Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cool in Fujairah while They’re Cooking Eggs on the Streets of Dubai

The temperatures are predicted to drop today (Sunday) with meteorologists reporting a cooler shamal wind blowing in from Kuwait and Qatar but last week the mercury was climbing high across the UAE.

At the end of the week Al Ain residents were sweltering in 48C degree heat, Sharjah reached 46C while in Dubai’s temperatures that rose to 51C, a reporter was filmed cooking an egg on the street.

Fujairah was cool or cooler, at a mere 42C, which may highlight the benefits of living in a small city by the coast that enjoys the breezes from the Indian Ocean.

This has been an unusually hot period and summer has yet to arrive.

Egg-stremely Hot Weather, GNTV, 28 May 2009.
Play it Safe in the Sweletering Heat, GN, 30 May 2009.
May Heats Up Ahead of ‘Long Summer’, The National, 31 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Cooking an egg on the street.”

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Most Popular Postings of the Week

Checking the most popular pages on my UAE blogs Experiencing the Emirates and Fujairah in Focus is a salutary experience which underscores the realization that most people want information and answers to the questions they are asking.

Top Pages Often On Functional Topics
The top page this week on Fujairah in Focus (and for many weeks) was the article Directions from Dubai to Fujairah.

Also of a functional nature is the third most popular article on Experiencing the Emirates this week—this golden oldie: What to Wear in the UAE?

Most Popular on ETE
The most popular page on ETE this week was:
Portsmouth Gets Profile of New Football Club Owner Sulaiman Al Fahim.

This was followed in popularity by an old article whose title contains some key words that are frequently searched:
‘Sex on the Beach’ Case is Tarnishing UAE as Holiday Destination.

Most Popular on FIF
After the top post seeking directions were these popular articles on FIF:
Fujairah Forging Ahead Despite Recession.
Fujairah Pictures and Photos.
How Do We Get to Wadi Wurayah?

Got a Story?
If you have a UAE and or Fujairah story about a new product, a new venture, a new service, some new rates etc., do let me know or ask for my guidelines. I charge for writing and or running stories on these sites that promote business ventures or are about selling a new product or service.

Dr Geoff Pound

I can be contacted on email at geoffpound[@]gmail.com and on Facebook.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Does Fujairah Hold the World Record for…

World Record
Unlike Dubai, Fujairah does not hold many records, in fact, I can’t think of one record it holds.

But does Fujairah hold the world record for having its international airport closer to the main street than any other city in the world?

I haven’t measured the distance but the Guinness Book of Records is bound to bring their measuring tape when they come to make it official. The distance can’t be more than one kilometer from the airport’s front gate to Fujairah’s main drag.

Talking about Fujairah’s airport, there is a cautious excitement about the recent announcement that there will be three airlines operating in and out of the airport by the end of the year.

Once Bitten…
There is cautious excitement, because the last announcement from a CEO of a new airline operating from Fujairah never got off the runway. Worst than that, there are still many potential passengers bound for the Philippines who lost thousands of dirhams because the Kang Pacific Airlines went broke.

There is curiosity to learn which new airlines will be based at Fujairah and whether for instance, the huge Filipino, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and British contingents that live in and around the eastern emirate will be able to fly home directly from the Fujairah International Airport.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Does Fujairah Hold the World Record?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Gulf Flower Bakery for Bread in Fujairah

A Fujairah Institution
If you’re looking for bread in Fujairah, the Gulf Flower Bakery is a Fujairah institution.

Even if you don’t need any bread it is fun going to look or just to inhale the smell of freshly baked bread.

The Gulf Flower Bakery is the first stop for bread among the Fujairah locals and expats in the know.

On Offer
To the left of the front door you can buy vegetable and meat samosas in the afternoon and evening.

To the right are a wide range of Indian and Arabic sweets and cakes.

In the centre of the shop there are basic grocery items.

Out the Back
The beauty of the Gulf Flower is that you can walk through the doorway at the back of the shop and select the bread that has most recently come out of the ovens.

The Gulf Flower Bakery has some of the best western-style loaves in the town that are nutritious and don’t taste like cardboard. There are different sizes of flat breads—Arabic, Lebanese, pita bread—packed in plastic bags.

Bakery Hours
The shop opens at 5.30 in the morning.

Regular loaves usually come out of the ovens and are available from about 6 in the morning.

