Monday, June 28, 2010

An "All Blacks" Fan in Venezia

This one is for Andrew McHardy - my favorite Kiwi.

I was riding the vaporetto up the Grand Canal one day last year, taking it all in with camera in hand. As we approached the Rialto (an area that always has a bounty of beautiful gondolas), I raised the camera and shot this image:
Two gondolas, laden with passengers, headed in our direction with Venice's most recognized bridge behind and a long column of gondola-tails along the shore.

As we rumbled further up the Canalazzo, I zeroed in on one of those two gondolas - the bow deck of the gondola was decorated in an older style. Looking at the bow, I noticed something unusual - an "All Blacks" flag.

The "All Blacks" are a rugby team from New Zealand.
But not just any rugby team - they are the national team, and one of the best, if not the best the world has ever seen by historic standards.

Anybody who follows rugby knows the "All Blacks" - they are fierce. New Zealand has plenty of things to be proud of, but ask a Kiwi and you'll likely hear about this team.

The "All Blacks" got their name because of their uniforms, which are...all black (bet ya didn't see that one coming). They are known for winning, and they do it a lot. Search on-line and you'll find out why they are so popular. But the "All Blacks" are also known for the war dance they like to perform before each international match. Known as a "haka", this war dance comes from the Māori tribe, indigenous to New Zealand. There are many ways to interpret the effect of the haka (intimidation is certainly one component no matter how you look at it), and as you might expect - the fans love it.

The gondolier rowing the "All Blacks" gondola had an interesting way of wearing his pants and socks.

I must say that I love the boat, especially the way her decks are finished out.

I know that a rugby team flag isn't the first thing you might expect to see on the bow of a gondola, but admit it, it looks great there.
And don't disrespect the "All Blacks" on this gondola, or the gondolier might have to do a haka of his own!


Sean Jamieson said...

And who would think the "All Whites" would finish the group above Italy? Viva Kiwiland.

Gondola Greg said...

'm told that the NZ national basketball team is called the "Tall Blacks!"

Anonymous said...

The gondolier in the photos is Roberto Vianello. I gave him the flag and I am proud to see it flying on the Grand Canal.

Gondola Greg said...

Thanks for commenting, Kiwiano.
Please give Roberto our best regards - he has good taste (in boats and rugby).