National Geographic : 1922 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE n'lotograpa by Casa Lux LITTLE "SENORITAS" OF THE PEASANT CLASS IN BASQUE COSTUMES The worker appears on the streets with his long blue blouse hanging to the knees, hurrying along noiselessly in his alpar gatas, like canvas tennis shoes with soles of coiled rope, and his boina, a tiny blue cap with no visor, like a small tam-o' shanter, with a piece of string an inch long replacing the pompon, set at a rakish angle on his head. Generally there is also a shawl, nearly as large as a steamer rug and of about the same color scheme, rolled up on his shoulders, with a generous piece across the lower part of the face to protect him against the possibility of inhaling pure fresh air. Seabirds, attracted the night before by the lights of the city, soar over the red tiles of the flat roofs, and, finally tiring of city life, spread their wings for the flight out to their accustomed haunts over the wild Bay of Biscay. In the older parts of town the iron curtain covering both door and single window of the little stores, taverns, and wine shops of the poorer classes is pushed up with a rattle and the place is then open for business. The church bells call the faithful to early mass, and among them are many women garbed in black, further intensified by the black mantilla over head and shoulders, who slip like shadows through the early morning light. Bread women call at doors, leaving the large rolls, or panecillos, which, with a generous bowl of coffee and hot milk (half-and-half), form the usual menu for the day's first repast of rich and poor alike. The servant girls, also with alpar gatas on their feet and black shawls over their heads, appear, basket on arm, on their way to market for the day's purchases. Movement commences along the water front, where the rattle of donkey-engine is heard, the clanking of large chains, and the hoarse cries of the second mates start ing their gangs at the day's work of cargo-handling. THE "ANGULERO" BURNS THE MIDNIGHT OIL All that takes place at any of the Span ish cities on the "1\ar Cantabrico," as the Bay of Biscay is called in the mother tongue. But at Bilbao there are two in cidents that occur in the early morning which, as far as I have been able to as certain, are unique to this, the largest of the Basque cities of Spain. Number one. The oil lamps of the anguleros are extinguished. Now, angu leros are fishermen who since midnight have been engaged in a peculiar branch of the fisherman's art. They have been catching angulas, and angulas, in turn, are a very peculiar brand of fish-little white, almost transparent worms (perhaps it would sound better to call them minia ture eels), only two inches long. When a batch of them is fried, however, in olive oil and served in an earthenware dish, with the oil still popping when brought to the table, most connoisseurs will agree that there is method in the anguleros' apparent madness. This delicacy inhabits the river Ner vion and is caught along the stone walls of the quays, being attracted into nets by the fishermen's oil lamps. This helpless little morsel of seafood labors under the scientist's formidable appellation of Marce nidae. Number two. The shrieks of bare footed, illy-clothed women stevedores are heard.