Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Traditional Sword Competitions to be Held in Fujairah

New Initiative
The Fujairah Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, is working hard to preserve and promote the traditional sports of the Emirati people.

His Highness is sponsoring the inaugural Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition with the intention that this will be an annual event in the emirate of Fujairah.

Showcasing Traditional Sports
The sword sports have been practised for hundreds of years by the shihuh (highlander) tribes in the mountains of Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and in neighbouring Oman.

Many city people are familiar with this tradition as frequently men from the highlands will demonstrate their sword skills as part of the entertainment at Emirati weddings.

Work In Progress
The details of the first annual Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition in Fujairah are yet to be finalised but at a sword skills demonstration this week at the Fujairah Fort some of the features became apparent.

+ In the first week of October, announcements via the media channels will give notice of the competition and call for registrations. A call centre will be established to give information on the competition.

+ The qualifying rounds will commence by mid-October, to be held in smaller towns such as Masafi and Dibba as well as in the city of Fujairah. These competitions may be held at schools and at community events in order to generate interest in this first competition.

+ The semi-finals and finals are likely to be held in the grounds of the Fujairah Fort with the final scheduled for 10 December 2010.

Rules of the Competition
+ Because this is the first time the sword competition is being run the rules of the competition are still being formulated.

+ Thought is proceeding on the feasibility of holding team competitions in addition to contests between individuals.

+ The two aspects of the competition will be sword dueling and the throwing and catching of swords (the highest throw that is caught).

The Sword Experience
Along with the sword skills there are other attractive features, notably the dancing with the swords to the sound of traditional Emirati music.

The level of danger involved in the catching of the swords creates tension and contributes to the interest of the public. While the swords are not razor sharp they are pointed and they can do serious damage if they fall in the wrong place or are caught incorrectly.

Handsome Prizes
The generous prizes reflect the commitment of the Crown Prince to fostering the traditions of his people and showcasing them for others to enjoy.

The prizes will be formally announced in the next few days but organizers indicated these provisional details (N.B. this is subject to confirmation):

1st Prize
AED 100,000
Gold sword
Luxury car

2nd Prize
AED 60,000
Silver sword

3rd Prize
AED 40,000
Bronze sword

Other Prizes
Contestants who get one of the places from 4th to 10th spot will each receive AED 10,000.

Getting the Point
It is heartening to see the action of the Crown Prince in supporting a traditional sport that is specialized and conducted only in remote areas of the emirate.

Organizers are estimating that approximately 64 men will contest this inaugural Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition but giving it prominence each year through these annual competitions is likely to encourage many young people to take up the sport.

More details will be added to this article as they come to hand.

Take a Look
See pictures in this photo album of some highlanders demonstrating their sword dueling, dancing, throwing and catching.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this site.

Image: Some of the ‘highlanders’ rose to great heights in the sword dueling which all added to the entertainment value.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fujairah International Marine Club Extends Marina by 60 Berths

In addition to a new observation deck, the Managing Director of the Fujairah International Marine Club (FIMC) has announced the development of a new extension to the Fujairah marina.

Major Ahmed Ebraheim Alblooshi says that this marina extension will create another 60 berths—30 big boats and 30 smaller vessels—thus being able to moor a total of 120 boats (40 large boats and the rest a smaller size).

The project will be completed in 2 weeks, in time for the new season of marine sports which is soon to be announced.

Same Company
SF Marina in Dubai, which has its head office in Sweden, has once again won the new contract (Phase 2 & 3) after undertaking Phase 1 at the Fujairah marina two years ago.

This company specializes in manufacturing the full concrete floating pontoons which are installed on mooring systems of chains and anchors.

Timely Decision
Major Ahmed said that the cost of this extension is AED 4 million. He and his board decided to do it now because with the global recession and downturn in marina building they were able to negotiate significant savings of AED 650,000.

The Major said: “We already have several boat owners on a waiting list for new berths so this extension will make them happy as well as generating more revenue for the Marine Club and for Fujairah.”

Phase 4
Phase 4 of the marina is still in the planning. This will create a further 12 berths but moving ahead on this addition will depend on future demand.

New Marina for Dibba
One other plan that Major Ahmed is dreaming about is to create a new marina in Fujairah’s northern city of Dibba. This is a strategic location with its proximity to the hotels of Al Aqah and the marine activities of the Musandam Peninsula.

Dibba is also another traditional marine city in Al Fujairah and it has often hosted the boating competitions of the Fujairah International Marine Club.

Take a Look
Pictures of the marina extension taking shape are posted in this public photo album.

New Observation Deck to View Fujairah Marine Activities, FIF, 29 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this site.

Image: The long part of the jetty extension pointing towards the sea and from which the finger-like pontoons are being attached.

