CNN presenter Richard Quest and his crew were running so hard that they nearly knocked over me and a senior World Economic Forum official and his wife as they forced us to jump out of their way. They returned a few seconds later with a muttered apology. Not really appropriate Davos-like behavior.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Egypt's government on Friday that "freedom of expression should be fully respected."
Angela Merkel, whose main appearance here concerned a stern and Germanic lecture on reducing government debt and protecting the euro, did tell reporters that stability in Egypt was important -- but not at the expense of freedom of expression.
Prime Minister Cameron of the UK, the standout performer here on Friday, called for reform in Egypt and said he hoped the violence would stop, but added it was clear that people in Egypt had "grievances and problems."
And Thailand's prime minister called for restraint. He should know, having sent government troops to stage a bloody crackdown to quell street protests in Bangkok last year, resulting in 91 deaths.
It was truly surreal however to watch Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, and world leaders sitting on stage to calmly discuss climate change and sustainable development while Egypt was burning. When the UN chief addressed the crowd he waxed eloquently about scarce resources, saying "we have mined our way to growth and pawned our way to prosperity and now supplies are scarce and the scarcest resource is time."
Yet Egypt was not mentioned in any of the regular panels even though it was Topic A in corridor talk among delegates. So was the question of whether Tunisia's revolt might now threaten to really and truly spread across Northern Africa and beyond. Well dressed plutocrats, academics, business leaders and policy wonks kept asking each other "what's the latest from Egypt" and the question of whether "it's all over for Mubarak" was overshadowing everything else by late Friday afternoon.
David Cameron was smooth and articuate in explaining his austerity plan for Britain, but it was only when he was rushed by reporters that he replied on the subject of Egypt.
A number of delegates, including your correspondent, began to suspect that it wasn't so much a case of denial, as the inability of the Davos meeting machinery to drop in a special panel on the Egyptian crisis at a moment's notice, though I gather organizers were scrambling to assemble one on Saturday.
Likewise, an even nastier thought crossed the minds of many here: what if most of the global business and political elites in talks here actually were too embarrassed to say they would prefer the authoritarian government of Hosni Mubarak to carry on in order to provide stability?
It certainly is a hard choice, almost impossible, because the Mubarak regime may be heavily compromised. But the only alternative is even worse: Watching the supposedly moderate (but dangerous) opposition Muslim Brotherhood play kingmaker to Mohamed el-Baradei's dream of returning from his posh and tax-free lifestyle in the UN system to become Mubarak's successor. (el-Bardei was himself arrested on Friday in Cairo!)