what's a wat?
I have made it out of Bangkok, thank goodness. I am in the ancient city and former capital, Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was plundered by Burma, and all of its wats (temples( were destroyed. Now, it is a mass of ruins, and a modern city tacked onto the edge. It works rather well actually. I got the train here, which was a long, sweaty, un-airconditioned couple of hours, but my first genuine taste of Thai public transport. The clientele are a bit more ghetto than in Britain - more akin to the greyhound in the US, which makes me think that the price of cars here must be rather affordable. However, the experience was certainly not traumatic by any means, and I will be doing it again tomorrow whenever I head to Kanchanaburi - the site of the epic bridge over the River Kwai.
A lot of people commented to me before I left on the Westernization, or rather, Americanization of Thailand. Certainly, a lot of Ayutthaya reminded me of American towns whilst I was walking through it - big wide roads designed for cars to drive quickly though, sprawl rather than a centre, and pavements not exactly designed for walking. However, it would be completely wrong to say that Thailand is becoming America - it is just apparent that there is a strange juxtaposition between fantastically maintained infrastructure, such as the road system, and most of the population still living in corrugated iron homes facing a polluted canal, with four mangy dogs and several chickens running around the house.