Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fujairah, the UAE’s Quiet Alternative

Tim Clark from London’s Daily Mail flees the bright lights of Dubai and heads for Fujairah.

Check out his new endorsement of Fujairah.

Daily Mail Archives
Dig through the archives and see that Fujairah is promoted among the Brits as:
Far-Out Fun

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Sit out on a Fujairah beach and look out toward the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The UAE Property Crisis

Industries of all sorts have been severely hit by the credit crunch occurring not only in western countries but also in developing nations. Governments have been forced to provide financial and economic packages to encourage transaction in an attempt to regain control over the current economic crisis.

The government of the United Arab Emirates has developed a range of new rules and regulations to aid the ailing economy with a particular focus on Dubai. One of the main targets was the Dubai real estate market, which was subjected to considerable changes and improvements. In the hope to attract investors, the government is determined to have implemented a renewable residency visa before the end of Q1 2009. It will be valid for six months and is designed for individuals interested in obtaining a freehold property.

The Central Bank has committed to a bond program of US$10 billion which was designed to meet the Emirate’s monetary obligations and allow the completion of developmental plans, relieving Dubai from the pressure of having to settle its debts on its own.

Furthermore the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) of the Dubai Land Department has established a regulation which is aimed to secure the off-plan market. This ruling forces developers to have paid 100% of the land price prior to reselling the property off-plan. Several developers of Dubai properties have been required to revise strategies and pricing policies to fit the current situation. Madai’n Properties are offering to cut 30% off the price of purchase on some of their developments. Similarly, Deyaar announced that it is soon to implement a price reduction scheme on four of its residential projects, providing repayment tenures of up to five years to assist the owners in the constraints of the credit market.

These efforts are an innovative and good start to secure clients’ trust, however it is not sufficient to match the extreme fall of market selling prices since Q3 in 2008 which has been estimated to about 40%. Despite the efforts, the persistency of the majority of sellers’ in demanding prices near the original purchase price coupled with most banks’ continued refusal to lend money result in very few transactions taking place.

New Property Regulations in the UAE, ETE, 16 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Several developers of Dubai properties have been required to revise strategies and pricing policies to fit the current situation.”

Monday, June 22, 2009

Finding Old Photographs of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

I was in a Fujairah office the other day and on display was a photograph of an early ruler of the emirate. It was a superb photo and it made me wonder how many other old photos are hanging around the walls of homes and offices in Fujairah and in the other emirates.

Searching for Old Fujairah Photos
This got me searching for web sites where old photographs of Fujairah scenes are posted. I have listed some below but most of them are recent of new.

This is a very incomplete collection. Do send me the links to other major sites of heritage photos for viewers of this site to enjoy.

Old Fujairah Photos (old and new pics are scattered in these galleries)
Fujairah in the Past, Gulf News
Aidan O’Rourke Gallery
David Henderson Gallery (mixed in with many UAE pictures)
East Coast, UAE Photo Gallery Brian McMorrow
East Coast Photo Gallery Philipp Holzmann
Fujairah: Great City in the Making
Fujairah Tourism Bureau Image Gallery (Check attractions and image gallery) Fujairah Travel Pictures

Other Emirates
Have a look at some of the photos of all emirates of the UAE.

Old Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, Blog Sheikh
Old Souk, Aidan O’Rouke (search his site from here)

Old Dubai
There are some wonderful photos of old Dubai at these links:
Travel Gallery Images
Heritage Photography Photos by Anita van der Krol
UAE Community Blog, Dubai Then and Now.
Many Links, Dubai as it Used to Be
Old Dubai, Web Shots.
Old Dubai and Old Abu Dhabi, Maribel Home

Ajman as it Used to Be, Gulf News

Al Ain
Al Ain Zoo, Gulf News

Umm Al Quwain
Umm Al Quwain in the Past, Gulf News

Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah in the Past, Gulf News

Hatta Through the Years, Gulf News

Extensive gallery, Brian McMorrow
About Sharjah, Sharjah Tourism

UAE Themes
Eid Al Adha in the Past, Gulf News.
Famous Male Celebs in the UAE, Gulf News
Gold in the UAE, Gulf News
Wilfred Thesiger Web Gallery, Pitt Rivers Museum

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Fujairah Fort is pictured here in August, 1986. (Courtesy of Bonjour Dubai. Com this link)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things to See and Do Along the Fujairah Corniche to Kalba and the Omani Border

Hop In
Drive along the Fujairah corniche (waterfront) and go as far as you can without your passports—to the UAE/Oman border.

