Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sheikh Maktoum Extends Invitation to the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament

Maktoum Meets With Organizers
His Highness, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the visionary and patron of the Maktoum Championships, spent some time this week with the Organizing Team of the upcoming Ramadan Tournament.

Different members of the committee spoke about the events being planned. The meeting included a tour of the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club and Sheikh Maktoum gave valuable input regarding the placement and interrelationship of the events.

Keen Sportsperson
Sheikh Maktoum has been involved in sports of many kinds and he loves the challenge of being in a competition. When asked if he had only one sport in which he could play he said he would choose football.

Huge Benefits
As the patron of the Maktoum Championships the Sheikh is keen to promote sport among all people in Fujairah and he does this with passion, believing that sport is a strategic way of building bridges among different groups. "Sport," he said, "has a wonderful capacity to gather people together.”

With obesity and related illnesses like diabetes being big problems in the UAE the Sheikh has set as a goal of the Maktoum Championships, "the encouragement of young people to exercise." Getting involved in playing sport, he believes, will help people of all ages to enjoy healthy living and raise positive awareness.

Developing the Maktoum Championships
In the few years since the games commenced in 2007, Sheikh Maktoum has developed the Maktoum Championships to the point where last year the Fujairah competition was the second largest Ramadan Tournament in the country, with 1154 players and 32,000 spectators.

The biggest hope Sheikh Maktoum has for the tournament this year is that it will be greatly enjoyed by everyone and it will do much to focus attention on the importance of the family.

Sport, Culture and Tradition
A recent photograph of Sheikh Maktoum shows him with a falcon and highlights the lead he is giving to the ancient art of falconry. In addition to promoting sport, His Highness believes it is our duty to teach children about their culture and to present the Emirati heritage to the world.

The Maktoum Championships are part of a larger vision for sport in Fujairah and Sheikh Maktoum is confident that much will be done in the years ahead to build the emirate and the people of the UAE as a sporting nation.

Welcome to the Arena
Sheikh Maktoum was heartened to learn of the progress and eager to contribute suggestions to the Organizing Committee for the Ramadan Tournament. As the plans are developed and the players prepare for the championships, His Highness, Sheikh Maktoum extends this enthusiastic invitation, "Welcome to Fujairah! Welcome to the arena!"

More Pictures
See the photographs that record Sheikh Maktoum’s meeting at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club and His Highness playing sport, at this link.

Fujairah Crown Prince Receives Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Organizers, Fujairah in Focus, 8 June 2010.

Fujairah Tennis Club Gets Biggest Challenge in Scoring Maktoum Championships, Fujairah in Focus, 7 June 2010.

Maktoum Championships Plan New Sports for Ramadan Tournament in Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 4 June 2010.

Maktoum Championships—Facebook Page for up to the minute information, photos and video clips.

Find Fujairah in Focus on Facebook for much more information, links and photos on Fujairah.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: The visionary and patron of the Maktoum Championships, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi takes a tour of the venue of the forthcoming Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

McDonald’s, Thai Express and Subway Coming to Fujairah

Fast Food Fujairah
Many people thought globalization would never reach Fujairah but a Fast Food corner is developing at the beginning of the Port Road and going in the direction of the Fujairah Port and Khor Fakkan.

Behind the Al Kasil EPPCO Service Station there is a Subway, a Thai Express, a building that is unassigned and then taking pride of place with some Golden Arches out the front is a Drive-Through McDonald’s.

Coming Soon
These restaurants have been under construction for months and some think the delay has been due to Fujairah’s electricity shortage. The sign on the Maccas window has been saying it is ‘Coming Soon’ but the Fujairah restaurant still hasn’t been put onto the McDonald’s Arabia Restaurant Locator.

Public Pressure?
Back in 2007 a Facebook Group was established with the name, ‘If This Group Reaches 2,000, They’ll Open MCDONALDS in Fujairah!!’ The creator of the group wrote this description of the Facebook Page:

“it is the time that McDONALDS should open in fujairah.. BECAUSE WE REALLY NEEEED IT !!! we really love it ! and we go to dubai just to eat it !!! JOIN SO WE CAN HAVE McDONALDS IN FUJAIRAH :D !”

Desperate for McDonald’s
At the time of writing this group has 534 members or potential customers, hardly enough to warrant the establishment of a thriving fast food restaurant but perhaps Rafic Fakih, the Managing Director of Emirates Fast Food Co and the owner and operator of McDonald’s in the UAE, has read their hungry comments and taken pity on them.

Here is a sample of the Comments posted:
* I’ve been waiting & waiting...........
* Do we even have 2,000 people in Fujairah?
* Hey, I just moved to Fujairah..what do u guys do around here?!
* Last times I wanted to eat McDonald, had to drive to RAK... It's so sad!!
* We really need McDonalds people!! Especially that amazing ice-cream they make, lovely burgers and french fries .... im overwhelmed :-[
* to be able to eat Mc. Arabia and drink Coke Float every single day when i get back to Fujairah would be just perfect...
* i doubt it that mcdonalds will ever open up in fujairah !! but i'm desperate...

Other McDonald’s Restaurants?
On this Facebook site are also posted rumours that a McDonald’s might be opening at the new Al Safeer Mall and on the Fujairah Corniche (between the Marine Club and the Evening Tourist Souq).

It would be a pity to think that the advent of these Fast Food outlets is the thing that marks Fujairah’s coming of age but possibly this fast food frenzy is further recognition of the city’s development and sustained population growth.

At What Cost?
Fans of Fast Food restaurants will argue that choice is good and Fujairah residents and tourists will have a greater selection of food to taste.

The advertising power of these international Fast Food chains is illustrated by the number of Lionel Messi billboards standing in Fujairah at present where the Argentinean and Baca champ is standing with his bucket of KFC. In addition there have been McDonald’s advertising posters around Fujairah for months, a long time before Fujairah has even a McDonald’s restaurant.

Still Not Convinced of the Advertizing Power? Watch This

The negative side of all of this is that some traditional snack bars will not be able to compete and sadly will have to close. It would be a great pity if in the hungering for a Big Mac we will not be able to order in Fujairah a shwarma, a falafel and other types of Middle Eastern street food.

See some photos at this link of Fujairah’s Fast Food Corner on Port Road.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: McDonald’s first restaurant in Fujairah.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fujairah’s Lulu Hypermarket Developing into Shopping Mall

New Shopping Complex
Lulu’s General Manager in Fujairah city, Mr. Asif Moidu Ahmed, believes the time is right for Fujairah to get a big new shopping mall and more supermarket space. He thinks the population growth warrants it and that the increasing number of tourists will also enjoy a shopping mall complex.

