We’re currently having a cold front here in Rio: Whereas a week and a half ago it was 42 degrees (that’s a sweltering 107.8 degrees fahrenheit for all you Americans), it’s been around 22 degrees (71 degrees F) and rainy this week. So it’s a good time to reminisce about how summer should be here–although make no mistake about it; I’m very, very grateful for this momentary respite from the heat.
Just a little background: The beach in Rio is not only often quite crowded (though still beautiful in my opinion), it’s also always teeming with vendors trying to peddle goods to all those people sunbathing on the beach. Vendors who sell matte leao (the most refreshing drink known to man/beach-goer, it’s a mixture of matte iced tea and lemonade), acai (the miracle berry from the Amazon that they make into a delicious smoothie), cangas (Brazilians don’t use towels at the beach; they use their version of the sarong, a canga), queijo coalho (a great snack, which is basically just a large hunk of cheese grilled on portable grills vendors carry around with them on the beach), and all sorts of jewelry, sunglasses, sunblock, keychains, hats, alcohol, watermelon, sandwiches, nuts, and even neck-support pillows to rest your head on.
So in that spirit, I wanted to show you some pics of the beach vendors… hope you enjoy!
Note: As a veteran matte leao drinker of almost one year, I can attest that not all matte leaos were made equal. The best, tastiest, and most refreshing matte comes from the barrels that are round and a little beaten looking, like the ones shown in this pic. I’d even say the older the vendor, the better the matte. I’d even go one further and say the older and more rotund the vendor, the better the matte. I have conferred this with several other seasoned beach-goers, and I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. Stay away from the rectangular, shiny-new barrels. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.