Start at the Coffee Pot Roundabout
0.0 km
Set your car’s odometer to 0.0 as you come through the distinctive coffee pot roundabout at Fujairah’s suburb of Faseel. This, says the road sign, is the beginning of Corniche Road.

1.0 km
You have passed an ADNOC Service Staion on your right and at this distance you have reached the Fish Roundabout with an ENOC Service Station on the left.

The Fujairah International Marine Club is a bit further along, built in the shape of a ship. The Marina is part of this complex. Jet Skis can be hired from here. Also there are many fishing charter boat companies for the trips out on the Arabian Sea.

View Fujairah Corniche to Kalba in a larger map

Keep going through this roundabout parallel with the sea.

Further along on the seaward side is a grassy children’s playground and a place where there are occasional community gatherings.

1.6 km
At this point look right and you can see up Fujairah’s main street.

You are in the suburb of Al Gurfa.

1.8 km
There is, on this right side, a children’s racing car track, dodgems?

2.3 km
Just after some horse stables you will see Café Maria and immediately after this, set in from the road, is the bull butting arena. There are no signs but on late Friday afternoon, locals and tourists gather for this bovine spectacle.

3.0 km
Al Yaqout or Paint Ball can be played at this point.

3.6 km
You enter another roundabout so prepare to drive through it exiting in the same direction.

You have entered the suburb of Rugaylat, which is especially known as a centre for Fujairah fishermen.

After the lights, on the left hand side there is a good shop to get fishing equipment, including handheld fishing lines on a spool (only about Dh6) which are good to use at the Khor Kalba beach.

4.2 km
You encounter a sign, ‘Welcome in Kalba’ (all the signs at Kalba are like this not ‘Welcome to Kalba’).

Go through the roundabout and you are in Kalba (كلبــاء) and therefore in another part of the emirate of Sharjah.

After the roundabout you will see signs saying you are in Sour Kalba.

5.2 km
You reach the beginning of the Suhailah shopping strip.

Over on the left (seaward side of the road) is one of the best children’s parks in the region.

5.8 km
Turn off (right) for Suheilah Park but we will continue hugging the beach.

6.2 km
The Kalba Fort is on the right side. You can take photographs but it is closed to the public.

The UAE Interact-Kalba says:
“Early in the sixteenth century the Portuguese, expanding their empire in the Indian Ocean, built a series of forts along the southeastern coast of Arabia, including one at Kalba. In his Viaggio dell'Indie Orientali (Venice, 1590) the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi mentions a place on the Arabian coast called 'Chelb' which is probably Kalba. Kalba was visited by a Dutch ship called the Meerkat in 1666. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Kalba was tributary to Sharjah, but in 1937 it was recognised as a Trucial sheikhdom by the British government.”

On the seaward side at the end of the children’s park is the HH Saed Al Qasimi House (Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamed Al Qasimi). This house (bait) was built between 1898 and 1901 and belonged to one of Kalba's eminent, elder citizens, Sheikh Saeed bin Hamed Al Qassimi, who was also a former ruler of Sharjah.

As well as looking at the different rooms you can see old photographs, coins, artefacts and some magnificent poetic verse written on one of the walls.

The Al Qasimi House costs Dh3 for adults, Dh6 for a Family, Children are free or you can use a ‘multi use’ ticket. Open Sat-Thurs 9am-1pm & 5pm-8pm. Fri- 5-8pm. Closed on Mondays.

Straight after the fort, go through the roundabout, coming off (toward the sea) at an 11.00 o’clock position. You will now be on Corniche Street and over on the left side is the Kalba Fruit, Vegetable and Fish Souks (markets). Further along is a café housed in a building made of traditional materials.

This is a long stretch with great views of the sea and fishermen getting ready for their next venture out into the Arabian Sea.

Watch out for the speed cameras.

7.7 km
You have reached the suburb of Hiteen.

9.2 km
You go through another roundabout and enter the suburb of Al Bridi.

10.3 km
Entering the suburb of Al Nighala.

11.00 km
You that you are entering Khor Kalba. Khor means creek in Arabic.

