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Snake charmers in Marrakesh

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I'm headed to Marrakesh. I will take in the Djemaa El Fna, of course. Perhaps I deserve some mocking for these questions, but be kind. ;)

I REALLY don’t like snakes. How prevalent are the snake charmers in the plaza? Do they congregate in one area? Are they scattered around the plaza? I can handle it if they’re a respectable distance away. Do I risk all of a sudden turning around and there’s some guy standing right behind me holding a snake? I remember reading years ago in some guidebook “The snake charmers are notorious extortionists.” Huh? What could they mean by that? What are they extorting? No further explanation was given.

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