Today Mr. Ahmed elaborated on the Lulu Mall and Hypermarket Extension. From the existing Lulu Hypermarket, excavation work, which began three months ago, is almost complete. Currently an enormous cavity extends from the existing building towards the Fujairah International Airport.

With a total built up area of 44,500 square meters, this Basement+Ground+1st floor building will be constructed in two phases in order to avoid disruptions to the existing hypermarket. Building work on the project is expected to begin in mid-September 2010 and the opening date is December 2011.

The basement will be used for a car park to expand upon the huge parking area that already surrounds the hypermarket.

The ground and first floor will contain the following:
* 100+ shops including chain stores representing popular brands
* An Amusement area for children
* A Cinema with at least two theatres
* A food court

Construction Company
Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings has been awarded the task of construction. This company constructed Ajman’s Lulu Hypermarket in 2003 and is just concluding the construction of the Lulu Hypermarket in Fujairah’s town of Dibba which is due to open in two months just prior to Ramadan.

The existing Fujairah City Lulu Hypermarket, which is to be the flagship for the whole complex, is to undergo a major extension.

The supermarket will double in size and in checkouts—from the current 14 to 28 checkouts.

The existing first floor will also undergo an expansion with a big new area for electronics, clothing and household appliances.

The staff at the Lulu Hypermarket will need to be increased from 300 to 450, meaning many more employment opportunities.

Fujairah Malled
After many calls for Fujairah to have its first shopping mall, there are now at least three malls on the go—the Lulu Mall, the Al Safeer Mall and the Fujairah City Center (which will incorporate a Carrefour supermarket).

Check out some of the photos taken of the area where the Lulu Mall will be developed. Click on this link.

Plastic Supermarket Bags Slowly Being Replaced by Jute Bags, Fujairah in Focus.
UAE Malls: Shopping the Emirates, Experiencing the Emirates.
Shopping is Super, Hyper and Going Ultra in the UAE, Experiencing the Emirates.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taekwondo is Growing Steadily in Fujairah

Taekwondo is an up and coming sport in Fujairah with a team of 43 athletes and a dedicated manager in the person of Eid Fairooz Mesmari.

The Rise of Taekwondo
The Korean martial art of taekwondo made its first appearance at the Seoul Olympics (1988) as a demonstration sport, at the Sydney Olympics as an official sport and this year (2010) it was confirmed as one of the 25 ‘core’ sports for the 2016 Olympic Games. Great efforts are now being made to introduce taekwondo to the Paralympics, hopefully by 2016 at the earliest. Taekwondo is now the world’s most popular martial art in terms of the number of practitioners.

Taekwondo in the UAE
The UAE is one of 190 member nations of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), taekwondo’s international governing body. The nation’s standing in the sport was internationally recognized when Sheikha Maitha Mohammad Rashid Al Maktoum, daughter of the Dubai ruler and the prime minister of the UAE, competed in taekwondo at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Taekwondo in Fujairah
Although Eid Mesmari was the manager of the UAE National Team based in Dubai, he wanted to return to his home town of Fujairah and introduce the sport he loves to his own people. On the first day of 2010 Eid took up the job as manager and instructor of taekwondo in Fujairah.

The Fujairah Instructor
Eid has been a determined person from a young age. As a boy all his friends played football but he said to his Mum, “I want to be different.” He was a good runner so when was eight or nine he pursued athletics.

Leaving school he joined the army in Dubai because he ‘wanted to become a man’ and for him the army embodied the Emirates. In the first few months his athletic prowess was noted by his officers and he was transferred to the Sports Unit where he soon represented the UAE Army and later the UAE National Team in the 400 metres and the 4 x 400 metres relay. This arena gave Eid considerable international experience and in his spare time he learned boxing and taekwondo.

After years of competitive running, Eid narrowed his focus to develop his skills in taekwondo. This took him first to the USA and then to South Korea where he underwent a rigorous training schedule, earned a series of belts (ranks) and participated in international competitions.

When he returned to his homeland he became the champion in his category and he held this honor for many years. He ceased competitive taekwondo in 2006 to concentrate on managing the sport and training young players.

Building a Sport
Eid helped establish a boxing team in Fujairah in 2004 and became involved with its management and training. But his dream persisted to develop taekwondo in Fujairah and since sharing this idea with the Crown Prince, the dream is becoming a reality.

Space for a taekwondo centre was obtained within the basement of Fujairah’s Football Stadium. He started with three young people but now there are 43 athletes in the squad.

Most of the training is done in the evenings, where young men and women of different ages and nationalities attend. Taekwondo is for everybody, it is offered free but each player must put in lots of time to do well and experience the benefits.

While enjoying sport for the joy that sport can be, Eid has a greater vision—helping to build his city of Fujairah in the way that he knows best, through taekwondo. Taekwondo is a tool for building character because it places value on etiquette, self-discipline, respect for others, fair play and friendship with others.

Eid elaborates, “Taekwondo teaches you to be calm and not to get into trouble. It is more than martial arts; it is another culture and a philosophy that integrates the mind (tae), hand (kwon) and do (leg).”

He believes he is making some progress when some parents ask Eid, “What have you done with my child? He’s so calm!”

Taekwondo in Fujairah largely revolves around the inspiration that Eid gives but increasingly the parents of the players are assisting in the administration of the sport.

Dream On
One does not have to spend much time with Eid Mesmari to sense his passion for taekwondo and his love for Fujairah. Eid is keen to develop some world class players in Fujairah and the entire eastern region and the Fujairah team is already first in the Emirates this year. He is hoping that Fujairah might host some national and international tournaments in the near future.

Mesmari is eager for his taekwondo friends around the world to visit the UAE and especially the emirate of Fujairah. He says, “There is much for tourists to see in Dubai but I love the naturalness of Fujairah. It is more normal. One can get a sense of how people have lived here for centuries. I want the whole world to know Fujairah and when my people do well on the sporting stage it is a way of saying, ‘We are here.’”

Taekwondo at Maktoum Championships on 20 August
Eid Mesmari and his Fujairah taekwondo team will have an opportunity to display their talent at the Ramadan Tournament on 20 August 2010. They will be joined by other taekwondo athletes from around the UAE.

Mesmari is looking forward to the Maktoum Championships because he believes strongly that sport is vital for building the country.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: “One does not have to spend much time with Eid Mesmari to sense his passion for taekwondo and his love for Fujairah.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seeking a Job in Fujairah

I am amazed at the number of jobs being advertized in Fujairah at the moment but I shouldn’t be surprised when remembering that the population is 165,000 and it is growing by 10,000 a year.