New Observation Deck to View Fujairah Marine Activities

Marine Views
There has been much activity over the summer months at the Fujairah International Marine Club (FIMC) to create new facilities for the upcoming season of marine sports.

One of the new features is the creation of an observation deck that gives a spectacular view over the Fujairah Harbour.

Major Ahmed Ebraheim Alblooshi, the Managing Director of the FIMC, said that when the first floor of his ship-shaped building was being renovated to accommodate a new Chinese restaurant it was decided to create an observation deck.

Many Functions
This high, large area will be a perfect viewing place, especially for VIPs to watch boat races on competition days. They will now have an outside viewing position as well as an inside area equipped with television sports channels.

When there is no racing the area will be used by the Chinese restaurant as an outside terrace for eating, drinking and shisha.

A staircase has been built to give external access to the observation deck without needing to enter through the building.

Major Ahmed said, “The substantial overhang will also be good for the Harbour Club Restaurant below by giving diners shelter from the sun. This could easily be glassed in and fitted with air conditioning to make it a comfortable all year round coffee spot with a fantastic marine view.”

Take a Look
Have a look at this photo album of the soon to be finished FIMC Observation Deck.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this site.

Image: “One of the new features is the creation of an observation deck that gives a spectacular view over the Fujairah Harbour.” (This picture gives a special preview for readers of Fujairah in Focus before the deck has been cleaned and spruced up for use).

Historic First 360° Panorama Photos Taken of Fujairah

The first panorama photos have been created and posted of Fujairah city.

The Hungarian brothers who operate the 360emirates Virtual Tours, Frigyes Toth (manager) and Zsolt Toth (photographer), have been to Fujairah several times in the last few weeks to let businesses know of this resource and to start taking panoramas in the emirate of Fujairah.

360° Fujairah
From this main web link put ‘Fujairah’ into the SEARCH box to locate the growing number of Fujairah panoramas. Click on one of the Fujairah panorama virtual tours and see how the screen flies from the Burj Khalifa to Fujairah.

The first panorama posted on the Al Hajar Mountains at Masafi on 20 September had received 887 views by the 29th of the month.

The second panorama posted on the 24 September of the Incense Burner Roundabout had received 393 views at the time of writing.

The third panorama posted later on the 24 September of the Coffeepot Roundabout by 29 September had been viewed 369 times.

Fujairah History
On 28 September, the largest panorama of the city of Fujairah was posted and in a few hours had been seen more than a 100 times.

This has been taken by a camera with a capacity of a massive 1.33 Gigapixels which gives the panoramic photos clarity and great detail.

When viewers click on the Auto-Rotate button they get to see all around Fujairah and they can zoom in with a mouse click.

The city of Fujairah is ideal for taking these panoramas because it is encircled by the Hajar Mountains which provide ideal vantage points.

Next Steps
After several of these wide city shots are taken and stitched together, businesses, hotels, Colleges, schools and shopping malls can elect to have a red locator put on a Fujairah panorama to let the world know where they are.

The red dot comes with a panoramic photo either outside or inside your place or both and information details of your company can be placed so viewers know how they can get to you, aided by the associated SHOW MAP function.

Businesses can also elect to have a Virtual Tour to give viewers and prospective customers a look at the many facilities and products they have to offer.

360° Emirates Panorama on Google Earth Comes to Fujairah, FIF, 21 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

N.B. I have a business interest in 360emirates. More on my disclaimer at the top of this article.

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this site.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Businesses and Apartment Towers in Fujairah Waiting for Power

Drive around Fujairah at night and you’ll quickly spot a number of apartment towers, hospitals and businesses that are standing in the dark without power.

Not Lovin’ It
Contrary to their advertising, McDonald’s in the UAE is not ‘lovin’ it’.

Managing Director for the UAE, Rafic Fakih, says the new McDonald’s in Fujairah has been ready and sitting idle for one year. It is waiting for power along with other fast food outlets on the ENOC property near to Fujairah’s Beach Motel.

Fakir says that every week he speaks with ENOC who in turn renew the request to the powers that be.

The Managing Director says:

“It is very frustrating. We are paying our rental to occupy the land. Our team for the McDonald’s in Fujairah has been appointed and they are waiting ready to go. Once the power is switched on it will only take us ten days to begin service.”

Extra Power
Some other first time businesses seeking a connection have been successful and are up and running but a greater supply from the power plant is needed to satisfy the growing need.

McDonald’s, Thai Express and Subway Coming to Fujairah, FIF, 16 June 2010.
The Good News and the Bad News about Fujairah Housing, FIF, 8 September 2010.
Power shortage in Fujairah leaves sparks flying, FIF, 26 August 2009.
Fujairah homes and businesses without power, switch to generators, FIF, 16 June 2009.
Power and water in short supply for Fujairah’s new buildings, FIF, 4 June 2009.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this site.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sheikh Mohammed Says the Whole UAE is Back

In a Bloomberg Television interview in Kentucky after the UAE team had won gold medal in the team equestrian 12 hour, 160 kilometre endurance race, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum spoke of the economic recovery and put Dubai in the context of the entire United Arab Emirates.

