Thursday, January 20, 2011

House-Hunting with Penguins

In preparation for a lengthy train journey later on in our trip, my mother and I took a much shorter journery via train from Cape Town to Simon's Town to see the African penguins at Boulders Beach.

We were lucky to visit on an uncrowded day, and we got plenty of penguin close-ups. They sure are ugly birds when they're molting! Otherwise, they are a joy to watch. One was voguing for the cameras, while many others lay napping under the boardwalk. It was interesting to see the birds in an almost tropical environment. I wouldn't ordinarily associate a turquoise sea with penguins, but there they were.

The penguins are quite a walk out of town, and you can only stare at a vast expanse of blue for so long, so on our way back we turned our attention to the buildings.

Strange as it may seem, the Soeth family pasttime is house-hunting. Property guides are our gossip rags and open houses our afternoon matinees. I remember being taken out of school for an orthodontist appointment and stopping at an open house on the way. Sunday afternoon drives inevitably lead to a few house tours. As luck would have it, we hit Simon's Town on a Sunday.

My vision may not be that of a hawk, but I have a keen awareness of for-sale signs. Approaching a large, blue, Dutch-colonial style home, I instantly zeroed in on the for-sale sign planted in the lawn. I gestured towards it, "Hey, we could live there!" Mom glanced over and stopped dead in her tracks.

"It's open."

We ran across the street. A realtor promptly greeted us at the door, with a pair of adorable dogs. I will spare you the details of the guided tour, but it was a highlight of the whole trip for me.

Well, to be honest, I actually liked the second house better. That's right, we went on multiple house tours with the end result being that we had to rush to catch the bus back to Fish Hoek and then the train back to Cape Town (and by rush, I mean run).

Overall, I thought Simon's Town was a lovely little place with great shops, restaurants, museums and public spaces. If I ever find myself with a few million rand to spare, I very well might buy a summer home in Simon's Town! *I've got numbers for realtors if anyone's interested.*


  1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who does house-hunting as a hobby! Even though we do not intend to move from this house -- EVER -- I still read the Real Estate ads. I haven't been to an Open in a while, don't want the visceral temptation, but I LOOK all the time. I LOVE HOUSES!

    Gwendolyn (from Xerox)

  2. PS Your mother told me about your blog. I am reading it beginning to end, albeit slowly, and also subscribed via Google Reader.

    Your writing gives me great pleasure. Thank you!