11.7 km
Note the lovely date palms surrounding an old mosque and some old Emirati rowing boats on the sand.

12.3 km
You enter another roundabout and again come through at an 11.00 o’clock position. There is a strip of shops on the right beginning with a ‘restaurant’ (probably more like a café) that is very popular with the locals who like to sit, chat and play table games.

On the left are some government buildings, police, coast guard etc. Do not take photographs around this area.

12.8 km
Watch the two speed humps as you approach the Breeze Motel on the right.

There are some fascinating boats on the left including a couple of dhow (traditional Arab sailing vessels) and some traditional Emirati rowing boats (with rowlocks which involve tying the oars on with wet rope). See the wire pots for catching crayfish.

13.8 km
After passing an Ice Factory and the Kalba Fishing Cooperative you come to a roundabout.

If you go around it, at the 11.00 o’clock position is a gravel road going over a bridge and the tidal creek below.

Over the bridge on the right is a children’s playground but the road branches (I usually take the left fork) that goes down toward one of the best beaches (my favorite) on the east coast—Khor Kalba beach. Many people come here and camp the night (but don’t tell everyone).

Go right around this roundabout or this is the first exit right when approaching the roundabout.

One of the most important conservation areas is on the left with the oldest mangrove forest in Arabia. There are many endangered species here and this is one of the most popular bird watching areas in the UAE.

Beside the road on the right a sign tells you that this is the suburb of Al Maqtia. On the left is an estuary and a scenic walking path with picnic areas alongside that go for a long way in this southern most tip of the UAE’s Gulf of Oman coastline.

15.4 km
At this roundabout you want to keep hugging the water’s edge and walking path so plan to go around until you exit at a 9-10.00 o’clock position.

There are many new and elaborate buildings on your right.

17.0 km
You will see shops and some signs pointing right to the Al Ghayl Fort and the Wadi Al Helo. At the roundabout you can head right on this major road (through the mountains and tunnel) to places like Hatta, Abu Dhabi or the internal road to Dubai and Sharjah.

Keep on going through the roundabout in the same direction.

18.4 km
At this point there is a sign indicating that you can turn right to go to the Khatan Al Milahah archaeological site.

20.0 km
At almost 20 kilometres you reach the Omani Border where passports are needed if you are going through to the neighboring country.

Do let me know if there are other landmarks to point out or links to insert that would enhance this drive.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Our starting point—the Coffee Pot Roundabout in Fujairah’s suburb of Faseel. I took this photo through a window from a top floor apartment in the new Siji Hotel Apartments.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Make a Date to Come to Fujairah for the Harvest

Multicolored Dates
Take a look at the images in this date fruit collage (pictured). I took these photos yesterday of dates maturing on the palm trees around Fujairah. The dates are all different colors from trees only metres apart.

Ripening for a Date
Dates go through distinct stages on the way to maturity:

Kimri when the date is green and inedible but often used as fodder for animals.

Bisr or Khalal when the date turns red or yellow and is full size and crunchy.

Ratab (rutab) when the date starts turning brown and becomes ripe and soft.

Tamr (tamir) when the date is completely brown and is ripe and sun dried.

You can see that although the dates in Fujairah at the moment are of many shades and colors, they still have a way to go before the harvest. Some people like to eat dates before they are ripe.

Date Harvest
In different centres of the UAE, the annual date festival has already begun. In Sharjah it runs from mid-May to mid-August (the beginning of Ramadan this year).

These festivals are usually held in the local Fruit and Vegetable Souk (market) and are a great opportunity to sample different varieties of dates from many countries of the world.

Fresh Dates
Many expatriates in the UAE come from non-date growing countries and their experience will be mainly of eating dried and processed dates which are available all the year around.

Dates are seasonal and the supply of fresh dates is limited.

So make a date this year for visiting a fruit and vegetable souk in your area to taste and buy some fresh dates.

Abu Dhabi Date Festival 2009
Liwa Date Festival 2009

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Dates maturing on palm trees in Fujairah (17 June 2009).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Al Yaqout or Paint Ball is War in Fujairah

Mainly Natural Entertainment
You’re right. Unlike Abu Dhabi and Dubai there are not a lot of things you could call canned entertainment in Fujairah. That’s why it is such a great place to be.

