After James left, Val and I faced a little quandary. What to do next? Our Thai visa was expiring so we had to leave the country, even if only to extend it.

We could head north to Laos, maybe east to Cambodia or really explore and head into Burma. We'd met some folks who had gone to Burma and it was still exciting there. No established tourist culture like Thailand.  We'd heard of a climbing camp in Laos where there were great limestone walls and no one else around. Angor Wat was supposed to be a great place to visit too. What to do?

In the end, it came down to me being tired of it all. I was ready for something different than SE Asia. So, even though we hadn't heard anything from the New Zealand Immigration office yet, we booked a flight to Auckland.

Bye bye Southeast Asia!

But first, we had to do a very touristy thing: fish spa! If you've ever been to Thailand, you've probably walked past these shops. They have an aquarium out front with a lot of little fish in them. Sometimes you'll see some tourists trying it out and screaming. We thought that it was time for us too:


 

The idea is that you put your feet into the fish tank and the fish eat away your dead skin, leaving you with a nicely exfoliated foot. In practice, it tickles like nobody's business. We were the first people to visit the spa that day and as we got near to the tank, the fish got CRAZY! Val went first and she made some very funny noises. Here's her face after she got used to it a bit


P.S., you can't do this in the US. 

 

At the airport, we got a nice surprise. We knew that we couldn't enter New Zealand without a ticket out of the country. We had a ticket booked for Australia. However, the airline wouldn't let us check in until they saw our visa for Australia. WTF? So we had to head up to the internet lounge and quickly find one. After lots of fruitless clicking, we found one online visa that worked for us. It was probably the wrong one, but we were so frazzled we paid $120 each. Grr, that rankled.


Anyway, we were on our way to the promised land


or something like that.

Next up, New Zealand north