The smaller runs of fancy bread are available later in the morning.

The Gulf Flower Bakery is located in the suburb of Al Owaid.

Coming from the Dubai direction down Fujairah’s main street (Hamad Bin Abdullah Road) you need to take a hard left (3rd exit) at the Perfume Roundabout (see pictured in the Fujairah collage at the top of this site). This takes you onto Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Rd. After 300 metres you will reach another roundabout at which you need to turn right (first exit), heading again in the direction of the beach.

Go slowly, as the Gulf Flower Bakery is about 30 metres on the left, after a block of shops and before you reach the Shahzad Wedding Hall.

The bakery is set back from the road, thus providing some car parking space.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “It is fun going to look or just to inhale the smell of freshly baked bread.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fujairah Greeting Cards and Pictures are Popular UAE Souvenirs

Simon Niblock has come up with a great idea for Fujairah and UAE souvenirs.

He is a teacher and counselor at the HCT Men’s College in Fujairah but his hobby is sketching.

Having developed a love of drawing in his childhood, Simon now spends the odd evening or day off producing a range of greeting cards and pictures that have a distinct Fujairah flavor.

The cards bear familiar scenes from Fujairah and the Emirates and they are the normal size of a card you would buy to say ‘Thank You’, ‘Loving Sympathy’ or ‘Get Well’.

The pictures are ideal for hanging on the wall at home or in the office.

Some Fujairah hotels, Colleges and businesses are snaffling these up and commissioning Simon to sketch their premises or their property so they can sell them or give them away to their guests and clients as gifts.

Here are the prices for Simon’s cards and pictures:

Box set of 10 blank greeting cards 60 AED
A4 size original commissioned sketches (including all rights to reproduce the artwork) 2500 AED
A4 size original commissioned sketches (no rights to reproduce these) 500 AED
A4 prints framed 150 AED
A4 prints unframed 75 AED
A3 enlarged prints framed 250 AED

To purchase some cards or commission a sketch you can contact Simon Niblock in these ways:
Email: skniblock@yahoo.co.nz
Phone: +971 50 4333173

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Simon and a sample of sketches. (Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fujairah Growing Rich in Copper Processing and Gold Refining

New Copper Plant
Vedanta, the large metals and mining company, recently announced it will establish a 100,000-tonne continuous copper rod (CCR) plant in Fujairah.

The London Stock Exchange-listed Indian company initially plans to invest $15 million (Dh55m) in the project and hopes to have the copper plant up and running by December 2009.

There is a great regional demand as the GCC alone will require 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes of copper rods annually to meet the demands of its power distribution infrastructure.

Expanding Gold Refinery
Vedanta already operates a 20 million-tonne gold refinery in Fujairah, which it plans to double to 40 million tonnes at a cost of $6m by early in 2010.

Business 24-7, 19 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Copper Processing and Gold Refining.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Abandoned Toddler in Fujairah Placed With Foster Family

A sad story emerged last week (18 May 2009) about a little girl who was found abandoned early last Monday morning in Merasheed, Fujairah.

After the public heard the news the Fujairah police was flooded with calls from families wanting to adopt the one year old toddler.

By Thursday of last week the police had placed the girl with a foster family.

While The National reported that the girl was Arab but not Emirati, few details have emerged about the parents of the child and the motives that led to her being abandoned.

Sympathy for Toddler Found Abandoned in Fujairah, GN.
Fujairah Police Flooded with Calls for Adoption of Abandoned Baby Girl, KT.
Toddler found in Fujairah is Unclaimed, TN.

Dr Geoff Pound

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Getting a Truck License in Fujairah

People’s experiences are bound to be different but here is the process and the costs for Mohammed (not his real name) who has recently got his truck license in Fujairah.

Mohammed is from Pakistan. Like many of his compatriots he works as a gardener in Fujairah and he came to the UAE without any driving experience.

Driving Lessons
Mohammed went to a driving school in Fujairah every day (excluding Fridays) for 70 days.

Each 30 minute lesson cost Dh85.00 so this totaled Dh5950.00

Driving Tests
It must be rare for someone to get their license on the first occasion in Fujairah.

Mohammed had 2 off road tests and 5 tests on the road—7 tests in all to get his driver’s license.

These 7 tests were scheduled on Wednesdays. After failing a test Mohammed wasn’t able to take another test until the following Wednesday.