Add to that the new power plants which are bringing on stream the apartment towers and industries, the thriving rock export business, the new oil terminals, the movies being made, the drive in cinema complex set to screen at 10pm on the 10/10/10 and the new motorway that will increasingly make Fujairah a dormitory suburb of Dubai-Sharjah.

If I was looking for a job in Fujairah I would do two things:

1. Set up a Twitter account and link with employment firms and every other business and person in the UAE and the Middle East. Being a Twitter user I see many jobs being advertised and I have set my Tweetdeck (also used by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and Queen Rania of Jordan) to Search for ‘Fujairah’.

2. Set up a Google Alert for ‘Fujairah’ and ‘Fujeirah’ so that everything on the World Wide Web that has a reference to this city comes directly into your email inbox.

Set up another one or three Google Alerts for the role you are looking for—‘butcher’, ‘baker’ and ‘candlestick maker’. Sure, you’ll get lots of irrelevant material but you will learn much about what is going on in the city and you will get notices about jobs going as soon as they are posted.

You can do these things from anywhere in the world, plus you can connect with Fujairah in Focus (by subscribing to it) and Fujairah in Focus on Facebook (which has even more articles and links posted on it) to cover all your bases.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hotels and Apartments Springing Up in Fujairah City

Al Aqah Slow Down
The growth rate for hotels and resorts was recently reported to be slowing down in Fujairah’s coastal region of Al Aqah but new hotels are springing up in the city of Fujairah in three areas—the central business district, the corniche and north towards the port.

CBD Hotels and Apartments
The Nour Arjann by Rotana has built in the main street of Fujairah and it will capitalize on the business market and stress its proximity to the Fujairah International Airport. When this hotel opens—it did have a launch date of this month (June 2010)—it will offer 225 rooms and suites.

As one comes down the main street of Fujairah from Dubai there is on the right side a major construction by the Accor Company of the Novotel and Ibis Hotels. This appears to be a joint project with double branding—the Novotel Hotel and Residence (Serviced Apartments) offering 220 rooms at an upscale/midscale standard and the Ibis offering 180 rooms at economy or midscale standard. The original opening date was 2010 but the publicity and the state of the construction would suggest that 2012 is more realistic. (Specifications, including the number of rooms, change according to the date of the information sheets).

Fujairah Corniche
The Al Sharfa 5 star hotel and apartment construction at the water’s edge has recently been described at this link but this building with its sea views will have 350 hotel rooms and 100 apartments.

The most recent company to be boasting a sea view development is Escan and its AED 1.2 billion Al Fanar project built by Al Qabdha Building Construction. Set in the city centre Al Fanar (‘lighthouse’ in Arabic) will have three towers. A residential tower with two basement floors for parking (space for 1,200 vehicles) will have 35 floors of apartments and penthouses. A commercial tower will contain 55 floors of office space. A third tower will comprise a shopping mall and the lighthouse in Fujairah is set to beam in 2013.

At the launch on 30 May 2010 it was revealed that Escan, by a decree issued by the Fujairah government, will offer long-term leases of up to 100 years and title deeds to foreigners who have 49% company ownership in the UAE.

Al Sharia-Al Faseel Suburbs
Further north, in the Al Faseel-Al Sharia area, towards the Fujairah Port and on the Faseel Road, is the Marque Hotel developed by the Al Safeer Group and part of the Rendezvous Group. This complex will consist of a ground and first floor to house the Safeer Mall and a 4 story hotel above which will provide 217 rooms. While an original opening date was given for 2008, the external structure is up but it may be a while before the mall and hotel is open for business.

Take a look at the pictures of these projects—the state of play and the artist’s impression of the completed work. Here is the link.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: The Novotel/Ibis Hotel under construction early June 2010.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sheikh Mohammed Urges People to Visit UAE Expo Pavilion at Shanghai or Online

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum extends this invitation on his Facebook Page:

“I am pleased to see the great turnout at the UAE Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010 during its first month. If you are not able to go in person, you can visit it online.”

Information about the Expo
This stylish web site is a mine of information about the UAE Pavilion in Shanghai, the record of the UAE’s involvement at previous Expos and the hopes of the Emirates in participating in the Expo 2010, with an introductory video.

UAE Information
There’s info on the main cities of the UAE with links and maps to all the emirates.

One of the main pages focuses on Emirati culture, heritage and art and there are some superb videos to watch and photos to view.

UAE Expo Theme
One page is devoted to the UAE’s theme, ‘Better Cities Better Life’ which includes discussions on urban planning, sustainable buildings and the task of casting a vision for one’s city.

School Projects
The web site will be useful for school projects about the UAE and if this sounds like too much hard work there is a Kid’s Corner and an Online Quiz which has as the major prize an airline ticket to the UAE.

Visit Virtually or for Real
This virtual visit, as well as the pavilion in Shanghai, will serve an educational purpose as well as fostering tourism and engendering business opportunities.

As of today you have 143 days before Expo 2010 ends.

Check out some of the images used in the UAE Pavilion.

Expo 2010 Shanghai China: United Arab Emirates Pavilion.
Become a Facebook Fan of the Expo 2010—UAE Pavilion.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: The home page of the Expo 2010 Shanghai China: United Arab Emirates web site.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Muslim Pen Reads the Quran the Write Way

Muslim Readers
You’ve heard of Shariah-compliant products, Muslim cars that sound the Call to Prayer but now there’s a Muslim pen.

One of the innovative products on display at the 4th China Sourcing Fair in Dubai is a new pen that reads the Quran aloud.

It’s an example of the way crafty inventors are coming up with products to sell to the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.

What's the Point?
The pen is for grandfathers who have everything, for prisoners in UAE jails who are memorizing the Quran to get time off their sentence, for devotees with failing sight and Muslims in Sharjah who can’t see the text because of another power failure.

There’s More
The pen (pictured) costs $33 and this is what you get for your money:
1. A complete and well painted Holy Quran in the form of a traditional book.
2. A ‘terrific’ pen with a built in speaker.
3. A built-in lithium battery that should keep the pen running five times a day.

Activating the Pen
You touch the text or roll the pen over a verse in the Quran and you can hear the Scripture spoken through the pen’s loud speaker.

Alternatively you can touch the title of the Sura (chapter) and the pen will broadcast this or any of the 114 suras in the Quran.

Touch the verse or sura again and the excerpt is repeated.

