We all like the beach; sunbathing, splashing in the sea and squidging the sand in between our toes. Marcio Mizael Matolias likes the beach, sand specifically, more than anyone else.
Matolias is 44-years-old and has spent twenty-two years living in a handmade sand castle on Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro. He grew up in the Bay of Guanabara and always lived on the beach. His decision to live within sandcastles has caused to become, rightly so, “a sort of tourist attraction.”
Of course, his home structure is fragile when it comes to strong weather and rain but the simplicity of it means that he can simply build a new home and start again. With this “ephemeral lifestyle”, he pays no bills. He has no wife or children to care for which explains how the 32 square feet of space in his sandcastles allow him to live there in enough room. Others pay extortionate amounts of money to live by the sea but Matolias’ home is significantly inexpensive in comparison.
Matolias has figured out the logistics of his life on the beach by cooking his food on a small stove outside. He showers and uses the bathroom at a local fire station for as little as $1. However, he constantly has to keep watering the turrets of his sandcastle to keep them from collapsing.
Originally, Matolias used the sandcastles on the beach as storage for books and materials but he spent so much time there that he sold his flat and moved into the sandcastle. He lives alone with his books and childhood toys. He has “moments of sadness” and loneliness but ultimately, he spends a lot of time with visiting tourists who leave small donations for him.