When you are abroad covering a rugby tour, everything hinges on technology.
Don’t get me wrong, the results are important, but, for me, success is being able to send my articles back to Cardiff.
As such, this trip is proving to be rather challenging. It’s taking me longer to send my copy than write it at times!
For whatever reason, my own transmission devices – dongle and data phone – aren’t working, so I am wholly reliant on wi-fi.
And out here in Africa, wi-fi can be a little bit flaky, shall we say.
Things reached crisis proportions during Tuesday night’s tour opener against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Given that the match was being played at the state-of-the-art Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, which was built for the 2010 football World Cup, I travelled there reasonably confident there would be wi-fi.
Think again! My enquiries on the subject were met with blank faces and an even blanker list of available networks showing up on my computer.
With no obvious means of sending my copy, I was imagining some gaping holes in Wednesday morning’s Western Mail.
A couple of days on, I’m still slightly amazed that I managed to get my material over to the office.
Put it down to years of experience of dealing with technical traumas abroad, the help of some kindly colleagues and a load of luck.
Whether I will be so fortunate at Kings Park on Saturday remains to be seen. It could be time to get out the trusty carrier pigeon!
Of course, all of this reminds you just how much we’ve come to take wi-fi and the internet in general for granted. It also reminds me of days gone by.
When I started out on this job more than 20 years ago, there was no wi-fi, no internet and not a lap-top in sight.
The height of technology back then was a mobile phone and you needed a suitcase to carry one around, they were so big.
There was no sending your articles digitally. You would file them down the phone to a copy taker sat in the office.
With mobiles in their infancy, most of the time you were reliant on landline phones and many grounds didn’t even have those.
I remember quite a few occasions where you would have to run to a phone box after the game or knock on a nearby house pleading for use of their phone.
I could yet end up doing that in Durban this weekend!
Considering this is my third trip to South Africa, I’ve made some real schoolboy errors out here this time around.
Basically, I’ve got my attire all wrong.
Taken in by the lovely weather during the day in Port Elizabeth, I headed for Tuesday night’s game in just a T-shirt and fleece.
The concerned looks from the heavily wrapped-up locals at the ground should have been a warning, but I just put that down to them being spoiled by the climate over here.
“They call this winter,” I was thinking to myself. “They should try our winters back home.”
It wasn’t long before I was eating my words.
As soon as the sun set, I knew I had made a mistake and by the end of the game I was shivering and seriously regretting my error of judgement.
Determined not to be caught out for a second time, I got the layers on the next day for the flight up to Durban.
Once again, I had blundered. Getting off the plane, I was immediately hit by the heat and humidity. And there was I wrapped up like a Welsh eskimo. Doh!
On that flight up from Port Elizabeth one of my fellow passengers was a certain George North.
The winger was travelling separately from the rest of the squad in order to ensure no-one else was affected by the virus he has been suffering from.
But the isolation policy didn’t extend to the media, with myself and my colleagues from BBC Wales also on the flight.
As it turned out, I found myself sitting in the row behind George, who was accompanied by team doctor Geoff Davies.
It has to be said the poor lad didn’t look great. He was clearly struggling and gulping down the water to keep up his fluid levels.
For all the advances in sports science, when it comes to a bug like that you just have to let nature take its course.
So, it’s fingers firmly crossed that the big man pulls through in time for Saturday’s first Test against the Springboks, having been named in the side.
Early start for the squad as they board the flight back to Durban after last night’s victory pic.twitter.com/8waU26IWEi
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) June 11, 2014
George’s illness meant him being withdrawn from the replacements for the Kings match, leaving Wales with just the seven subs, as nine players had stayed up in Durban to prepare for the opening Test.
That led to a selection debate with a difference, over which member of the management team should be on stand-by to move onto the bench.
Chatting to Shaun Edwards at lunchtime before the game, he was pondering whether he was eligible for Wales! As the name suggests, there is some heritage there, but he reckoned it went back to a great grandparent, which wouldn’t be close enough. I pointed out he might well be qualified on residency given the amount of time he has spent in Wales over the years.
Analyst Rhys Long was apparently keen to step up to the plate, but in the end the decision was taken to go with just the seven subs.
Suffice to say, I wasn’t asked if I had my boots with me!
I’m currently based in Umhlanga, a beach resort town north of Durban on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
Umhlanga roughly translates as heat on the water and that’s pretty appropriate as it’s scorching – by our standards! – here in the daytime.
Driving down from the airport, you are greeted with acre after acre of sugar cane fields, with fires on either side of the road as the leaves are burnt off to reveal the cane below.
Hence, this is known as the Sugar Coast.
Umhlanga is a much favoured tourist destination, with the Rocks area on the beachfront particularly popular.
It’s a lovely setting and the Welsh players – who are staying in a hotel just around the corner from me – have enjoyed a dip in the sea to cool down after training.
I’d like to show you some pictures, but I can’t even do that on my malfunctioning phone now!
It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it.