Each test took 10 minutes and cost Dh150.00 each, totaling Dh1050.00

The license card costs Dh280.00 and takes a week to process.

Getting There
Mohammed does not own a vehicle (just a bicycle) so because of the distance, every day he got a shared taxi which cost Dh10.00 (Dh5.00 each way).

Transport for the 70 instruction days, the 7 testing days and the other day to collect his license has cost a total of Dh780.00

Total Cost
Apart from the time off from work on these 78 days to undertake the training and testing, it cost the following:
Driving Lessons Dh5950.00
Driving Tests Dh1050.00
Driver’s License Dh280.00
Transport Costs Dh780.00

Total Cost: Dh8060.00

The total amount of Dh8060.00 is a hefty outlay for Mohammed who earns Dh2300.00 each month from gardening. Out of this amount he pays Dh1500.00 each month for rent (he lives in a house with many others) and Dh350.00 a month for food.

The amount of training and the number of tests Mohammed took seems to be ‘par for the course’ in Fujairah. On one day when he went for his driving test only two out of ten applicants passed.

In many countries a driving instructor will not allow their student to go for a test until she/he thinks they are ready and will succeed. They even advertize the pass rate of their students on their first test as a way of demonstrating their teaching excellence. With Mohammed failing six times before he was successful on the seventh attempt, it appears to reflect on the quality of the instructor.

Getting a driving license is a big outlay but Mohammed is hoping that scoring a driving job will increase his monthly salary. Many of Mohammed’s friends from Pakistan earn a similar amount (Dh2,300.00) or less for gardening six days a week for ten hours a day in the heat.

Mohammed is single but most of his fellow gardeners who are married are not able to bring their wives and children to the UAE. At present one needs to have a monthly salary of Dh3,500.00 to be allowed to bring a spouse to the Emirates but much more would be needed for rent in a better house and to cover the cost of food and utilities.

Dr Geoff Pound

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fujairah Flying High with Three New Passenger Airlines by End of 2009

New Airlines
The General Manager of the Fujairah International Airport, Dr. Khaled Almazroui, expects three passenger airlines to be operating in the eastern emirate by the end of this year.

Unable to disclose the name of the airlines at this stage he said, “We are in an advanced stage and the airlines will get passengers from the whole east coast, including Kalba, Dibba, Khorfakan and some portion of Oman.”

Important Advantages of Fujairah Airport
* Strategic location on the east coast of the UAE.
* Situated a minute’s car ride (1km) from Fujairah’s main street.
* Check this interactive map.
* Capacity to handle two million passengers annually.
* Already handles 50 chartered flights daily.
* 30% to 40% less expensive than Dubai and Sharjah.
* Less expensive landing, ground handling and parking charges.
* Open 365 days a year with no fog and low visibility problems.
* See this link for further specifications.

From Cargo to Passengers
Until now the Fujairah Airport has gained 90% of its revenue from cargo business with 10% coming from jet passengers.

In 2008, the airport recorded an 80% increase in cargo movements on 2007.

In the first quarter of 2009, aircraft movements and passenger numbers grew 13%, while cargo business witnessed a 17% growth.

This new announcement indicates a significant move from the airport dealing predominantly in cargo to the movement of passengers on commercial airlines.

Part of an Overall Plan
This shift is part of the Fujairah Airport’s master plan which is aiming not only to increase passenger flights but to enlarge the cargo facility and create a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility.

Further Details
Abdul Basit, Fujairah International Airport Expects Three Airlines by Year-End, Khaleej Times, 23 May 2009.

Web Site
Fujairah International Airport.

Further Fujairah Expansion
Check out these recent articles indicating expansion of Fujairah:
Fujairah Set for 6.2% Population Growth, FIF.
Abu Dhabi to Fujairah Oil Pipeline, FIF.
Fujairah Expands Oil Storage, Port and Refinery, FIF.
Healthy Employment Prospects, FIF.
Fujairah a Popular Port of Call for Cruise Ships, FIF.
Fujairah Forging Ahead Despite Recession, FIF.

Dr Geoff Pound

Contact me at geoffpound[@]gmail.com or on Facebook for details of how you may advertise on this site.

Image: Fujairah Airport Logo

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where Fujairah Men Go to Escape

Philip Reeves works as a journalist in Delhi and after enduring the raucous noise from campaigners and the shouting of television news readers reporting on the recent Indian election he wondered: “Where do men go to get away from all this heat and noise?”

