usan Dushane, ASTA area
director from Southern California and an agent with Travel by Greta
in Northridge, Calif., is well-known in industry circles in
California and, well, let's say she's not known for her shy and
Dushane, who was part of an ASTA SoCal chapter team that
organized the recent Western Regional Conference in Cabo San Lucas,
Mexico, would be the first to admit she loves the spotlight.
In fact, the conference's traditional Voice of the Membership
session turned into a quasi-"Saturday Night Live" skit when Dushane
strutted from behind a curtain wearing a little black cocktail
dress, high heels and carrying a "Little Brown Bag" from
Imitating Linda Richman, the SNL character made famous by Mike
Myers, Dushane adopted a Long Island accent and introduced the ASTA
board, peppering the introductions with Richman-like declarations:
"Talk amongst yourselves" and "I'm feeling verklempt."
Pointing out ASTA area 4 director Ralph Ferrara, who hails from New
Jersey, she turned to the audience and said, "Don't you immediately
Introducing ASTA president Richard Copland, she noted that
Copland is from the "inferior borough of the Bronx." (Dushane's
originally from Brooklyn and proud of it).
She said that she was always taught in English class that when a
name has a long vowel in it, as does the first syllable of
Copland's last name, it should be pronounced "cope land," as the
ASTA president does pronounce it.
"But Richard's family was so poor they couldn't afford the 'e',"
There was no word on whether Dushane is going to take her act on
the road or reprise the role at ASTA World Travel Congress in
Seville, but she's hanging onto the Little Brown Bag just in
Insider saw this sign on a door inside Cardiff Castle in Wales:
"Warning. No exit. This door is alarmed."
Later, we saw a Cardiff department store that was similarly
That makes Insider wonder how many scared doors are to be found
A ducky diversion
Sometimes it's hard to define the right combination of business
intangibles that lead to travel industry success.
That's why Insider was looking forward to embarking on the wacky
and offbeat world of Boston Duck Tours.
The 7-year-old operator has garnered many tourism and business
awards for its amphibious sightseeing itineraries.
Using authentic World War II landing craft, Boston Duck Tours
offers 90-minute products that take in the typical downtown
attractions as well as the city's waterfront, following a
splashdown in the Charles River.
The tours are unique, the guides are entertaining and the
operating location is well-suited for such a historical and yet
densely packed destination.
Thanks to an Internet small- business course, Insider has become
well-versed in the many difficulties that the original start-up had
to surmount in order to commence operations.
In 1994, founder Andy Wilson had to secure numerous city and state
permits in order to get his "ducks" swimming.
(Not only does each driver/tour guide hold four separate
operating licenses, but each also must be Coast Guard certified as
a marine captain.)
The day before the operation opened, Wilson's vehicles were
still being modified to meet standards set by the Americans With
All of these restrictions, all of these rules made Insider
wonder how the operator had developed such a reputation as a fun
attraction for visitors.
The answer came while we were out on tour in the middle of the
Charles River Basin.
All of a sudden, our captain turned to the crowd and offered to
let the children steer.
Of course, the guide kept watchful control as the kids took
their turns, but these impromptu sessions turned into a great
crowd-pleaser and a wonderful thrill for the younger set.