I’m heading over to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic later today. Should be a good day of tennis, both Andy Roddick and John Isner are playing tonight! They play up at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park. If you are not familiar with Rock Creek Park, it is a beautiful sanctuary of green space in Washington, DC that is twice the size of New York’s Central Park.
On my way home from work I walk right by the lower part of the park. One evening after work I noticed that there were only two people in the park near the entrance of the park at 23rd and O Streets. One was a young man who was sitting by himself in the middle of the park. The other was a man who was walking around in a slightly crazed manner. I watched as the wandering man got closer and closer to the guy sitting by himself.
By the time I got close to the guy sitting on the grass, the other man had wandered over to the edge of the woods. I decided to approach the young man sitting by himself.
I introduced myself and took a seat next to Raoul. He’s a 32-year-old professional who works here in DC for a non-profit focused on energy sustainability. “I came out here just to relax a little and catch up on some emails,” he told me as he lifted his right hand to reveal a cell phone.
There are some tennis courts and a swimming pool adjacent to where we were sitting and Raoul told me that he had actually just came from a swim over at the pool. I have never been to the Francis Swimming Pool (2500 N. Street). In fact I didn’t even know it was there until a few weeks ago. Given how hot it has been this summer I am considering making a visit over there though. It’s walking distance from my place and it’s free for DC residents!
Originally from Mumbai (Bombay), India, Raoul moved to the US about 15 years ago. His parents are diplomats and they were posted here in DC. He grew up speaking Hindi and five other local dialects in addition to English. I asked him how somebody learns five dialects! “You just sort of pick them up informally by talking with your friends” he shared. Now he also speaks some Spanish, French and Italian. It probably won’t come as any surprise to you that Raoul is well traveled and has visited 37 countries.
I love Indian food and never miss an opportunity to ask someone who I think might have a good tip about finding the ultimate in Indian cuisine. “I like the Bombay Club” he said about the Farragut North locale. I haven’t been there but will definitely check it out. He says that he really misses some of the simple street foods from India.
Raoul says that he will give the $10 to somebody else or some organization. “Maybe I’ll give it to Bread for the City” he says. That’s odd…because I was planning to go to a Bread for the City event later that week. It’s a great organization that I will talk about later this week.
Since Raoul is working for a sustainable energy organization I thought I would ask if he had any advice for people on how they could do their part on conserving energy. He looked over at me and said “Turn the lights off and take the metro.” Sounds so simple but most of us could do better about reducing the electricity we use and taking public transportation.