You have to make your own fun from doing natural things at the beach and in the mountains.

However, there are some new features and they are cropping up along the Fujairah corniche (on the town side rather than the sea side).

Paint Ball
One of the newer activities is called Paint Ball or Al Yaqout in Arabic. It involves putting on (hiring) overalls and helmets, loading a gun and engaging in warfare over a large area with paint as your ammunition.

It is in the suburb of Al Gurfah. Coming from the bottom of the main street and heading towards Oman, Al Yaqout is half a kilometer on from the bull butting arena and just before you reach the next roundabout.

Opening Hours: 9.00am to 12.00pm and 3.00pm to 12.00am

Contact details, to make a booking for yourself or for two groups to conduct a paint war, are +971 50 490 7337 or P O Box 605, Fujairah. I am unsure whether you can just rock up and join in with a battle.

Cost: Dh75 for each person for a game. This includes hiring all the armor and weaponry.

Rules: The rules of war are listed on the notice board. They are all in Arabic and most of the attendants speak Bengali.

Let the Battle Begin
It looks fun if you are looking to let off some superfluous nervous energy. Not much delight for pacifists.

You don’t have to take your war paint. It is all provided.

Can anybody tell me what Al Yaqout means in Arabic?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Images from Fujairah’s Al Yaqout (Click to enlarge).

Fujairah Congratulates Graduand, His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Sharqi

It is graduation time and Fujairah is rejoicing with another graduand from the Ruling Family, His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Sharqi, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Webster University in London on 10 May 2009.

Billboards around the city of Fujairah are calling people to celebrate Sheikh Rashid’s achievement and wishing him every success for the future.

Congratulations are being expressed to, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the Ruler of Fujairah and Member of the Supreme Council.

Pictured in the family photograph are from left, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah; His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, graduand and Chairman of Fujairah Culture & Information Authority; His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the Ruler of Fujairah and Member of the Supreme Council; His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi.

Fujairah Ruler Attends Graduation Ceremony, Fujairah Government Portal, 10 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: HH Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi in graduation gown and cap with some other members of Fujairah’s Ruling Family (click to enlarge).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fujairah Homes and Businesses without Power Switch to Generators

Earlier I posted an article on the many apartment towers in Fujairah that were standing idle because of the lack of an electricity supply.

I spotted today around Fujairah a couple of generators, one outside a group of apartments and the other which was supplying power for a small business.

They are housed in robust, sound attenuated, waterproof casings.

Normally the generators run on diesel but an increasing number of models have the flexibility to burn landfill methane, agricultural bio-gas, and natural gas.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “I spotted today around Fujairah a couple of generators.”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah, Launches 14 Artificial Reefs

A project involving 14 artificial reefs designed to rehabilitate the natural reef ecosystems was launched today at Le Meridien Hotel reported Middle East Events.

General Manager, Patrick Antaki, said:
“The beauty of the Indian Ocean is a major draw card for Fujairah and we have been vigilant about protecting this natural wonder and keeping it clean. We regularly participate in clean-up projects, such as Clean Up Arabia in November 2008, and this project will go further by creating a sustainable marine environment.”

More details on the operation and celebration:
Middle East Events, 14 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mango Festival Mania in Fujairah

Weekly Shop
I am just home from our weekly shop at the Lulu Hypermarket in Fujairah. What a rich social and cultural experience it is.

Mango Mania
It is that time of the year where there are mangoes a-plenty. They make more out of the annual Mango festival in Fujairah than they do with the Easter festival.

Last time when I wrote on the Mango Mania festival I diligently counted and discovered that there were over 120 varieties of mango in the supermarket from scores of countries in the world.

Sensational Fruit
After the groceries were put away today we treated ourselves to a mango each. It was sensational—the best I have ever tasted. The texture was smooth and not in the least bit stringy. Just the right blend of sweet and sour. With juice dripping down my chin I voted that mangoes are the best fruit in the world. Eating a mango is such a sensuous experience.

This web site has posted hundreds of mango recipes that highlight the fact that this fruit has amazing uses. You can make an omelet mango for breakfast that you can have along with sugarless mango bread, with mango jam on your toast. Then there are recipes for mango soup, mango mousse, mango sorbet, mango ketchup, mango meat loaf, mango salad and mango cheesecake!!

