Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sharm on the Way from Fujairah to Al Aqah

If you blink you may miss Sharm.

It is about 40 kms from Fujairah and 5 kms before you reach Al Aqah (home to hotels such as the Sandy Beach Resort, the Miramar, Le Méridien and the Rotana).

Sharm appears as a one camel town with a road hump or two to slow you down. This measure is probably to keep the locals safe but it also seems a ploy to get you to slow down enough to stop at their roadside market.

To Market to Market
The Sharm market is not as comprehensive as the Friday Market but it has a wide range. Fruit, veges, pots, plastic toys, plants…what more do you want?

Market but No Marketing
Like most of Fujairah the marketers have not left their stamp of Sharm. You could easily think that there’s not much to Sharm as you could think of the whole of Fujairah.

Rich History
There is nothing to alert you but Sharm is one of the rich archaeological sites of Fujairah. It has been excavated and analyzed by archaeologists who have written articles about the architecture of an ancient tomb and pre-Islamic ceramics found at Sharm.

Fishing and Diving
Sharm today is a fishing village and there are also some good spots for diving out from the beach.

Dr Geoff Pound

Images of Sharm.

Stop off at Khor Fakkan if You Are Visiting Fujairah

If you are planning a day trip to Fujairah from Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi it is a great idea to make your return route along the coast rather than on one of the inland roads.

Stop off at Khor Fakkan
Khor Fakkan or Khawr Fakkan' خورفكان (and it is sometimes spelt as one word) is approximately 24 kilometres from Fujairah or 17-18 kilometres from Al Aqah (if you are coming from the other direction).

According to one source, the name refers to the shape of the area. "Khor" is an extension of land between two water bodies. "Fak" means jaw and refers to the shape of the land where it touches the water.

History and Adventure
With its rich history chronicled by archaeologists who have dated local graves and artifacts to the second century BC and adventurous stories of Portuguese and Omani attacks from the 15-17th centuries, what more do you need for a thrilling day at Khor Fakkan?

Superb Picnic Spot
If you simply want a good dose of salaam and serenity the Khor Fakkan beach which is about 2 kilometres from the main shops is a very pleasant setting for a picnic against the sheltered backdrop of the magnificent Hajar Mountains.

There is plenty to do in Khor Fakkan. The beach has beautiful white sand and from most accounts it is safe for swimming (although check with locals and swim with others).

If you are in a group and wondering what you can do it is possible to hire one of the many semi-covered motorized picnic boats (which come with a driver) so you can go out on the water.

You can also hire a Jet Ski so long as you note the lanes within which you must keep.

Sharjah Emirate
Khor Fakkan is part of Sharjah and is completely surrounded by the emirate of Fujairah. Because Sharjah is wealthier than Fujairah you will see oodles of palm trees, green grass, swings and other amenities for children.

There are many restaurants and take away shops up from the beach where you can get Middle Eastern and Asian food plus snacks and drinks. Being part of Sharjah it is essential to realize that alcohol is banned in this emirate. This also means the dress code is more conservative than in the other emirates.

The Oceanic Hotel is at the northern end of the beach. The other end of the beach merges into a very substantial port. While it is difficult to see any signs, taking pictures of the port area from the beach or out in a boat is forbidden and if you are caught doing this you may be apprehended and possibly have your camera confiscated.

To See More
The YouTube video Roadtrip to Fujairah has footage of Khor Fakkan from the 1.46 mark and for the next minute.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Khor Fakkan Picnic area and beach.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Horses, Dancing, Music at Fujairah Culture Day

A great afternoon was held on Saturday (29 November 2008) on the Fujairah Beach as part of the celebration of UAE National Day.

The day was sponsored by the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority and involved horse racing, music, dancing and meeting friends.

The activity was well-attended with a large police presence to ease the considerable flow of traffic on the main beach road.

Have a look at the slideshow of some of the images from the day. Click on it if you want to see enlarged images at the original host site.

Dr Geoff Pound

Thursday, November 27, 2008

About the Crown Prince of Fujairah

In an interview with The National (27 November 2008), the Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al Sharqi, speaks on a range of pressing issues in Fujairah, including housing, economics, oil spills, red tide algae and the environment.

