RIP: Interview 2: Zoltan Szemes, Owner & MD, Capital Real Estate

  • 9 Apr 2020 7:43 AM
RIP: Interview 2: Zoltan Szemes, Owner & MD, Capital Real Estate
Update: Zoltán passed away on 16 January 2021 in Budapest, he was a victim of COVID-19 in Hungary.

1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read his first interview

Well since the CoVid-19 (April 2020), the real estate market world-wide has ceased. This includes Hungary of course, there has been news of Chinese buying but you need to have an excellent relationship with clients to buy unseen.

We have at Capital Real Estate, over the years, had a few clients like that, but none at the moment. At home I am enjoying the extra time that I have with Niki and our 4 year old daughter Szofi.  We are cooking and playing and learning about the solar system. Szofi’s favourite planet is Jupiter. But she has a soft spot for Pluto because it got demoted to a dwarf planet.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with life in Hungary, and why?
10/10. The quality of life, the safety of the country, more precisely Budapest is excellent. As a world capital it must be one of the best in terms of culinary delights, spas and outdoor activities. Most things are comfortably priced compared to other major cities in the world. I love it!

3. What’s the best party you’ve ever attended, and why?
Wow, many great ones. It is hard to choose.
- Richard Adams’ going away party. Sumptuous food, excellent entertainment and the loveliest people.
- Siobhan Fahey/ Dave Stewart party where I accidently fell through a painting.
- Sigue Sigue Sputnik Party (Tony James/ Janet Street-Porter) where I made a fool of myself but also made a friend for life (Ray Mayhew) who couldn’t believe my hutzpah.

Long story.

4. What’s your favourite drink?
It is a close call between an excellent dry red wine (Bika Vér) or a simple apple cider. Although a well-made Bloody Mary with a celery stick is up there too.

5. What hidden talents do you have?
They are all on show. A bit of an extravert I am. Singing, dancing, pool playing and a pinball wizard (everyone must go to the pinball museum in Budapest when it reopens).

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
When I turned 50, I decided to travel to as many countries that I could, where I had friends or family. From Budapest to London, Reykjavik, Montreal, Varadero, Havana, Playa Jibacoa. Great friends. New friends and terrible food poisoning. Not the pizza.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
It is very simple. Peace/ Love to all across the Universe.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
Interpretation of dreams (Freud) not an easy read.
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
The incandescent death of morality. Just kidding that would be the title of my next album (look for us on iTunes or Spotify, The Skinny Bohemians) I still dabble in song writing. I guess it could be: Spirited!

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
TASTY FOOD SPECIAL $24.75 from Montreal. Spicy pepperoni sausage, 100% ground beef, Montreal’s famous smoked meat, green peppers, fresh mushrooms, diced onions and bacon.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
God. It would be interesting to be omnipotent and omnipresent and to reside outside of time.

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
10. They broke the mould. An acquired taste like marmite. You either love me or …… Mostly a contrarian. That usually means trouble but also innovative ways of thinking.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?
It has to be Reddit, my good friend Oliver K. turned me on to it. It is great for silly surfing. A wealth of information (more than a few times it has helped me solve computer problems). Jokes, recipes and memes. It has everything.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
My mother. I have known her all of my life. She is the strongest, most caring person that could ever be. Resilient and my rock. Love you Mom!

15. What is your favourite video game?
An old classic, Heroes of Might and Magic. I spent countless hours of fun. I even designed a level. Not official of course.
A special mention to Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) and Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge on the Amiga (circa 1990)
Currently, all of the Candy Crushes. (He said blushing)

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
My parents having the courage to escape Hungary during the communist rule and moving to Canada. I can’t even imagine what my life would have been had they not done that.

The whole story of my mother and father growing up, meeting, and finally (after the second attempt) the nerve-wracking trip to Sweden and then on to Montreal.

I had the good fortune to learn English and French, and make the most wonderful “child” friendships that still endure to this day.

The story of our lives would make for an excellent mini-series. HBO or Netflix?

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
Share it with my family and friends. Help feed the hungry and the homeless.

More than 9M people die of hunger and hunger-related diseases every year, more than the lives taken by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
"I'll Be There for You" a song recorded by duo "The Rembrandts" as the theme song to the sitcom "Friends".

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Budapest. But then again I have never been to Tahiti.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
Hopefully, retired after winning USD 30M and living between Tahiti and Budapest. :-)

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