The pen has functions that allow you to choose the voice of your choice—the recitation by a man or a woman and even your preferred accent.

More functions provide for a range of volume, tone and clarity.

Can You Write with the Quranic Quill?
The marketing promo doesn’t say whether the pen is any good for writing. It would also be handy for the pen to have a compass or a GPS to find the direction of Makkah (Mecca).

Write On
Here is a verse in the Quran to which you might point your new pen:
Allah says: ‘Say, O Muhammad, if the water of the sea were ink for a pen to write down the words, wisdom and signs of Allah, the sea would run dry before it all could be written down.’

Here is one place where the pen can be purchased.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Going on a Date in Fujairah

If you love fresh dates you will be tantalized every day you drive by the palm trees lining the streets of Fujairah.

The trees are flaunting their heavy bunches of fruit and the dates are linked together in colorful braids.

It’s fascinating to see so many colors—some of the dates are still deep green, others are bright yellow, a neighboring tree might boast fruit that is blood red and still another displays variegated fruit that are moving between one shade and the next.

On the side-of-the-road stalls in Masafi, vendors are already selling the red and yellow crunchy dates for eating.

In the stillness of the morning one catches the waft from the palm trees—the seductive sweet aroma of dates overpowered by the rich odor of fermented or rotten dates that have fallen to the ground.

The dates on this Fujairah calendar indicate that harvest is coming and luscious, fresh dates will be available to break the Ramadan fast.

Dateoholics Not Permitted
See the pictures of colorful dates on palm trees in the same vicinity.

Food for Thought
“How can the eater of dates forbid the eating of dates?” Arab proverb.

Make a date to come to Fujairah for the harvest, Fujairah in Focus, 18 June 2009.
Date fruit wisdom, Experiencing the Emirates, 9 September 2009.
Stop off for ‘the finest dates in all of Arabia’ on your way to Fujairah, Experiencing the Emirates, 6 September 2009.
UAE: Home to 40 million date palm trees [I think this figure is out of date], Experiencing the Emirates, 25 February 2008.
UAE is growing like a date palm, Experiencing the Emirates, 29 November 2007.
Even UAE dates must wear burqas, Experiencing the Emirates, 23 May 2007.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: One of the date palms in the central strip on Moh’d Bin Matar Road, central Fujairah.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fujairah Crown Prince Receives Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Organizers

Official Press Release
A representation of the organizers of the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan 2010 was received today by the Fujairah Crown Prince, His Highness Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

The Crown Prince was briefed on the details of the sporting championship that will be held 13-27 August, between the hours of 9.00pm to midnight, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Sheikh Mohammed warmly received the members of the Maktoum Championships organizing team and pledged his support and appreciation for all that is being done for the building of community through sport.

From the original vision of Sheikh Maktoum, the competitions have grown in popularity to the level that last year (2009) the Maktoum Championships were rated the second largest Ramadan sports tournament in the Emirates.

The MKC Ramadan in Fujairah has attracted international, national and local players and by last year the total number of 1154 participants was reached.

In 2009 the MKC Ramadan attracted the highest number of people watching the sports with approximately 32,000 spectators in attendance throughout the 20 days.

This year the organizers are planning a greater number of sports and exhibition events. With most activities being hosted by the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club for the very first time, many more players and spectators are expected. The events and crowds will be much closer together thus making a better sporting spectacle. This year people will be able to walk from event to event rather than needing to travel in their cars.

Ample car parking will be available and free buses will travel on soon-to-be publicised routes to enable players and spectators to get to the events and back each night with safety and ease.

While they are yet to be finalized, the current list of sports and exhibitions includes the following: football (soccer), volleyball (men’s and women’s), tennis, basketball (men’s and women’s), chess, tug of war, cricket, interactive games, motocross, sand drag racing, car show (classic and modified), special needs games, table tennis, taekwondo, boxing exhibition, squash, swimming and arm wrestling.

Important features will include competitions for those with special needs, women, children and corporate teams.

In addition to the many Emirati sportspersons, the MKC Ramadan is attracting people in Fujairah and the UAE from an increasing number of nationalities.

A diverse group has been drawn together to organize the various facets of the sporting tournament. A new Maktoum Championships website www.mkc.ae is already providing fresh information and photos and the Fujairah and UAE media will be invited together to be briefed on the new features of the MKC Ramadan.

A booklet has been produced for prospective sponsors providing information on the different ways individuals and companies might invest in this significant event for Fujairah and the United Arab Emirates.

Brochures and registration forms will be appearing soon but people requiring information may call Maktoum Championships on this number—0509892000.

Two of the Honorary Committee members have accompanied the MKC10 team—Mr. Salem Al Zahmi, Crown Prince Office Manager and Captain Musa Murad, Director General of the Fujairah Port.

MKC is privileged in having the honorary decision-making members to guide the Organizing Committee in planning the Championships in the most proper manner.

The MKC Ramadan Organizing Committee is comprised of Mr. Nasser Al Yamahi (Chairman), Mr. Sharief Al Awadhi (Vice Chairman), Ms. Fatma Yousuf (Chair of Media) Mr. Tariq Abdulla (Admin & Finance), Mr. Ross Brown (Championships Manager), Colonel Abdulraman Aldhanhani (Chair of Security), Mr. Rashid Al Kindi (Chair of Public Relations) and Mr. Geoff Pound (MKC Media Consultant).

The visitors were grateful to the Crown Prince for his practical support and the trust that he has bestowed upon them.

This is the Official Press Statement following the meeting with the Crown Prince and it is intended for immediate release on 8 June 2010.

Fujairah Tennis Club Gets Biggest Challenge in Scoring Maktoum Championships, Fujairah in Focus, 7 June 2010.

Maktoum Championships Plan New Sports for Ramadan Tournament in Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 4 June 2010.

Maktoum Championships—Facebook Page for up to the minute information, photos and video clips.

Find Fujairah in Focus on Facebook for much more information, links and photos on Fujairah.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: The Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, with members of the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament Organizing Team.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fujairah Tennis Club Gets Biggest Challenge in Scoring Maktoum Championships

Most Challenging
General Manager, Ross Brown said that “the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament this year (13-27 August 2010) will be the most significant event we have hosted here at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club because it involves so many sports, players, spectators and organizers.”

In its short history the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club has developed a fine reputation for hosting and managing events such as the Monodrama Festival, the Wedding Expo, Style 2010 Fashion Exhibition, the Fujairah Classic Bodybuilding Championships, the Weightlifting Competitions, Eight Ball Championships and International Tennis Championships, but the sheer number of people who will attend makes the Ramadan Tournament logistically challenging.