On the recession the Ruler of Dubai said:

“We take it as a challenge! Life would be boring if there was no challenge.”

The Sheikh did not speak of a changed vision but admitted some of the big projects might take six months to one year longer than their estimated completion date.

Lessons for Crown Prince
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, who also was an integral part of the equestrian endurance race was asked what it had been like to watch the recession affecting Dubai and what he had learned.

Sheikh Hamdan replied:
“I think it’s a great opportunity to sit with my father and see the decisions that he takes in this difficult time. It helps me a lot for the future and I think it is important for me.”

Hands-On Prince
His father added, “We work together…and he knew what I was going to do because he’s the Crown Prince. He has to be hands-on.”

Financial Capital Between East and West?
When asked whether his vision for Dubai was for Dubai to be a financial capital of the Middle East and a financial transition point between East and West Sheikh Mohammed replied:

“When I talk about Dubai I talk about the whole UAE. The whole UAE is the country.”

Margaret Brennan and Zahra Hankir, Dubai Ruler Says ‘We Are Back’ After Debt Accord, Bloomberg, 27 September 2010.

Watch Video
Interview with HH Sheikh Mohammed and HH Sheikh Hamdan, Bloomberg Television, 27 September 2010.

Sheikh Mohammed on the United Arab Emirates, FIF, 31 August 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed Called ‘Sheikh Mo Mentum’ at the US Horse Racing Sales, ETE.
More on Mohammed the Facebooking Twittering Sheikh of Dubai, UAE, ETE.
Make Sure to Connect with Sheikh Mohammed’s Correct Facebook Page, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Gets Public Page on Facebook and Thousands of Fans, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Showered With Birthday Greetings and Facebook Gifts, ETE.
Connect With Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid on Facebook, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Gains Too Many Friends on Facebook, ETE.
Follow Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai on Twitter, ETE.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Judged One of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, ETE.
Poems Give Most Revealing Glimpse of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Hailed as Most Powerful in Horse Racing Industry, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Pays Record Price for Aussie Horse Racing Deal, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Ambitions for Middle East, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammad Models Rare Style of Leadership, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Leadership is Honoured, ETE.
New Website for H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ETE.
Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed on 60 Minutes Video, ETE.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum crosses the finishing line in second place riding Ciel Oriental in the Endurance Championship during the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo courtesy of EPA)

Middle Eastern Breakfast at Al Meshwar in Fujairah

Middle Eastern
The Al Meshwar restaurant offers one of the best Middle Eastern breakfast menus in Fujairah.

Most of the international hotels in the city include some Middle Eastern dishes but these are usually part of their big and more expensive breakfast buffets which tend to encourage eating up large to make you feel you are getting your money’s worth (that sounds like a confession!).

I’ve been fed too much on the nutritionist’s advice to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

For me breakfast is the best meal of the day and while most of the week I’m a creature of habit in regard to my breakfast menu, the weekend is a good time for breaking out and doing something different.

Al Meshwar Breakfast Menu
These are the items as printed on the breakfast menu along with the prices:

AED 15 Fateh with yogurt (some explanation of fateh)
AED 18 Fateh with sesame seed oil
AED 10 Foul Medammas
AED 12 Foul with sesame seed oil
AED 22 Hommos with meat
AED 22 Hommos with pine seeds
AED 20 Nashef, lamb
AED 20 Nashef, chicken
AED 20 Mushrooms with lamb
AED 12 Omelet
AED 10 Fried eggs
AED 10 Scrambled eggs
AED 14 Labneh

Remember that in time these prices are bound to change! So might the menu.

Breakfast begins with Al Meshwar’s classic puffed bread that comes hot from the oven.

A small salad and a plate of assorted olives accompany the order.

I have tried and enjoyed as the main dish the fateh with yogurt (pictured) that comes topped with pine nuts. It is ample especially if you’re eating it with the delicious bread.

The Al Meshwar Experience
With its distinctive architecture this restaurant has taken on an iconic status in Fujairah.

It commenced operations in 1998 and moved to its current location in 2003. With its massive size the restaurant can cater up to 800 people at one time.

Al Meshwar boasts four levels and an outdoor terrace:

Ground: A café with à la carte menu and shisha (and the place for breakfast)

Mezzanine: Café for families only with à la carte menu and shisha. This floor has a private area for families and special functions.

First Floor: Non-smoking area, main restaurant with à la carte offering three sections including general seating and eating, family sections and a private VIP room.

Roof Top: Built for shisha with beautiful fountains and waterfalls to make for a relaxed setting.