It is not all work and concern, for the Crown Prince also reveals his favourite pastime.

Find out what this is at:
Rym Ghazal, Sheikh Seeks to Quickly Fix Power Woes, The National, 27 November 2008.

More about the Crown Prince of Fujairah:
On Housing Pressures, FIF.
Attending Asiania and Fujairah Parachute Championships plus photo gallery, FIF.
On Quarries and the Environment, FIF.
Dubai Ruler Receives New Crown Prince, Website of Dubai Ruler.
His graduation from Webster University, England, with a degree in International Relations with Management, Fujairah Observer, June 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Crown Prince of Fujairah Speaks of Housing Pressures in Fujairah

In an interview with The National, the Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al Sharqi, spoke about the impact of inflation and an increasing population on housing in Fujairah.

He said, “House prices in Fujairah have more than tripled in just over a year.”

“The same three-bedroom flat that cost Dh13,000 last year is now Dh50,000. It is too much,” Sheikh Mohammad said.

The article is at:
Rym Ghazal, Sheikh Seeks to Quickly Fix Power Woes, The National, 27 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scientists Reveal Alien-Like Parasite that Might Stem Red Tide Algae

Discovery News reports (24 November 2008):
“For the first time ever, marine biologists have tracked the control of red tides to a virulent parasite with a gruesome lifestyle not entirely unlike those in the movie "Aliens."

It's powerful new evidence that toxic red tides seen in coastal waters can be controlled by more than just other microscopic beasties eating them.”

This might be good news for the Fujairah waters that have been plagued in recent weeks by red tide algae.

More Detail:
Larry O’Hanlon, Red Tides Stemmed by ‘Alien’-Like Parasite, Discovery News, 24 November 2008.

Update on Fujairah
Check out one 26 November Red Tide Update.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Toxic red tides seen in coastal waters…” (Photo courtesy of DN at above link)

Fujairah Residents the Most Organized People in the Emirates

Zawya reports the findings of a global study commissioned by Nokia and concluded with a word about Fujairah:

“Fujairah is the most organized city in the UAE, with over a half (55%) of residents meticulously planning their route before heading out. Fujairah residents are the most likely in the UAE to rely on paper maps to get from A to B (25%).”

All Relative
Before Fujairah residents get too swelled-headed, the organization of Fujairah people must be seen in relation to the rest of the country about whom the study concludes that “UAE residents are the most disoriented in the world.”

If you are confused and anxious to read these statements in context, follow this link:

UAE Residents the Most Disorientated in the World? Zawya, 26 November 2008.

If you are an organized person who would like directions for driving from Dubai/Sharjah to Fujairah click on this link.

If you are disorganized, the best of luck to you!

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Fujairah residents are the most likely in the UAE to rely on paper maps to get from A to B.”

Hilton Hotel in Fujairah Fresh After Refurbishment

The Hilton Fujairah Resort by the Coffee Pot Roundabout in Faseel is now boasting a new look following an extensive AED12 million (US$3.3million) refurbishment programme.

Follow this link for details of the overhaul:

Hilton Fujairah Resort Unveils New Look, Zawya, 26 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The bazaar at the Hilton Fujairah Resort.

Litter Problem in Fujairah and Kalba

Recently it was reported that one of the problems about employing domestic help in the UAE is the issue of laziness or to put the matter in a positive frame, if you want to get fit, do the work around the house yourself.

Relying on domestic help also reinforces the habit of expecting others to clean up the mess at home. The problem with this tendency is that when people go out for a picnic, as they are inclined to do at this cooler time of the year, they often leave their helpers at home and there is no one to clean up the trash.

Or do they deliberately leave it on the ground to give the municipality workers something to do—why pick up the rubbish when the municipality workers are paid to pick it up the next day?

The trash problem in the public areas, especially the beaches around Fujairah and Kalba, appears to be the same or getting worse.

Perhaps people might get the message and correct their ways if they are fined for leaving litter on the ground and throwing paper out the windows of their cars.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Trash was all over the picnic areas in Khor Kalba last Saturday morning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Italy and UAE Exploring Collaboration in Fujairah

Fujairah is receiving a delegation of over 70 Italian businesspersons, who are investigating investment opportunities and ways of boosting joint investment and trade cooperation between Italy, Fujairah and the UAE.

