[Edit: I thought of a title for this that I love, so I've changed it. It's my blog.]
Do you remember when I left NZ, I travelled via Thailand and had a foot massage that I found a little creepy? It just wasn't for me.
Well, this time in Thailand, I turned it up a notch. This may be the oddest thing I've ever done.
These shops are all over the place in Chiang Mai. Right now it's the in thing. It's called a "fish spa".
Basically, it's how it looks. You sit with your feet in a tank full of fish, and they go at your feet. There are a couple of varieties in there: the ones that suck are fine, but the fat dark ones actually bite you - they're like piranhas and it's suprisingly painful (or, unsurprisingly, given the premise that you're letting a fish bite you). It takes maybe 10 minutes to get used to the sensation enough to stop gasping out loud, but it never stops feeling weird.
The idea is that the fish eat all of the dead or rough skin. I lasted for over an hour, and my feet did feel quite smooth afterwards. I asked one of the fish to comment on its job, and it said "Kill me".
They promise that you can't catch diseases from this, and if you can't trust someone making a quick buck in Thailand, who can you trust? More worryingly, there was a seafood restaurant straight over the road from the spa. "Waiter, why does my trout almondine taste like athlete's foot?"
It was around Christmas time, and there was a mini Christmas tree with lights on the counter. The lady said "Take something from the tree". I didn't understand, and asked her to repeat herself. She said the same thing, so I began unscrewing one of the Christmas lights. She stopped me, and showed me that there were paper notes attached to the tree. Even in a room full of Westerners willing to pay to have their feet gnawed by fish, I still stand out as the biggest idiot. Excellent.