Expertise in Organization
Each of the 18-20 sports has its own chairperson and organizational team and in the last two years since the Maktoum Championships was established by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi a good deal of local expertise has accrued.

Now Ross Brown is busy meeting with the organizers in order to finalize the location of each event in the grounds of the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club and to assess what resources will be needed.

Improving a Winning Formula
Brown wants to help improve what has become a winning formula. Coming to Fujairah over a year ago to take up the position of General Manager, last Ramadan was his first taste of the Maktoum Championships. He was impressed with the enthusiastic level of participation and he wondered how he could become more involved.

Bridge Building by Sport
Ross Brown resonates with Sheikh Maktoum’s vision of using sport as a means for developing harmony and growth for everybody because as a sportsman, a coach and a sports event manager over many years, he has seen first hand how “sport has a way of building bridges across various groups.”

Location, Location, Location
One of the attractive features of the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament this year will be to have nearly all the sporting competitions and exhibition events in the one location—the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club. This will eliminate the need for travelling by car from one event to another and when spectators come to watch their favoured event they will be able to walk around with ease and enjoy the many competitions that will be held both indoors and outside.

Excellence and Expertise
In addition to providing the variety of areas in the one location Ross Brown says his staff has significant expertise in sports management, training in a range of sports as well as proficiency in the crucial areas of safety, first aid and security.

High Hopes
As a tournament, Brown is hoping for a high participation of players in all the sports and the smooth running of the events.

For the crowds who will attend each evening from 9.00pm to midnight, Brown is working to provide a spectator-friendly environment with everyone easily finding their way from one event to the other, with food and refreshments being on hand whenever they are needed.

All in all, the leader of the team at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club is working hard with the organizers to ensure that when everyone looks back on the Maktoum Championships—Ramadan Tournament 2010, they will declare it to be the best championships yet.

More Information on the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club
* Some photographs of the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club are at this link.
* Link to see location and get directions to the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club.
* Fujairah Tennis and Country Club web site.

Further Information on the Maktoum Championships
* Maktoum Championships Plan New Sports for Ramadan Tournament in Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 4 June 2010.

* Bookmark this Maktoum Championships-Facebook Page for up to date information, photographs, videos etc.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: This 3,000 seat centre court stadium will be ideal for the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Maktoum Championships-Ramadan Tournament and for staging some of the final matches.

Reviewing ‘A New Financial Dawn: The Rise of Islamic Finance’

Authors Joseph DiVanna and Antoine Sreih believe that Islamic Finance (also known as ‘Shariah Compliant Financial Services’) is not a passing fad but that its growth in this last decade represents a new dawn.

The co-authors have written this book to explain the mysteries of this new movement. The book draws from theology, ethics and finance to provide practical handles for people in business and examples of innovative financial systems and products that are coming on to the market.

Extensive research by the authors illustrates how significant the growth of Islamic Finance is becoming, not only for Muslims but for business people beyond Islam who are looking for ethical investments and financial services. This move beyond the followers of Islam is opening up new markets and leading to a more inclusive rebranding of Islamic banks and banking services.

DiVanna and Sreih have published this book at a time of deep crisis in the global markets but they contend that while Islamic finance has not been immune to the storms its banking principles and financial models have built in stabilizers. Furthermore they urge their readers to discover ways that the global recession might serve as a seedbed for growing markets and developing a range of new products.

In addition to providing information on the principles of Islamic Finance, A New Financial Dawn urges business people and bankers to be innovative and to seize the opportunities to create Shariah-compliant products. In their enthusiasm, however, the authors lack a critical edge in their discussion of Islamic Finance. They do not elaborate on the downside of Islamic banking, especially on such tasks as getting authority and agreement from Shariah scholars who may differ in their ruling of how theological law governs banking and influences financial services.

The authors in pointing up the distinctives of Islamic banking sometimes appear to be simplistic in contrasting it with ‘conventional banking’ and portraying the latter as being monochrome and having no theological or ethical principles. Herein lies the challenge for Islamic Finance when the dawn turns to the midday heat—how this financial movement might stay genuinely connected to its theological and ethical foundations.

This book provides a readable introduction to the subject of Islamic Finance and while it will be of general interest it should be required reading for anyone employed in business and banking.

Joseph DiVanna & Antoine Sreih, A New Financial Dawn: The Rise of Islamic Finance London: Leonardo and Francis Press Ltd., 2009.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: Front cover of A New Financial Dawn.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Large Mosque Rising in Fujairah, UAE

Second Largest
The foundations are being dug for what is reputed to become the second largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.

When finished in the projected 800 days, the mosque won’t quite span the area of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, nor will it have the elaborate and expensive finish that adorns this largest mosque, located in the UAE’s capital.

Yet this new mosque will become a significant landmark in the city of Fujairah and will take on a cathedral status for the north-eastern emirate. Already Fujairah is known for having the oldest functioning mosque in the UAE, located at Al Bidya.

The cost of the new mosque is AED 190,500,000.00 or US$ 52.1 million.

The mosque will be called the ‘Sheikh Zayed Mosque’ of Fujairah to commemorate the life and legacy of the ‘father of the nation’. This building is receiving funds from the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

Building Team
The new mosque is the project of the Fujairah Ministry of Public Works and is being constructed by the United Engineering Construction which is based in Dubai with offices in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Since 1993 this company has acquired a vast and varied portfolio of large projects including residential towers, residential developments, educational and commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals and libraries.

Over these two decades the UEC has constructed more than six mosques, including the Grand Mosque in Sharjah.

The architects are a Malaysian firm, Arkitek ICB aided by Mabani Consultants.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque of Fujairah will have an approximate capacity for 28,000 worshippers and will consist of a main prayer hall and an external open courtyard for prayer.

Judging by the architect’s impression (pictured) this new mosque will be distinguished by its large number of domes and in this regard it will be like the large mosque in Turkey.

Central Location
The mosque is being built on prime real estate behind the high rise buildings on the left of the main street as one approaches Fujairah from Dubai or Sharjah.

The land is bordered by Moh’d Bin Matar, Al Ittihad and Al Salam roads and is opposite the Al Bustan Function Hall.

See Location on Google Maps

View Sheikh Zayed Mosque of Fujairah in a larger map

Check out the Progress at the Twenty Day Mark

See Video of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, ETE.
Turning Mosques in Malls into Multi-Faith Facilities in UAE, ETE.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: An artistic impression of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque of Fujairah (image thanks to United Engineering Construction).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Maktoum Championships Plan New Sports for Ramadan Tournament in Fujairah

In Brief
* The founder and patron is His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

* The Maktoum Championships (MKC) Ramadan Competitions are to be held from 13th-27th August 2010 between the hours of 9.00pm to midnight.

