So last week I got an email from Amanda at Kuoni Travel in Singapore. Turns out she had searched the web regarding gondoliers and found me on freegondolaride.com. (Which begs the question, “Why don’t gondoliers have their own website?” Sounds like a new market! They already have a calendar….)
Anyway, Amanda was hoping that I could connect her with a gondolier that she could feature in a short film about unique jobs around the world, gondoliering being one of them. After letting her know that I’m not actually in Venice, I managed to contact a couple of the guys I know there and, with their permission, share their contact info.
Paolo was one of my earliest gondolier friends and the person who started teaching me Italian. We’d sit at the traghetto while I wrote down the alphabet and practiced pronunciation. Or if he was working, I’d sit at his feet on the traghetto gondola and repeat new words he taught me. Last summer, my friends (hi Becca and Lisa!) joined me to meet up with Paolo at a salsa dance night. I’m afraid I was a terrible dancer and stepped all over Paolo’s toes, but I think we’re still friends.
I also recommended Bebo, who I met after I wrote Free Gondola Ride. My friend Max brought him along for a Carnevale night of drinking wine in the gondola while they made one of the young apprentices row us around. See the photo below: Bebo has his head on my shoulder, and Max is on the opposite side. Bebo always has a smile and tells the best jokes. Each time I came to Venice, he used to always ask if I brought a friend for him. He need not ask any longer–he finally got married last year. You can see a photo of him from last summer in the April posts.