Here’s a picture of me in 2012, the last time I was in Bali – pre-blog, back when my unwillingness to try new things was in full force – as I came upon a spa that offered doktor fish pedicures. Fish? Eating the dead skin off my feet? Eating my flesh??? There was no way I was trying that.
I was not a good sport at all, but this time I was determined to get over myself. So tonight, when my family passed our first doktor fish tank, we forgot about any other plans and decided to go for it. And compared to the poster in that picture, it looks like we got a pretty good deal – our 20 minute session was only 50,000 rupiah ($3.80).
The boys went first and it was hilarious to see (and hear) their reactions. For the first ten minutes, Fritz kept breaking into a loud, high pitched giggle. It was quite entertaining for the tourists walking past.
It was interesting to see where most of the fish gathered – my older son was covered in them and my youngest was mostly ignored. I guess younger skin is less dead? Although, his feet are just as nasty and smelly as the other boys’, so I couldn’t account for the preference.
Then it was our turn. Since my boys had already done it, I had no choice but to roll up my capris and dive in. I might just have made the same face while being nibbled as I did four years ago while I imagined being nibbled.
I was pretty sure the fish would be too full after feasting on my children, but apparently they had plenty of chomping left in them for us. That’s the best way I can describe it – you can feel little tiny chomps everywhere. Sometimes it tickles, sometimes it just feels like carbonation, but sometimes it feels very bitey. My husband described the sensation as tiny electric shocks. Sometimes the fish were very aggressive. It didn’t hurt, but I did feel under attack.
It took some getting used to. At first I screamed every time I felt one nibble somewhere new, especially on top of or between my toes, but after while, it got less freaky. They really feasted on my ankles. I looked like I was wearing fringe sandals, except instead of fringe, I was wearing fish. Disgusting I know, but believe me, it looked just as gross as it sounds (not unlike actual fringe sandals).
Just as we were almost finished, some people from our workshop happened to walk by. They stopped to see what we were doing and ask what it was like. And get this: someone actually said to us, to me, Humdrum Stick-in-the-Mud, “Oh, you’re just up to try anything!” and that pleased me so much. No one would ever have described 2012 Me that way, and she’ll never realize how much it meant to hear her say that.
So did the treatment actually work? Well, my feet do feel exfoliated – not the softest they’ve ever been, but they definitely feel freshly gnawed, so mission accomplished, I guess.