I was told that the Rissani Souk was once the most famous market in all of Africa. This was where all the trading caravans stopped on their way to and from Timbuktu. They loaded up on supplies, got medical attention, satisfied their desires (not necessarily in that order) and traded slaves. A major portion of the market is now dedicated to trading in tourism but it is in no way a 'touristy' place. It is completely run down, dirty and certainly out of the way. The center of the market, however, seems to still sell what they probably sold over a hundred years ago - dates. Lots and lots of dates. These are the dates that end up on our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. Does Aunt Martha know where those dates in her fruit cake and date-nut bread come from? I know. Now you do, too.