Anyone thinking of coming to Fujairah for a holiday or to live for a time might get a good idea from having a look at the city and emirate on Google Earth.
Fly to Fujairah
Once you are in Google Earth, putting ‘Fujairah, United Arab Emirates’ into the Search function should ‘fly’ you there with speed.
You will quickly see why Fujairah is such a treasure, nestled under the towering Hajar Mountains and so close to the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean). The rectangular street pattern reveals the flatness of the Fujairah city and the brown colouring of the city lets you know there is more dust than the green, green grass of home. It is good to see some parks and a date farm or two within the city limits. See how many swimming pools you can spot? There are one or two in the suburb of Faseel and specifically in the White Village.
Flying south along the coastline you will see the new wharf where rocks are being exported to Iran and other countries. It makes you wonder how much will be left of the Hajars in another decade after trillions of truck loads of rocks have been taken to form the foundation of Dubai’s skyscrapers and now they are being exported overseas! Unfortunately Google Earth reveals the many quarries around Fujairah that scar the mountainous landscape. Some are placed too close to communities and they bring harm to people, especially those who already have respiratory problems such as asthma.
Further south you will see Kalba (Khalba) which is an enclave of the emirate of Sharjah. What is identified as a ‘lagoon’ represents a valuable wetland for hundreds of migratory birds. Only a few kilometers further south you will see a yellow line which denotes the UAE-Omani border.
Proximity to Oman is another good reason to be living in Fujairah but bring your passport if you are crossing the border by car. There is a fence that marks the border if you are walking south on the Kalba Beach. If you get too near the border the officials up in the lookout wave their arms and their rifles and don’t take kindly to you having your photo taken with one foot in each country (even though this is No Person’s Land).
North from Fujairah city you will see how the Hajars hug the coast. There’s the port and oil refinery and soon to be the pipeline that will bring gas from Qatar via Abu Dhabi.
Moving north to Khorfakkan (also spelt Khaw Fakkan) we are back in the Sharjah emirate, an emirate that has its territories bordering the western and the eastern coasts of the UAE.
The blue dots identify a string of hotels and there are islands where lots of diving takes place.
See how far north the emirate of Fujairah extends. When you get to Dibba you will see the yellow emirate and national boundaries cutting in all directions and dissecting Dibba into Fujairah, Sharjah and the country of Oman. It is remarkable all these state and national enclaves exist and are probably the result of much debate and endless disputes.
Bird’s Eye View
Google Earth gives to travelers and residents a sense of perspective about Fujairah and an indication of distances between the city and its outposts. It gives any navigator an god insight into how to plan a weekend round trip from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. I am amazed at how many friends in other countries of the world check out our bearings to see our house and whether they can see us taking out the rubbish!
Since the creation of Google Earth there have spawned many local Google Earth communities around the world—people who on this resource take different parts of their town and add identification tags to indicate parks, shopping malls, schools, places of worship etc.
I am unsure about the existence of a Google Earth Community in Fujairah but in the absence of decent maps of Fujairah and realizing that new streets and institutions are being developed every year, working intentionally on a comprehensive Fujairah street and landmark map might be a useful community project.
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: Google Earth photo of Fujairah (click to magnify).