There’s a Penguin on the Beach: My Story
I was born in a research station called Port Alfred on Possession Island near Antarctica. One of the researchers hatched me in an incubator after saving my egg from plummeting over the edge of a nearby cliff. He tried to give me back to my penguin family, but they preferred to let the non-penguin inhabitants of the island figure out how to hatch me and what to do with me afterwards.
The hatching was a bit of a touch-and-go situation, but in the end, I clawed my way out of my shell amid clapping and cheering. I guess you could say my dramatic birth set the stage for my unusual life. Not many penguins strut down the halls of a research station in search of a cheeseburger while basking in the quiet hum of machines and friendly waves from those who pass by. The average King Penguin like me dines on squirming squid in the midst of incomprehensible squawking. The noise would make my ears bleed if I had any.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m awesome in a rock star kind of way. Add to this fascinating life my seriously spectacular looks and I am one popular guy. Let’s face it, if you were a penguin, you’d date me.
Possession Island is okay at best. The place is cold and people fall asleep at parties. At four years old, I realized I was nearing my prime and it was time to stretch my wings (figuratively – these things are worthless). Two months ago, I set out for exotic South Beach to live in a hotel owned by my dad’s brother. After asking around, I learned South Beach is warm, salsa dancing is everywhere, the people are always up for fun, and there aren’t many penguins. Perfect.
Unfortunately, (being a penguin) I can’t read and ended up on a flight to Ireland. Two weeks and billions of gallons of rain later, I had seen the Emerald Isle from coast to coast. I stayed in a 700 year-old castle and shopped on Grafton Street! The trip was so exhilarating, I climbed inside a suitcase that I eventually found out was bound for France. In Paris, I found my way to the Louvre and was mistaken for modern art as I stood perfectly still to enjoy the Mona Lisa. My next stop was Sydney, Australia where I was everyone’s “mate” and rode on a giant tortoise. In Tibet, I was granted an audience with the Dalai Lama, who patted me on the head and told me my presence inspired a smile.
Eventually I found my way to the Miami airport and grabbed a cab to Ocean Drive. When my flippers hit the pavement in front of The Penguin Hotel (no doubt named after me!), my charmed life got even better. A deep breath filled my lungs with ocean air and a hoppin’ beat from a club down the street made my heart beat a little faster.
My uncle set me up with the best room in the house. My crisp white and deep green penthouse suite has everything a guy needs and so many things I didn’t know existed and now can’t live without. The best part is that I can walk out onto a palatial deck just off the suite to take in the South Beach ocean view whenever I want. I’ll get to mingle with guests from all over the world in my new job as Official Hotel Host. My first soiree is already in the works. Consider yourself invited.
I’ve no doubt the travel itch will overcome me at any moment, but I also know The Penguin Hotel is where I truly belong. I’ve seen a great deal of the world and the best place is right here! Pardon me for running off, but I’m meeting a fascinating group of Italians who want to teach me to roller skate. I don’t know what that is, but I’m game! Bye for now, and don’t forget to check back in with me soon.
By the Penguin of South Beach
As told to Lori Metze