Getting a brazilian

Sydney March 2014 (5 images)

Is this something you would only see in Australia?

Thongs (flip flops) for sale.
Inside a vending machine.
Inside a shopping centre.
In the middle of Sydney’s CBD.

I was walking through this shopping centre when I saw the vending machine. I stopped in amazement. What? Why? Who? There is even a size guide on the floor in front of the machine. I took the photo. I found a nice spot and stood there for several minutes but no-one obliged. I walked away. I needed a coffee.

I came back this way 15 minutes later. Pastry in my left hand. Coffee in my right hand. Camera around the neck.

I broke the cardinal rule of candid photography and wasn’t prepared for the unexpected.

I suddenly saw him. There was a guy standing there looking at the machine. I stopped. My eyes opened a bit wider. My pulse started to race.

He bent down and took off one shoe. I started to gulp down the pastry.

He put his foot on the size chart. I almost ran to the nearest bin and threw away the rubbish and the rest of the coffee. Wiping my hands on my shirt, I quickly returned to the position I had previously reconnoitred. He was swiping the machine with his credit card.

Getting a brazilian-2

decisions decisions decisions

Getting a brazilian-3

choice made

Getting a brazilian-4

watching the machine in action

Getting a brazilian-5

collecting the prize

I suppose there must be a demand for this sort of thing. Perhaps city people are prone to getting a sudden desire for a change of footwear in the middle of the day. Maybe they need to buy that last minute birthday present.

This has been a photo story about a man getting a brazilian – pair of thongs (flip flops). I apologise if you thought this post was about something else.

I walked away. I bought a replacement coffee.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Man – getting a brazilian


108 thoughts on “Man – getting a brazilian

  1. LaVagabonde says:

    Instead of wolfing down the pastry and tossing the coffee, you could have stuffed it (the pastry) in your mouth and snapped the photo with one hand while holding the coffee in the other. Or am I being unrealistic about your multitasking abilities? I suppose it’s easy for me to judge when I have no idea what it’s like to be under such pressure.

    • Definitely an option, and if I just wanted one spur of the moment shot it’s what I would have done.

      But I wanted a series of shots, so I had to do it this way in case he turned around and saw me. Not easy to explain standing there with a camera and coffee in hand and pastry in the mouth. And if another photographer came by, I might have been the more interesting target instead. πŸ™‚

  2. Haha I really enjoyed this post. I haven’t seen one of these machines yet but I’m sure they’ll take off and will be everywhere eventually. I admire your patience and the shots are great πŸ™‚

  3. Oh what a lovely story to go with my Monday morning coffee! Happy to inform you that Sydney is not alone is such weirdness as flip-flops in a vending machine, in the middle of a mall. Vegas has it all, too! and even a bit more: IPhones in a vending machine. THAT blew my mind.

      • You asked if the shot on my site was taken with a Noct, and the answer is yes. But I think I’m going to be returning it, as *all* of the shots from the recent snowstorm were filled with terrible green and magenta chromatic aberrations — the Italian flag phenomenon, as it is described.

        I don’t have the same results with my 50 Lux or 50 Cron, just the Noct.

        • Without an EVF, focusing the Noct can be very trying. It works beautifully withe the M240 and EVF, but the CA is so bad that most of my results require conversion to monochrome for them to be usable, at the least the images I shot this past weekend did.

  4. Haha – you almost had me! I can just picture you choking down that pastry and itching to get your hands on the camera. Personally I can’t stand flip flops, they rub between my toes.
    Jude xx

  5. LB says:

    oh my gosh you have made me laugh!!
    The title alone made me hesitate before opening the link. Then your description of gulping the coffee and the pastry. too funny!
    I’ve never seen such as this. I’ve definitely needed a pair of flip flops unexpectedly.
    interesting …

  6. LOL:)))))) you should be writing movie scripts, Draco:))))))
    love the story and the way you told it, both in words and in photos…
    and yes, I scrolled down fast at first to check out the Brazilian…lol:)))))
    learned a new word too – “thongs”, I only knew “flip flops”:)))))
    is it always warm where you live?

    • I was wondering if the title would attract OR scare people. πŸ™‚
      Sorry, but I need to maintain my “safe” rating.

      No, it’s autumn now and cooling down but it never gets below about 5 degrees Celsius in my area in winter. I guess some people would consider that warm whilst I’m freezing. Recent heavy rains too.