Business, sport, football, cars, canals, coffee…

Check out the article reporting and dreaming about cooperation between Italy and the UAE.

Salaam and Ciao as Italians Explore Collaborazione in Fujairah, UAE, Experiencing the Emirates (ETE), 25 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Some of the things that could glue Italians and Emiratis together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fujairah’s Coastal Misfortune with Red Tide Algae

The National (24 November 2008) has a brief update on the red tide algae along the Fujairah coast with an explanation that strictly it is neither red nor related to tidal movement so scientists prefer to call it “harmful algal bloom.”

Whatever the name, if you are following the news about the oil dumping and algal bloom off the coast of Fujairah that is creating a marine disaster this year, check out this article:

Unlucky Fujairah, The National, 24 November 2008.

For more, see this recent update (with additional links) on red tide algae on the Fujairah coastline.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: An east coast fishing boat returns to the shore without any fish early last Saturday morning.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fujairah is a Load of Bull

Boston’s The Big Picture has run a series of wonderful photographs of the UAE.

Fujairah Image
Here is the one selected that sums up what is quintessential about Fujairah. And why should this image of bull butting sum up the eastern emirate? Because Fujairah is natural, energetic, rough, rugged, dusty, unpredictable and there’s always a load of waste lying around.

There is little text on The Big Picture for this site gives ‘the story in pictures’.

A short caption for this the 16th of 28 pictures says: Bulls push each other during a traditional bullfight in the Gulf emirate of Fujairah on November 7, 2008. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Have a look at the marvelous photos at this link: Dubai and the UAE, The Big Picture, 19 November 2008.

More Bull:
Visit Fujairah to Watch Bull Butting, FIF, 23 September 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “A traditional bullfight in the Gulf emirate of Fujairah.”

UAE Bees and Particularly Fujairah Bees Give a Real Buzz

Some ancient residents of this peninsula were always hoping and moving toward “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

It may not be flowing but this is a land producing milk and honey.

An article in The National looks at the rhythm of beekeeping in the Emirates with a comment on the personality of bees, and beekeeping Fujairah style.

Bees: Hard Work, Little Play, End of Story, The National, 23 November 2008.

Beekeeping and Honey Production in Fujairah, FIF, 16 August 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Particularly Fujairah Bees Give a Real Buzz.”

Fujairah is Just the Place for a Harley

With the picturesque countryside, challenging mountain climbs and sensational coast line, the emirate of Fujairah is just the place to ride a Harley Davidson motorbike.

The unique, throaty sound of the Harley is not drowned out in this quiet region.

Hundreds of Harley owners (HOGS) from the Gulf countries have recently experienced the Fujairah emirate in their annual four day outing to this eastern part of the UAE.

Read more about the rally, the size of HOGS, the cost of a bike in this country and why owners love their Harleys, at this link:

Adam Zacharias, Give Way to the Fat Boy, Khaleej Times, 23 November 2008.

For More:
HOGS, Arabian Gulf Dubai UAE Chapter
Harley-Davidson of the UAE including the 2008 pricelist.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Harley Davidson, FXDL Dyna Low Rider, 2001.

Red Tide Algae Still Having Devastating Effect on Fujairah Coast

USA2UAE is reporting that ‘Red Tide is Still Wreaking Havoc on [the] UAE’s East Coast’:

“Fish, sea urchins, crabs, and all other types of marine life are all suffering. I also managed to snap some pictures to show exactly what is going on.”

The photo at this post is one of the many from the USA2UAE web site (with thanks!). Check out the others.

Dr Geoff Pound

Earlier Related Articles:
Dead Fish on Dibba Beach Fujairah Due to Red Tide Algae, FIF, 15 November 2008.
Salah Al Deberkey, Dead Fish raise a Stink on Beaches at Fujairah, Khaleej Times, 15 November.
Smelling the Decline of the Fujairah Fishing Industry, FIF, 13 November 2008.
Fall of the Fishing Industry in Fujairah, FIF, 1 November 2008.
Algae Kills thousands of Fish at Fujairah’s Dibba Beach, FIF, 11 September 2008.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Solar Ball Rising Over Arabian Sea

I took this picture this morning from the Khor Kalba beach (south of Fujairah and near the UAE/Omani border).

