Forest of Spires

28 Jan 2008

The Grand Palace made me glad I've been to Ayuthera. It's strange that a ruined temple can be more interesting than a new one; the stark piles of bricks said nothing more than "I've been here for five hundred years, and I'll still be here in another five hundred". Wat Phra Kaew is amazing, but not powerful. Perhaps I'm more interested in the permanence of the idea than in its budget.

In fact, one of the more interesting buildings was a scale model of Angkor Wat. That's not to say that a hundred-foot golden spire has no appeal at all. But stark has always been my style.

As we leave the Museum of Royal Regalia, a boy behind us exclaims "everything the King owns is made of gold!" He's right; from betel-nut boxes to spittoons to Japanese swords, gold is the metal of choice.