JC and I walked non-stop these past two days. It was either restless leg syndrome or the excitement we had being in Madrid. I thought we would take it a little slower on the third day but, nope. Not when traveling with JC. He only knows one speed – and it’s just go, go, go, go, go!
We began the day with a trip to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid. JC had me take a picture of him with his middle fingers to the stadium. (He’s a Barca fan.) He commented that the stadium has the same colors as the Yankees Stadium. “…And that’s why the Yankees suck!” (He’s a Mets fan.) We circled the stadium and came across a bright yellow swastika symbol spray painted at an abandoned gas station. A little friendly reminder that racism still exists.
Then we set out for a walking tour of Old Madrid. First stop, 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, I noticed a few Chinese migrant workers on the side of the steps selling fans with symbols of Spain. My heart always goes out to migrant workers, whether their Chinese or not. It’s not easy starting with nothing in a foreign country. We realized that there were quite a number of immigrants in Madrid. We met a few of them last night.
JC and 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 bright blue and cloudless. The foreground of the white marble palace made it picture perfect. It reminded me a little of Greece. A little while later, we saw the Chinese migrant workers coming down the steps in a single file. The man in the front peaked from behind the bushes. Then they scurried like mice in front of me from left to right. What were they doing? They were running from the police. It made my heart feel heavy. It’s hard to explain but it breaks my heart to see my people living this way. I guess it’s because it hits closer to home.
Their world is different than mine but also the same. JC and I moved from one white stoned bench to another. We wanted to see every angle of the gorgeous Plaza de Oriente. We soaked up the sun, watched the people walk by and enjoyed the ambiance. From where I was sitting, I was surrounded by marble statues of Spain’s past 20 kings. It’s a stark comparison between the way migrant workers live and the way I live.
Next stop, the Catedral de Nuestra Senior de la Almudena.