If you want to see a slide show of the sun rising out of the water this morning, click on this link.

Dr Geoff Pound

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Buying Hats at Fujairah’s Friday Market

You are thinking with that hat (pictured), this guy is from the Black Stump in Australia or from the boondocks of Texas?


This guy is from Pakistan and he is a salesman at Fujairah’s Friday Market.

If you’ve forgotten to pack your hat in the suitcase you can purchase one from the Friday Market, where you can find everything from camels through to oranges and ouds.

These hats are not made of leather but cotton and they’re not Emirati products but made in Thailand.

The going price was Dh25.00 when I stopped off at the Friday Market this week. What a bargain!

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Keeping out of the sun at the Friday Market.

Buy Yourself a Camel at the Friday Market

Looking for an authentic souvenir from the Emirates? Then why not take home a camel?

No, not the larger than life camels that push you out of your tent but these ornamental ones (pictured) that fit nicely in your bed.

These cute camels come in three sizes at the Friday Market:

Large: Dh15.00

Medium: Dh10.00

Small: Dh8.00

At that price you’ll want to take home an entire caravan of camels for the children and the grandchildren.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Camel or جمل jamal in the Arabic. These will remind you of the camels you can see on the way from Dubai to Fujairah. Check out my directions to see where they are most likely to be spotted soon after leaving Dubai and then on the back roads of Dhaid.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buying Oranges and Ouds at the Friday Market in Fujairah

If ‘confession is good for the soul’ let me have some therapy and confess that I have a weakness for markets. Not malls but markets. I don’t necessarily need to buy but I love to walk around and see what is up for market.

I had to go to Dubai yesterday and on my return to Fujairah I needed to stop off at the Friday Market. I convince myself that after being hemmed into the car for over an hour I need to break the journey and stretch the legs. But honestly I love nosing around the stock that is laid out higgeldy-piggeldy, looking at what is for sale and chatting with the shopkeepers.

Yesterday I showed an interest in some of the musical instruments in one of the stalls that had everything from treasure boxes to some cute toy camels. The vendor took an instrument in his hand and asked, “How much will you pay?” I said that I didn’t know what it was but he told me it was an oud العود (al-‘ūd) and that it was made in Syria. It is a fascinating instrument. It has a tradition that goes back over 5,000 years and it has a body that is shaped like a water melon.

I asked, “How much?” He replied, “500 dirhams” and foisted it on me. He dislodged a plectrum and told me to have a play. I said I hadn’t come to buy a musical instrument and I didn’t know how to play the oud but he wouldn’t have any negativity of that sort. “How much will you pay?” he insisted.

I had no intention of making a purchase and coming home with a lute under my arm but I couldn’t resist the bartering (that Baudolino describes). “200 dirhams,” I said trying to shake him off the trail. He looked a bit wounded and then he said, “300 dirhams” and when I showed even less interest he knocked it down to 250 dirhams.

I told him that I wasn’t going to buy a musical instrument and certainly not in 5 minutes flat. There was a little bit of disharmony for a while. I played the last movement and then handed back his Syrian oud.

The Friday Market is not just about oranges and olives. Stop for a while. Poke around. Feel the music. You might come home with an oud.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Friday Market Oud Salesman. See the other knick-knacks in the background.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday Market for Pots and Containers

In addition to fruit, vegetables, plants and carpets there are several places at Fujairah’s Friday Market where you can haggle for clay pots and a host of outside garden ornaments.

More on the Friday Market:
Visit Fujairah for the Friday Market and Tips on Bartering
Directions to the Friday Market and Fujairah (from Dubai and Sharjah)

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One of the stalls at the Friday Market.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fujairah Ruler Says UAE Fully Supports Interfaith Dialogue

At the Global Interfaith Dialogue held last week in New York the United Arab Emirates gave its full support to interfaith cooperation.

In his paper the Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi said that the diversity of faiths and cultures is a valuable human heritage, which needs to be protected. This diversity can be perpetuated through collective efforts to preserve the sublime human values enshrined by various faiths, and holding together to combat aggression and oppression.