He found his answer at the local barbershop. As he watched he knew the customers were not there simply for the trim but the head rub, the neck rub and finally the chin rub. In the air-conditioned salon there was no yelling. Sometimes no one even speaks.

Fujairah and the UAE
The discovery of Philip Reeves in Delhi could so easily apply to men in Dibba or Dafta in the emirate of Fujairah.

Go past a barber shop any night and you’ll see men waiting and reading the daily paper in Malayalam. They usually don’t mind waiting as it is cool and quiet and there’s not much else to do when you’re on your own in Fujairah.

In the chair there’s the hair cut, the lathering, the shave and then the nasal trim.

With so many UAE barbers coming from Kerala no haircut is complete without a head massage using the Ayurvedic techniques (see video). [My barber gives a much more rigorous treatment than this guy in his demonstration]

At Dh15 for this whole treatment (more for those who like the steam treatment on the face) it is no wonder that expat men often visit their barber every fortnight and Emirati men every three to four days (when it’s time for a shave).

The pampering and the touch seem just as important as the cutting of the locks. As Philip Reeves concluded in the solace of the Delhi barber shop:

“Like cats in need of stroking these men have come here to be soothed and pampered.”

Philip Reeves, Escape from Reality: India’s Barbershops, NPR, 19 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: My barber in Fujairah and another hair-raising story about him.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Do We Get to Wadi Wurayah?

In recent days Wadi Wurayah in the Emirate of Fujairah has taken on greater significance since it became the UAE’s first mountain protected area.

Many people want to visit this place and children seem to be writing projects about this famous wadi.

One of the frequent questions asked is ‘How do we get to Wadi Wurayah?

Agnes, at Agnes’s Secret, has written a wonderful post on The Road to Wurayah.

She has posted a clear map (click on this to magnify) and lots of photographs of every stage along the way.

Thanks Agnes for all your help.

Check it out at:

The Road to Wurayah, Agnes’s Secret, 15 May 2009.

More on Wadi Wurayah:
Fujairah Moving Towards Natural Tourism, ETE, 14 June 2007.
Visiting Wadi Wurayah, FIF, 6 November 2008.
Fujairah’s Wadi Wonderland, FIF, 5 June 2008.
This is Why I Like Fujairah, FIF, 24 December 2007.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Wadi Wurayah.

Fujairah Set for 6.2% Population Growth

Fujairah on the Rise
The recent population projections released by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy reveal that Fujairah is to experience a significant 6.2% population increase in this next year (mid-2009) which is comparable to the overall growth of the UAE population (6.3%).

UAE Population
Over 300,000 people are expected to be added to the UAE population this year to record the highest growth of 6.3 per cent in five years. These figures seem to counter the stories of droves of expats leaving the country (here is the most recent) and deserting their half-paid vehicles in the long term airport car parks.

From 4.75 million in mid 2008, the UAE's population is projected to increase to 5.06 million in mid 2009, giving it one of the highest population growths in the world.

Emirate by Emirate
Dubai- Expected growth of 7.8%.
Sharjah-Expected growth of 7.5%
Fujairah- Expected growth of 6.2%.
Umm Al Quwain- Expected growth of 5.6%.
Ajman-Expected growth of 5.4%
Ras Al Khaimah-Expected growth of 4.3%
Abu Dhabi- Expected growth of 4.2%.

For more detail see:
UAE Population to Grow 6% in 2009, Emirates Business 24/7 or UAE Interact, 19 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The Fujairah and UAE population on the rise.

Q and A for Quiz Night about Abu Dhabi to Fujairah Oil Pipeline

Dieter Blauberg, the project director for the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline Project, spoke recently to the Middle East Oil and Gas Pipelines Conference in Abu Dhabi, about the new pipeline.

