How to sort you beach and ensure you have a rating as one of the most densely populated beaches in the world. Copacabana has 100 stands or spots available for vendors. You apply and pay a license fee for the year. You can then rent out umbrellas at 10R$ and a chair for 5R$. Your vendor will look after you for they day. they will also keep an eye over the area and keep it “free” of crime!
So get your licence, get a gazebo, Rio style and flag your ship!
I mean, really flag your ship!!!
The vendors are licensed to sell Caipivodka and Caipirinha’s and everything else on the menu. They have friendly waiters, walking with trays, ice cold drinks or you can go to the stall for service. At least here you will get a fixed price!
When we were newly wed, friends Delene and Braam Stauss invited us to their favourite beach, Cape Vidal. It’s just next to St. Lucua, but part of the National Park. Entrance is limited and it’s safe and secured. The long walk over the dunes is alway terrible, you have boiling feet, or you have to drag shoes with just to get over the dune to the campsite. When I do the Cape Vidal, hell walk again, I will think of Rio, where the paths back to the promenade is lightly sprayed with water for a gentle stroll back…and I will definitely miss it! There are at least 100 of these cooled down walks on the beach of Copacabana.
When I walk from the sticky sand, all the way back to the entrance of the beach, just to shower I will long for the practical showers of Copacabana, nicely placed on the beach, close to the tanning spots. Take a swim, take a shower, apply the bronze fairy liquid and order Caipirinhas. Or shower and walk back, by the time you reach the parking area, you will have no need for a towel. The shower is managed by the vendor, generators are running from setup till shop close time. Some places are open till after 20:00.
Those are the fixed stalls, then you get the mobile chicos and chicas, who sell what ever they want…or rather you want. This is not limited to the poor, I got the impression that for some it’s a job, others to make some extra cash.
At any given time, I could see at least 7 vendors around me. They never stopped. When one is gone, the next one appears. Here is a quick summary of a few! I also saw guys selling home made chips, not fries. Pata chips! No pic…sorry.
Next time I see loads of towels stacked in the back of my car, heading for Scottburgh beach, I will think of Rio’s beaches, where there are only a lost towel here and there. No more tumble dryer, no more smelly towels, half dry and full of sand. Skin and water. Friendly and sometimes very beautiful vendors sell these nice sarongs, all colours and sizes.
Next time I buy a costume or rather swimsuit for my now fuller body (which I still hope on changing) I will just walk in and buy the darn bikini. And I will encourage every young and old soul to do the same. Cover up with sunblock, but take in with the skin. No one will be looking at you tummy, your boobs, or where ever you think they will be staring. They will just be thinking, jeeez, I wish I could be like that, live the moment, accept yourself, just go out and do it…and then stare at your bronzed backside!
Next time I buy Eversun Sport Water resistant sunscreen I will remember that the shelves in Rio pharmacies had nearly no brand I could use ….but then again I might not buy it again! And yes, it is sold in drugaria, not the local food stores.
I will sit on South African beaches and look at the vendors, opening the ice cream, and remember the menu I was offered in Rio. Much more practical. And these guys are great. They know what stock they have, line the basket with newspaper to keep everything extra cold. They carry a heavy load and most vendors have a towel hanging around their necks, just to help ease the weight placed on the shoulders and the cutting of the strap.
I will long for creative candy-floss salesmen, with his turning candy tree, and each packed has a balloon attached to it. Some vendors are dressed up as clowns, and have umbrellas too. These are turned continuously, round and round, the same way you wind up the candy-floss.
I will miss the ingenious vendor stands of the Caipirinha barmen.
I will also wonder why we, as South Africans do not Braai on the beach, the way the Cariocas do. Ai man, mens moet mos braai! In Rio they braai queso on a stick. Marius Swart this bbq is for you my friend! Oregano spiced, for only 6R$. One of Janko’s favourites. Braai’s of all sizes, makes and handmade models, maar braai sal ons braai! They keep the coals warm with a straw, and away form the wind. Want queso? Flag a braai and he will, sit next to you and prepare it in no time. Spiced, and served with a serviette!
The most amazing vendors were these guys. Chilled, clean and refreshing. Always fresh fruit, and a guaranteed smile. These containers have chilled water, Limón, cola and various other drinks. I will remember Rio for the fresh lime chilled drinks from these vendors! Not only on the beach, but in the streets, they will cut a lemon, crush it and serve it with some sugar and chilled water from one of these containers, small, large, old, new, round or square, they are all great.
Rio is big on fruit, these ladies sell fruit salad, they walk with these coolers, I saw two of them today. The salad mix is placed in a tall plastic class. The packaging of all the food and the presentation is good. It is clean and you get serviettes too!
There are many informal vendors and they sell everything you can think of? I asked to take most of the photo’s. The guy with the balls and plastic pools for bébe’s said no. So he sold balls and pools.
There are the jewellery stalls, a stolen photo. Plenty of these. Some with more bling, some less. Sunglasses usually go with selfie sticks. And they sell!
I asked the tattoo artist for a photo, and he got me! Good salesman. Yes, picture of me and you and he just did it. So I just paid for it!
Another interesting mobile vendor is selling prawns skewers. Cover it up on a windy day like today, or nobody will buy the sand dusted little creatures. Tabasco and other salsas on the side. Umbrella bikini’s at the back. The tops are on the umbrella and the briefs in the bag. He neatly inserts the pole places the umbrella on it when he sells you something. No rush…and the are good salesmen! Mix and match your bikini’s, anything goes.
There is also roasted peanuts, and maybe other nuts too, I don’t know. Paper cone rolled, and covered at the top. Two layers of paper is used. Peanuts for sure. Different sizes too!
Sun, so hats for sure. Each vendor carries their goods in their own way. This lady says she is from Haiti. She sells hats and does braiding too. We have met loads of interesting people on the beach.
Then there is advertising too. These guys sell branded stuff, there are various of these vendors. We bought the Acai mix berries, dark purple and delicious! 5R$ each.
At the end of each day there is a street market. A big one selling clothes, jewellery, Havaianas, woodwork, but mostly not a lot of China junk. This is how you burn incense, lovely pipe smokin abuelas.
Lizette, this is your stall.
We were drawn to a crowd on the sidewalk. Further down the beach is much narrower, and the buzz closer to the waterline. Lenka joined in a beach aerobic class, it was long, sweaty, rhythmic and just plain darn nice!
I will upload the dancing video’s to the journey4four youtube channel.
There are large amounts of dustbins all over the beach, and they are used extensively, cleaned regularly and appreciated dearly. These are cleaned at the end of each day. The recycling crew patrols the beaches with black bags, collecting aluminium cans before the are placed in the municipality bins. People are eager to help the homeless and are not unwilling to give, when asked. No problemo. Bins are usually placed in each section, 4 together, just recycle material, the food goes to a dump.
This is what I miss about recycling. The problem on our dumps is not the tins, plastic, or paper. It’s the food. You need to get the food out of the bins to be able to control and manage waste. So, do your part and recycle the food, not eaten or fresh. Keep 3 chickens for a family of 4 and a worm-bin if you wish. Contact me if you want worms! Once the rotten food is removed from the dumps, these can be recycled with ease. Yes, sure separate your waste, but that is not the key issue. They key is to discard food properly. In Rio the flats have a recycle bin on each floor. There is a shoot for food which is removed weekly. Good way to address the issue. Can Joburg follow? Or will we continue to see 20 bins at each school or flat.
Re-think life, and re-use thoughts, re-cycle everyday on a bike!