Orange Peel and Rub Rub
Samos is made for the keep fit fanatic. Sixteen degree plus inclined roads snake off the coastline leading to lofty villages with spectacular views. Ancient stone worn donkey tracks wind up, over, down and around the island, traversing groves, forests, isolated beaches and mountains. Whether you’re easy, moderate, difficult or hard-core – this island affords opportunities for all levels of fitness. Many European tourists come specifically to walk and often I hear the tramp of hobbled boots and voices in foreign tongues as they pass by the house on the way to the holy cave and walking path above the village.
Paleo Karvalossi is located in the hills above the port. Getting to the house involves a muscle straining, 15 minute walk up a 16 degree steep gradient, followed by a further 5 minutes up a lung busting, even more sharply inclined, set of steps. Having no car or motorbike, I make the daily trip up and down at least once a day. When I first stayed on the island, over 7 years ago, the walk up would be peppered with pit stops to admire the view, have a drink of water or take a photo. Any excuse to pause and catch my breath (so unfit and so unwilling to admit it!). Whilst the elderly locals of the village, mean age of about 70, would overtake me on the road, spryly stepping upward until they were out of sight. Yesterday, as I was mentally willing myself up the final stretch, an iced banana and nectarine shake mirage floating ahead of me as an incentive, Thespina (not a day under 80) rounded the corner on her way down.
“Where are you going?” we asked
“To the church “ she replied”
“No ,down by Potami” (about 3 kilometers )
“But it’s so hot, why are you walking?” we asked.
“ My nephew was supposed to give me a lift but he’s still sleeping – so I walk” she said with a philosophical shrug , then rolled her eyes , tutted and raised her hands to the heavens. Sign language for “The young! What can you do?. Bunch of sloathes” . I was impressed, she would walk a round trip of about 6 ks the last part all up hill and think nothing of it.
Having been somewhat slack about the whole keep fit regime whilst living in Melbourne and gained at least 3 kg in weight thanks to prescribed medication (an unwanted side effect that would not budge) I really needed do something about it and the orange peel skin that had manifested on my thighs. About the same time that I decided that Samos it was going to be my training ground, Alexis, my friend from Darwin told me about ‘Rub Rub’. Rub Rub is a term coined by Darwinian folk. Essentially when someone’s inside thighs are large enough to rub together when walking and they live in a humid environment, a rather unpleasant rash can develop from the friction caused – although I’m not sure if it involves contact with skin, material or both! Whatever the reason, the phenomena was new and overnight I became acutely conscious of my inner thighs when walking. I may not have had rub rub but there was a definitely skin contact.
It’s been nearly 4 weeks since we arrived on the island, I walk at least 3 kilometers twice a day, and a couple of days ago went for a 4 hour walk into the hills. Friction is minimal, muscles are tightening and I am feeling much healthier, and when I finally overtake Thespina up hill – that’s when I know I’ve cracked it!