Here are the salient details just in case these questions are asked at your Quiz Night:

Facts in Brief
* First oil from UAE capital—January 2011
* Oil originating from Habshan, Abu Dhabi
* Length of pipeline—404 kilometres
* Capacity—1.5 million barrels per day of the black gold
* First tanker to load up in Fujairah with AD oil—January 2011
* Project completion date—August 2011
* 60% of UAE’s crude oil to go through pipeline to Arabian Sea

Benefits of Abu Dhabi—Fujairah Pipeline
* Will offset reliance on oil terminals in the Persian Gulf
* Will reduce congestion through the Strait of Hormuz
* More secure route will give greater reliability
* Will result in lower insurance costs
* Fujairah can accommodate larger vessels

Source: First Abu Dhabi oil to Load via Pipeline to Fujairah, BI-ME, 19 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fujairah Expands Oil Storage, Port and Refinery

Increase in Oil Bunkering
AMEInfo recently announced (11 May 2009) that Emirates General Petroleum Corporation 'Emarat' has commenced the construction works of the expansion project at the Fujairah Storage Unit for storing and distributing gas oil, fuel, gasoline and jet fuel.

Expanding the Fujairah Storing Unit will increase the storage capacity from 50 thousand cubic meters to 250 thousand cubic meters.

New Industrial Fujairah Port
Captain Mousa Murad, the General Manager of Fujairah Port, told Business Intelligence Middle East that work on constructing a new port – called the Industrial Port – is under way,

Earlier this year (12 February 2009) Business Intelligence was told:
“When complete the terminal will be able to handle up to 70% of Abu Dhabi's total crude exports. The location near Fujairah Port means the oil will not have to pass through the strategically sensitive Strait of Hormuz.”

“Supplies will be delivered to the port through a pipeline and stored in giant reservoirs on the docks.”

New Refinery
Plans to build an oil refinery in Fujairah, in cooperation with the government of Abu Dhabi, with a capacity of up to 500,000 barrels per day, was being studied, said Murad.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Fujairah Port.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Career Exhibition Points to Healthy Employment Prospects in Fujairah

In a recent post I wrote about the mushrooming of new buildings as a sign of Fujairah’s ability to weather the current international recession.

The annual Career Exhibition in Fujairah which commenced on Tuesday (12 May 2009) and concludes Thursday (14 May 2009) has provided more than 300 job opportunities in federal and local institutions, including the armed forces and police.

The Fujairah Municipality alone is offering 155 job opportunities for UAE citizens who are diploma holders, this being part of the UAE’s drive towards Emiratization.

More on the Fujairah Career Fair:
Over 300 Jobs at Fujairah Career Fair, Khaleej Times Online, 14 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Healthy Employment Prospects in Fujairah.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Fujairah Shop Assistant

Some shops and businesses may open as early as 7.00am or 8.00am but the lifestyle of Mohammed Akhlak (pictured) is typical of many shop assistants working in Fujairah.

Mohammed is an electrician from New Delhi and he has been living in Fujairah for several months. He works selling mobile phones in a shop on Gurfa Road (one road up and parallel to the Fujairah corniche).

Typical Day
10.00am Mohammed starts work.
1.30pm Shop closes and Mohammed has lunch and sleeps until 4.30pm.
5.00pm Shop reopens and Mohammed is back to work.
11.30pm Shop closes and Mohammed has dinner, relaxes and watches TV.
1.00am Time for sleep.

Afternoon Siesta
The ancient practice of shops shutting for several hours in the heat of the afternoon is typical in country towns and cities like Fujairah. The custom is a thing of the past in many businesses in large cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai where workers often live a long way from their homes and commuting can take forever.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Mohammed Akhlak getting ready to take lunch and a siesta.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Breakfast at Fujairah’s New Faseel Restaurant

Believing that breakfast is the best meal of the day and with many reasons to celebrate life we dined this morning at Fujairah’s newest eating house, the Faseel Restaurant, in the suburb of Faseel.

The restaurant is on the ground floor of the new Siji Hotel Apartments which used to be called the Faseel Towers. It is part of the Siji Hotel in Fujairah’s main street.

Coming from Fujairah it is on Al Nakheel Road just before you get to the coffee pot roundabout and it is opposite the mosque. The restaurant has an access from the outside car park as well as internal doors for guests coming down from their apartments.

Fresh and Clean
Being only two months old the restaurant has a bright and clean appearance. The furniture, crockery and equipment are good quality. The waiters and chef are new to this facility and are eager to offer a pleasing and efficient service.

From the reception desk one looks to the end of the restaurant where there is an open kitchen at which you can order some cooked dishes that are part of the buffet breakfast.

The chef cooked for us a tasty omelette and then some sausages and beef bacon. One of the distinctive things about this buffet is that less is precooked and sitting under warmers so one asks the chef to cook what you would like to eat. We were unsure what they will cook as part of the buffet but our question sprang from there being a small and unusual range of food under the warmers. They did have some delicious potato wedges. The range of bread and fruit was narrow compared with other breakfast buffets being offered in the city. The porridge was thin and watery as was the baked beans. The coffee was good.