* The major venue is the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club.

Exciting Development
From the vision of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi in 2007, the Maktoum Championships have grown in popularity to the level that last year (2009) MKC was rated the second largest Ramadan sports tournament in the Emirates.

The Ramadan tournament has attracted both international and local players and by last year the total number of 1154 participants was reached.

In 2009 the Ramadan tournament attracted the highest number of people to watch the various sports. It is estimated that there were approximately 32,000 spectators in attendance throughout the 20 days of competitions.

New Variety
The genius of the MKC Ramadan extravaganza is the mix of competitions and events. Fancy a tournament that includes cricket and chess, tug of war and interactive games, Motocross and a Modified Car Show!

More sports are being introduced in Ramadan 2010 and while they are yet to be finalised the current list includes the following: football (soccer), volleyball (men’s and women’s), tennis, basketball (men’s and women’s), chess, tug of war, cricket, interactive games, motocross, sand drag racing, car show (classic and modified), special needs games, table tennis, taekwondo, boxing exhibition, squash, swimming, and arm wrestling.

Important features will include competitions for those with special needs, women, children and corporate teams.

Many More Cultures
In addition to the many Emirati sportspersons, the MKC Ramadan tournament is attracting people in Fujairah and the UAE from an increasing number of nationalities—Sudanese, Australian, Indian, American, Pakistani, Kiwi, Filipino, Bengali and more.

This cultural mix is attributed in large part to the fruitful cooperation between the MKC organizers and such groups as various social clubs, the Federation of UAE Football Association, the Dubai Sports Council, UAE Chess Federation, UAE Taekwondo & Karate Federation, UAE Table Tennis Association, UAE Tennis Association, UAE Swimming Association and Emirates Motor Sports Federation.

The more cultures that participate as individuals and as groups the richer the tournament becomes. While the spirit of competition will be evident the most important feature will be the inclusive gathering of people together regardless of their culture, gender, age, ability or religion. As His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi has so well stated, the vision of the Maktoum Championships “aims at spreading sport in the Emirates to achieve harmonious growth for everybody.”

New Facilities
This is the first year that the MKC Ramadan Tournament will be hosted at the attractive and stylish Fujairah Tennis and Country Club. These are well-equipped facilities that will aid the sportspersons, the spectators, the organisers, the media and those serving refreshments.

While not every event can be held at this venue (e.g. Cricket, Interactive Games), the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club with its many areas will bring the events and crowds much closer together to encourage a better sporting spectacle. People this year will be able to walk from event to event rather than needing to travel in their cars.

Ample car parking will be available and this year free buses will travel on soon-to-be publicised routes to enable players and spectators to get to the events and back each night with safety and ease.

Stay Posted
The Promotions Committee will be using all avenues to get information out as it is finalized. A new website is being prepared (URL soon to be announced) and a Facebook Page is up and running with photos, links and comments (Search ‘Maktoum Championships’ or click this link to make this a favourite).

It is not too early to get into training and form teams from your group of friends, from the business company for which you work or the organization of which you are a member.

More Information
Brochures and registration forms will be appearing soon but should you require information at this time, please call the Maktoum Championships on this number—0509892000.

MKC Ramadan Tournament in 2010
More sports in 2010.
More players in 2010.
More spectators in 2010.
More innovation in 2010.
More competition in 2010.
More 'harmonious growth for everybody' in 2010.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: The visionary and patron of the Maktoum Championships, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi.

Cyclone Phet Whipping up Wind and Waves at Fujairah

By mid-afternoon Friday 4 June the crowds were coming out on the Fujairah corniche to watch the waves which were increasing in height.

By 7.00pm the skies had blackened, some occasional showers were falling, the wind was driving hard off the sea and the onlookers were everywhere enjoying the spectacle.

The roads quickly congested and police cars with their flashing lights were out in force helping the vehicles to flow.

Cyclone Kills two, Halts Oil and Gas in Oman, Reuters [with news on Fujairah]
Midday on Friday and the Waters Swell in Fujairah, FIF (Plus pictures).
Precautionary Measures in Fujairah UAE for Cyclone Phet, FIF.
Check the updates on Bjorn’s Blog.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Midday on Friday and the Waters Swell in Fujairah

Cyclone Phet is still focused in Oman and while the weather forecasters are not predicting that the UAE will be greatly affected, a 50 person Rescue Team is stationed on the east coast and is on the alert.

At midday on Friday 4 June 2010 the winds are gusty, the tide is high, the waves are choppy and rising to a couple of feet.

Waves are seen in the distance crashing against the marina’s breakwater.

Surfers get out of their cars to survey the waves. Disappointed looks and the decision is obvious—insufficiently formed and sustained waves to bother getting the boards off the roof rack. Maybe come back later?

More Photos: Midday on Friday the Waters Swell at Fujairah.

Precautionary Measures in Fujairah UAE for Cyclone Phet, FIF.
Check the updates on Bjorn’s Blog.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

The Secret to Lionel Messi’s Success?

The Colonel never disclosed his secret recipe to Lionel Messi but is a tub of spicy chicken a day the secret to the success of the Baca and Argentinean champ?

Pictured is one of the many Messi/KFC billboards around Fujairah UAE at present, beaming secret messages to hungry spectators viewing the FIFA World Cup.

UAE World Cup Football Team Too Slow Because of Fast Food, ETE.
The UAE Football Team Should Watch this Video from Barcelona FC, ETE.
UAE Launches National Nutrition Strategy, Gulf News, 25 May 2010.
Fujairah’s Man at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, FIF.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Precautionary Measures in Fujairah UAE for Cyclone Phet

Oman’s Weather Warning
A powerful storm over the Arabian Sea has now intensified into a tropical cyclone named Cyclone Phet and is due to hit Oman’s east coast on Thursday.

Caution Advised In UAE
The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (Abu Dhabi) sounded an alert in the UAE concerning Cyclone Phet, whose peripheral effects might affect the country by Thursday evening (3 June 2010).

The centre cautioned fishermen and beachgoers to stay away as the cyclone could turn the sea rough. The marine warning is valid till Saturday, the centre said.

Sea waves in different coastal regions of the country could rise to eight feet and strong winds could kick up dust and reduce visibility significantly, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.