What versatility from the one fruit.

History in the Fruit
Historians will like to know that when you are eating a mango you are doing what has given comfort and pleasure for thousands of years beginning in South-East Asian and then radiating throughout the world.

Botanists might like to know there are over 1,000 varieties of mango. The one we had this morning was from India. Some say that the alphonso is the best.

Health Benefits
The web sites are telling me that mangoes have many nutritional qualities—they are rich in minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. They sooth the stomach and aid the digestion. They have plenty of fibre to keep you regular, and properties that offer protection against cancer.

Religious Qualities
Mango groves have given tranquility to Buddhists and ordinary seekers of serenity.

Hindus believe that mango trees grant wishes and they hang the leaves around the front door of the house to gain a blessing.

Mango leaves are also hung around the front door of a newly married couple’s house to grant them fertility.

I have heard of old time orators and preachers who used to eat a raw egg before they had to speak but Sanskrit poets have reckoned for centuries that munching a mango bud lends sweetness to your voice.

The mango tree, so tradition tells us, has properties that guard against infection, asthma and they act as a contraceptive and an aphrodisiac!! All you need in the one tree and fruit. No wonder the mango is called ‘the King of fruits.

Sharing Mango Stories and Secrets
In this mango season in the UAE, have you got any mango stories and truths to share?

In particular tell me:

What is your favorite type of mango and which country has the best mangoes?

What is your secret in selecting a mango from the market?

Have you got a favorite mango recipe you can send me to add to my new mango recipe collection?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Mango mania. I love the way these mangoes have been cut. Most of the uncut ones in the pictures are the alphonso.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It’s Boring in Fujairah but Sometimes It’s a Blast

My first venture into Construction Week Online revealed some interesting details and observations about Fujairah.

An article by Greg Whitaker takes a penetrating look at the quarrying that goes on in Fujairah’s Hajar Mountains.

If you think this is a boring article, you might be right but it drills down deeply into the core of this eastern emirate.

The UAE ‘Bread Basket’
Whitaker says: “The Emirate of Fujairah continues to be the region’s ‘bread basket’ for construction projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And, with many neighbouring Gulf countries banning quarry operations, its gabbro – based aggregates and rock armour for breakwaters are equally in high demand.”

It is good to mine this analogy for all its worth. The sparkling skyscrapers of the larger cities in the Emirates are what often creates the ‘Wow’ factor, not the foundations upon which they stand. Shunning the limelight, Fujairah provides the sturdy substance to make the glitzy towers stand upright on the desert sands. This image from the quarry is getting to the bedrock of the emirate’s stolid identity.

Hard Facts about the Hajars
Arabs have known for centuries the quality of the rocks they possessed long before geologists came with their fancy terminology. Hajar or Hajjar in Arabic means stone mountains (جبال الحجر).

Greg Whitaker’s article offers depth on these substantial issues:
* The type of rock—gabbro, one of the world’s hardest rocks.
* Blasting and how it is strictly regulated in Al Fujairah.
* The blasting procedures.
* The number of quarries.
* The drills, drill rigs and other rock tools.

Final Blast
The article asks what is on everyone’s mind: “Is it is better for everybody associated with a quarry to have 2-3 smaller blasts a day or a single major blast.”

This detailed report plumbs the depths to reveal the secrets of one of the major industries that provide the foundation for Fujairah’s life and economy.

Greg Whitaker, UAE’s Technical Drilling and Blasting Co Standardise on Special New Rock Tools, Construction Week Online, 10 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A close up of gabbro rock.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Oil Pipelines Threaten Fujairah Landscape

Peter Hellyer is a writer and consultant specialising in the UAE’s heritage and environment.

He wrote recently for The National about visiting one of his favorite wadis in Fujairah.

Usually it is a ‘magical place’ but now there is the threat of the Abu Dhabi-Fujairah oil pipeline coming near the wadi, destroying much of the landscape during the construction process and disrupting the peace.

Peter concludes his article this way:

“Already too much of the UAE’s mountains are a wasteland of quarries, dust and devastation. It would be nice to think that ‘my’ wadi, and many others like it, would be spared a similar fate.”

Hellyer’s conclusion demands an official response and the assurance that the landscape will be preserved.

Peter Hellyer, Lay Pipelines if you Must, but Don’t Ruin ‘My’ Wadi, The National, 8 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A Fujairah wadi.