This is a small and intimate restaurant but it feels spacious when there are few diners. At 6.30am (on this Tuesday morning) there was only one other diner in the restaurant and most of the time we had the restaurant to ourselves. There is no signage on the outside announcing to the public the presence of the restaurant nor are there signs before each food warmer indicating what is inside.

The total cost of the buffet breakfast is Dh90.00 per person (Dh75.00 plus municipality taxes and service charges). As a contrast the Hilton Hotel, a stone’s throw away and with a view of the pool and beach, charges a total of Dh78.00 and the range of food there is much greater.

In Summary
Quality of food—Good
Menu selection/Variety—Inadequate to Average
Quality of Service—Excellent
Promptness of Service—Excellent
General Environment—Good
Value for Money—Low to average

Teething Issues
This restaurant is new so it may be going through some startup challenges with personnel learning to cater to an unpredictable and growing number of guests. The impression gained might be quite different on a second visit at a later date.

The Faseel Restaurant for breakfast is certainly worth checking out as a new eating establishment and to give a break from your regular spot. Try them out for lunch and dinner. The telephone number is 09 2232222 and email: sijiapt[@]emi.ae

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Some shots of the Faseel Restaurant including my omelette and some delicious lychees that we had on our cereal and yoghurt.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fujairah Residents Overcome Fear of Earthquakes with Emergency Plan

Hot on the heels of a quake early last Friday morning was another ‘mild’ quake registering 4.3 (epicenter in Gulf of Oman) and letting its presence be felt after 5.00am Sunday (10 May 2009).

As reported in an article on Friday, this movement has followed a series of small quakes earlier in the year.

There is no doubt that Fujairah and the northern emirates are quivering in a prolonged period of seismic unrest.

Quaking and Anxiety
Reports on Friday announced that some people in Fujairah and the surrounding region ran out of their homes. Phone calls for information ran hot. Blog sites with articles on this topic have registered numerous hits. It is obvious that international stories such as from China’s devastating pre-Olympic earthquakes have stoked the fires of anxiety.

The Gulf News concludes its brief report Sunday with this statement from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology in Abu Dhabi saying, “The tremors are mild and there is nothing to worry about.” From their experience the experts are rightly calling for calm and a measured response.

Prevention Plan Combats Fear
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of earthquakes is to prepare yourself well so that you know what you will do in the event of a sizeable earthquake striking.

Here are some tips from one of the scores of helpful sites:

How to be Prepared
Electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days, perhaps for a week.

You'll need food and water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; baby and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove). This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires.

It's also a good idea to decide beforehand how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake and to conduct in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.

Securing water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling are prudent steps. So, too, are storing hazardous or flammable liquids, heavy objects and breakables on low shelves or in secure cabinets.

Discuss earthquake insurance with your insurance agent. Depending on your financial situation and the value of your home, it may be worthwhile.

During an Earthquake
If you're indoors, stay there. Get under -- and hold onto --a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you're in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.

If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.

If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards.

If you're in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you're near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

If you're in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

After an Earthquake
Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.

If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.

Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right, generally follow large quakes.

If you leave home, leave a message telling friends and family your location.

What to Do in an Earthquake, State of California.

Check out a few more sites, adapt the information to your situation and work out your tailor-made plan for you and your family.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A wise idea to have an emergency plan.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fujairah a Popular Port of Call for Cruise Ships

The Cruise Ship Companies are going into overdrive with their promotion of upcoming cruises and Fujairah is increasingly a popular port of call.

There is a lot of publicity about ‘The Brilliance of the Seas’ ship and the NT Arabian Tours which all begin in Dubai.

The Royal Caribbean Company says, “The introduction of its ‘Brilliance of the Seas’ cruise ship to the Middle East in January 2010 will add more than 32,000 guests in her first 4-month season to the region’s burgeoning cruise sector - which is currently worth US$100 million according to Cruise Market Watch.”

Crystal Cruises has joined up with American Airlines. Take a look at the price tag for a 19 night itinerary. Must still be a lot of spare cash around in the USA. The one off price (apart from paying for your booze) is an attraction about going on a cruise as you don’t have to go searching for your wallet every time you turn up for a meal in the ship’s restaurant.

