Welcome to Cairo Sara Wedemeyer

My Dad in the cockpit of a Gulfstream G650

For this project, I decided to ask my Dad about his experience living in Cairo, Egypt. As you can tell in the photo above my Dad is a pilot. Let me preface this conversation in the fact that my Dad did five combat tours during his time as a fighter pilot (F/A-18s) in the United States Marine Corps. Today, my Dad is a personal Gulfstream pilot for an Egyptian businessman. This is his reaction and his experience during the past four years living in Cairo, Egypt and flying around the world. Below are various quotes and pictures that my Dad has shared with me to show. Once he started talking, he didn't stop-

So Dad, tell me everything about your experiences in Egypt...

Pictures of the Pyramid of Giza from the cockpit of the G650

"So, unlike living in the USA, there's no where I can go to feel comfortable. Sure, I could go to the embassy. But there's no exit strategy-if something goes wrong. Another thing, when you walk around Cairo (as an American) you stick out. You can't hide"

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"For example, when we were driving, a bomb went off fifty feet behind our car. And you can't do anything about it. It just happens."

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"There's a funny thing about protection. It's a 'force multiplier'.

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"I can't carry a gun. I also can't carry a knife because it won't go through TSA. But I do carry a Smith and Wesson Titanium Pen. It's actually a dagger and TSA doesn't catch it. You can really mess someone up with that."

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"There's no relaxation. I can't relax."

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"Protection is like camouflage. I just look different. I look different to people when I'm in other countries. And that's not a racist thing. That's a fact."

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"I have no doubt in my mind that I have been followed. I have no doubt that people listen to the things I say on my (Egyptian) phone. I've come back to my (hotel) room in Cairo and notice that someone went through all my stuff."

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"There's a big difference here being a civilian and being in the military. When you're in the military it's a team concept. You're alone here. And if you get kidnapped, the American government is not going after you now, especially if it's just you and only you being kidnapped. They don't care if it's one person."

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"Nowhere in America have I ever felt this helpless."

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"The difference between me and the average tourist is that I'm aware. It's literally in my (Marine Corps) training"

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"My boss is a high profile man. He's a high profile target. Therefore, I'm a target."

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"For anyone who is even thinking about being a tourist anywhere, here is my advice. Don't go cheap. Ever. Get the tour guide that speaks the language. And your language. Only stay in reputable hotels. Don't recognize the name? Don't got there. And don't drive yourself. Get yourself a driver. Don't rent a car."

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"I've seen the Pyramids of Giza. I've seen King Tut . I've even gone down and seen the Luxor. But they'll always want to sell you more. 'Hey take a pic of yourself on my camel!' and they'll make you pay money. Hell, they'll jump on the car begging to be your tour guide."

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"But see, some of this is just what it's like in Cairo. When I'm at the Red Sea on my boss's property, at the resort, it's a different world. You're know you're closed off from the outside world. You are in your own world. I knew I was safe."

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My Dad on the Red Sea on his boss's property

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"Another good thing to do before you travel, anywhere, go online and read the do's and don't's. Most people don't even do that. But everyone needs to."

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"Sometimes I never leave my hotel (in Cairo). It's all inclusive. Laundry, three restaurants, room service. I don't need to leave and I don't .

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"I've had more people tell me (as tourists) that 'this place sucks' and they try to get new plane tickets to come back to the states early."

Aerial view of Cairo from the cockpit of the G650

At the tail end of the interview I made sure to ask my Dad about his experiences overseas when he did his combat tours. He didn't have much of an answer to those experiences because never did he ever "really feel I was ever in danger", especially now that he has his Cairo experience story to tell. I even asked him point blank, what were you feeling in Afghanistan? In Iraq? But he only responded with-

"Nothing, I didn't feel like I was in danger ever. We had protection. We had each other."

My Dad works three months on flying, and one month off back to the United States. When he's flying he'll travel all over Europe and the Middle East to drop off "The Boss" (what he calls him) to whatever meeting or luxury trip that he requests. This has taken my Dad all over the world, but he has always said that his experiences in Cairo were the worst and can't wait until he gets the opportunity to look for a different job stateside.

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"I just want to fly domestic again. I'm done."

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My Dad in front of one of the three Pyramids of Giza

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