National Geographic : 1922 Jan
THE LAND OF THE BASQUES Photograph by Casa Lux A BULL-FIGHT IN A BASQUE VILLAGE Even the villages in Spain must have at least one bull-fight every year, on the festival of the patron saint of the locality. The arena, or "plaza de toros," in the small towns, is often rather crudely improvised, however. The national sport is as popular in the Basque provinces as elsewhere in Spain. This photograph shows the long blouses worn by Basque laborers. and long white apron and always receives the same order: "Coffee, very black-un anisette-and a set of dominoes." The cafes are often large, and when they are crowded, at the popular hours, with every patron slapping dominoes down on marble-topped tables with what force he can muster, talking in excited tones, smoking cigarettes, and with wait ers crying their orders, there reigns what might most properly be called confusion. As it cannot be heard above the other noises, it is scarcely necessary to mention that there is often an orchestra rendering faultlessly some of the world's most clas sical selections. After an hour or two at the cafes in the evening, the male of the Basque species hies himself to the theater, this being another form of amusement in which the women participate little except on "dias de moda." He purchases a seat for the "session of o1o'clock," which per formance lasts until considerably past midnight. Thus it is well on toward sun-up before the city loses itself in re pose. HOW BILBAO WAKES UP AND GOES TO WORK When most northern Spanish cities wake up in the morning certain fixed and recognized noises are heard, certain events transpire, and certain movements of the population take place, and in Spain some how these little incidents differ consider ably from similar ones taking place at the same hour in other countries. The whistle of locomotives is heard an nouncing the departure of the early trains, and in Spain the best trains, apparently with fixed intent, manage to depart at about 5 o'clock. Tiny electric cars rum ble through narrow streets and across the plazas, under the dusty palm trees, tink ling their little brass bells, or perhaps they haven't any bell at all, the conductor simply blowing from time to time a small tin horn as sign of warning.