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Goodbye, adieu, ciao etc

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The conference centre in Davos has the look of a ghost town as I depart for the last time today. How different it all was on Tuesday when I first showed up.

This content was published on January 29, 2012 - 13:34

It’s always the same every year: a nervous, dynamic buzz of activity to start with followed by an exhausted, out of body experience when you leave.

Day one in Davos is all about queues, impatience, jostling and journalists sticking down bits of paper to lay claim to their section of desk. The open plan media “village” resembles an overcrowded beach front – all the deckchairs are draped in towels, and not just German ones.

With seat and desk space secured, the next five days is a half sprint, half marathon as hacks chase down stories, sound bites and participants for comment and interviews.

The Davos forum is such a vast, sprawling soup of topics, debates and conflicting opinions that it’s sometimes hard to see the wood for the trees. Try “gauging the atmosphere” on any given day that includes debates on unemployment, bank regulation, the environment, women’s rights, cyber security, Africa, Asia, Europe and the US.

It’s like choosing which programme to watch on Christmas Day while the nagging doubt persists that there might be something better to watch on the other channel.

It now feels a bit like Boxing Day: a few people are clearing away the torn up gift wrappings as yesterday’s party-goers wonder what they’re going to do with their strange presents, discover bits are missing and regret having that extra mince pie.

Maybe I should have listened to British banking watchdog Lord Adair Turner who said that regulation is like “taking away the punch bowl before the party gets out of hand”.

Perhaps this #wef tweet by @gregorylent best sums up my feelings as I board the train for a three hour trip home: “out of balance with nature, no heart in politics or business, mechanistic view of human beings, no wonder we are out of balance”.

Auf Wiedersehen.

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