African Union survival kit: a retrospective

2014-02-02 06:00

There’s a first time for everything. African Union (AU) rookie and City Press senior political reporter Carien du Plessis shares her tips for surviving an AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

1. Learn some basic Mandarin. It will help you to better understand the talking lifts in the bright and shiny Chinese-built and donated new building.

2. Take your own water. The tap water will make you run and the AU is stingy with its bottled water.

Water coolers, tuck shops and water vending machines were apparently not on the Chinese list of must-haves for the building.

3. Take your own food. On the rare, unpredictable occasion that delicious snacks and tea are served at the summit, ravenous delegates devour it in seconds.

Food might be sold over lunch time 500m from the building, but if you’re busy this is hit and miss, and you’ll end up starving.

4. Take comfortable shoes, unless perhaps you’re a president, or you might end up getting your heels stuck in the pavement in front of the entrance gate.

Lesser mortals’ cars are not allowed in the precinct.

5. If you don’t have a driver, or if you lose him among the throng of cars in front of the AU main gate, bargain a bit with the taxi drivers if their rates to your hotel sound outrageous.

Business tourism prices skyrocket during summits.

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