Terrace: Whenever the weather allows any meal and shisha can be enjoyed outdoors at the ground floor terrace surrounded by plants and landscaping.

More at Al Meshwar
There’s much more at Al Meshwar from their complete lamb meal (AED 750), seafood section, their huge Al Meshwar mixed grill (for meat lovers) to catering for special functions and free deliveries.

They open each day at 9.00am and finish at some unearthly hour.

Contact Details
Tel: 09 2231113
Fax: 09 2233667
Email: meshwar(at)emirates.net.ae

Al Meshwar is on the main street of Fujairah on the right side as you drive towards Dubai.

Coming from Dubai one can circle the roundabout adjacent to the Fujairah Tower and head up for a few metres in the direction in which you came until you see KFC. It is behind KFC, set off from the main street.

Al Meshwar on the Map

View Al Meshwar Restaurant Fujairah in a larger map

Take a Look!
More Pictures in this Photo Album.

Download the Menu
It is downloadable from here (this is a 6MB PDF File)

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: “I have tried and enjoyed as the main dish the fateh with yogurt (pictured) that comes topped with pine nuts.”

Wasta—What is it and How Do I Get Some?

I was intrigued with the above wasta questions on Dubai FAQs Information Guide and felt it was useful to repost the answers that were added to this forum site on 7 June 2009 under the heading, Wasta in Dubai and the UAE:

Defining Wasta
Wasta is a word often heard in Dubai and in the UAE.

It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities.

The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.

Wasta Scale
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the UAE are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the UAE don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.

Learning of Wasta
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident.

Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively.

Signs of Wasta
Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past).

Viewing Wasta
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.

Wasta and Bribery
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them.

And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties.

Thanks to forum writers who contributed to this helpful.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: “Number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash).”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Will the Masdar Experiment Impact Fujairah and the Rest of the UAE?

Showcasing Masdar
The television stations are giving ample coverage to the UAE’s Masdar development as last week people began moving into the city to be part of this environmental development.

Moving Into Masdar
Masdar tourists are visiting the initial three acre block and Masdar scholars are poised to study the state of the art technology at the new Masdar Institute.

Masdar Technology
It is heartening to learn how Masdar designers are updating the traditional Arabian wind towers to cool the city, establishing solar panels, creating water treatment plants and banning oil-fuelled cars. But looking from across the UAE there is a yearning for at least some of this technology to be introduced outside the Masdar walls.

The more ‘Masdar World’ develops, the more it is being described as a gated-community that is set apart from ordinary life in the Emirates.

Nicolai Ouroussoff in his New York Times article, ‘In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises’ (25 September 2010) describes Masdar as “a self-sufficient society…outside the reach of most of the world’s citizens.”

Masdar Applied
Ultimately the impact of the Masdar model will be gauged by how well its lessons and technology are caught and implemented across the country to emirates like Fujairah.

It’s a challenge to create a model city on a small stretch of sand but it’s a greater task to apply the principles of sustainability and environmental excellence to the communities that already sprawl across the Emirates.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: The Masdar Institute, September 2010 (Photo Courtesy of Brian’s Blog)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Abu Dhabi to Fujairah Oil Pipeline to Be Finished End of 2010

Mohamed Al-Hamli, the UAE’s oil minister, said that the new Abu Dhabi to Fujairah oil pipeline would be finished this year.

“The $3.3 billion pipeline to the UAE’s easternmost emirate, Fujairah, aims to ‘bypass’ the Strait [of Hormuz] and will carry about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, Al-Hamli said in an interview in Washington.

An earlier Bloomberg article gave reasons for the need to create the UAE pipeline which is principally designed to overcome the chokepoint at the mouth of the Persian Gulf when Iran threatens to block the Strait.

While the UAE is confident the Strait will remain open to tankers, the purpose of the pipeline is “to really not put too much pressure on the ships coming into the Gulf,” Al-Hamli said.

Simon Lomax, Oil Pipeline Bypassing Strait of Hormuz to be Finished This Year, Bloomberg, 23 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: ‘The new Abu Dhabi to Fujairah oil pipeline would be finished this year.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Recycling Waste in Fujairah Shouldn’t Be Rubbished

One day these rubbish carts [pictured] will be a thing of the past—something we will only see in the Fujairah Museum.

One day we will take our children and grandchildren to the museum and say:

“We used to throw out together all our paper, glass, plastic, tins, food and garden waste into rubbish carts like this.”

“It took a long time but eventually the authorities latched on to the idea that if residents had separate bins near their house—one for plastics, one for paper, one for glass and so on—then trucks could come and take these off to be recycled.”

“We eventually realized that this was not only much better for the environment but that recycling actually made money so that picking up the waste in this way turned out to be cheaper than the old way of dumping it and using it for landfill.”