Rescue Team on Alert in Fujairah
A rescue team has been put on alert in the emirate of Fujairah as a precautionary measure to face the tropical cyclone ‘Phet’ as weathermen predicted that it may pass by the east coastline.

Latest Alert via Gulf News & WAM
A rescue team was ordered by Lieutenant General Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to be present in Fujairah as a precautionary measure against tropical cyclone Phet.

Colonel Mohammad Abdullah Nusaib Al Nuaimi, Deputy Director of Emergencies and General Safety at the Abu Dhabi Police Department, said a 57-member team is on hand as a precautionary measure.

A joint operation room has been set up in coordination with Fujairah Police and other relevant departments in the country.

Warning for UAE Residents
The National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) warned of high tides and strong winds in the next 48 hours.

Waves are expected to reach a height of 7 or 9 feet and up to 13 feet on Friday afternoon, with a slight possibility of rainfall stretching from the eastern coast into the southern coast.

Wind speed up to 30 knots an hour are also expected on the eastern coast.

The centre urged residents of coastal areas to refrain from sailing and swimming in the sea for the next two days.

The centre also warned boats and ship of high tides and winds, which may cause accidents.

Visibility will also dip due to dusty winds.

Cyclone Phet Not to Seriously Affect the UAE, Khaleej Times.
Powerful Cyclone Phet Takes Aim at Oman, Khaleej Times.

Emirates Meteorology Blog
Tropical Cyclone Phet (Oman), Facebook Page.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010 (Wunder Blog)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drive-In Cinema Opens in Fujairah at 10pm on 10/10/10

A First
The first Arabian-style drive-in cinema in the UAE will open for moviegoers at 10pm on 10/10/10 against the mountains of Fujairah.

Mekki Abdulla, the Chief Executive of Fujairah Media, hit every media channel today to make the announcement.

‘Arabian Cinemas’.

The idea is to enjoy a good movie under the desert sky, with refreshments and from the privacy of one’s own vehicle.

The Arabian Cinemas in Fujairah will offer the world’s most advanced 3D theatre technology in an outdoor entertainment complex featuring four drive-in digital cinemas.

Up to 7,200 patrons will be able to drive in to the movies every night with space for 800 vehicles at any one time. Prime location parking will be available for VIP Patrons.

The films screened will include Hollywood, Bollywood, Arabic-Middle Eastern and family entertainment.

Associated Facilities
The complex will also offer a recreational area for children, a playground, arcade, picnic area and a miniature golf course.

The price tag is AED 35 million or US$9.5 million.

The dream has arisen from the Fujairah Media Group, a joint venture between the Fujairah Cultural Authority and the Arab International Media Services.

It is hoped that the Arabian Cinemas will enhance Fujairah’s standing as an emerging tourist hot spot in the Middle East and will complement the city’s natural beauty with innovative technology.

How Will It Work?
1. Drive into the ground.
2. Purchase your tickets at the drive-thru ticket booth.
3. Park your vehicle in the designated space.
4. Buckle up your safety belt for the night of your life!
5. Watch movies on the giant projection screen.
6. Listen via the film’s audio FM channel.
7. Order a shawarma and other food and drink which will be brought to your car.
8. Light up a shisha to cap off a great Arabic evening.

Lift Off
Selecting the time of 10pm on the 10/10/10 relates to 10 being a perfect number—the ideal date for a perfect launch.

Additional Benefits
During the hours when movies are not screened, the Arabian Cinemas complex will be used for special events including musical concerts, cultural festivals, a golf school, driving range, car shows, flea markets etc.

The Twittersphere has been full of tweets today about ‘Fujairah Gearing up for the First-of-a-kind Multi-screen Arabian-styled Drive-In Cinema’. Here is a sample of tweets on the first day:

Jyoti: ‘Wow! Dubai lost out on this as I remember the Dubai drive in.’
Kholood says: “Always wanted to go to one; shame they want to add shisha too.’
Karl (from Dubai) asks: ‘Worth the two hour drive?’
Rashid (from Dubai): ‘I’m there!’

Drive-in Theatre Planned for Fujairah, The National.
Fujairah Gears Up For First-of-its-Kind Multi Screen Arabian-Styled Drive-In Cinema, AMEinfo.
Fujairah to Open Arabian-themed drive-in cinema, Trade Arabia.

Further on Film
‘City of Life’ Screening at Fujairah Cinema, FIF.
The Dubai Film ‘City of Life’, FIF.
Shooting of the Film ‘DAM 999’ in Fujairah, UAE, FIF.
‘City of Life’ Dubai Film—Now for the Sequel, FIF.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

The Beautification of Fujairah

The suburb of ‘Old Fujairah’, divided by Al Salam Road, is getting a makeover.

Today in this historic street lined with quaint shops and the Islamic Guidance Center, a team from the Municipality was out in full force.

Like a dentist extracting teeth, the straggly trees were whipped out in minutes.

As on many other Fujairah streets, the old is being removed, the ground is rolled, the soil is laid, new grass is planted and palm trees will soon be placed at regular intervals.

If, as Fyodor Dostoevsky contended, ‘beauty shall save the world’, the local municipality is on the way to making this a reality in the emirate of Fujairah.

Further Beauty Treatment
Fujairah Going Green, FIF.
Fujairah: Dreams Do Come to Pass! FIF.
Fujairah Corniche Undergoes Beautification, FIF.

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

T.G.I Friday Market at Fujairah

There are a host of reasons why people are thankful for the Friday Market in Fujairah’s township of Masafi.

Time Out
The Friday market is an ideal spot to break the journey from Dubai-Sharjah to Fujairah and stretch the legs. Approximately 30 minutes out from the east coast, the Friday Market is the place for a snack and to stock up on fresh vegetables and fruit.

If you are too comfortable to get out or it is too hot outside you can park your car in drive through fashion and the vendors will serve you through the car window. This is drive-thru Middle Eastern style.

In this land of malls the Friday Market offers a glimpse of what traditional buying and selling was like before the advent of hypermarkets with their check outs and credit card facilities. Some people think the Friday Market is tired and needs some sprucing up. The managers have recently added some in-your-face signage but it would be a pity if the traditional market was seduced into copying many of the features of a modern mall.

Happy Haggling
The Friday Market gives visitors a taste of authentic living throughout the emirate of Fujairah. It has a unique character shaped by its proximity to the mountains, wadis and the sea. At the Friday Market there is dust and grime instead of the polish and shine of the city. Price tags don’t come with the clay pots and Iranian carpets so one has the chance to experience the bartering and bargaining that people in these parts have done for centuries.

