Lessons learned the weekend before the United Nations climate change talks, COP17/CMP7.
1. Double-check the address of your BnB. Nobody will tell you that they've moved location or that where they once were is now a “massage parlour” in Durban North.
2. Alternatively, don't wait until the week before the organise accommodation. You will end up in Zimbali, 40 minutes away.
3. If you book into a sustainably-built BnB, your shower will be lukewarm. Embrace the irony of whining about this while attending a climate change conference.
4. Drive with purpose. Durbanites are less chill than the ads make them out to be. They will get all up in your exhaust pipe if you drive slowly down the M4, admiring Moses Mabhida Stadium.
5. You are not allowed to take your own refreshments into the ICC. Either that or security stole Laea's Coke.
6. Bring cash. A lot of it. Coffee costs R15.
7. Make friends with the IT guys. Their prowess with your clunking laptop will make you feel technologically inadequate, but hey – at least your wireless is now working.
8. Invest in suit pants. The foreign press take their jobs very, very seriously. You will look like a hobo in your jeans. Alternatively, you'll also be able to spot all the other South Africans.
9. Do not believe the smiling faces of hostesses outside conference rooms telling you, “I think anyone can just go in.” You will find yourself in a closed hearing. You will be escorted out by security.
10. Don't panic. You're just one of 1389 accredited media personnel from 489 media organisation around the world, wandering around in a sea of an expected 15 000 people. And nearly all of them are lost, too.