A quick break at The Plaza de Oriente turned into a reminder that the immigrant hustle is the same whether it’s back home in NYC across the Atlantic in Madrid.
A walking tour of Old Madrid started at the Plaza de Oriente. The capital’s two most important buildings are located here – the Palacio Real and the Teatro Real. As I entered the plaza, Chinese migrant workers were selling fans on the side of the steps. My heart always goes out to migrant workers, whether they’re Chinese or not. It’s scary starting with nothing in a foreign country.
I walked toward the Palacio Real and sat in front of the equestrian statue of King Felipe V. The sun was beaming and the sky was cobalt blue and cloudless. The foreground of the white marble palace made it picture perfect. A while later, one of the Chinese migrant workers peaked from behind the bushes. I watched as the rest of them scurried like mice in a single file from left to right. What were they doing? They were running from the police patrolling The Plaza de Oriente. It made my heart feel heavy.
Even though we’re the same people, their world was different than mine. I sat on the benches, soaked up the sun, watched the people walk by and enjoyed the ambiance. It was a stark comparison between the way the migrant workers live and the way I live.