I moved on to the next stall. Same protestation. This time You are lean (I'm not), you can allow yourself to eat again! Come and play the second half-time with us! I try some wit: During the second half-time I do the Ramadan (Muslim fasting) The guy looked at me the same way the first one did, then replied: You did the Ramadan? It sure didn't work. Speaking in English or in any living language will only entice the same sharp answers in the language you used. At last, I gave in and sat down for another dinner.

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During the day, there is not much to Jeema-el-Fna. A huge L-shaped square bang in the center of the old city of Marrakech - the Medina, it is so big that any number of pedestrian seem to be lost in the vastness of the square. On other side there are a few permanent spice stalls during the day but you can't really understand why UNESCO branded it a "part of world heritage".

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But as the sun sets, the square changes its shape. From a Ceaucescian urban desert, it turns into one of the world's busiest open air restaurant. The entire square is pitch black, lighted only by the countless food stalls and tables. Here is my night at this legendary market seen with a fisheye lens and my new D300 camera - it can see through the night.

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Some stalls offer a bar, with the food presented behind but out of reach ...

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... while other let you come up close ...

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... so that you can check how fresh the food really is.

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Skewers are probably your safest bet - they are presented for your inspection and you pick just as many as you can devour.

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