One day…

Region’s First Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Facility, ETE, 13 November 2009.
Looking Forward to a Recycling Service at Every Door in Fujairah, FIF, 5 June 2009.
Oman Leads UAE in Recycling by Using Fujairah Facility, FIF, 13 October 2008.
Fujairah Women’s College Takes the Lead, ETE, 18 April 2007.
Municipal recycling Facilities in Fujairah: I’d Like to See That! FIF, 7 November 2007.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: One day these rubbish carts will be a thing of the past—something we will only see in the Fujairah Museum.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Take a Dhow Cruise on the Fujairah Seas

The Barracuda Diving Center is now based at the ship-shaped Fujairah International Marine Club.

They offer many water-based activities and services including:
+ Diving Trips
+ Fishing Trips
+ Snorkeling
+ Marine Activities
+ Equipment Sales
+ Equipment Rentals
+ Diving Courses
+ Boat Rentals

Details of Dhow Cruises
Joanne, who manages the bookings, gives these details about the cruises:

Minimum 10 people, maximum 20 people.

7-11 am
12-4 pm
5-9 pm

Regular dhow cruises go for approximately four hours.

There is flexibility but a basic cruise would explore the coast from the Fujairah Corniche to Khor Fakkan, Dibba and back to the Fujairah International Marine Club Marina.

+ Drinks are included (water, juice, coffee, and tea).
+ TV and stereo inside.
+ One bathroom onboard and small kitchen. You can bring your own food.
+ Snorkels and fishing rods can be supplied according to your wishes.

The dhow cruise is a great idea for birthday parties, work parties, fishing trips or occasions of any type. Cruises can be tailored according to your specific needs.

The normal cost of the dhow cruise is AED 250 per person, based on a minimum of 10 people.

Take a Look
Pictures of the dhow are posted in this photo album.

More information is available from the Barracuda Diving Center Facebook Page or by contacting in these ways:

Barracuda Diving Center
Fujairah International Marine Club
Tel: +971 (0)9-2225580
Fax: +971 (0)9-2225508
Email: bdcfuj(at)emirates.net.ae

Things to See and Do Along the Fujairah Corniche, FIF, 20 June 2009.
Fishing Lures People to Fujairah and Still They’re Getting Hooked, FIF, 14 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming to your daily Facebook News Update.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The ‘Distant Emirate’ Label of Fujairah Helps it Stand Apart

A recent article described Fujairah as ‘distant’ which raises questions of where does your world begin, how the emirate is perceived and how might this feature be turned to an advantage.

The ‘distant’ label is often tagged to the north-eastern emirate and it is brought to mind by questions about the distance between Abu Dhabi/Dubai/Sharjah and Fujairah which flood the Internet search engines.

Negative Connotations
‘Distant’ might simply mean far away in place (as in far-flung) or far away in time but it can also convey the notion of being aloof, cold, unfriendly and irrelevant.

Paul Keating, the Australian Prime Minister in the 1990s, once colourfully described his country as ‘being at the arse end of the universe’. Remoteness from centres of population, prosperity and power can have economic and political disadvantages.

It would be interesting to examine (as Geoffrey Blainey has done with Australia) how distance has shaped Fujairah’s history and personality. Has it produced within the emirate a bitter, ‘hard done by’ mentality because it’s seen as a forgotten backwater or has it instilled within its leaders and its people a steely resolve and an entrepreneurial ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude?

Positives of Distance
The fact that the eastern emirate is distant from the UAE’s larger cities and yet within easy reach, has done wonders for Fujairah’s attractive image as a ‘get-away’ destination. To get away from ‘the big smoke’ of Abu Dhabi and the din of Dubai takes time but this travel is a necessary part of the process of detachment, unwinding and refreshment.

The location of Fujairah away from the Arabian/Persian Gulf and its situation on the Indian Ocean is increasingly being viewed positively, especially by leaders of the nation’s oil industry.

The more that Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stirs up tensions over the disputed islands in the Gulf, the more strategic does the location of Fujairah appear.

The Death of Distance
The advent of the Internet has been hailed as bringing about the death of distance and this is true for certain industries.

Living in remote Wellington, New Zealand, has not stopped Richard McManus from developing one of the most popular web businesses in the world. (The Dominion Post, 22 September 2010).

Perhaps online businesses, remote offices and the development of online communication is one of the ways Fujairah can flourish. Yet while the UAE is one of the most connected countries in the region, it is failing to capitalize on the many benefits that the Internet offers.

Standing Apart
The word ‘distant’ derives from the Middle English and Middle French word ‘distare’ meaning ‘to stand apart’.

Herein is the secret stance for ‘distant’ Fujairah, not seeking to copy Abu Dhabi and Dubai but accentuating its scenic coastline, highlighting its magnificent mountains, reveling in its rich wild life, talking up its mysterious history, showcasing its authentic culture and promoting all the many benefits that make Fujairah stand apart.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

360° Emirates Panorama on Google Earth Comes to Fujairah

* Call this an advertorial or an infomercial but I want to declare that I have a business interest in 360Emirates.