If the price of Crystal Cruises looks steep, the Regent Seven Seas Voyager calls into Fujairah in October 2009 and is being offered through the Cheap Cruise Shop. There is another RSSV ship cruising into Fujairah on 9 November 2010.

The Costa Luminosa is steaming into Fujairah on 23 March 2010 as part of the Costa Discount Cruisers. Billed for as little as $140 a day this option is one of the most competitive.

‘The Brilliance of the Seas’ carries approximately 2,500 passengers so socializing rather than solitude is what you will get. Other companies promote their small ship and personal service in contrast to being on a floating town.

The time in the Fujairah Port is generally about 6 hours which gives time to see a historic mosque, a fort or have a sweep around the city. This is rather superficial. Probably one of the greatest attractions is the Fujairah coastline and to see the glorious Hajar mountains from the ocean.

Royal Caribbean to Create Hub in Dubai, Gulf News, 8 May 2009.
Dubai Adds Cruises to tourism drive, The National, 5 May 2009.
Luxury Cruises, The National, 7 February 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Any cruise ship companies wanting to offer a blogger a free first-hand experience of a Middle Eastern cruise, in return for a couple of stories, can contact me at geoffpound[@]gmail.com

Image: The ‘Brilliance of the Seas.’

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fujairah Feels Friday Earthquake

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake from near the southeast coast of Iran was felt 80 km away in Fujairah early on Friday morning (8 May 2009).

Reports have been received by Gulf News from shocked residents in Fujairah and the northern emirates nearest to Iran, such as Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Sharjah.

Today’s quake comes soon after four moderate earthquakes hit the UAE in February of this year.

Did you feel the tremor this morning?

Dr Geoff Pound

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fujairah Forging Ahead Despite Recession

Fujairah With Fresh Eyes
I have recently returned to Fujairah after several months away and it has been surprising to see the emirate with fresh eyes.

One would hardly think that a recession is affecting this eastern emirate. On the contrary there appear to be many signs of growth and progress.

New Buildings
In earlier postings I have written of the new buildings springing up in Fujairah. Check out a sample at these links:
City Mall and Retail Park
Seaside Apartment Tower
Apartment Overlooking Fish Roundabout
High Tower Overlooking Beach
Shopping Mall
Commercial Buildings

Beyond these facilities there are other new developments. These strike you particularly when you enter into the top of Fujairah’s main street from Dubai.

To The Left
On the left side of the main street there is a new Rotana Tower with hotel and apartments.

According to a report (6 May 2009) Rotana Hotels in the UAE have seen a 15-20% decline in revenues in the first quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2008. But like many UAE companies, Rotana takes the view that this country will bounce back from the downturn faster than most countries.

Based in Abu Dhabi, Rotana is due to open six more hotels in the capital by October of this year and seven (including the one in Fujairah) by 2011.

Also being built on the left side is the 300 bed Al Fanar hotel which is part of Escan’s three tower development. This involves a three level shopping mall and three sky rise towers comprising 30, 25 and 20 levels respectively to be used for a mix of residential, commercial and hotel purposes.

Eyes Right
On the right side of the main street behind the high advertising walls there are other major developments aiming for a 2010 launch.

These include a 180 room Ibis Hotel and a 220 room Novotel Hotel and residences.

Further down at the lights and just before Etisalat you will note work going on at the Al Rostamani building (with Nissan Showroom underneath). Having erected a central tower, work is proceeding on two towers on either side. I hope the people already ensconced in their apartments were told of this development because their views are quickly getting blocked out! Quite a thought when the builders wake you outside your window at 6 in the morning with their jack hammers.

You can’t see it from the road but if you take a right turn after the Etisalat building and go 100 metres you will see that the Lulu Hypermarket is extending its reaches. Lulu management will be glad that it has the land because a shopping mall is being established there along with an extension of Lulu. This may mean that Lulu will move from being a Hypermarket to an Ultramarket.

Al Aqah Adds More
This article has been noting the new developments appearing in Fujairah’s main street. As the above links indicate there are new developments occurring in Faseel towards the Fujairah Free Zone and the Fujairah Port.

Added to this Le Méridien at the Al Aqah Beach Resort is undergoing a Dh10 million (US$2.7 million) refurbishment of its spa facility in order to become a premium spa destination.

