Ever made sand castles on a sandy beach as a kid? You’d surely remember chanting, “I’m the king of my castle”. You played in your castle imagining all kinds of medieval scenarios, till it got wiped out by the rising waves or became a victim of envious kids.
But, here is a man, all of 44, who has not outgrown his fascination for sand castles. In fact, he lives in one and has been living in it for the past 22 years! His name is Marcio Mizael Matolias and he calls himself the ‘beach monarch’. His sand castle stands on the beach of Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Known to the locals as ‘The King’ or ‘King Marcio’, Matolias made this castle his home to avoid the high rents in the upscale district of Rio de Janeiro. And he plays the part of monarch well, happily posing on his throne, wearing a crown and holding a scepter outside his castle.
However, the monarchy of Matolias ends here. The magnificent castle built by his own hands that stands on one of the most expensive beach areas may have a grand appearance, but it occupies a mere three-square-meter floor area. And it is full of books! This is because reading is one of his three passions, the other two being golf and fishing.
Matolias is not only the king of his castle, but its housekeeper too, repairing and maintaining it. And the flimsy structure made of sand needs to be watered constantly to prevent it from crumbling. At times, he has to work on his castle in scorching 40-degree heat.
Matolias’s biggest motivation for staying in a sand castle is his inability to pay the exorbitant rents of seafront homes, not to mention affording the power and other bills. Says he, “I grew up in the Bay of Guanabara, I always lived on the beach. People pay exorbitant rents to live in front of the sea, I do not have bills and here I have a good life.”
Matolias doesn’t really mind staying this way, since he is single and childless. But, at times the heat in the sand gets to him and he is forced to spend the night at a friend’s place or lie outside on the beach.
Whatever be the hardships, with his books and hobbies for company and the crown on his head, nothing can deter Matolias from moving away from this beach.