MADRID – Lulu, a Chinese woman who years ago had a small bodega in Madrid, the kind that is open late and on weekends when everyone else is resting, is now the owner of a tapas bar. She started by selling beer for one euro in the street, something that is a little hard to imagine today, because now Pakistanis sell beer on the street. The Chinese, on the other hand, have taken advantage of the Spanish crisis to buy up tapas bars.
Lulu’s bar fills up every night in the summer. The tapas are not the best, but it is open later than the rest and every day. Things are harder for the Pakistanis. They never make more than 0.40 euros for each beer they sell for one euro, a price that hasn’t gone up since 2005. Tariq is new to the business, but he knows that the police will try to dissuade him. So he is taking advantage of the ‘indignados‘ protests to work extra hours.
A young Spanish man buys the last of Tariq’s beers, saying, “they took away our dignity, but they can’t take away our joy.”
Later, I speak to a friend from Madrid, and say that there seems to be jobs but people don’t have a survival instinct.
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This story was originally published by WorldCrunch.