Short Pump & Richmond, Virginia
Left to right: Dorie translates a Russian document as her daughter Alyona, Alison and her daughter Jenine listen. Dorie has studyied Russian for years. She and her husband Paul have traveled to Russia several time and adopted three children, including Alyona, from there.
Sam, right, tests the helmet on his son Shawn. It is the beginning of a two-and-a-half hour Segway tour of downtown Richmond. Shawn turns out to be a natural on the machine, mastering it in a matter of minutes. Sam and I are a bit more challenged.
Graham, center, our guide loves history and regales us with stories along the route. We stop in front of the John Marshall House — home of the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — as he discusses Marshall's relationship with Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and others, as well as Marshall's impact on the growth and development of Richmond as a city.
On the edge of the Medical College of Virginia complex, the old city is reflected in the glass walls of the new.
At the center of the Medical complex Sam stops his Segway in front of the Egyptian Building. Many Richmond residents don't know this building exists and those who do often are uncertain where to find it. It honors the legacy of medical advances and knowledge that descend from the ancient Egyptians. Medicine has been taught here since the mid-18th Century. The Medical College of Virginia campus of Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest medical complex on the East Coast.
Shawn motors past the site of the first African-American hospital across the Egyptian Building. It was also founded in the 18th Century. A bust of Hippocrates, the Greek physician considered the father of medicine, stands in the plaza between them.
During the tour, I fell off the Segway twice and Sam once. We both anticipate feeling the effects — road rash and sore muscles — fully in the morning. Our tour guide says that anytime you are asked to sign a waiver of responsibility you know you are about to experience something special. Sam survived civil war in Lebanon and I came back from Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Panama with less damage than we did from this tour.