Archive for November, 2012

MOVING SHOP

November 27, 2012

Thank you for reading my ramblings over the last couple of years.

I haven’t shut up, I’ve just moved address to

SPAIN UNCOVERED

I look forward to seeing you there.

Pakis not wanted!

November 22, 2012

For whatever reason we may be discriminatory in our hearts is a private matter. But open racism – that’s a different thing altogether.

I was wandering home a couple of weeks ago and I passed a sign that said ‘Restaurante Español’. With Valencia being Spain’s third biggest city it might not seem all that strange to see a sign advertising a Spanish restaurant. The sign wasn’t in fancy lettering painted on the window, or neatly written above the door; it was on a piece of A4 paper stuck across a window. The reason the sign is there is because the bar is in one of the streets that run alongside the Estación del Norte, Valencia’s China Town, where about eighty per cent of the bars and restaurants are Chinese-run, including the Bar Restaurante Don Pepe Authentica Comida China. I’m certain there were no racial undertones to the sign, and what he was saying was, ‘I’m a Spanish caff, with Spanish owners and Spanish customers’, although he might not have used those exact words. Ten minutes walk away, though, the story is very different and far more troubling.

Ruzafa is seen as the place to be in Valencia at the moment – it’s la moda, full of new restaurants, bars, galleries and the chi-chi extras that draw the Valencianos and leave the Barrio del Carmen to visitors. It has always been a barrio de toda la vida, a working class neighbourhood that has welcomed immigrants as far back as the time of the Moors around a thousand years ago – although, admittedly, they came as conquerors.

A casual stroll across the barrio, north to south, east to west, will take you all of fifteen minutes, but you would pass through a United Nations mix of cultures, lives and histories, all living side-by-side. Arabs, Chinese, Pakistanis, Italian, Senegalese, Irish, English, Russian, Australian, people from every Latin American and North-European country and pretty much everywhere else besides, happily co-existing with their Spanish neighbours. It’s this diverse population that gives the area its unique feel. In the years I’ve lived here I’ve never heard one single racist comment or seen a racist act – until today.

To read the full story please visit Spain Uncovered. This is my new site where all blogs and articles will be appearing.