Slight Shaking and Quaking in Fujairah

WAM reported yesterday (8 June 2009):

Slight Tremor
“The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) recorded today an earth tremor measuring a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale at 10:14 pm local time at the Strait of Hormuz near Ras Musandam.”

“The tremor, monitored by the UAE National Seismic Network, part of the NCMS, was lightly felt in the Emirate of Fujairah and tangibly felt in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.”

Shaking Sequence
This slight tremor follows a series of shakes in recent days.

Here are some links to earlier quakes reported in Fujairah:

Fujairah Residents Overcome Fear of Earthquakes, FIF, 11 May 2009.
Fujairah Feels Friday Earthquake, FIF, 8 May 2009.
Fujairah Feels Iranian Earthquake, FIF, 11 September 2008.
Fujairah Shakes in Earthquake Zone, FIF, 13 February 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Fujairah, sandwiched between the mountains and the sea.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fujairah Barbers Ordered to Wear Masks

Khaleej Times reports (8 June 2009) that the municipality in the Fujairah town of Dibba has begun a drive to ensure that all barbers are masked as a prevention against [H1N1?] influenza.

The same barbers have been directed to dry their towels under the direct sunlight as these are being used on several clients.

Furthermore, they have been ordered to increase the strength of their detergents with which they sterilize their shaving equipment.

But why just barbers? What about doctors and dentists?

Should clients and patients get issued with masks so that the barbers and medical practitioners don’t get infected?

This mask directive seems only to apply to Dibba, not to the rest of the emirate of Fujairah.

Dibba is the place to visit if you want a really clean shave.

Where Fujairah Men Go to Escape, FIF.
Hair Cuts and styling in the UAE, FIF.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A married couple taking every precaution against the swine flu plague.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking Forward to a Recycling Service at Every Door in Fujairah

Probably the spate of articles has been stimulated by the recent (26-28 May 2009) Middle East Waste Summit held in Dubai.

Sharjah Recycling
The emirate of Sharjah appears to have been a forerunner in waste management in the UAE with plans to increase their capacity but are they mainly recycling industrial waste?

Dubai Recycling
Dubai has been featuring a recycling service initiated by Dulsco whereby a truck passes through neighborhoods in the city to pick up piles of waste.

The article states that “Recycling is being done in bits and pieces all over Dubai” but when is a comprehensive service going to be initiated?

Waste in the Emirates
The painful fact keeps on being reported that “The UAE generates the most amount of waste per person in the world. The average person throws away 1,000 kg of waste per year.”

Recycling in Fujairah?
So if waste is a ‘valuable resource’, why is there not a systematic recycling service available to householders right throughout the UAE and including here in Fujairah?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: When are we going to see recycling rather than rubbish trucks in Fujairah?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Power and Water in Short Supply for Fujairah’s New Buildings

The building of a number of highrise apartment towers in Fujairah has not been able to keep pace with the demand from the numbers of people wanting to reside in the city.

Compounding the shortage is the lack of power and water supply for the new buildings.

All Types
According to statements reported in the Khaleej Times, these problems are affecting government and commercial buildings as well as residential towers.

Waiting Time
Khaleej Times reports on the size of the problem and the expected timetable:

“The Chairman of Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Saeed Khamas, said there are more than 25 buildings in the emirate which do not have power supply. A number of commercial projects, too, that were completed two years ago, are without electricity and water. None of the projects is expected to get power supply before 2011.”

No Rental Income
While the issue is a frustration to prospective residents wanting a roof over their heads, the situation is a great financial burden for the owners who have borrowed money to construct the buildings but their tenants aren’t able to occupy and start paying them rent.

Diesel Generators
Some households and industrial buildings have installed generators to provide one form of power while they await the electrical supply.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A new residential tower by the fish roundabout on the Fujairah corniche.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sheikh Al Sharqi Promotes Fujairah’s Tourism and Archaeology

New Structure
WAM Emirates News Agency reported:
“The Board of Fujairah Tourism and Archaeological Authority (FTAA), has been set up, according to Emiri decree number 3 of year 2009 issued by HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah.”

New Standards
“According to the law, the new body shall replace the Fujairah tourism office and archaeology and heritage department.”

