Thursday, July 9, 2009

A tale of two cities - part 1

Dave and Denise Robinson live in Flushing, New York, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. Originally settled by the Dutch in 1645, it is considered to be the most diverse community in the New York City area.

Nancy Reagan, Ronald’s second wife, was born here, and the great “Satchmo”, Louis Armstrong, is buried here.

what a wonderful world

Dave was born On May 7, 1946, and Denise was born on April 1 of 1949. Due to a series of happy coincidences, they both were able to retire early, and now work only on a part time basis to augment their retirement income. And, yes, Denise has heard ALL of the April Fool’s jokes.

Like his father and grandfather, Dave has been an active participant in the stock market, and has done well financially over the years because of his penchant for sound and reasoned research.

Denise was a librarian for a number of years, and now maintains a connection to her old industry through a business that she founded a few years ago.

Dave’s parents, Elaine and Jack, were in their 50’s when the movie, The Graduate, was released, and for the last few decades of their lives delighted in playing the theme song as often as they could:

I've come to look for America

Denise’s younger brother Mark (five years younger) hasn’t been as lucky financially as his older sister. After working for many years at the local Chrysler dealership, he recently became just one of thousands of people nationwide who lost their jobs when Chrysler filed bankruptcy.

He’s not sure how he’s going to feed his family, or even how to keep his house.

Dave and Denise have always loved to travel.

When they were newlyweds, they took a cross country bus trip to Kansas

we've all come to look for America

As they grew older, they took trips to the Azores, Israel, and Ireland, and recently decided to travel to Iran because of their interest in Persian art and rugs.

The Robinsons have always been methodical planners, and are well aware of the risks involved when traveling to Iran. Months ago, they contacted the Swiss consulate in Iran for their advice, and have now been assured of safe passage.

Due to time restraints, they had decided to travel only to the ancient cities of Qum (second holiest city in Iran, and burial site for the lady of Fatima) and Tehran.

Since his old camera was no longer reliable, Dave decided to invest in a brand new Sony Alpha A350 digital camera. Although the camera retails for $589.88, Dave was able to purchase the camera at Costco for slightly more than $500.00.

On their arrival in Qum, they were greeted by members of the Swiss embassy (who were on official business in the city) and enjoyed an educational, and uneventful, stay in the city.

On their third day in the country, they flew to Tehran, and were again greeted by Swiss embassy personnel. Due to heightened security following the recent election in Iran, they weren’t allowed to visit all of the sites that they wanted to, but they were able to see most of the significant ones.

At the end of their first day in Tehran, they sat down on a park bench for a while, and talked about the sites that they had been to.

When they got up to leave, Dave accidentally left his brand new Sony camera sitting on the park bench.

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