In the Aug. 31 issue of Travel Weekly (Memories of Kabul), I described my 1970 visit
to Kabul in Afghanistan and mentioned two people. That brought two
I mentioned Travel Weekly's Fran Durbin, who, coincidentally,
was living in Kabul at the time I visited.
This got her a call from Kenn Glave, who owns a small ($3
million to $4 million) corporate agency, Kenn's Executive Travel,
in Houston. He worked for Pan Am in the Afghan capital around 1969
and took the opportunity to gleefully reminisce about friends and
experiences in common with our Washington bureau chief.
In the column, I also recalled my meeting with Timur Shah Hamid,
then sales manager for the local Inter-Continental. Because he was
a grandson of one king and relative of the sitting king, I had
figured he would not be too popular with the communists when they
took over in the late '70s, but I had never heard of his fate.
About three weeks after my column, I got a call from Timur--and a
pretty quick dinner date, too. (I had heard by fax and e-mail from
two readers who told me he lived in the U.S. and where.)
There are so many people we meet in our travels, many we might
want to know better, but they live far away and we get a chance to
spend only an evening or a few days together. Then, we go our own
ways, and we may never know anything more. It is a treat to get the
answers to the "whatever happened to him/her?" questions and,
especially in this case, to learn that the news is good.
Indeed, Timur was on a communist hit list, but when they came
for him, he was already living outside Afghanistan. His royal
connections weren't the problem (his six siblings, with spouses and
children, survived and eventually escaped). In the early '70s,
Timur worked for Pan Am in Kabul. He said the Russians incorrectly
assumed all employees of the U.S. carrier were CIA. He had gone to
the Middle East with Pan Am, worked for Swissair and then became
resident manager at the Sana Sheraton in Yemen.
But for who knows what flukes, we might have met there. I
visited Sana on a day trip in spring 1982, when Timur was in town,
but when I returned a year later--and stayed at the Sheraton--he
had moved to his next hotel.
Timur, now known as Tim, came to the U.S. with Sheraton, then
moved to Holiday Hospitality. He was vice president of corporate
sales worldwide when he, now a Princeton, N.J., resident, opted not
to take a transfer to Atlanta this year.
That puts him in the job market. He describes himself as a
global marketer with interests that stretch beyond the hotel
business. He has done a pretty good job of landing on his feet so
far. I am betting he will again.