Example: As you know, toilets in the good old U.S. of A. are ceramic thrones ergonomically constructed for the comfort of one's heinie. In Thailand, the toilets are ceramic holes in the ground that you kind of squat over in a cannonball position before letting loose with the poop. And toilet paper isn't exactly popular, either. Instead, they have a kind of rinsing hose you use to spray off your juicy bits. When I asked the hotel manager where the toilet paper was, he said, "Ah, Mr. Humpy. As you know, paper doesn't grow on trees." And I said, "Actually, paper DOES grow on trees, and I'd like a big fat roll of Charmin in my room, toot sweet!!"
But it wasn't just the toilets that were different; as I quickly discovered, their prostitutes are A LOT cheaper. Depending on where you go, hookers in America are anywhere from 500 to 1,000 bucks a pop. In Thailand they're like 27 cents! That's what I call a bargain! In fact, I paid a woman to shoot a Ping-Pong ball out of her hoo-hoo, and it only cost a buck fifty. After returning home, I asked the girls around our office what they would charge, and it was almost twice as much!
However! If Thailand really wants to become a "First World nation," they really need to work on their TV shows. They're a nice bunch of people and all, but their television kinda sucks. They have like six stations, four of which are owned by the governing military, who don't really know squat about producing quality entertainment like Everybody Loves Raymond. The military-station shows are kinda like those boring programs on public access--without the occasional nude fat guy.
The other two channels are substantially better, featuring Asian soap operas where everybody constantly screams at each other in a high-pitched whine, really funny TV commercials usually featuring a tubby guy falling on his ass, and perhaps best of all, the game shows. My favorite was How Much Is That?, a show where contestants (almost always a cute stoic guy, a bubbly girl, and a wacky transvestite) try to correctly guess the price of a can of beans. They also had versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?--reminder: A million bucks to them is about $34.50 in American dollars--and The Weakest Link, where the host is really nice to the contestants (almost always wacky transvestites or bubbly transsexuals) and no one gets kicked off!
So if it were left up to me, I'd say that Thailand has enough going for it to be promoted to "Second World nation" status. It's got decent-if-not-perfect TV, the prostitutes are reasonably priced, and it's a great place to visit. But trust me, you don't want to poop there.