The horrors of getting what you want.

My sister Pam spent much of our trip to Thailand talking about something very specific she wanted to do.

We all had things we wanted to do and everyone tried to accommodate everyone else. Pam and I wanted to take a half day Thai cooking course so my other sister and Betty came along. Pink tool belt sister loves jewellery so we spent a few hours looking at jewellery in gold markets and shops. Betty likes to play on her iPad, so we spent any down time watching her creep people on Facebook.

Throughout it all,  Pam rattled on about this thing she wanted to do.  Which meant we’d all be doing it.

When the day finally came that Pam got to do this thing she’d been hoping for, dreaming about, I thought she might burst with excitement.

The morning of “the event” she was walking on air, talking about how great it was going to be.  Counting down the minutes until we got to go.  Just look at the glee on her face.  She’s like a child on Christmas morning.

Face Reactio Fish Pedicure


A child who has been very bad. Bad, bad child.


Fish Pedicure Face Reaction 2


So what was supposed to be a joyous, lifetime ambition realized was in fact, a horrifying, scream inducing ritual normally reserved for nightmares.

What was it that had Pam crying and screaming for her life?


Fish Spa
A fish pedicure.

She hated it. She hated it with all her heart. And so did the man sitting next to us. Well he didn’t hate the fish pedicure, so much as the screaming loons sitting all around him.
Karen Gets A- Fish Pedicure


Pam, Pink tool belt and Betty all had very different reactions to having tiny toothless carp eat dead skin cells off of their feet, but they all had one thing in common. They didn’t like it.

Pink tool belt sister laughed until she nearly peed herself.

Betty hated it so much she barely put her feet in the water and when she did she was swishing them around at a rapid pace trying to avoid all contact with fish. She was so swishy in fact, that the owner of the spa had to come over and hold her legs still telling her she was going to kill the fish. Betty didn’t care. Betty swished.

Me? It didn’t bother me. At all. I was more horrified by the whack job behaviour of my family than by the suckling fish.

We in fact caused such a commotion that no less than 3 people stopped in front of the window we could be seen through and took our picture.  They thought we were hilarious.

In fact a girl passing by on a Tuk Tuk nearly tumbled out the back she was laughing and pointing at us with such vigour.  Joke’s on her.  I recognized that Tuk Tuk driver from a day earlier and he was going to overcharge her no matter where it was she was going.  Sucker.

Laughing At Us

This gentleman outside the window made the universal “can I take your picture” sign to which Pam (fed up by the relentless sucking on her toes and gawking), replied with another universal hand sign.

Luckily I don’t think the gentleman spoke sign language and took her gesture to mean “one picture”.

After 15 minutes we all pulled our feet out,  then had them hand dried by the spa owner and were gently nudged towards the door.  It was supposed to be a 30 minute treatment but the owner decided 15 minutes was just fine for us for some reason.

So that was Pam’s wish list taken care of.  I was looking forward to telling her about mine.

Which of course was sushi.


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  1. Stacy.P says:

    I have seen fish pedicures here, even groupons for them. It just seem bizarre to me to pay money for that! As a kid, I grew up near a river with minnows. And if you stood still enough you could get a fish pedicure for free!
    I can is the humour in your sister’s choice of activity being torture for her!

  2. Maggie says:

    Too funny! How do y’all feel about the Asia toilets? I really tried to be a good sport when I’ve been in Asia but first tries I had pee running down my legs and had to wash in the small sink, with young Asia girls laughing at me. Poor white woman don’t know how to pee! I hope you’ve hit the midnight markets. Be careful, the freaks come out at night. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie – I think we hit every midnight market in Thailand, lol. And actually, we didn’t come across anything but Western toilets. Other than no toilet paper in the stalls it was just like peeing in North America. Sorry you had pee running down your leg. Happens to the best of us tho. ~ karen!

  3. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    What a story, I’m still laughing. I’ve never heard of this before…would love to try a fish pedicure!

  4. Ev says:

    Thanks for the early morning belly laugh! Next time, Pam will have to “be careful what you wish for”! I would have been alternately embarrassed by family behavior and laughing myself speechless!

  5. Julie says:

    hahaha! this is absolutely awesome (sorry, Pam…but it is). Gave me a good laugh

  6. Maggie V says:

    That had to be one of your funniest posts. I wish I had been there to witness all the anguish.

  7. Mary Kay says:

    HAHAHAHA – I have some of those same family members!

  8. Tigersmom says:

    and took her gesture to mean “one picture”.


  9. Su says:

    love when you can cross stuff off the bucket list…. even if the experience is less than what was anticipated…..

  10. Louise says:

    I remember having tiny fish do this when I was a kid playing in ponds. We said they were kissing us, and laughed because it was ticklish! So nope, I wouldn’t be freaked out, and yes, I knew you could handle it, Karen, ’cause you’re a tough cookie!

