I was woken up at 3am on a hot and bug filled Sunday morning to carry out a mission of utmost importance. I quickly and quietly packed the things I would need to accomplish my task. With help from the President (Abigail Alling) I quickly got briefed on the events that would most likely occur in the next two hours. The challenge begins with a simple exiting of our boat, unnoticed, under the cover of darkness. The second task was scaling at least two fences upwards of 20ft high. The first fence proved a menial task. The guards did not even lock it, so I was able to stroll right through. I was not as lucky when I got to the perimeter fence. Rusty, old, and menacing are the three adjectives that best describe fence number two. The guard shack within earshot and a light post overhead proved the most difficult obstacle that could spoil my mission before it even started. I quickly but meticulously examined every possible weak point that would allow me to get over of the fence. The decision was made; the most promising section was where the two fences met in a corner. This was my escape route. Looking down at my watch I saw that I had 10 minutes remaining before I was supposed to be at the rendezvous point.
I was meeting my local asset at little known café on the outskirts of town. This asset, knows the roads and the people that would allow me to complete my mission. This prominent businessman by day and undercover super spy by night will be referred to as Mr. E (for Egypt). I had never met Mr. E. I had heard tid-bits of the legend that is the man. I was told to take a seat at the café and wait for further instruction. About 30minutes passed and many of the 4am regulars were still going strong until the earliest signs of light peaked over the mosque to my right.
No sooner was I enjoying an Egyptian coffee than a middle aged Egyptian (Mr. E) stepped out of a sleek silver BMW 3 series (which especially in Egypt, is NOT low profile). He carried himself with distinction and had an air of confidence about him. Mr. E proceeded to holler for the owner to come from behind the bar to bring some sheesha and two new coffees. We sat going through the usual small talk sizing each other up building up mutual trust and comfort. My life was in his hands and all the details of our plan were in only his head…
Around 6am we made our move. Together with his youngest son in the backseat we hit the road. To the outside world, we must have looked like a very bizarre trio. It was roughly two and a half hours until we were scheduled to arrive at our destination. Along the way there was scattered traffic in each direction. We were at a steady cruising speed when we experienced our first and what would be our only real obstacle in our mission. A flat tire caught early by Mr. E was quickly repaired and before long we were back to burning rubber and rotating our tires. In exactly the two and a half hour allotted for our trip we arrived at our destination, unharmed and undetected.
I am now permitted to fill you in on the mission that required hours of planning and years of Mr. E’s experience here in Egypt. The mission was to get from my boat in Port Said to Cairo… in one piece. Mission: Accomplished!!!