Out of the Woods
Seen and heard in the corridors of the Annual Meetings
•/ No tagine for you!: Friday was supposed to be Moroccan day at the canteen abutting the IMF press centre in HQ1. But the culinary celebration fell a little flat, when Out of the Woods discovered that not only was there no tagine (which is a little bit like leaving warm beer off the menu in a British pub), but that the Cacciatora chicken was stone cold.
•/ Lost in transition: Wandering the fourth floor of the World Bank building in search of a delegation from Indonesia’s finance ministry, OOTW found himself asking who designed this building — and the IMF’s concrete temple next door. MC Escher, Antoni Gaudí, Hunter S. Thompson? A cleaning lady directed us to the wrong room — then admitted she still got lost after 40 years working there.
•/ Americano economics: Washington’s commuters are being targeted by a poster campaign featuring a pyramid of coffee cups that resembles Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Its point is that the average salary in Bangladesh, a so-called middle-income county, is just $2.73, enough to buy a single mug of coffee, while in the US the equivalent figure is $172, comprising 36 steaming cups of joe. Given delegates’ struggle to stay awake this week, perhaps more coffee is indeed the answer.
•/ Wag the dog: Let’s face it, it’s hard to humanise something as unwieldy as a multilateral. But the World Bank is trying its darnedest to parade its cuddly side by promoting its newest social media star. Tammy, a golden retriever, is a little under two years old, can sniff out a bomb and very possibly a biscuit from 50 paces, and is already quite the darling of 1850 I Street. Oh, if we all had a tail to wag!
•/ Who are you?: Despite the debate about the nature of gender and identity – timely to some, interminable to others — it still came as a shock to OOTW to find he’d been gender-reassigned. Born male (he’d always assumed) he arrived at an IDB breakout session to be handed a name-tag bearing the decidedly feminine name of ‘Olivia’. What the heck though — one X chromosome or two, the difference is negligible when you’re on the trail of a scoop.