In 2016, the Wamdue project made a remake of the popular King of My Castle song. The lyrics are “Must be the reason why I’m king of my castle”. Well, for Marcio Mizael Matolias, living in his own castle is a reality. And he has no noble history of any ancestors that were kings. Simply put, he decided he wanted to be a king, and he made his wish possible.
For more than 20 years, King Marcio from Brazil avoids paying rent, bills, or anything similar, all while living in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. How? Well, he built a sand castle near Barra de Tijuca.
Marcio is 45 years old, and he is known by locals as “King Marcio”. He lives in his castle on the beach of Barra da Tijuca. His castle features a royal throne for himself just outside the castle. At all times, he is seen wearing a plastic crown and carrying a makeshift staff.
He enjoys his way of living, as he has always lived on the beach. He grew up in the Bay of Guanabara, spending most, if not all of his life on the beach. He says “People pay exorbitant rents to live in front of the sea, I do not have bills and here I have a good life”. If that sounds like a dream come true scenario, it almost is.
Sandcastles and statues are a common sight along the main beaches in Rio. They have become tourist attractions, as people visiting the city love to take photos of them. But Marcio is the first one to take the sandcastles to the next level.
Some might say it is just the reality of high housing costs for many people living in Rio. Not many people can afford a nice apartment. But Mario just wants to live by the beach.
Marcio learned how to build sandcastle through a friend, and then by reading books. Reading is his biggest passion, and thanks to it, he has learned how to build his own castle.
He regularly water the sides of his castle to prevent fine sand from crumbling. He maintains the castle’s walls and turrets in one of the hottest cities in the world.
A single tropical storm can destroy the entire castle in a matter of minutes, and he has to rebuild it afterward. But because he has lived in the castle for 22 years, he has mastered the art of rebuilding and reconstructing his sandcastle.
On the outside, the castle might seem big and grandiose. But on the inside, it is just a tiny room. He has a three-square meter bedroom, piled with books from floor to ceiling, and supported by wooden beams. His bathroom is nearby a lifeguard shack where he is able to take a shower.
The only downside of his castle is that the sand holds in heat. Take into account that summer temperatures in Rio can go as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), and it can become hot inside. Sleeping is sometimes impossible. On the very hot days, Marcio stays with a friend, but he prefers to be by the sea.
He doesn’t want to leave his place any time
soon. And why would he? He has become a local celebrity and tourist attraction.
Almost anyone passing by wants to take photo with “the king” and his unusual
home. He even lets tourists take a seat on the throne and poses for photos with
them. Some of them leave money, others do not. But he also makes money thanks
to his love of books. He has a table piled with books just next to the castle,
where passers can shop some books, and pay whatever price they think is
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