'Followers of various faiths should help each other to let the truth and peace prevail', the UAE delegation leader, Sheikh Hamad said.

Sheikh Hamad said that through accepting the call made by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, earlier in July 2008 in Madrid, for a wider global interfaith dialogue, the United Nations has enhanced its vital role for building the alliance of civilisations across the world.

The Fujairah ruler felt that the interfaith dialogue will spread the principles of tolerance and the culture of peace.

'We have to work together to propagate the culture of tolerance and dialogue, support its institutions, widen its horizons and endorse it as the way into world peace. We have to stop squandering the world's human resources and refrain from threatening the future of our planet', Sheikh Hamad added.

'Understanding among religions should be based on full respect to the sovereignty of individual countries, their territorial integrity, the distinctiveness of the faiths they follow and their economic and social characteristics', Sheikh Hamad continued.

He stressed that the programmes aimed at spreading the culture of peace should guarantee the respect to religions, their symbols and the role of worship. The practices of intentional distortion and tarnishing of religions should end.

He noted that the UN conventions and the Human Rights Declaration epitomise in them the respect to religions and the freedom of faith.

Religion in the UAE
In his speech, Sheikh Hamad shed light on the magnificent religious harmony in the United Arab Emirates, where the followers of various religions lead a peaceful life, enjoying the freedom of belief and practice. He also noted that UAE enacted a series of legislations promoting and protecting freedom of faith and religious harmony.

Sheikh Hamad said: 'The UAE believes that the call into the culture of peace, non-violence and peaceful coexistence constitute one of the priorities of our global strategy which functions within the framework of the UN system. This is to ensure protection of our society and territories from violence, extremism and terrorism, and to eliminate chances of clashes and warfare'.

Recommendations of the Madrid Conference
Sheikh Hamad called on the world community to adopt the recommendations of the Madrid Conference, July 2008:

The Madrid Conference recommended the following decisions:

1. To reject theories that call for the clash of civilizations and cultures and to be aware of the danger of campaigns seeking to create and deepen conflicts, so destabilizing peace and security.

2. To enhance common human moral values, cooperate in their promotion within societies, and to address the problems that hinder their achievement.

3. To disseminate the culture of mutual respect and understanding through dialogue among peoples by holding conferences and symposia, as well as by developing relevant cultural, educational and media programs.

4. To agree on international guidelines for dialogue among the followers of religions in different cultures through which moral values and ethical principles, which are common elements of religions, are confirmed and supported so as to strengthen stability and achieve prosperity for all humans.

5. To work on a document related to the promotion or respect of religions and their symbols.

In order to fulfill the abovementioned objectives formulated by the Madrid Conference, the participants agreed on adopting the following:

1. Forming a working group to study the problems which hinder dialogue and prevent it from realizing its desired objectives. The group would also prepare a study that provides a vision for the solutions to these problems.

2. Promoting cooperation among religious, cultural, educational, and media institutions to deepen and consolidate ethical values, to encourage constructive social practices and to confront immoral behavior, family disintegration and other such degeneration.

3. Organizing inter-religious and intercultural meetings, conducting research, executing media programs and using Internet and other media for the dissemination of the culture of peace, understanding and harmonious coexistence.

4. Promoting the practice of dialogue among religions, civilizations and cultures through educational, cultural and media activities, in particular taking into consideration younger generations.

5. Informing the United Nations General Assembly of the results reached by this Conference.

In abiding by the above agreed principles and concepts, the participants emphasized that it is important for this World Conference on Dialogue to continue; consequently, sessions should be held periodically.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia took the lead in promoting a wider global interfaith dialogue that was held in New York.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Helping With Directions to Fujairah

Since writing and posting the directions by road from Dubai/Sharjah to Fujairah I have had many appreciative notes and requests for directions from other places.

Can You Help?
Can you help me by writing detailed directions to Fujairah from:

* Abu Dhabi?

* Ras al Khaimah?

* Other UAE towns and cities?

If you are familiar with one of these routes and the next time you make the trip you are happy to jot down the directions and then send them to me for posting on this site, I would be most grateful.

Do drop me a note and tell me which route you will write up.

