What an amazingly annoying few days I have had trying to get me and 12 students to Morocco.
(I am currently in Morocco working as one of the two group leaders of an Arabic immersion program for 19 high school students. They students are studying at the Arabic Language Institute (ALI) of the American Language Center (ALC) in Marrakesh. (The ALC's main prupose is to teach Moroccans English; they teach about 4,000 locals every semester in 13 centers all over the country, pretty incredible.) The program we are on is part of the National Security Language Initiative - Youth (NSLI-Y) of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of State Dept and run by American Councils on International Education and Legacy International.)
After my group spent 12 hours at National Airport, during which time our flight to JFK was delayed for 10 hours in fifteen minute, half hour and hour increments and finally canceled, our travel agent was somehow able to secure us seats on an 8:50pm flight to JFK so we could try to make the 11:00 flight to Casablanca. (We had more than missed the 8:45 flight we were supposed to be on.) We were put, however, into a holding pattern in flight, making us an hour late to JFK. We walked off the plane at 10:50, the Casablanca flight left from the next terminal over at 11. So we ran (literally ran) outside to the next terminal over, up a hill, you know in those places that dont relaly cater to pedestrians. We finally made it to the Royal Air Maroc check in, and they said they were holding the plane for us, then they said they couldn't check us in, we were too late, then they said they could. So in the end, we made it on the plane...unfortunately our bags did not. We finally arrived in Marrakesh Friday evening, making our travel time a whopping 36 hours!! Our bags' travel time, however, was 78 hours; they arrived Sunday at 11am.
So we're here. I have a nice apartment in a great neighborhood, Gueliz, right in the middle of Marrakesh, a short walk from the medina (the old city). I have internet that is a bit shaky, and access to all Arab news channels. Hurray for that.