“The FTAA shall seek to develop tourism in the emirate in par with the highest standards and compatible with local cultural and civilisation legacy and genuine community values in order to carve a place for the emirate of Fujairah in the regional and world map of tourism. While seeking to achieve its objectives and discharging its duties, the FTAA shall encourage, develop and regulate tourism in the emirate and devise tourism plan for the emirate guided by international recognised standards.”

Reaffirmation of Tourism Goals
This significant decision by the Ruler of Fujairah appears to be a reaffirmation of the October 2007 tourism targets that pledged to maximize the beaches and mountains of Fujairah and highlight the natural beauty of the emirate.

Since those goals were established the recognition of Fujairah’s Wadi Wurayah as the first protected mountain area in the UAE has bolstered the emirate’s standing in eco-tourism.

Coupling of Tourism with Archaeology
It is significant that His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi has continued to link archaeology with tourism under the one authority as Fujairah is one of the most significant emirates in the country in terms of its heritage treasures.

Al Fujairah’s historical and archaeological sites include a number of castles, forts, watch towers and places of worship such as the Al Bidya mosque that continues to operate after more than 550 years.

More than seven Arab and foreign archaeological excavation teams have worked in Fujairah to excavate important sites and treasures around Dibba, Al Bidya, Al Bithna, Murbeh and Qidfa.

New Archaeological Finds
It is fascinating that this announcement by the Ruler of Fujairah comes only a few days after a team of archaeologists discovered pieces of pottery dating back to the third millennium BC in the Al Dour area of the neighboring emirate of Umm Al Quwain and bronze spearheads which date back to the Iron Age in the first millennium BC.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “…In order to carve a place for the emirate of Fujairah in the regional and world map of tourism.”

You Can’t Visit Fujairah Without Watching World Famous Bull Butting

Ben Smith read the articles on this site about bull butting and asked whether this sport was still playing during the summer months.

Yes, this bovine experience doesn’t stop for 45C degree heat as it is an historic Fujairah institution every Friday.

I asked Ben to share some reflections and he kindly put together this story and provided the excellent photographs:

Ben Smith Reporting
“A couple of weeks ago, a small group of us made a trip to the Fujeirah corniche to watch the bloodless local sporting attraction of bull butting. It was a great and interesting day out.”

“The bull butting arena was easy enough to find (if you are heading North from Kalba it is on the left, just before you get to Fujeirah town and next to the Maria cafe).”

“Quite a crowd had gathered by about 5pm, with hundreds of locals and workers gathering all around the arena. The local popcorn, Sprite and candyfloss vendors had a roaring trade. It was a male dominated crowd, and the few women who came along seemed to sit in their cars and watch through the blacked out windscreens of their Land Cruisers.”

“The bulls were tethered to posts around the arena and every ten minutes or so two were brought, often reluctantly, by their handlers into the centre of the arena. Some of the bulls had better things to do than charge at other bulls and were quite happy to mooch around not doing a lot. But others quickly got involved in horn grappling battles. The eager Arabic commentary added to the excitement (and confusion; we left none the wiser as to the rules or how the winner is determined).”

“A few of the more eager fans were bonkers enough to sit in the arena itself; every now and again a wayward bull would hurtle away from the centre of the arena and towards the crowd, who would jump and run off in every direction!”

“It was far less cruel and violent than the Spanish version of the sport.”

Many thanks, Ben, for sharing the magic and the mystery of Fujairah’s free entertainment. Only a year ago there were no fences around the arena and bulls would frequently stampede through the crowd and add to the drama.

Visit Fujairah to Watch Bull Butting, Fujairah in Focus, 23 September 2008.
The photo that appeared in Boston’s Big Picture, 23 November 2008.
Bull Butting in Fujairah.

Check out Recent Articles on the Sister Site
Let Me Help You Write that Important Speech, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Shares Life’s Mission and Dreams, ETE.
To Polish His Speech to Arabs and Muslims Obama Should Watch Al Jazeera, ETE.

In the News
Experiencing the Emirates featured this week in Dubai's Gulf News re this article.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff Pound can be contacted at geoffpound(at)gmail.com or Facebook.

Image: The bulls, the handlers and the ice cream vendor.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sheikh Mohammed Addresses Employment Concerns for Fujairah in First e-Session

Fujairah Dear to Our Hearts
In his first e-Session with the public the UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, spoke about employment issues relating to Fujairah.