My email address is geoffpound[at]gmail.com

Dr Geoff Pound

Fujairah between Modernization and Maintaining Cultural Identity

Hugh Naylor, of The National, has written an interesting article about the winds of change in Fujairah which includes an interview with one of Fujairah’s key players, Saif al Afham, the general manager of Fujairah Municipality.

The article is at this link:
Hugh Naylor, Fujairah Faces a Balancing Act, The National, 15 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Up from one of the Fujairah beaches are these light blue, tacky picnic tables that come with shade. With the cooler temperatures at the moment, the beach is a good place to go after lunch for a siesta and many do this after midday. See the men lying on the ground and on the back seat having a snooze.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dead Fish on Dibba Beach Fujairah Due to Red Tide Algae

Salah Al Deberkey reports:

“Dibba-Al Fujairah and Dibba Al Hesn municipalities have stepped up their efforts to remove the huge collection of dead fish from their shores due to the red tide phenomenon.”

“The residents of Dibba-Fujairah and Dibba-Al Hesn have been complaining of the stench arising out of the situation. The red tide phenomenon occurs when there is higher than normal concentration of microscopic algae Karenia brevis (formerly known as Gymnodinium breve) in an area. The organism produces a toxin that affects the central nervous system of fish.”

“When red tide algae reproduce in dense concentrations or ‘blooms’, they are visible as discoloured patches of ocean water, often reddish in colour.”

The entire article can be read at:
Salah Al Deberkey, Dead Fish raise a Stink on Beaches at Fujairah, Khaleej Times, 15 November.

Main Fujairah Beaches and Kalba
One can still catch a passing whiff at the Fujairah and Kalba beaches but the red tide algae has not affected these areas as much as in Dibba.

Some Earlier Reports:
Smelling the Decline of the Fujairah Fishing Industry, FIF, 13 November 2008.

Fall of the Fishing Industry in Fujairah, FIF, 1 November 2008.

Algae Kills thousands of Fish at Fujairah’s Dibba Beach, FIF, 11 September 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Aerial shot of red tide phenomenon in the USA (Photo courtesy, Google Images).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Smelling the Decline of the Fujairah Fishing Industry

In September and October 2008 there were reports of the seasonal Red Tide algae affecting the northern Fujairah beaches around Dibba.

In this month of November 2008 there are reports of Red Tide in the main Fujairah beaches and south to Kalba (Sharjah).

The Khaleej Times (11 November 2008) reported the stench but no dead fish. It also indicated that local spokespersons were downplaying the effect of the algae:

“Juma Al Hora, Director of the Kalba Municipality, said on Monday that fishing has not stopped and no fishermen has reported to the authorities about finding any dead fish and added [that] the phenomenon is natural, and often continues for ten days to two weeks. Thereafter, the water returns to the normal colour.”

“Abdullah Al Dali, Chairman of the Fishermen Association in Fujairah, also confirmed red tide reaching Fujairah beaches. ‘It is mild and has not spread to the high seas. It happens every year. It spreads stench and the water turns red,’ he noted. ‘The situation is safe and there is nothing to worry, as fishermen are venturing out to sea as normal.”

While more than 200 tonnes of dead fish were found floating along the coast near Dibba when the Red Tide struck, the situation does not appear to be of the same magnitude at the moment on the southern Fujairah beaches and at the Kalba beach.

With the wind coming off the sea in the last few days the lingering stench at Fujairah has been apparent even away from the beaches and in the suburbs. Yesterday (Wednesday), a few dead fish were to be seen on the Fujairah beach north of the Hilton Hotel beach.

Further north (where the blue covered tables and chairs line the beach) a dejected fishing team was reporting ‘No fish!’ The leader of the team, which was mainly from Kerala said, “We have fished most days for the last month but have not caught any fish.” What makes it particularly tough he said was, “No fish. No salary.”

A report on 1 November 2008 bemoaned the decline of the fishing industry in Fujairah, citing Red Tide algae and oil spills as contributors to this serious environmental and economic problem.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “No fish. No salary.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Picnicking Behind the Friday Market

Coming from Dubai and half way along Fujairah’s Friday Market there is a little road going off to the right that is worth taking.

On this dirt road there are some wonderful views of mountains and gorges.

There are no picnic places with seats and chairs but if you have a mat in the boot you can picnic in true Emirati style.

