Valerie Pringle is not Thai

Monday morning, faced with a sleepy Oliver (and thus sleepy selves), we slept later than usual, therein making the prospect of bus travel (10 hours) from Bangkok to Chiang Mai seem an insurmountable obstacle. So we plucked ourselves out to the airport and tried to book passage on Thai Airways instead.

As it turned out, this was harder than we imagined it would be, as the flights for Monday were all full and we had to fly standby. We were initially on the list for the 11:15 a.m. flight, but it flew full. Next was 12:15, but that was full too. Finally we got seats on the 1:15 p.m. flight, which required miltary-style precision to coordinate: get notification of our seats from the standby desk, take stamped chit across the terminal to the ticket office to buy tickets, come back to the standby desk to check our luggage and get boarding passes, then make our way to the gate. All in the 15 minutes remaining before the flight. But we did it.

It was during the run up to the 12:15 flight that we encountered Valerie Pringle, perky (her universal TV adjective) former co-host of Canada AM on television. From the look of her entourage, she’s in Thailand on some sort of assignment — camera gear and burly looking soundman types abounded. And on this day she didn’t make me proud to be Canadian. There we were all gathered at the standby desk — probably about 12 stressed out people waiting to see if our names would be called — and Valerie Pringle is hassling the clerk about how she can get her Aeroplan miles for the flight to Chiang Mai credited to her account. She made it be known that she is an Aeroplan Super-Elite member, and pulled out her special gold pass as proof. The level-headed clerk quite properly suggested that there might have been a better time to worry about such things, which appeared to result in considerable exasperation in Ms. Pringle. Later she and Catherine were standing side by each, and she moaned something about how “they need to get a better system than this.” All in all, she came across like a jerky prima dona.

Which stands in contrast to our day to day experiences in Thailand where people seem, if not efficient (although often they are) at least completely unflappable, and always in good humour. The Oliver love-fest continues: Oliver has now had conversations (so to speak) with police officers, security guards, monks, flight attendants, the boy who manned the shoe booth at our shoeless restaurant and countless others. Tonight I am out on the town by myself while Catherine and Oliver sleep, and I’m irked to find that without Oliver in front of me in a stroller, people’s eye’s no longer light up when I enter a room. Sigh.

The flight to Chiang Mai was uneventful. Thai Airways service is about 300% better than Air Canada’s on a comparable short-haul flight (i.e. they’re nice, and they actually still serve food). I was sitting beside an orange-robed young monk and was somewhat concerned that I might commit some religious faux pax (i.e. point my fork at him, or not point my fork at him, or something…) but I seemed to do okay. Catherine and Oliver were seated across the way and Oliver slept for the entire flight.

We’re staying here in Chiang Mai at the Galare Guest House which was recommended by a friend of my mother’s. It’s very plesant — a nice garden, on the river, decent restaurant, friendly and helpful staff. Chiang Mai is plesantly cooler than Bangkok, at least in the morning; afternoons get quite hot. Our Tuesday was spent eating lunch in a Chinese shophouse cum art gallery cum restaurant, then travelling my pickup truck taxi to a park/children’s playground where we rented a mat and sat beside a fetid pond for 1/2 hour in the shade of palm trees. Later we visited the largest temple in town, and had iced cappucino’s at a place called Cafe Chic.

Tomorrow we’re off to explore the wonders of the so-called “home industries” — silver, silk and other factories with demonstrations and factory shops.

I’m off to the Night Market tonight to see what I can see, a briefly single guy in a steamy equitorial paradise. Oh the possibilities.

Comments

Johnny's picture
Johnny on February 12, 2002 - 20:48

I’ve always secretly suspected that Valerie Pringle is a jerky prima donna. Every time I see her on the ridiculous, pompous commercial for the documentary channel I wanna throw up.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on February 12, 2002 - 23:05

When I was in Thailand (during the amassing of US troops to “liberate” Kuwait) , I hoped I wouldn’t be perceived as American (which I am) and so to anyone who would listen I made much of having lived for a time in Toronto. I had my eyes peeled for “ugly American” type tourists and noted their offenses, probably as a way to bolster my image of myself as a breed apart—as more of a Toronto guy than an American. Then in the north between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Song ( Tham Lod cave—highly recommend) I had to endure the company of a particularly obnoxious group of Americans, who wore clothes like mine and were just my age. The consolation at first was all the self image-bolstering material their obnoxiousnesses were adding to my mental log—until the loudest of them remarked that actually they were all Canadian—from Toronto.

Chris's picture
Chris on April 6, 2016 - 13:54

Toronto is really just an American city in Canada. Torontonians aren't really proper Canadians.

