In São Paulo, I use public transport... train, metro, bus, cab, etc. They've pretty much wiped out begging and hawking in the metro system. Its been a while since I've taken the train, but last I checked, it still had its share of hawkers and beggars. The cabs only have the ones at the traffic lights to worry about, but the buses.... !
Today, we first had the paçoca seller. I bought some, as we both like paçoca. Imagine peanut butter in a sweet form.... dryer, but with the same taste and it crumbles in your mouth.
Yumm... when I'm really desperate for peanut butter, which, here, is extremely expensive, I crumble paçoca onto my heavily buttered bread... a dieter's nightmare! :)
Our next 'visitor' was a blind guy. Now I have every sympathy for the blind. I give unstintingly and buy their products, but on the buses?? No. Jorge tells a story of how, when he was a lad (yes, there was a time... ), him and two friends answered a blind beggar (this was back in South Africa) in Portuguese and German. The beggar swore and said to his companion, "Die mense verstaan nie 'n f** wat ons sê nie!" = "These people can't understand a f*** word we're saying". A little while later, they saw the same guy walking with his cane tucked under his arm and dark glasses on his head.
Which reminds me of one of my earlier beggar experiences here. I was on the bus (where else?) when a very old man struggled on board. Everyone got up to help him as he went by. We were surprised he was on his feet at all. The crutch he was using was little use with the movement of the bus. He told his story and virtually had us reduced to tears. I sympathised... old age here is bad, especially for those who don't have children or who's family don't care. They have little to help them and often end up on the streets. Purses were emptied for this old man. He was assisted on his journey through the bus. People were blessing him as he went by. At last, he was helped off the bus....
This old man had hardly hit ground when he tucked his crutch under his arm, straightened up and literally danced away! Cries of (forgive the language) "Filha da puta" and various others I wasn't familiar with went up, then we all cracked up laughing. You had to admire his spirit. That man was well paid for his acting ability that day. I laugh now. My donation went towards a show loaded with talent. Why he doesn't get spotted by a talent scout, I don't know.
But that is why I don't give to beggars here. They're all so damn talented!