      • well, you certainly grabbed my attention with that title.. even had several interpretations ready in my mind before I opened the post to read it …lol:)))

        once again, I LOVE the way you tell stories.. πŸ™‚

        really? about the weather… so you have the winter when it’s summer here? wow… it’s another planet…

        • Several interpretations? Now I’m scared. Let’s just leave it at that. πŸ™‚

          Many thanks for the compliments. I do appreciate it.

          Yes, the Southern Hemisphere is opposite to you above the equator. The hard part is having Christmas in summer.

  7. LOL at “almost ran and…threw away the rubbish”! Pastry, is NOT rubbish. How could you throw food away? All in the name of passion, I understand πŸ™‚ I’ve never seen a vending machine for things here in Melbourne’s city. Would love to see one and I would definitely have a poke at the machine. Great shots. Though there are people wandering around, you still made the flip-fop buying guy stand out πŸ™‚

    • Oh no, I agree, I ate all the pastry. I had to throw away the paper wrap, paper bag and napkin. πŸ™‚

      This wouldn’t be out of place at the beach, but in the middle of the city? πŸ™‚


  8. Haha, funny! Though I would say that such a vending machine is quite appropriate for your hot region. In Russia I’ve seen shops specialising in those havaianas at a mall. And there’s no immediate need to buy them here, because there’s no beach outside:-) still they are there…
    Thank you for the post. A really candid photographer can make a good story from anything! πŸ˜‰

  9. Thanks for making me laugh! Thongs vending machine @The Galeries…I always wonder who’d buy them…in CBD!? But you prove it that there is a demand…is a great documentary, and hope you enjoyed your coffee…Miss Aussie Flat white. : )

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I didn’t think anyone would use it but I was lucky. You’d think these would be popular at the beaches. πŸ™‚
      Thank you, I always enjoy a nice cappuccino.

  10. oltre che foto bellissime mi hai molto divertita con la storia di queste infradito brasiliane—ha ha ha, il mondo Γ¨ sempre di piΓΉ colmo di cose strane!
    grazie, buonanotte

    In addition to beautiful photos I’ve very amused with the history of these Brazilian flip flops—ha ha ha, the world is increasingly full of weird stuff!
    Thank you, good night

  11. That’s an ingenious machine, I’ve certainly never seen one of those before! But here’s a thought – what happens if the customer is not happy with their purchase? Maybe they pressed the wrong button for the wrong foot size, how do they get a refund? Perhaps the refund is round the back! πŸ˜‰ But my gut feeling is – no refund! πŸ˜€

  12. Liz says:

    Hey wait a minute…is that a vending machine???? never seen anything like that before (LOL). and you call them flip-flops thongs? here thongs refer to the G-string bikinis…how interesting. And Lignum did anybody ever tell you should be a writer? your writing skills are excellent. I enjoyed reading almost as if I was reading a script for Bond 007…have a lovely day!

    • It’s the first time I saw it too. We refer to both G-strings and flip flops as thongs- you just have to know the appropriate context. πŸ™‚
      Thank you. I’m glad you found it entertaining. Have a wonderful day too. πŸ™‚

  13. Brilliant title! I was excited about man getting a brazilian, lol… Do you know that in Japan, you can get used schoolgirl panties in vending machines and they were actually worn before and not washed. Some weird fascination Japanese men have!

    Happy weekend Draco!

    • I removed the link but only because I didn’t want to add my blog to the comments of that page as a ping back.

      Sorry to disappoint about the brazilian. πŸ™‚

      That is so weird! Particularly the live lobster machine. Unless they’re tied down, how can you guarantee getting one? πŸ™‚
      And the obsession for used panties defies belief!

      Have a good weekend too.

      • All the weird stuff going on in the world. Even the bomohs engaged to find MH370 😦

        On a happier note, my children love Havianas thongs πŸ™‚

        • Well, now they know where to buy a pair with minimal fuss. Just tell them to keep an eye out for someone with a camera who may be photographing them as they do. πŸ™‚

  14. This is brilliant! Perhaps next one would be vending machines for bikini or speedos :)) and awesome photos – gosh you are good in taking street photos! (my hands would shaking badly if I were in your position πŸ™‚ )

  15. elmediat says:

    Without a thong the day would never end
    Without a thong the road would never bend
    When things go wrong a man ain’t got a friend
    Without a thong

    I’ll never know what makes the train to stall
    I’ll never know what makes that grass so tall
    I only know there ain’t no love at all
    Without a thong…… ( apologies to Billy Rose and Edward Eliscu )

    He might have been flip-flopping on a quick gift. From here in Canada, you folks appear to have endless summer & a whole lot of beach, so a vending machine for beach wear seems very reasonable. πŸ˜€

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