There are one or two trees for shade but at this time of the year the temperatures are very pleasant.

It has been an oasis for eons and with it being the highest point in the UAE, the Friday Market and Masafi generally enjoy the highest rainfall in the country.

This part of the Emirates has traditionally been a stopping place and a refueling area for motor vehicles and camel trains.

Stop your camel, set out your mat, peel the oranges and bananas you have just bought at the market, take a look at those ancient mountains and celebrate life!

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One of the views behind the Friday Market. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fujairah Ruler Leads UAE Contingent to Inter-Faith Dialogue

Fujairah Ruler in New York
News has been published today that His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, has arrived in New York to participate in the interfaith dialogue. This event has been initiated by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz under the sponsorship of the United Nations. The Saudi King has also arrived and enjoyed cordial talks with President-Elect Obama.

Congratulations is expressed to the Fujairah ruler not only for being chosen to participate in this event but to be asked to lead the UAE delegation and to address the international gathering on Wednesday.

One can only hazard a guess at why HH Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi has been chosen to serve in such a key role at this historic three day event. The Fujairah Ruler is known as a man of welcome, hospitality and tolerance. In his own emirate he has followed the example of his father and shown welcome to all peoples. He has generously fostered the establishment of Christian churches, hospitals and other places of religious worship and activity in Fujairah. He will thus speak from his first-hand experience of many decades of extending peace to people of other faiths and cultures.

Ground Rules
Some of the basic rules for participants at interfaith conferences are the following:

1. An interfaith gathering is a dialogue not a debate (as it has been called). Debates are about taking sides, scoring points and declaring winners and losers. Dialogues are about talking, listening, learning and understanding what others say and feel.

2. A three-day event has time limitations so expectations must be realistic. Those coming from eastern cultures like the Middle East will know only too well the importance of establishing and building a relationship before any business can be adequately discussed or transacted. A three-day conference can only begin to establish relationships and must necessarily point to other occasions for further discussion and learning.

3. Large numbers of people generally are invited to attend these gatherings because people of faith are people of diversity. All members of Islam do not think the same or share the same commitments. This is true for followers of Judaism and Christianity. Each of these religions have the same joke—‘Get two Muslims/Jews/Christians together and you have three opinions’! Moreover the countries from which participants have come to New York will shape and color their religious emphases and expression.

4. While the record of history will provide all too many instances of intolerance and violence between people of different faiths, effective interfaith dialogue never begins with the recalling of wrongs and debating areas of disagreement. A better starting point is to discover and discuss the issues and commitments that participants have in common. Seeking to find ‘common ground’ gives participants a place to stand together.

5. One of the paramount values that Islam, Judaism and Christianity share is the commitment to peace.

Arabs greet people with the expression السلام عليكم As-Salāmu `Alaykum ‘Peace be upon you’.

Jews greet each other with the greeting שלום עליכם Shalom Aleichem ‘Peace be upon you’.

Christians don’t have the word 'peace' in their everyday greeting but the concept of ‘peace’ is central to their understanding of God, human relationships and that state of wellbeing that includes the whole environment.

At an interfaith conference peace must begin as participants greet but peace must be the goal of the gathering and of all relationships in the places where participants return home.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, meets several years ago with Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fujairah Oil Refinery License Issued to NAMG Group

Looks like it is all stations go for the NAMG Group who are planning a state of the art refinery in Fujairah.

Oil barrels are aimed to be rolling out by 2012.

Further Details:
NAMG Groups Gets License for Refinery in Fujairah, Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine, 10 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Global Crisis Could Bring Gulf States Together Over Recovery and Common Currency

Slowdown Expected
Officials meeting this week in Fujairah said:

“The UAE faces a slowdown in loan growth and real estate activity in fallout from the global financial crisis.”

“States in the world's biggest oil-exporting region are expecting the global problems to put the brakes on a regional economic boom supported by six years of high oil prices.”

“But Gulf economies sitting on surplus oil revenues would continue to post growth as they push ahead with a monetary union plan that has gained momentum during the financial turmoil, United Arab Emirates Central Bank Governor Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi said.”

“'The slowdown will be imposed on us … in everything we will see contractions,' he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Fujairah, one of seven emirates in the UAE federation. 'But I think we will still be growing in all directions in a very comfortable way.'”

