Everywhere around the world, we trust our grandmothers to care for us and cure our illnesses. But where do they get their great wisdom from? In Morocco, a legend tells how...
Three old women wanted to trick the devil.
- What shall we do to get him to come? - they asked
As the devil loves an argument, they started to insult each other.
The devil came and the old women started to moan.
- What are you moaning about? - asked the devil.
- The devil is dead! - replied the old women
- Lies! I am the devil!
- We are telling you he’s dead. We don’t know you.
- I am the devil!
- Get in this amphora, then we’ll believe you.
He got in the amphora and the women sealed it.
- Open immediately! - he shouted.
- Oh my girls! Let me go and I’ll be good to you.
- How could you be good, you, the devil?
- I’ll teach you how to win men over.
The women agreed to it and the devil taught them witchcraft as well as the cures for all illnesses.
Find out more in Pratiques des harems marocains by A.-R. De Lens, Editions du Sirocco
-This is where you get the best view on the sea in Essaouira.
-This hotel right here. It’s about 5€ a night and you get the best view. But then again, they’ve got bed bugs and don’t really wash the rooms properly. It’s a choice you make.
-Do you paint these yourself?
-How much are they?
-80 dirhams each.
-I’ll pay 100 for three.
(Ongoing conversation between my friend and the artist during which I started playing with the paintings I wanted)
“vast splendours whose harmony I have orchestrated… This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.”
Story to self:
The queue of tourists waiting to enter the garden was mainly composed of young and pretty girls in their best Instagram outfit. People come from all parts of the world to strike the pose, pretending to be natural before leaving the place without having even really seen it. They literally queue to have the same pictures taken, one after the other, as if Majorelle was some sort of runway for nobodies. Travellers have become their own work of art.
Story to self:
This is the only time the music stops on Jemaa El Fna. During the calls to prayer storytellers, singers and entertainers suddenly go quiet. Any other time of the day and for most of the night, you could always find your way back to the square by locating the sound of the gnawa drums.
-Did you see the storytellers on Jemaa El Fna?
-I think so.
-Those guys would tell stories like in the One Thousand and One Nights. So they tell you stories that go on and on and on without ever ending! Once they have a big enough group of people around them, they say: go fetch me 1kg of meat if you want to know the end. So you go and fetch the meat. And then they tell you to come back the next day to know the end. So you’ll go back the next day to hear the end of the story. But they see new people in the group, so they start the story all over again. It’s impossible to know the end of a story!
-Do you see people down here?
-30% of them work for me. They're undercover cops, they keep everyone safe.
-Is it dangerous?
-Not anymore. We want to make sure nothing like the Argana café attack happens again.
-I was worried about the snakes on Jemaa El Fna.
-They don’t put them around tourists’ necks anymore. They used to empty the venom each morning. But with the sun and the heat, the venom would refill and then someone got bitten and died.
-Two men died. The snake charmer and the tourist. They both got bitten. So now, they leave the snakes on the floor and no one touches them.