Julie McCarthy, NPR
Coconut-festooned kiosks are coming down on Rio's Copacabana Beach, making way for newer, more upscale cafes and concessions.
In the daily drama of the world's most fabled beach, visitors should expect the unexpected. Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana still wears a 1960s look, with its low-slung kiosks serving up nickel beers and fresh coconuts — for now.
Surveying beach-goers on the facelift that's consigning old-fashioned concession stands to the dust-bin, it's the seamier side of Rio life that comes into focus: Cops arrest black kids for no apparent reason; small girls aggressively hawk snacks and knick-knacks; a woman rails at the high cost of morgues and burials for the poor.
Flying a black flag, a concessionaire laments the demise of his beachside bar to richer corporate concessions that cater to tourists rather than the locals.
Meanwhile, a sidewalk samba band plays on — and plans on doing so, fancy new businesses or no.