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)
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.