* Before this happened I spotted 360Emirates on the Internet and contacted the owners to say, ‘This looks fantastic! When are you coming to do this in Fujairah?’

* They replied and I wrote about their technology in this article,
Exploring Fujairah on a 360° Virtual Tour.

* They said they had plans to come and start in Fujairah in 1-2 months but with the local interest being shown the two Dubai-based brothers who run this business have already visited Fujairah and commenced their specialized photography work in this emirate.

* I have accepted their invitation to be the 360° Emirates agent in Fujairah.

Good News for Fujairah
When I first saw the 360 Emirates Panoramas and Virtual Tours I thought this would be ideal for Fujairah businesses, hotels, historic landmarks, clubs, restaurants, craft centres etc.

I say this because I wrote three years ago about the lack of decent maps of Fujairah in this article: ‘Fujairah, I’d like to See That: Good Maps’.

I have written frequently that the most popular article on Fujairah in Focus, which is also downloadable on a PDF document, is this one: Directions from Dubai to Fujairah. Visitors are eager to find maps and get directions.

I have started to make and post a Google Map (How to find it) for places that I am writing about, such as Fujairah’s new mosque, the Friday Market or a helpful Auto Electrician in Fujairah.

Leapfrogging Technology
In the absence of good Fujairah maps on paper and the city of Fujairah yet to appear on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) the 360° Emirates Panorama and Virtual Tours give Fujairah an opportunity to jump straight to the latest Google Earth Technology.

The word panorama means to see all over and with this state of the art technology whereby photographs are shot and then stitched together you can see all around—360 degrees! This is fantastic if you want to get prospective buyers to see your house for sale, to see the new cars for sale around your car showroom or to see your hotel facilities before they book.

You might be thinking that for you to participate, this technology will be very expensive and beyond your price range. The good thing is that the basic one-off service costs only AED 500 which gets your business appearing on the 360° Emirates/ Fujairah Panorama.

How 360° Emirates Will Help You
, have a look around on the site 360emirates.com.
Second, even for those who don’t usually read the manuals it’s a good investment of 5 minutes to watch the demo up on the top right of the site. This will introduce you to how to work the maps, panoramas and Virtual Tours with such basic things as:
+ Click and drag the map
+ Zoom in and out with your mouse
+ Click to show Google Earth
+ Select different locations
+ Learn how to recognize and click on ‘hotspots’ which lead to new panoramas.
+ Hitting on the Information image to see the information you can display
+ See how your business can appear on the map which can be maximized
+ Discover how to spin the Panorama around
+ Get more Navigational help so you can drive this well
+ Learn where to switch auto-rotate on and off
+ See the special new views available when you right click
+ Watch part of a Virtual Tour of Al Barari Villas (these go automatically)
Discover the Types of Businesses 360 Emirates will Help
Click on the 360 Emirates Virtual Tours logo (top left) to return to the Home Page.

On the left side under ‘All Panorama’ you will see 103 businesses listed (at the time of writing) starting from the most Popular—see how the Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai has already been viewed more than 74,000 times since April 2009!!

If you click the most Recent, you will see that at the top (at the time of writing) is the Beauty Salon in the St George Hotel in Dubai. Since this was created on 16 September 2010 (only 5 days ago), 1172 people have seen inside this salon!

At the top are the different categories of the businesses and sights that are using this technology to advertise their whereabouts and show off their products—Education, Events, Health, Hotels, Industry, Real Estate, Restaurants, Shopping and Sights.

The Basic Service—AED 500
A good illustration of the worth of the basic service is in the Shopping category called ‘Car Repair Shop Sharjah’. Another easy way to find it is to put the words ‘Car Repair’ into the SEARCH box at the top of the site.
When you click on this Car Repair Shop Panorama it zooms into the location in Sharjah.

There you have a picture of the mechanics who will fix your car.

Start the auto-rotate button at the bottom left and you can see all around this panorama. Stop it at any time to zoom into anything you want to see.

Click on the Information Button to the right and you can see information telling you the basic facts about these mechanics, including their sales pitch that they are ‘the best local car repair shop in Dubai/Sharjah’. Here is where you can put your contact information including your web site address. You could have this information in Arabic and English.

Move your mouse to the right once more and click on the pin indicating Show MAP. Out pops a Google Map which displays different layers (Map, satellite, hybrid, terrain) and at the top right of the map you can maximize it and zoom in and out until you know for certain where to find this place. Or at the top right you can see the red locator button again by clicking on SHOW EARTH.

