Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Identify a Hard Working Gondolier - Part 1

While thumbing through some photos, I came across a picture of one of my favorite people in all of gondola-dom: Megan Sliger. 
There she was, rowing along the Esplanade in Boston's Charles River. 
Her striped shirt and straw hat were perfect.
Then I noticed something "imperfect": dirty knees.
My first thought wasn't a criticism.
I thought about how I try to keep the knees of my pants clean.
But there are some nights when you've just got to say to yourself:
"I know I just washed these pants, but to heck with it",
and you drop to your knees just minutes before the passengers show up, and clean the floor of the boat.
Not like Cinderella,
More like Mr. T in the A-Team,
right before he welds together a gattling gun.

So today's post is dedicated to all the hard-working gondoliers out there.
I thought I'd assemble just a few attributes of a hard-working gondolier, but I didn't know where to stop. 
I ended up with more than I could include in one post.
What began as an idea for a single post, appears to be well on the way to having three parts.
As always, I welcome additional input from my friends out there.
We have six attributes to consider this time.
We'll begin with Megan as she inspired this list.

A hard-working gondolier sometimes ends up with dirty knees.
photo by Mark J. Hunt
Because there always seems to be some reason to compromise a perfectly clean pair of pants to create the ultimate experience for our passengers.

He can handle a little traffic.
Whether it's gondolas or other boats, a gondolier who is worthy of the trade, doesn't shy away from some close-quarters challenges,
and can handle the boat flawlessly.
This photo was part of the post "S. Moisè - Gondolier Conversation".

A hard-working gondolier's got calloused hands from all that rowing.
photo by Nereo Zane
These are the hands that can also be relied on to open jars, crush cans, and perform all sorts of other tasks.
They are the hands that intimidate men with softer palms.
Just a handshake with a gondolier can communicate volumes.
This photo was taken by Nereo Zane during the 2007 expedition down the Hudson River. 
The photo first appeared in the blog post "Hands".
The hands belong to Chris Harrison (left) and Bepi Suste (right).
Chris has tough hands, no doubt, but Bepi's,
Well, let's just say that they are easily "Chuck Norris approved"

36 feet of canvas doesn't scare him.
The work's gotta get done.
Plus, a beautiful boat like the ones we are lucky enough to row,
deserves to be covered - no matter how tired we may be.
Minnesota gondolier John Kerschbaum rolling the cover of the "Lucia" before a cruise in Newport Beach, California.
This photo was part of "And the Beat Goes On".

He doesn't waste time with chit-chat.
He's so busy that he's used to having conversations with co-workers on the water, and one-armed rowing is second nature.
Hard-working gondoliers don't always have time to just sit around and gossip.
They "catch up" on the water.
In this photo we see John Synco and Ignacio Villanueva having a short exchange while passing each other in opposite directions.
From the post "The Conversation".

He's not afraid to do a little swimming.
photo by Nereo Zane
Sometimes it's not just a matter of getting your knees dirty.
Sometimes you've got to fully commit.
Take the plunge.
There's a problem with your boat, or your remo (like it's floating away),
or someone needs rescuing.
And then sometimes you get wet unintentionally.
The post "What to do when you're the captain of a 14 man boat and you fall overboard during Vogalonga" contains the above image and many others, of a guy who went in the drink.
Let's hope he didn't drink any of it. 

Hard-working gondoliers are among us.
They set an example, make their families proud,
and other gondoliers take notice.
Part 2 is on the way.
And of course I'm open to suggestions.


Unknown said...

A Hard Working Gondolier eats and drinks with flair and knows where the best restaurants in town are!

A Hard Working Gondolier knows that on his day off there's more hard work waiting for him at home :).

A Hard Working Gondolier never complains when his gondola is filled with smiling passengers from around the world.

Okay, Greg this is fun and I could go on and on....Ciao!

Gondola Sean said...

My dermatologist called me "sun damaged."

Unknown said...

I remember trying to snap up the cover at the end of the night and sometimes the darned thing just did't want to stretch far enough. Even tho it was stubborn at times and so long there was something special about packing up the boat for the night to get it ready for any weather that it might encounter while we were away. Thanks for bringing back the memories!