Currency Cooperation
“The global crisis could bring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members closer together as five of them, including Saudi Arabia, strive to launch a single currency by a 2010 deadline that had been derailed for years, Suweidi said.”

Source: Ola Galal, Global Crisis to Hit UAE loans, Real Estate, Reuters/Hemscott, 10 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: GCC Logo.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hajar Mountains at Friday Market Fujairah

This photo was taken in late afternoon behind some of the shops at Fujairah’s Friday Market.

The Hajar Mountains are striking against the vivid blue sky.

Check out this other photo taken earlier in the day of mountains nearby.

The sun adds a unique tinge according to the time of the day and the shadows bring a lovely contrast.

And always the ubiquitous electric power pylons to remind you that you are in Fujairah.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Hajar Mountains at Masafi’s Friday Market in late afternoon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Visiting Wadi Wurayah

An article by Subramani Dharmarajan in Xpress News (5 November 2008) gives good insights into this Fujairah location.

It highlights the ancient nature of this mountain water source and the richness of the environment with its toads, rare orchids, snakes, fish and mountain goats

On the negative side of the ledger the children report how litter is spoiling the Fujairah environment along with the indelible graffiti.

To read the article:

Subramani Dharmarajan, Nature Lessons: JESS Kids at Wadi Wurayah, Xpress News, 5 November 2008.

For another story and photos of Wadi Wurayah see this link.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Children at Wadi Wurayah (photograph courtesy of Xpress News at above link)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fujairah Ruler to represent UAE at Interfaith Dialogue in New York

In June of this year King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia proposed the progressive step of an interfaith conference. This is now materializing with Fujairah representatives to be involved.

A report from WAM says:
“President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has tasked Supreme Council member and Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, to represent him at the Interfaith Dialogues Conference, scheduled for New York from November 11 to 13.

The Ruler will be accompanied by a delegation made up of Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Minister of State, Reem Al-Hashimi.

Other members of the delegation are Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al-Mazrue, Director of the Fujairah Ruler's Court, Mohammed Saeed Al-Danhani, other officials and UAE Ambassador to the US, Yusuf Mana Al-Otaiba.

The conference, which is being held under the theme: "The Culture of Peace and Dialogue Among Religions and Cultures", and under the auspices of the United Nations, was proposed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Source: Fujairah Ruler to represent UAE at Interfaith Dialogue Confab in New York, WAM/SA, Nov 5, 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Foreign Tourists Down Domestic Tourists up in Fujairah Hotels

"Steep air fares brought on by recent high oil prices coupled with increased room capacity saw hotels in the UAE's east coast emirate of Fujairah falling back on domestic tourist traffic to record an average performance this summer."

To read all the ups and downs in the Fujairah hotel business:

Fujairah Hotels Fall Back on Domestic Tourists, Zawya, 2 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Le Meridien Hotel, Fujairah.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fall of the Fishing Industry in Fujairah

In the Khaleej Times (1 November 2008) Salah Al Deberkey shares some devastating news about the fishing industry in Fujairah.

Head of the Fujairah Fishermen’s Association, Abdullah Al Dali, is concerned about these problems:

1. The decline in the number of Fujairah fishermen from 416 registered fishermen over the past few years to less than the current 200.

2. The fishing supply has shrunk due to several factors including the more than 30,000 fish that have died due to oil spills and the red tide algae that has affected some areas along the east coast.

3. The low catches have resulted in the fish prices soaring over a 70% increase in the last four months.

4. Some fish species, such as the Al Qobab, were not available any more.

5. Many fishermen are withdrawing from this ancient occupation.

Read the alarming article by Salah Al Deberkey:
A Poser to Fujairah Authorities: Where Have the Fishermen Gone? Khaleej Times, 1 November 2008.

Further Fish or Fishing Articles:
Fujairah Fly-fishing capital of the UAE, FIF, 15 November 2007.
Fujairah: Salt Water Fish Capital of the UAE, ETE, 3 June 2007.
Fishing in Fujairah, ETE, 27 April 2007.
Dead Fish, Oil and the Fujairah Beaches, ETE, 12 April 2007.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Fading scenes in Fujairah.