Cab driver knows best By Gail Lynn...

A MEMORABLE PLACE A

October 07, 2001|By Special to the Sun

A MEMORABLE PLACE

A cab driver knows best

By Gail Lynn Goldberg

After a generic morning excursion through Old Rhodes Town on the Greek island of Rhodes, my husband, Andrew, and I decided that a visit to the beach was what we needed as an antidote to the port-of-call routine on our cruise: sightseeing, snacking and shopping.

With two newfound friends and fellow passengers, Vickie and Randy Gutterg, we went to a harborside cabstand to hail a ride to Falikari, a nearby beach that was recommended by our tour guide.

What initially appeared to be a debate between the taxi driver and my husband over the anticipated fare turned out to be about something far more critical to the driver: He said we were going to the wrong beach.

"I take you to my beach," he insisted, despite our insistence that Falikari was where we wanted to be taken. In the back seat, we exchanged whispers that the driver was likely extending the mileage to increase his fare.

"Why do you want to go to Falikari?" he asked. "I know better beach. I take you there."

Feeling like kidnap victims, we helplessly watched the scenery roll by as we wondered what to do. As we approached Falikari, the driver made us a proposition.

"I take you to Falikari, and you see. Then I take you to my beach, a few miles further. If you don't like my beach, I take you back to Falikari, no charge at all."

After arriving at a hilltop overlooking a gentle path that went down to a shoreline of tiny coves, we realized that our driver was right. Falikari had been nice, but its flat and sandy expanse was no place to be on this very breezy day. Instead, the green crags of Ladiko Beach provided privacy and protection.

Our driver, who had agreed to return for us several hours later, watched us walk toward the beach with undisguised satisfaction. The hours flew by as we swam in the clear water, warmed ourselves in the breeze-tempered sun and walked along the shoreline.

When we reappeared at the hilltop at the appointed hour, there was the taxi driver. With a gentle and humorous tone, he gave us his card -- Mr. Vasilis was his name -- and a little speech about trust.

Back at the harbor, we took our leave, certain that if we ever returned, we would seek out and trust the opinions of Mr. Vasilis, who helped us discover a bit of Rhodes off the beaten path.

Gail Lynn Goldberg lives in Baltimore.

MY BEST SHOT

Ancient force of nature

By Jennifer Ginn, Baltimore

Having watched Land of the Lost as a kid, when I saw the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, I almost expected to run into a dinosaur. This photo captures the boiling and bubbling springs that are created when water flows down ancient limestone.

READERS RECOMMEND

Northern Ireland

Patrick Holten, Catonsville

"There is a perilous rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The bridge swings 80 feet above a rocky chasm, leading to a small island where the waters teem with salmon. Local fishermen put the bridge up each spring to carry their day's catch ashore. To walk it, you need sure feet and a strong stomach. An Indiana Jones-style fedora is optional."

New York

John L. Salkeld, Columbia

"Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, had a summer home in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., along the banks of the Hudson River. My wife and I visited the restored 19th-century mansion, called Locust Grove, and noticed the architectural influences of an Italian villa."

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