February 1st, 2009
04:02 PM GMT
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DAVOS, Switzerland - Like all bosses, my editor likes to drop in the really irksome duties on top of those one has already willingly accepted, as if they were nothing to speak of. "Oh yes," she said nonchalantly, "you and Richard have to blog every day while you're in Davos, didn't I tell you?"

CNN's Nicki Goulding displays the work-related injury she received on the nose from her accreditation badge.
CNN's Nicki Goulding displays the work-related injury she received on the nose from her accreditation badge.

Keeping my grumbles to myself ("She expects me to get up at 5, work all day in the freezing cold and write some inane blog?"), I somehow manage to make my irritation look like mild surprise and decide to take the thing in good heart.

Little did I know that by the end of the week, I'd hardly be able to keep my hands off my trusty laptop and digital camera. As I prepare to return home, I have to be honest with myself about my new addiction: parties, hats, pedometers and daughters at Davos have been among the topics I've sounded off on this week.

Luckily for my readers there were also several items that never quite made it into blogdom.

There was going to be one about how Davos seems to produce more paper than ideas. Even before setting out, a huge consignment of documents from the World Economic Forum clunks onto my desk in London. Upon registration, participants are handed a handsome shoulder bag generously pre-packed with ring files, booklets and letters. And since it is impossible to attend every event at the Forum even if it is vitally important to you, progress around the Congress Centre is hampered by omnipresent racks full of press releases, transcripts of keynote speeches and other literature.

The crunch always comes at the end of the week. I have a large suitcase for trips like this, but it always ends up crammed full by the time I've put in all the warm clothing needed to handle broadcasting outdoors at 7 a.m. when the temperature is down to minus 16 degrees centigrade. Sticking in any extra stuff is not an option.

There was also going to be a blog about the mishaps that befell two of my colleagues here. I knew there was a lot of science, sociology and subterfuge associated with the different colored accreditation badges but never realized how downright dangerous they are.

The hazard resides in the piece of elastic you string round your neck, so the thing hangs at roughly the level of your third button down from the top. Security is very big here, and you frequently have to hold your accreditation up to electronic readers that verify your identity - for example, when entering the Congress Centre.

Last night CNN's Nicki Goulding did this a little carelessly, but with the elastic at full stretch the sharp-edged badge slipped from between her fingers, whizzed back and struck a vicious blow to the bridge of her nose.

Ouch. She appeared the next morning looking like she'd been in a fight.
The other unhappy incident concerned our Vicky Brown. She became the victim of abuse of monopoly power, proving that at the World Economic Forum, the microeconomics can be as bad as the macroeconomics.

Stepping into her taxi - ordered for 6:30 a.m. - at 6:32 a.m., she was subjected to a torrent of abuse in a language she does not understand. One thing the driver did make clear: She would have to pay more for keeping him waiting. Knowing that prices in Davos are systematically eased skywards when the World Economic Forum is in town, she stood her ground. More abuse, and the driver dropped her past the place she needed to be dropped, forcing her to walk back a couple of hundred yards.

The fact is, there aren't many taxis or taxi companies in Davos, and there is a lot of demand for them during the Forum. It's a seller's market, and first-year undergraduate microeconomic theory prepares you for such behavior. But it is still a pity to meet such a grouch in a country famed for its courtesy and hospitality.

Ho hum. Enough complaining. I'm off to work out a way of squeezing all those precious press releases into my poor old suitcase.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. d. griffith

    A fix of workers compensation should take care of all the addictions and injuries. So make sure to visit the Human Resources department.

    February 2, 2009 at 6:04 am |
  2. E. PELATZ

    Here is an idea to help reduce the deficit and give the nation a real economic boost. How about we audit the income tax returns and finances of the same very politicians that are making such patriotic speeches about the bad economic that we have and are leading our nation.. It is obvious that when it comes to paying your taxes "WE ARE ALL NOT CREATED EQUAL",
    E.Pelatz

    February 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Andrew

    As I read recently, politicians get all anxious when their world's become unpredictable and chaotic. Turning on each other and looking after their own interests is a natural reaction for people so prone to the guile of power. In my view, letting the market sort itself out is the only answer. Letting politicans throw money at it (by printing it) is going to end in disaster – (jwsgoldsilver)

    February 3, 2009 at 3:15 am |
  4. Rod Becklund

    I understand the cab drivers point he is there to make a buck and you were causing him a delay of profits. He gave you a reminder by dropping you off a bit down the road .He did you a favor because we all need more exercise and he gave you something to blog about . It brings to mind the scene in the 5th element when Gary Oldman's character drops the glass off the table breaking it on the floor so the robots would clean it up and claiming that he kept the robot makers in a job so they can feed their family ,much as you are feeding yours by writing the blog about a rude cab driver. My name is Rod Becklund I am an artist and I don' get upset when a shipping company breaks one of my sculptures in mailing to my customers, I see that it gives my life a purpose to repair and create my sculptures. Be thankful of the little things in life that maybe don't on the surface seem like a positive but really aren't that bad.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  5. Bruce Cadogan

    I agree with some others, why is there never any money around when the Taxpayers need help. Right with the Economy as Bad as it is many people need help paying their Bills. Your Creditors are never willing to give the help you need,instead, they come up with these cheesy plans to help that are utterly ridiculous. Without the working class people, the people on top and the ones on the bottom getting the leftovers would be up the creek without a paddle. Everytime Capitol hill has a Financial problem, i get out to things, a bottle of aspirin and the grease. I truly hope things Change, like a one time forgiveness to the Taxpayer for all his debts, then on to bigger and Better things.

    February 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm |

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