Friday Market?
Fancy a shopping strip named ‘Friday Market’ when it is open eight days a week! This is another example of how Fujairah is rough around the edges and full of delicious paradox. With no set trading hours the Friday Market opens when people are around and if you are coming through in the middle of the night you can still stop off and buy a mouth-watering mango or drink some refreshing coconut juice straight from the nut.

Watch the Gulf News Video Before You Travel

Buying Hats at Fujairah’s Friday Market, FIF.
Buy Yourself a Camel at the Friday Market, FIF.
Buying Oranges and Ouds at the Friday Market in Fujairah, FIF.
Friday Market for Pots and Containers, FIF.
Visit Fujairah for Good Cheap Carpets, FIF.
Picnicking Behind the Friday Market, FIF.
Visit Fujairah for the Friday Market and Tips on How to Barter, FIF.

How to Find the Friday Market
Directions from Dubai to Fujairah, FIF.

Check it out on Google Maps

View Friday Market, Masafi, Fujairah, UAE in a larger map

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fujairah’s Man at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa

Epic Journey Begins
Alan Nambiar is a well-known Fujairah identity. Sport, mathematics, music and photography are his passions. People usually know him as the camera-carrying photographer at most main events in Fujairah and around the UAE.

Alan has covered a range of community events including the annual swimming competitions and the traditional Emirati boat races. He has also covered International Sporting events both in the UAE and abroad. His Photographic journey reads as follows: FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, IRB Rugby World Cup, IRB Dubai Rugby Sevens, and Emirates Dubai Soccer Sevens.

Finally the foundation has been set for him to enter the grandest stage of all, FIFA World Cup 2010, in South Africa. His epic photographic journey soon begins.

Fujairah in Focus caught up with him in the midst of his preparations for going on the assignment of his life.

FIF: When do you leave for South Africa?
AN: My journey home starts on the 9th of June.

FIF: In what capacity are you going?
AN: I have been accredited by FIFA as an International Freelance Photojournalist. I have contacted newspapers, magazines and photo agencies so that they know I will be where the action is. I will be contacted on a day to day basis with live requests for specific photos and news as it unfolds.

FIF: Why did they go for a UAE-based photographer?
AN: My selection wasn’t about being UAE-based but fulfilling the credentials established by FIFA. It was a rigorous process and having covered many international sporting events stood me in good stead.

FIF: How many photographers will cover the World Cup?
AN: There will be hundreds around the stadium. Although I am accredited this does not guarantee entry into each match. One applies for a media ticket to get into the game and I have these for the first round games. After each round we all have to apply online for the next stage. I must apply for the final and if I honor all my commitments with FIFA and get to every match I will increase my chances of getting to cover the last game.

FIF: Where do you hope to sit at each stadium?
AN: People want newsworthy pictures so where one sits is very important. I have some ideas in mind as to which positions might get me closest to the action. Each ground has a ‘sweet spot’ I hope to scurry for post pre match! Once you are assigned a seat you cannot move around the stadium and go wherever you like. Placement is on a first come, first served basis so one has to get to the ground early and work until the match begins. If two countries are playing, the photographers from either one or the other country get the first pick of the seats and then the others choose from what is left on the pitch or tribune. The traffic is chronic so I will have to begin each day early and the accreditation process commences at the ground three hours before each match.

FIF: Which games will you be covering?
AN: I applied to shoot at 4 stadiums—Soccer City (in the Soweto area of Johannesburg), Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria , Ellis Park Stadium (Coca-Cola Park) in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province and Moses Madiba Stadium, Durban in my hometown. I am following the teams which are playing there and these include South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, USA, Germany, France, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana.

FIF: Are you happy about the games you are going to see in the first round?
AN: I am thrilled because there is a great possibility that the winners and runners up will come from these teams.

FIF: How do you feel about going back to South Africa in this official capacity?
AN: My dream was always to attend the football World Cup in South Africa. I never saw myself shooting it so this is a bonus to be sharing in these significant milestones of my country and my life as a photographer. This is a great personal achievement in pursuing my photographic goals and giving back to my own country. It doesn’t get much better than this. It’s all rather euphoric. I am very emotional about having the chance to shoot the World Cup in South Africa.

FIF: What cameras will you be using?
AN: At the moment I will be taking a Canon EOS-1D Mark III which is a sports camera with a long lens. I will also be taking a Canon EOS 5D which I will use for taking crowd shots in the stadium.

FIF: Do you have any other photographic projects up your sleeve while you are in South Africa?
AN: Besides covering the matches I want to cover the story of Africa. I want to look at Africa’s march onto the centre stage of World football. I want to explore the impact of this epic event on South Africa and its African counterparts. Exploring the angle of the FIFA World Cup 2010 effect on South Africa’s nation building and cross cultural development is going to be an important focus for me. I will be pursuing many themes and concepts related to South Africa and will attempt to produce picture essays and stories celebrating South Africa’s successes in becoming a powerhouse in global sport, economy and other avenues. The last story I would like to tell is the one from the people of South Africa and the soccer fans of South Africa. This should say it all.

I am planning to document my entire World Cup sojourn as a photography essay—looking at views of South Africans, views of fans from all over the world and views of Africa coming onto the global stage. These are likely to be from, before the matches, during and after the matches. I want to get interviews from people who attend the matches and are on the streets. I want Africans telling their African stories and specifically South Africans telling their South African stories.

I have applied for accreditation at the ‘Fan Fest’ which are huge centres for those who are not at the match but who can watch the game on big screens and do this in a social and joyous way. The Fan Fest in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town will be abuzz.

FIF: Who do you hope will win the World Cup?
AN: Being a South African I will be rooting all the way for my own country. I would like South Africa to do well but I’m a realist! South Africa still has a long way to go in international football. I hope that the South African team rises to the occasion and puts on a wonderful spectacle on home soil. I will be rooting for all the African teams at the World Cup.

FIF: What is the perfect final in terms of the two teams playing in the last match?
AN: My dream is to see Brazil and Spain in the final. My next choice would be Brazil versus Argentina.

Follow the Fujairah Photographer
Stay in touch with Alan Nambiar as he posts pictures and stories most days on this web site, Alan Nambiar’s Photography Blog.

More Pictures of Alan Nambiar with some football superstars can be found at Fujairah in Focus via this link.

Some of Alan Nambiar’s Sporting Photo Galleries
Football Portfolio
Beach Soccer Portfolio
Rugby Portfolio

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: Ismail Matar, the Emirati professional footballer with Alan Nambiar.