Orillia Packet: Sara Ross has the latest from Mr McDonald's daughters on the situation of her parents unable to leave Thailand.
Orillia couple stuck in Thailand hopes to be out by Friday
By Sara Ross
Ken “Jiggs” and Marilyn McDonald are packed and ready to move out of their hotel room in Bangkok at a moments notice. The Orillia couple has been grounded in Thailand for almost a week after a throng of yellow-shirted anti-government protesters took the airport by storm, shutting down all flights Tuesday afternoon.
Expo Cruises and Tours, the company leading the couple’s 30-day land and sea tour of Asia plan to have the Canadian tourists out by Friday, said the McDonald’s daughter, Susan DeSimone.
“There’s a possibility they will be getting out on Friday, but (my parents) don’t really know if it’s going to happen or not,” she said, adding that other alternative plans have failed.
Her mom, 68, and dad, 70, a former NHL announcer and Hockey Hall of Fame member, are traveling with a group of almost 80 Canadians, most of whom are from Ontario, with a few from the West Coast.
The protesters are blocking two international airports in a bid to force the government to resign. They accuse the administration of being a puppet of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
On Saturday a pro-government (red shirts) group marched through Bangkok to protest the yellow shirts. DeSimone who lives in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn., is concerned that conflicts could break out between the two groups, leaving her parents stranded for an undetermined length of time.
“If something between them turned into a clash it would happen where (my parents) are, which would make it that much harder to get out,” she said
DeSimone said she doesn’t expect the Canadian government to intervene with the protestors, however she does hope they would help the Canadians, trapped in the heart of the problem.
“The whole thing has been somewhat passive between the Thailand government and Canadian governments response to what’s happening,” she said. “Everything is just like, well let’s wait and see how it turns out and meanwhile there are these people that are stranded.”
DeSimone said the Canadian Embassy’s promises to help tourists find doctors and get prescriptions have not yet transpired.
“(The Canadian government is) worried the longer this goes on it has an effect on the Canadian economy because there are Canadian owned businesses trying to make money in Thailand,” she said, mentioning that her father has spoke of this in several interviews. “There concern is trying to get it over with so that commerce can continue not so that tourists can get out.”
Kelly McDonald, another daughter of the couple, talked to Marilyn last night and sent the information she received from the call to her sister through an email.
“(Marilyn) says she's staying inside and plans not to leave the (hotel) until it's time to move out,” Kelly said in an email. “Apparently a lady in the group called the Foreign Affairs Ministry directly and they told her to consider it an extra week of vacation. I wonder if they take their vacations in politically unstable countries!!”
*With files from Teviah Moro