Catherine's picture
Catherine on July 18, 2003 - 21:44

You are obviously just making a very shallow judgement on Valerie Pringle based on one occation in which you evesdropped in on her conversation. If you acctually knew her you would know that she is a generous, incredibly kind person, and not in the least a jerky primadonna. It sounds to me like you are the jerk to publish something so mean spirited about someone you have never had a conversation with.

Mary O'Farrell's picture
Mary O'Farrell on September 12, 2003 - 19:05

My granddaughter went to Chiang Mai last month and is teaching English there. She just loves it and through e-mails, she keeps me informed. I believe Valerie has visited Chiang Mai and I wonder if I could get a video of that program — or perhaps a date whem it will be shown again.

Vicki Alynn's picture
Vicki Alynn on September 25, 2003 - 06:54

VICKI ALYNN AT THE TIME OF THE SEPTMEBER 13 and delivered to commment at sept 21 2003 vickialynn@msn.com IN MY OPINION I THOUGHT VALERIE PRINGLE BROUGHT A BEAUTIFUL SPIRITUAL SIDE OF WHAT MANY OF US CANADIANS CAN NOT IMAGINE ABOUT CHIANG MAI AND I LOVED THE WAY SHE BARGAINED 600 FOR EAR AND GOT THEM. TO SHOWING THE SAD FACT THAT MANY PEOPLE OF ALL TYPES COULD ONLY SEE THE MARKETERS AND THE BEACH BUT ARE SO FAR REMOVED FROM THE NATURAL BEAUTY AND FESTIVALS. LIFTING THE POT ON HER HEAD LETTING US REALISE THAILAND COULD BE A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO STAY AND THE ORIGINATED MATURE SPIRITUAL GRAVES AND STATUES WERE SIMPLY FABULOUS THANKS VALERIE LOVE TO TRAVEL WITH YOU SOMETIME PLEASE COMMENT. LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. VICKI

Vicki Alynn's picture
Vicki Alynn on September 25, 2003 - 07:28

Valerie i think your job is incredible. I’M A COUNTRY MUSIC AND FOLK SINGER. I WOULD LOVE ONE DAY TO DO A COMMENTARY SHOW AND INTERVIEW PEOPLE BUT ON THE OTHER HAND IT WOULD BE VERY COOL TO DO SOME BACK UP MUSIC FOR A FUTURE PROJECT. I DID MY FIRST ALBUM WITH THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD BAND AND IT WAS PRODUCED IN ELMIRA ONTARIO. TWENTY YEARS LATER I’VE DONE LOTS OF WORK STILL IN SMALL VENUES. IF YOU DO A SPECIAL ON CANCER SURVIVORS,I WOULD APPRECIATE YOU MENTION DR.GAVIN STUART AND DR.TOM MAIN PRIZE WHO HAVE DONE MUCH TO LIFT THE LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE IN THIS FIELD. I WAS DIAGNOSED IN 1983WITH RHABDAYMAYO SARCOMA AND AS A FIRM BELIEVER IT IS MIND OVER MATTER OF COURSE I’D LOVE TO CREATE A SONG COLLECTION FOR CBC.

Trevor's picture
Trevor on November 19, 2005 - 00:59

I would like to know if Valerie has veiny feet.Could anyone tell me if she has.

Jane's picture
Jane on February 27, 2008 - 09:57

Despite being a so-called travel expert, I was very unimpressed with Valerie Pringle when I watched the Thailand/Chaing Mai episode. She came across as quite unfamiliar with Thai custom and etiquette. She wore short shorts and sleeveless tops throughout the show, didn’t bother to watch where she pointed her feet while sitting on the ground with company, wai’d some young children (children are never wai’d to), passed things with her left hand, and generally came across as disrespectful. They may seem like little things, but I’m sure they aren’t to the Thai.

Teda's picture
Teda on May 11, 2008 - 15:42

If you crizise Valerie Pringle — you just envy that she has a passion for what she is doing, enjoying it and her humbles reports are so human and gentle. She is a real person, one os us; ordinary person with extyra ordinary desire to do more then average person. Her frickles are a beauty marks, her without make up face is so deligful to watch and she is so “normal”… come on, people, love her what she is doing. And sometimes you can not tell everythiung in 30 min. show… 60 min, show, or even 5 hours show. She encourages peopkle to move and instead saving the $$$ and visting bar places, get out there, see other countries, appraciate the differences, treasure our culture, and see what is out there. Teach you children to have desire to travel, to be rich not in money but in expieriences..
Valerie — you are an unbelievable inspiring soul.

Wraye Leskiw's picture
Wraye Leskiw on March 30, 2011 - 08:48

Hi!!! Vicki. Im not sure if you remember me or not but my parents released your first album.
Im hoping to get in touch with you as it has been so many years. I hope your doing well and would love to see you again. Pls let me know how to reach you. Take care and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely
Wraye

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