A Champagne Welcome For a Plumber in Etihad Business Class


My Christmas and New Year trip to Thailand got off to a great start when Etihad upgraded me from economy to business class for my flight from London to Abu Dhabi. Champagne was served before take-off, there was an ‘Anytime Kitchen’, and an a la carte menu that read like a long list of anagrams. Do business class people eat pie and chips?


We landed early morning at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and with a seven hour wait until my flight to Udon Thani I took in a few of the sights around. Little did I know Frosty the Snowman would also be waiting for me in Udon Thani.

The temperature in Udon Thani on my first night was cool to cold, but the six days since have been considerably warmer. Daytime temperatures have been 30 degrees plus. I’m not complaining.


The pretty faces and long legs of the waitresses at the superb Rohng Dteum Restaurant (opposite Tesco Lotus) on Udon Thani’s ring road would have melted the heart of Frosty in seconds. Tasty Thai and western food with a ‘lovely’ view.


Sang Khom is a small town a couple of clicks from our village house and is a place set back in the dark ages. That was until one month ago when a Tesco Lotus Express opened near the market square. Previously, Sang Khom didn’t even have a 7-Eleven.

The picture above was taken on market day and next to a soft drinks vendor  spacemen float in the air and suggests in Sang Khom’s world Neil Armstrong is just days away from landing on the moon. In Sang Khom, Doner Kebab is a Hollywood film star.


On Boxing Day myself and Wonderful Wi spent a couple of hours in Ban Dung. She went for a traditional Thai massage and I opted for a typical western watering hole. The photograph shows the Igloo Bar warming up for a festive day’s trade.


On this trip I seem to have put the Jinx of Jonah on everything I get near to. The car battery went on day two, the following day my laptop went dead (my fault) and the water pump which services our house coughed and spluttered to a bitter end.


Despite this post’s title, I’m not a plumber…. far from one, but armed with a hacksaw blade without its G-frame, a screwdriver way too big, an adjustable spanner and a few plastic pipe fittings I set about plumbing the new pump (1,500 baht) to the house inlet pipe. I think the job I did looks pretty neat.


Best wishes and have a very happy New Year from myself and Beyond The Mango Juice.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

8 Responses

  1. How says:

    Upgrade must have been a great way to start your holidays. Welcome back to blogging and Thailand. I see you decided to give Cheers Extra a try. Happy New Year Martyn and Wii and family.

  2. Catherine says:

    Congrats on your upgrade Martyn! Korea Air upgraded me on a recent trip and it was quite a relief (flying from Thailand to US and back is a long pain). The chap next to me sucked down glass after glass of whisky over ice (passed on the food). It was interesting watching the staff try to talk him out of each glass (six plus) but he prevailed.

    You do plumbing? How about electricity? I’m tempted to learn a bit of both (not many are knowledgeable in my neck of the woods 😉

  3. Lawrence says:

    Happy New Year, Martyn… and a new career too. I think there are lots of people in UK who would gladly offer a plumber champagne if he could come NOW.

  4. How says:

    Just noticed the multiple socket point…is it used as a splint for the water pipe or located there for proximity to power the pump? Anyways, may be good to cover it up from the elements Mr. Plumber.

  5. Snap says:

    Well that should be it for a while, they say bad things happen in threes 😉 I’m envious of your upgrade, it looks very comfortable. This time round we’ve actually splurged on a ‘standby’ upgrade at a reduced fee…but not guaranteed. Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’m off to rummage around in here to get some tips on Udon Thani for our trip.

  6. frogblogger says:

    You definitely shouldn’t park your glass of Jack on the laptop keyboard….
    All the best for 2013

  7. Martyn says:

    How – I’d been a bit too busy prior to this holiday with work to blog, plus I thought a rest might do me good. The upgrade was great and I think it’s the fourth time it’s happened to me. Each time at Christmas…. I know what you mean about the multi socket but it’s been there a few years and so if it ain’t broke I won’t fix it.

    Catherine – Sorry about the late reply but it’s winter here in Thailand and being a plumber…. only joking, I’ve been to Loei and as luck would have it they were holding the first Loei International Mask Exhibition, I took quite a few pictures there. Some of the masks were amazing works of art. I enjoyed the upgrade but didn’t eat or drink too much, just enjoyed the extra legroom and at the press of a button a bed was conjured up.

    Lawrence – I haven’t checked the weather in the UK as most of the football appears to be on. It looks like Villa could be back on track after getting a draw against the Swans. For your sake (and Westwood’s) I hope so.

    Snap – The secret of free upgrades is loyalty, loyalty, loyalty… to one airline. I’m now a Gold Guest cardholder with Etihad and upgrades are one of the perks…. I’m hoping you’re going to start blogging again more regularly in 2013.

    Pete – The Jack wasn’t to blame for it. I compressed all the files trying to free some memory and the laptop wouldn’t reboot or system restore. I eventually tracked down an expert in a town 25 kilometres away. Have fun in the sun whereever you lay your hat.

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