Monday, April 14, 2003

A Madrid Mystery.

Apparently there are only three chinese people buried in Madrid. This is of course absurd given that the Chinese now make up the largest foreign ethnic grouping in Madrid (after the Peruvians and Columbians of course). I have been told this alleged tale about the chinese graves on numerous occasions from various people and amazingly all seem convinced of its truth.

I find this very difficult to believe given that almost every street in Madrid contains at least one chinese "corner shop". These shops definitely serve a market because unlike most of the local spanish shops they remain open through the "two hour lunch break" until 11pm. The shops are known as "Chollos" or "Todo a 100". The latter referring to the days of everything in the shops costing 100 pesetas or less. In general the Chollos compete in price with the supermarkets so you can easily understand their prevalence throughout the city.

But why only three graves? In Madrid there exists a very strong chinese mafia who restrict their operations to within their own community. Each and every Chollos pay huge amounts of protection money to this underworld movement. Aswell as the mafia there is a very large number of chinese people residing here illegally. Both of these factors have led to spanish residency permits and passports being of significant value. As a result of this it is said that no chinese person ever dies....officially anyway. His papers simply move hands to a relative or to anyone willing to pay the price. That is unless the Mafia get their hands on them first.

But this leaves one question hanging.....What happens to the bodies ?

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