For AED 500 the Car Repair Shop in Sharjah/Dubai or you can get:
+ A red location dot on the 360 Emirates site (permanent).
+ One panorama photo (so people can get a sense of what you are like) either outside like this Car Repairs or an inside panorama as in the ‘Beauty Salon-St George Hotel, Dubai’.
+ Your location on this Google Map which helps your customers to get directions to your business and find you.
+ The chance to provide basic information about who you are and your contact details.
+ The opportunity for your business to be hosted at 360emirates.com and thereby associated with all the other important businesses including the popular Burj Khalifa. Viewers to these sites can easily search and find your site and business.
+ Your panorama is registered with 360emirates.com and will be initially among the new collection of panoramas or Virtual Tours.
+ For businesses like this Car Repair place you get a web link that you can send to people in your emails or documents. See the way the Car Repair business has been linked to the site 360Cities.
+ Your panorama can be uploaded anywhere you want e.g. embedded on your business web site and linked back to 360emirates.com.
+ High Internet search effectiveness. When people use a Search Engine (Google) and search ‘Car Repair-Dubai and Sharjah’, this is the business that viewers will see first!
+ You will receive an off-line desktop version of your panorama or Virtual Tour on a CD with a designed cover. You can take this around on your laptop to show prospective clients what your business looks like. You can order more of these CDs to send to your prospective clients.
+ All this comes with navigation and usage information about working a Virtual Tour with a sliding Help Panel.
+ You have the chance to ask for your unique control design (the colours, logo and style) that is in keeping with the style of your existing business.

The Advanced Service
At this next level you get all there is in the basic service but here are some examples of what more is possible:

From the home position, search for ‘Maxine Restaurant’. Clicking on this takes you to the front door (Panorama #1) where you can look around the exterior and check to see the parking.

Now, notice the Hotspot on the front door? Click on that to enter the lobby (panorama #2).

Swing around and then come back and see the next hotspot which takes you into the formal dining area (Panorama #3).

Move around again and you will see another hotspot and this takes you to a comfortable lounge area with television screens (Panorama #4)

All these hotspots can be labeled so viewers don’t get lost on their Virtual Tour.

The charge is AED 500 for each panorama—
* AED 1,000 for the basic service plus a second panorama
* AED 1,500 for a total of three panoramas.

Discounted Rate
* If you choose to have 10 panoramas and more they are charged at a discounted rate of AED 400 each so:
* 10 panoramas will cost AED 4,000. e.g. Click on the Zayed University (under education) to see an example of this number.
* 20 panoramas will cost AED 8,000.

Virtual Tour
When you have more than one panorama, as in most of the hotels or Universities, then you get to experience a Virtual Tour. People can explore the different panoramas of your business in the sequence that they desire.
Make sure you have a look at some of the Virtual Tours (listed at the bottom right of the site) with multiple panoramas. The Al Barari Villa Dhalia in Dubai has 26 panoramas to view. Don’t get lost in the Virtual Tour! With all of the hotspots one gets a good idea of the layout of the place before you go.

More Extras for Same Price
Type into the Search at the top, ‘St George Hotel-Dubai’. If the sound is turned up on your computer you will hear racy music and a commentary in both English and Arabic.

On the left side you can see a Navigation Menu which reveals that this hotel has got 8 panoramas which you can tour in whatever order you choose. Have a look inside the rooms and don’t forget to see the ‘Creek Night View’ by clicking on the panorama menu or the hotspot at the top of the hotel. Swing the panorama around and see the view of the Dubai Creek at night and zoom up close. It’s magnificent!

Have a look at the recently created, ‘Creek Night—Dubai’ Panorama which has had almost 3,000 views in less than a week. Turn on the Sound Button! Listen and see the audio and visual effects!
Facebook Presence
With Facebook being the second most popular Internet site in the UAE (after Google) it is no surprise to learn that 360 Emirates.com has a Facebook Page presence.

At the bottom of each Virtual Tour you can see the opportunity for people to LIKE a Virtual Tour and let their friends on Facebook know that the Virtual Tour is a good look.
Being able to promote your panorama or Virtual Tour on Facebook is yet another benefit of 360 Emirates.

Uniquely Tailored
The variety of panoramas and Virtual Tours on the 360emirates.com site will suggest to you ideas of what is possible and also what is realistic according to your budget.

More Information & Details
+ If you are in the emirate of Fujairah do email me geoffpound(at)gmail.com for more information or to discuss your requirements.
+ To reach the 360 Emirate owners at Al Fanoos Al Malaki Electronics go to this Contact Link.
+ After you decide what your showroom, hotel, college, car repair business, hair salon needs a letter will be drawn up by 360 Emirates outlining the offer and confirming the price.
+ Special payment terms for an order with many panoramas involves 50% payment after ordering and the final 50% after completion and uploading of the Virtual Tours.
+ The customer must provide all the details of requirements—how many panoramas, where etc.
+ One of your company or business representatives shall accompany the photographer during the shooting to ensure the right photos are taken of the right scenes.
+ All locations within the business, salon, college etc. must be properly prepared prior to the photographing—cleaning, decorating, staff in the right positions etc.
+ All shootings will be completed in a 1-2 day period depending on how many panoramas are required.
+ Customers can provide a sound file with commentary in the required language/s as well as the text to go in the Information Box.
+ The CD will be delivered and the Panoramas and Virtual Tours will be added to the required web sites within 6-8 days after the completion of the photographic shooting.

