You can see signs of the Middle East crisis in the strangest places. Early yesterday a Hertz rental truck pulled up onto the sidewalk at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown and 10 people began loading at least 100 pieces of luggage, piles of boxes, three exercise treadmills, a child's mini-jeep, a Weber grill and a satellite dish.

It was all the property of Prince Turki Bin Faisal and his wife and four children, who were cutting short their vacation here to return home to Saudi Arabia. A cousin of King Fahd, the prince and his family had taken over some 13 rooms at the expensive hotel, and the satellite dish and all the boxes represented a week of heavy-duty shopping here. Those Saudis do know how to spend money.

Out and About

Rep. Jerry F. Costello and his wife, Georgia, have been watching the news from the Middle East with special interest because they are convinced their 21-year-old son is among the troops sent to Saudi Arabia. The Illinois Democrat, who supports the president's decision to send American troops, said his son, Jerry F. Costello II, is a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Costello called Fort Bragg in North Carolina, but because of security was given no information. "Given the fact that there have been 5,000 soldiers from the 82nd deployed from Fort Bragg," he said, "there's no question in our minds that he is either in Saudi Arabia or on the way there" ...

Campaigning can get confusing. Tuesday night two of the city's mayoral candidates -- Walter Fauntroy and John Ray -- showed up at about the same time to address supporters at the Ritz nightclub in the 900 block of E Street NW. Fortunately, the Ritz houses five separate clubs and the Fauntroy "Tribute to Young Washingtonians" party was on the third floor, while the John Ray for Mayor Committee met on the first. The candidates did not run into each other. Some Ray supporters who went up to the Fauntroy party were permitted in but had to remove their Ray badges and hats ...

Hospital Report: Czechoslovak Ambassador Rita Klimova, who has been undergoing chemotherapy for acute leukemia at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, is feeling much better, according to the embassy. "The chemotherapy is working. It is the best news we could have," embassy press officer Daniel Veseley said, noting that "the doctors are very optimistic" ...

Pop singer Janet Jackson, who collapsed with a viral infection backstage Sunday during a concert in St. Louis and was hospitalized, under doctor's orders took the remainder of the week off, canceling two Detroit concerts. She reportedly has recovered and is to perform as scheduled at Capital Centre tomorrow, Saturday and Monday. The 24-year-old sister of Michael Jackson has had other health problems during this "Rhythm Nation 1814" tour, suffering from exhaustion, fever and an ear infection that caused dizziness the day before she passed out ...

And the Mapplethorpe battle continues in Boston with a group called the First Amendment Common Sense Alliance filing obscenity complaints in Boston Municipal Court against the Robert Mapplethorpe show at the Institute of Contemporary Art and artist Rick Bolton, who mounted a show on censorship and sexuality at the Photographic Resource Center on the Boston University campus. In the midst of this fuss, WGBH, Boston's public television station, broadcast the seven Mapplethorpe photographs that some people find so offensive. The station received more than 120 calls, mostly favorable. The broadcast didn't even upset M. Rita Burke, president of the Massachusetts chapter of Morality in Media, which is part of the First Amendment Common Sense Alliance. The pictures "are very hard to produce on TV," she explained. "You have to get down within a foot of the pictures to really look at them... . What came through on the TV I didn't think was extremely graphic" ...

The Miss America pageant may want Bert Parks to come back to sing "There She Is" to the contest winner, but just because he's been asked doesn't mean Parks will do it. The 75-year-old Parks, who was dumped because he was too old, said he will not appear just to sing the song. "If it's just that, we ain't doing nothing," he said ...