The Imitator Imitated

Now, talking of all things oriental, did you know that El Corte Chino was born in Almuñécar? Let me explain:

One morning Fernando woke up, had a brainstorm, ran out and bought tins of dazzling green paint and painted out the words Bazaar Wang and painted over it, El Corte Chino – that was April 2007, and before you could say, “What the fang loo choo was that!,” just about every large commercial premises in Almuñécar had become a Chinese-product supermarket.

Now, you might have guessed it but Fernando is not of these sunny shores, but of the Asian giant, whose real name is Wang, but like many of his compatriots living in Spain, he adopted a name that his hosts can cope with – the Spanish are not known for phonetic gymnastics and anything outside the tried-&-trusted Spanish consonants is not attempted.

He could have chosen Fulgencio, Constantino or Abalado, of course, rather than be lost amongst the Pacos, Pepes and Manolos, but you can be certain that the illustrious name, Rodrigo, was never entertained: me llamo Wodwigo, would have been doomed from the start.

“I told my wife that it would be a good idea to cash in on the fame of El Corte Inglés, (which everybody in Spain knows,) and she didn’t oppose the idea,” he explained.

The result is that there is now a El Corte Chino in over 20 Spanish cities, with Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Oviedo, Bilbao, Valladolid and Santiago de Compostela. Unfortunately, he admits, none of them have anything to do with him, other than copying the name – the imitator imitatded.

Some say that the real owner behind all these shops is International Trade City (ITC), which is the largest Chinese-product importer in Spain. Many Almuñqueros complain that the town is being overrun by these shops but the fact is that they are all full of Almuñequeros and besides that, nobody works as hard as the likes of Fernando – they are always open and helpful

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