But it's at night that the Jemaa really comes alive. Groups of men gather round story tellers from the mountains, bands of musicians get going, thrumming on their drums, and row upon row of exotic food stalls, lit by gaslight, and displaying mountains of delicious-looking dishes, appear in front of it all. They are all numbered and the trick then is to persuade as many people as you can to your stall, so the air is filled with cries in every language, as both Marrekshis and foreigners are lured to the benches. Those stallholders have perfected the art of persuading people to eat their food in as many languages as I have ever heard!
I eat out there in the Jemaa as often as possible, not only because it is great value, but because it is also the source of high entertainment. In the winter, the harira soup is a winner at 5 dirhams - for 50p you have a delicious combination of chick peas and lentils and cumin and coriander and tomatoes and onions. Oh, and sometimes meat too! And there is just about every other Moroccan dish under the sun available, with all the usual tagines and cous-cous and fish ... and a whole plate never costs more than 3 or 4 euros.
There are also strange and slightly terrifying things like sliced sheep's head, tripe and calves' feet - but these are just a little bit beyond my range.
I have great fun talking to the men on the stalls, who all want to learn as much of every European language as they can, so that they can perfect their powers of persuasion. So I give them lessons in Spanish and Italian, and they return the favour with me in Arabiya ... I learn how to stop annoying salesmen with 'Skot! Stacheni frasi': I think this means 'enough of your stupid remarks' but am not 100% sure ... it always stops them in their tracks anyway.
Hisham and Rachid, two of my favourites at stall no 30 (but on some nights they are mysteriously at no 43), keep me there as long as possible on lonely nights with complimentary glasses of mint tea ... the longer I stay there, after all, the more chance they have of luring other tourists in ... I oblige by backing up their sales cries with convincing tales of how delicious it all is. Soon I think they are going to let me eat there for nothing - especially in the winter, when it is so much more of a struggle to pack 'em in.
They are all so good-natured and tolerant, these laid-back Moroccan men. Old ladies approach, trying to sell packets of tissues and young sub-Saharan boys bring their carvings - and Hisham and Rachid have a teasing way with them, but somehow they never offend. When snooty city women from Casablanca turn their noses up at their approach, and impatient tourists push them out of their way, they just shrug their shoulders. One young woman from Rabat sitting next to me suddenly screamed at them one night, and left in a fury. 'Crazy!', says Hisham cheerfully.
All this and more can be found on my website! Do have a look: www.marrakechtailormade.com