There are all kinds of reasons an airline employee might be moved from one overseas posting to another, but Insider thought this one unique: Kenn Glave had just wrapped up a Pan Am assignment in Vietnam in the late '60s and had been promised something, well, more appealing. It was to be Switzerland.

Then came a call asking for his forbearance and promising the posting of his choice if he would first go to Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. It seems the Pan Am rep in Kabul had given some "advice" to the crown prince, the kind of advice one should not give to a royal personage who has some power.

So Kenn agreed to go although, he said, he and his wife knew little about the place except that James Michener's "Caravans" was set there. (And then, it turned out, the Glaves were living in Afghanistan when the movie, starring Omar Sharif, was made.) After 18 months in a land where westerners washed their lettuce in Tide to prevent illness, he said the farewell was sad, and, of all his 15 years of overseas postings, Kabul is the one he remembers with the greatest fondness.

Where did he choose to go next? Stuttgart, Germany, because he had lived there before and he spoke German. In 1979, in Houston, he founded his corporate travel agency, Kenn's Executive Travel, a $3 million to $4 million business.

That has brought ups and downs, too. He told Insider that on some days, "I come in and think 'We are going to close this down today.' " But something always works out. The best example comes from the dark days some years ago when the Houston economy was in the deep, deep pits. Through contacts--and a wee bit of luck --Kenn came in with a plum account: a law firm that handled bankruptcies.

If a tree falls

big treeOne of the casualties of Hurricane Georges' visit to Puerto Rico required a medical specialist, expensive treatments--and three cranes.

A centuries-old banyan tree that dominated the courtyard of El San Juan Hotel & Casino toppled into the swimming pool, thanks to one of Georges' 130-mph gusts. Ironically, the same tree also took a poolside plunge in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo roared through. That first resurrection cost a cool $200,000. What with inflation and all, the cost this time was a bit more than $250,000.

Resuscitation and rescue required the cranes, a team of construction workers and a tree surgeon flown in from Fort Lauderdale. The tree surgeon supervised the replanting and medical treatment of the enormous banyan, which boasts a 40-foot shade span. The patient will be closely monitored for the next six months.

A promo called Hope

Insider asked Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, about the consequences, if any, of the Clinton-Lewinsky matter from a tourism perspective, in light of the state's Presidential Cities itinerary, launched shortly after Clinton's first election.

His reply: "Other than an isolated comment from the occasional crackpot, we're not seeing any fallout. Our state highway maps still claim 'Home to President Bill Clinton,' and signs at the borders still say 'Welcome to Arkansas--Home of President Bill Clinton.' While we don't publicize the Presidential Cities brochures very much, it's strictly because of limited availability. According to folks in Hope and Hot Springs, they continue to see a good deal of interest in the local Clinton sites." Little Rock, the capital, and Fayetteville, where Clinton taught law, are the other Presidential Cities.

End of history, cont'd

Over the Atlantic in a turboprop, en route to Nassau and a Bahamian press to-do, Insider fielded the following question from a fledgling American travel writer. "Is Nassau part of the Florida Keys or a separate state?" She did know that Butch Stewart was "someone big--I think the mayor. He has 'the honorable' before his name." Congratulations to the U.S. and to Florida--and to hizzoner Mr. Stewart. To our young colleague, good luck.


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