Monday, November 7th 2011, 1:33 PM EST
Do not let the title of the attached memo (see PDF below) put you off if you propose attending COP17. Rather the opposite. Just relax and enjoy the well organised discussions, exhibits and functions.
Our airports are as good as the best in your home countries. Durban is our major holiday destination. Its hospitality is of world class. The hotels are spread along the seafront. The conference facilities are excellent. There will be tight security during the proceedings.
If this is the first time that you have travelled abroad here are some suggestions. The most important rule is that you must not let your valuables, particularly your cameras, laptops and cell phones (mobiles) out of your sight while travelling or in the hotels. If your hotel room does not have a safe, then hand in your valuables at the front desk when you are not using them. These are standard procedures when visiting all countries.
Do not accept offers of assistance when drawing money from ATMs. Just withdraw your card and go somewhere else.
Expect Durban to be hot and wet with plenty of sunshine, so take a thin plastic rollup raincoat, a hat, and buy local sun protection cream if you intend spending some time out in the open such as strolling along the beach front. You should also be cautious if you intend visiting our game reserves. Elephants are very inquisitive creatures.
Leave plenty of room in your suitcase so that you can take trinkets back home to your family and mementos of this historic event for your future reference.
I will not be able to attend the conference so my wife and I will spend the holiday season in our holiday home at Plettenberg Bay on the other side of Port Elizabeth. The climate is cooler than Durban. In the mornings there are cool breezes from the ocean while in the afternoons there are hot winds blowing from inland. I am not sure how these conditions affect the BEST studies based on land temperatures discussed in the memo below.