Owning a beachfront property is hard and for those without a loaded savings account, it is near to impossible. But on one small strip of beach in Brazil, there lives a king who is residing on a castle, entirely rent or mortgage free!
Brazil’s Marcio Mizael Matolias has avoided paying rent for the last 22 years, or any bills for that matter, in one of Rio de Janerio’s most prestigious neighborhood, Barra da Tijuca.
How, you wonder? By living in a castle he built himself.
This is like two of our wildest dreams coming true: living without paying any bills and rent, and of course, living in a castle!
The Sandcastle King
For over two deacdes, 44-yer-old Marcio has lived in a sandcastle. Living up to his name, ‘King Marcio’ has also built a royal throne for himself outside his sandcastle and can be spotted chilling on his throne wearing a plastic crown.
Decorative castles and sand statues are a common sight along the main beaches in Rio de Janerio, which are tourist attractions who click pictures and pay some amount to the locals.
However, Marcio is the first to build a sandcastle as a home and his efforts show the darker side of the reality of high housing costs for many people there.
Marcio appears content with his choice of living, as he says, “I grew up in the Bay of Guanabara, and I have always lived on the beach. People have to pay huge amounts of rent to live in front of the sea, I do not have bills and here I have a good life.”
How the king earns and survives his forever beach life
Marcio maintains the castle’s wall and towers by regularly watering the sides of his castle to prevent the fine sand from crumbling in the city’s year-round tropical climate.
A single tropical storm can destroy the entire castle in a matter of minutes, forcing him to rebuild the structure from scratch, so the king needs to be patient.
Having done this for two decades now, he has become well-adapted at swiftly and efficiently reconstructing his sandcastle. His work has caught attention of a local shopping mall that hired him to build decorative sand pieces for their display.
Life inside the castle
Marcio says he learned to build sandcastles through a friend and through reading books; one of his biggest passions. While the sandcastle appears to be lavish on the outside, its facade masks the tiny room inside. Marcio’s three-square-metre bedroom is piled from floor to ceiling with his few possessions (mostly books) and it is supported by wooden beams. His bathroom is a a lifeguard shack near the castle where he is also able to take a shower.
Sometimes, tourists pay some money (though not always), which is how he makes some money.
His love of books also helps him make a small income. Just beside his castle, there’s a table piled with books where passers-by can shop and buy, giving whatever price they feel is reasonable. Placed right above the books is a sign that says ‘Pick up a book and contribute in the box so that this initiative doesn’t end’.
Matolias reportedly said that the only downside to his castle is that the sand holds in heat, and with summer temperatures in Rio soaring to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), sleeping can become impossible. On the hot days, he stays with a friend, though he prefers to be by the sea and doesn’t intend to leave his palace on the shore any time soon.
King Marcio is now a local celebrity and attraction as tourists especially visit him to take pictures of the King and his unusual home.