Job Opportunities
This was the question posed by Sindiya Al Samahi, UAE:

“Your Highness, Sheikh Mohammed: There is a question that has been agonizing me and I hope that your highness would answer it for me. My question is about the years we have spent in achieving university education, our efforts, and the sleepless nights we spent trying to obtain honors degrees: why are the UAE nationals in the northern Emirates, and especially in Fujeirah, not provided with job opportunities?”

Employment Issues
Sheikh Mohammed responded:

“First of all, I would like to thank you for your honesty. I do understand the pressure borne by graduates who don’t find jobs upon their graduation. However, my daughter, you need to bear in mind that Fujairah, just like all other areas of the UAE is very dear to our hearts, and is at the center of the attention of His Highness the President, myself, and the Ruler of Fujairah.”

“The issue faced by the fresh graduates in the northern Emirates and the rural areas in the UAE, including yourself, is the imbalance between the number of graduates and the available job openings in their areas of specialization.”

“Another issue is the unwillingness of a major percentage of these graduates, especially females, to work in areas remote from their residence. These issues are not without solutions.”

“New projects in Fujairah will accommodate large numbers of graduates who are willing to work in them. Moreover, the Human Resource Development projects focus on building the skills of graduates who wish to acquire new skills that enable them to enter the competitive market.”

“Meanwhile, all the government entities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are open for all UAE nationals… even in my executive offices, there are employees from the Emirate of Fujairah as well as from other areas.”

Here is the link for the public’s questions and the PM’s answers:

Prime Minister’s First e-Session with the Public, The Official Website of the PM of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed Shares Life’s Mission and Dreams in First e-Session, ETE.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The PM at his computer. (Photo courtesy of Official Website of the PM).

I Spoke Too Soon…Temperatures above 50C in Fujairah

Just when I was writing (or gloating) about Fujairah being cool or coolish, in contrast to some of the other emirates, two reports have been dispatched by the Gulf News and The National about the soaring temperatures in Fujairah on Sunday 31 May.

GN reported:
Temperatures in the UAE surged as high as 50.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said.

The sweltering 50.2 degrees was recorded in Umm Zamool in Fujairah.

"The country's airports and harbours have been informed to take precautionary measures," a spokesperson for the centre said.

The spokesperson said the centre notified the Ministry of Labour to inform private companies and establishments to abide by the midday break rule to protect workers from heat stroke and exhaustion.

Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director General at the ministry, said instructions have been issued to tighten control at construction sites.

He called on companies to provide workers with shade, drinking water and first aid in cases of emergency.

"No cases of exhaustion or heat stroke have been reported. The temperature in Fujairah yesterday was unusual," Bin Deemas said.

A forecaster said humidity reached 100 per cent in some parts of the country on Sunday.

Today The National was providing some explanation for the heat, from meteorologists who were speaking of the type of wind:

"A forecaster at the Dubai Meteorological Office attributed the soaring heat in Fujairah to a 'föhn winds effect', in which dry air develops on the leeward slope of a mountain."

“Because Fujairah is on the east coast behind the Hajar mountains, we get drier air coming down and getting warmer,” he said. “The Shamal goes over the mountains and when the air comes down it gains temperature and heats up, and since it’s dry, it heats more quickly.”

This explanation makes greater sense as some earlier reports were predicting cooler shamal winds on Sunday. The föhn winds are common in summer times on New Zealand’s Canterbury Plains with rain or moisture being dumped on the western side of the Southern Alps and the winds being dried as they come down from the mountains to the east coast.

The National continued:
“The duty weather forecaster at Fujairah Airport said the current spell was the hottest he had experienced. “I have never personally been in 50-degree weather before,” he said. “The temperature reached 50 degrees at around one o’clock, but that only lasted for 2½ hours. As the wind direction changed it brought cool air from the ocean, bringing the temperature down to 30 degrees. Fujairah often sees large temperature variations in a matter of a few hours.”

Links for full reports:
Temperature Soars Past 50C in Fujairah, Gulf News, 1 June 2009.
May Bows Out at 50C to Usher in Summer, The National, 1 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: ‘Slow down’ is the advice from authorities for workers in the UAE heat. It is hot work for fishermen on the Fujairah beach.