Saturday, January 30, 2010

Beach Wares

Christmas through Carnaval is prime beach time here in Brazil. If the sun's out, the beach is packed. And not American standard packed, we're talking sardine packed (just see my header photo above to see what I'm talking about). No space between you and your friendly beach neighbors. I don't particularly enjoy going to the beach when it's like that, but Guapo loves it so we usually humor him on Saturdays.

I can't stress enough how important the beach is to the culture here in Ri0. The beach is for all- the old and young, beautiful and not-so attractive, skinny and fat, black and white, rich and poor. So, I'm going to take my camera the next few Saturdays and do a few posts about the beach.

Today's topic: all the stuff that's sold on the beach. It's different that other places we've lived because vendors aren't perceived as a total annoyance or security hazard. Here they are a vital part of the beach experience. Someone pauses in front of your spot probably once every 2-3 minutes. It sounds annoying, but you actually get used to it. They don't hang around (except for the ice-cream guys, see below); for the most part, as soon as you say "no thank you" they head on their merry way.

You could basically go to the beach buck-necked with some money and be totally set up within a matter of minutes. You can buy:

Bathing suits (just bikinis and speedos of course):





Obnoxious hair accessories:


Beach and soccer balls:

Matte (like iced tea):

Other various drinks:

Hot dogs and kites (different vendors, same picture): Look at the hot dog guy's cute little display box. There are lots of different foods for sale. I didn't have a chance to take pictures of the watermelon, empadas, shrimp kabob, cashew or cheese sellers. You'll just have to take my word for it. :)

Ice Cream: these guys stick their menus right in the kids' faces and hang around long after you've said "no thank you" waiting for the kids to wear their parents down. I've taught my kids not to even look at their signs (ice cream on the beach costs 3X as much as it does anywhere else)

Cotton Candy:

Here's one of Pedro. (I had to take a few shots of my kids because I'm pretty sure my beach neighbors thought I was kind of a freak with my camera.)

Not an easy job, I'd say, being a beach vendor; out there in the blistering heat all day, walking in the hot sand for what's probably very little money. And, for the most part they are very friendly and courteous. And they don't even try to rip us off just for being gringos (well, most of the time).

So now you know about that.


Jeanie said...

A fun tour. You mom was telling me about how very close together everyone is at the beach there.

Janice said...

I love the first picture with the lady "adjusting herself" in the back. Funny. I have to admit, the pictures make it all look kind of fun.

Kari said...

Wow! Thanks for taking us along for your day at the beach! I have to say it looks like HEAVEN right now. Sunshine and sand (at the end of January in New England) never looked so grand!!! :)

Ballerina Girl said...

I'm not a huge fan of sardine like conditions either...but same goes for my hubby!
We have our favorite beach vendors too...there's Carlos the queijo coahlo, (cheese), guy...Priscilla with the pretty hats...Pedro the chair/agua de coco guy...
I think they actually make the beach more fun!
One day I want to buy a bunch of pareos/kangas/beach cover-ups to take to the beach house!
Then when you come visit we can feel like we're back here together again!


nikko said...

All those salespeople and the sardine like conditions would drive me nutso, but the beach is sooo pretty! Look at that water and the sand! I would be there every day...

Betty W said...

I think I would pass. Me and hubby are not a fan of crowds. I can take them for a while, but hubby is very claustrophobic.
But this was really interesting and I feel sorry for them...

Unknown said...

I loved learning about this part of your beach experience. I'm not sure if I would stay away from the beach there or not. I would hate the crowd and I would hate being bothered by the vendors so much, but it would be hard to stay away from the sun and the water.