  11. Kim says:

    Aaaand since Susan Preston is my mother, I can totally relate to your horror at the “whack job behaviour” of your family. Although I do occasionally want to find a rock and hide under it, or clunk said family member over the head with it, I am usually able to find the hilarity in such situations. Like when my mother, who is terribly afraid of heights, decided she wanted to go zip-lining in the Austrian Alps. Because, you know, zip-lining is usually done a few inches off the ground. Usually. The location in the ALPS might have been a clue that the zip-lining was going to occur substantially more than a few inches off the ground but this didn’t deter my afraid-of-heights mother from wanting to do it….until she got up on the platform! Zip-lining Staff Member: “Are you ok?” Crazy Mother: “NO!!! OMG, OMG, OMG!” At which point, the exasperated staff member tried to distract her by pointing out the beauty of landscape and then conveniently developed a hearing problem as she enthusiastically shouted, “Time to go! 3-2-1-Go!” and released us. Fortunately, the video of my mother laying a great big smackeroo on the ground when she was done was worth listening to all the moaning in terror at the top.

  12. mimiindublin says:

    “the owner decided 15 minutes was just fine for us for some reason”,
    Best post ever!

  13. Susan Preston says:

    Oh Yuck! That freaks me out! I’d sooner have my chickens peck at my feet! Quick story…on my honeymoon my (now long gone) husband decided he wanted to go snorkeling among the tropical fishes. I was a tad nervous to say the least. The tiny pretty coloured fish were interesting but I saw something dark off to my side… I screamed, with a snorkel in my mouth, stood up in my flippers and headed for shore in the three feet of water that we were in. Screaming, at the top of my lungs and trying to desperately run in flippers, my ( now long gone) husband was obilivious to my horror. I could make no head way and every tropical fish for fifty feet around disappeared immediately! I have to say I wouldn’t and don’t enjoy something swishing around my feet or anything else for that matter! Betty and I would get along very nicely! Oh and by the way, that dark object was …..just a stick!

    • kate-v says:

      oh, my chickens used to peck at my feet when i was wearing nail polish – especially when i hung out the wash. the color that most attracted them was ‘russet’. My chickens lived in the back yard and were allowed a certain amount of free-ranging or perhaps you’d call it free-yarding.

  14. Grammy says:

    And, thank you for the illustrated story of Being Careful What You Wish For. Cool thing is that this will forever more be Pam’s most memorable adventure, and generations to come in your family will learn the story at Thanksgiving Dinners. Pam will become a legend.

  15. Grammy says:

    I’m not psychic, but I have a sense that I know how the next post is gonna go.

  16. Karen says:

    LOL! I don’t even have to read the story. I’ve read ’em all. As it turns out that (at least this is the story I choose to believe) it isn’t actually dangerous and like this story says, (but not until the last line) there haven’t been any reported illnesses in the U.S. from fish pedicures. There HAVE however, been plenty from non fish pedicures! ~ karen!

  17. Amie Mason says:

    Oh man – I had that done years ago; never again! And this isn’t exactly comforting

  18. Bwahahaha!
    I can’t believe you were able to laugh at/with your family’s antics – when stuff like that happens to me, I pretty much want to hide in mortification! So much better your way – just sit back and laugh… “Betty didn’t care. Betty swished.” Funniest thing I’ve read in ages…can SO relate…

    Still giggling even now. :)

  19. victoria says:

    fish lips, fish pedicure, I’m learning a whole lot from you this week! !!! Never heard of such a pedicure!

  20. Pat says:

    I did the fish thing in Malaysia twice…at the beginning of our trip and then again at the end. Once you relax, it is quite soothing. Really!!

  21. Kimberly Miner says:

    I’ve seen that on TV and been curious about it.. I’m not ticklish at all and my feet are endlessly callused and disgusting no matter how many fancy pedicures I get, so if I ever end up in Thailand for whatever reason maybe I’ll check it out. because that looked like so. much. Fun.

  22. Susie Heller says:

    Who won the pink tool belt? I cannot find out the results from your web site. Just wondering, drooling, champing at the bit…..

    • Marti says:

      Look on yesterday’s post, Susie. At the bottom. Where she says when she’ll post the winner. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

      That’s one thing I didn’t do in Thailand. Never even thought of doing that. Nor did I consider going to one of the “shooting ping-pong balls out of bodily orifices” shows… which I don’t notice you covering here either.

      Was it effective? And did it actually hurt or more likely tickle? Why is she freaked out /screaming?

      • Karen says:

        She’s screaming because it freaked her out. It didn’t hurt at all but they really do suck! I found it worked fantastically. It didn’t bother me none. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi susie! I mentioned at the bottom of yesterday’s post that the tool belt winner will be announced on Friday. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        It sounds fantastic and I’m utterly jealous. As in WHY DIDN’T YOU BRING BACK A FEW OF THOSE LITTLE SUCKERS?? It’s too bad Sis couldn’t enjoy it. Or Betty, from the sounds of it. Peace out.

  23. Brin says:

    I have to laugh about the ‘fish pedicure’….only beause this is what minnows do when you wade into a creek and it tickles like crazy. Been doing that since I was a child. That’s funny, Pam. I guess it was a real shock to your system :) Thanks for posting the photos, Karen! That was a treat :)

  24. KiwiKat says:

    Too freaking funny! The fish pedicures never really interested me, but omg the leg massages were DIVINE…so good.

  25. Amber says:

    ahh. the joy of getting what you wish for. My sympathies Pam!

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