Davos by day and Davos by night are different worlds, but the two complement each other perfectly. The kinetic pace of WEF's daytime sessions and faux-casual huddled conversations scattered among the bars and stairwells of the Congress Centre offset the other Davos. This second Davos, the underbelly, emerges only after sunset, after the last interactive dinner session has ended and the Beavertail pastry concession is shut and shuttered. Together, the two Davoses make perfect harmony.
The theme of WEF 2012 was "The Great Transformation". As always, an ambitious title. As a middle aged mother of two and wife of a member of the World Economic Forum, I arrived at the Central Sporthotel on Tuesday afternoon with hopes for some sort of personal transformation. And, in fact, I do feel that I came away from my sojourn inspired. Hearing Midori, the renown violinist and UN Messenger of Peace, speak of her philanthropic foundation has incited me to get involved this year in charity work. Luc Besson's passionate talk about the power of film ("just as money fuels the economy, art feeds the heart and soul", he pointed out) inspired me to dust off the movie treatment I started writing sixteen years ago. I feel recharged and intellectually invigorated, and surprisingly clear of mind despite lack of sleep and a string of boozy nights spent at the piano bar.
Now, let's get to the underbelly. No musing about Davos would be complete without a "Davos Moment" -- a quirky and unexpected encounter that stays with you years later like the sweet remembrance of Proust's Madeleine. Ours came at the tail end of the week, when my dinner companion, a vivacious and dangerously beautiful blond journalist described her interview with a Soviet dictator several years ago. "How do you plan on spending your last day in office?", she asked him. "Doing something SPECIAL with you," he responded, looking her deep in the eyes.Trying to reroute the interview onto a higher moral plane, she reworded her question; "How will you spend your first day out of office?", the Impossibly Beautiful Blond asked the Dictator. "Definitely doing something with YOU." When the IBB then went to shake his hand, the Soviet Dictator took her into his arms, planting a wet kiss on her lips.
"And now" the journalist went on to explain to us, "I only date men with nuclear weapons!".
Only in Davos...