Out of The Woods
Seen and heard in the corridors of the Annual Meetings
•/ Keep him out: The view of Donald Trump’s third and temporary residence is partially concealed this week behind a low-slung white scaffold, on the front of which is stencilled ‘White House Fence Replacement Project’. What we don’t yet know is who is paying for it. Our money is on either Mexico or Turkey. Any guesses?
•/Bananaland: Talking of America’s first orange president, two cheery ladies were spotted near the Treasury building clutching a pink banner emblazoned with the words ‘Women for Trump’. Asked what exactly they were in favour of, one replied: “Well, he’s got nice teeth”. Only when they’d continued onward did OOTW spot they’d been chatting outside a branch of Banana Republic — ironic given the US national debt is set to top $23 trillion.
•/ Hit snooze: Another riveting IMF panel hit snooze-factor 10 on Thursday. The Indian finance minister bumbled in 45 minutes late, then sat down on the stage next to one of his senior staffers — who proceeded to nod off, head slumped magnificently on to his chest. Rousing himself to check if anyone was observing his golden slumbers (we all were) he would then drift off again, into sleep’s warm embrace.
•/ Crashing out: Columbia University professor Adam Tooze was in a feisty mood yesterday at the IIF. When an audience member asked for his recipe for a stronger Europe, his reply was a big, crashy no-deal Brexit. “It’s the only thing that will knock the German car industry for six.” Presumably Tooze drives a Lada.
•/ 2019: Corridors of uncertainty: When OOTW was trying to find the designated room in the World Bank building to meet an African finance minister and his team, we must have used every single lift and walked down every single corridor in what felt like an enormous, tortuous circle. We then, purely by chance, bumped into the African delegation, also wandering around in confusion. Finally together, we set out on an odyssey that included several elevators (standard-issue and service-variety) a delivery entrance, a food storage area, and finally a meeting room that must have been originally decorated by the Stasi, filled with plates of half-eaten breakfast.