What Recession?
There is bound to be pain being experienced in homes behind the high walls but the changing appearance of Fujairah suggests an emirate on the move and defying the financial challenges.

The steady expansion of the Fujairah Port with the associated new businesses in the Free Zone and the new oil pipeline from oil rich Abu Dhabi, now set to be operational in 2010, are creating jobs and are instilling confidence in the business community.

The new Dubai to Fujairah highway that will cut the commuting time as it bypasses the little towns like Dhaid, Masafi, Thoban and Dafta is set to boost the large number of weekend visitors to Fujairah and add to the numbers of Dubai and Sharjah workers who are choosing to reside in Fujairah.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “To see the emirate with fresh eyes.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fifteen Fantastic Things to Do in Fujairah

TimeOutDubai has issued (4 May 2009) its ‘50 Fantastic Things to Do in the UAE’.

It is a great compilation with a few quirky numbers but as expected from a Dubai promotions magazine, it is very Dubaicentric.

Fujairah rates a mention with its traditional bull butting and there is a fleeting reference to diving on the east coast.

I thought it might be helpful to compile a similar list of 15 Fantastic Things to Do on the way and while in Fujairah.

Do remember to include features from the east coast parts of the emirate of Sharjah such as Kalba or Khor Fakkan.

Please leave as a Comment your suggestion of a place or a Fujairah experience that you believe should make such a list.

Dr Geoff Pound
Contactable on email at geoffpound[@]gmail.com and at Facebook

Collage: Some images from Fujairah (click to magnify).

Experiencing the Emirates asks the question: Is the UAE on the '10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger' List?

Monday, May 4, 2009

When Your Number is Up in Fujairah

I have written (perhaps as therapy) about the propensity for queue jumping in Fujairah and it looks like many companies are doing something to deal with customers who get out of line.

Companies like Etisalat have had for many years a system whereby people take a number that in the fullness of time, appears in lights (in both Arabic and English) and is announced by a beeping sound.

The HSBC bank in Fujairah has recently introduced this similar system of ‘first come first served’. One of the customer service staff at HSBC said that older Emirati clients were taking a long time to get used to the new system. I said, “Is that because the numbers appear only in English and not in Arabic?” She said, “No. It’s because many of the older people cannot read.”

This is a good reminder of how a large proportion of the national citizens of Fujairah are still very much living in an oral world.

Dr Geoff Pound
Contact at geoffpound[@]gmail.com or on Facebook

Image: “This similar system of ‘first come first served.’” Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Do Expats Call the UAE Home?

* How do expats cope with the feeling of ‘suspended animation’ from real life?

* How do expats help shape the national and cultural identity of their children while encouraging them to experience fully the delights of multicultural UAE?

* While the UAE government is promoting measures to help expats integrate into the Emirates to what extent do newcomers avail themselves of these opportunities?

* Expats can feel released from ‘civic responsibilities’ but how do they cope with the feelings of selfishness and knowing they are mainly here for the dirhams and the perks?

* How might expats play a meaningful part in the shaping of the future of the UAE?

These questions are raised and discussed in the insightful article by Claudia Pugh-Thomas that can be found at this link:

Claudia Pugh-Thomas, Finding an Expat Role in the UAE, The National, 2 May 2009.

Related Articles:
Tim Brooks, Expats Urged to Embrace Culture, The National, 2 May 2009.
How Well Do You Know the Emirates, The National, 1 May 2009.
Alex Rolandi, So, Could You Pass the Emirates Patriotic Test?, The National, 1 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound
Contact at geoffpound[@]gmail.com or Facebook about blogging, writing projects or whatever.

Image: Brazilian expats in the UAE. Photo courtesy of TimeOut Dubai.

Pay Day in Fujairah

Getting out in the streets over the weekend (Friday and Saturday) I was amazed at the large numbers of people out shopping.

When I remarked on this to a worker at the bank she said it was due to it being pay day.

Some people get paid on the last day of the month while others get paid on the first day of the month and this explains the numbers of people out in their droves, withdrawing dirhams, wiring part of their pay to relatives overseas and enjoying their monthly spend up.

Depending on whether you want to avoid the crowds or see lots of local culture it is good to remember this trend at the end and beginning of each month.

Dr Geoff Pound

If you have a comment, an idea for a story etc., I can be contacted by email at geoffpound[@]gmail.com or on Facebook.