On a Mission in the UAE and Fujairah
360 Emirates has stated the mission in this way:

“We would like to create the best virtual country (U.A.E.) in the world where you can find and see 360° panorama photos in virtual tours from all the important places...”

Part of this mission is also to create the best virtual city and state (Fujairah) in the world whereby prospective residents and tourists get to ‘see’ the services and the treasures that we offer and enjoy.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Patrick Antaki on How the Recession Has Affected Fujairah Hotels

In a wide ranging interview describing the work of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority (FTAA), Patrick Antaki, the General Manager of Le Méridien Al Aqah, spoke of the impact of the global recession on Fujairah hotels.

Here are some snippets relevant to this theme:

Slowing and Stopping
“It has slowed things down. There were three active projects. One of them, the company that was building it has gone bankrupt – that was Damas Hotels.”

“Another is InterContinental management group, but the owners have slowed down the process in order to save money. So they are still building it but it’s taking its time.”

“And the third one – Mina Al Fajer [a Fairmont resort] is still going ahead so that should be ready by the end of 2010.”

Upcoming Developments?
“Fujairah has a lot of hotels coming up in the town itself. On the main street there is a Rotana opening, there is a Concorde opened, there is a Coral residence, there are another two under construction – Premier Inn has signed on some land there.”

“Don’t forget Fujairah town is growing through a lot of commercial investments. The port is doubling in size, there are a number of industries as the oil pipeline so we are looking at between 20 and 30,000 new residents coming to Fujairah.”

Business at Le Méridien Al Aqah?
“It’s had less of an impact for people who were thinking outside of the box, who still put investment and development of the product as a major objective, who still made sure that quality and service delivery is the number one.”

“You can do two things in bad times, you can start cutting costs or you can make sure that your services are top notch to make sure the people who are still travelling will come to you, not your neighbour.”

Getting Ready for the Upswing
“So that’s what Al Aqah is doing. We are just about to go into a room refurbishment; we are refurbishing our main restaurant. People ask me: why are you investing in the middle of a recession? But it’s so that I’m ready for the upswing so that when business starts pulling back, we are there and we’re fresh.”

Cutting the Rates?
“Yes thirty to forty percent. You have to work with a formula called the ‘elasticity of pricing’. It’s about supply and demand. So when I see it’s not selling, you have to reduce your prices. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. We are competing today against different countries, not just within the UAE. We need to attract customers going to Egypt and Turkey too.”

Major Challenges in Promoting Fujairah?
“To be heard above all that noise, and the other destinations coming up against us. There are people with more money that can shout louder, so this will definitely be a challenge. Otherwise it’s a beautiful destination and a very sellable destination.”

Read the Full Text of this Important Interview
Monika Grzesik, Fujairah Goes Forth, Hotelier Middle East, 14 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: A shot from the changing scenes on the web site of Le Méridien Al Aqah, each over-stamped with a note in the black box: ‘Autumn days are here again! Save up to 30% off!

See More
See the scenes that sell the rooms at Le Méridien Al Aqah or in this public Facebook Album.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shout Out Your Specials on Fujairah in Focus

If you’ve got a service or a product-that Seth Godin would say is as remarkable as a purple cow-and you want to shout about it, then the new Shout out Your Specials! page on Fujairah in Focus might have been created exactly for you.

Fujairah people have developed the reputation for being quiet and restrained but this Page gives an opportunity to develop the corporate voice and let people know what’s on offer.

It fluctuates but 50% of the readers of this site read Fujairah in Focus somewhere in the UAE and the hits from such people soar as each weekend approaches. These are among the many in the UAE who see Fujairah as an ideal place to explore and blob out for the weekend.

Other Half
The other 50% are currently living overseas and I would guess a good number of them are people who are planning a visit to the Emirates. Now is your chance to lure them to the emirate that was this month described as ‘the UAE’s best kept secret’.

Check the Guidelines & the Specials
Go to this page at the top of the Fujairah in Focus web site to read the guidelines if you have a Special to share.

Check this page daily to see what new specials are being shared.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on this link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Football Fever and Much More in Fujairah’s Neighbouring Town of Kalba

Think Outside the Box
Promoters of tourism in the UAE might serve the best interests of tourists by thinking outside their emirate.

Nowhere is such collaboration needed more as between Fujairah and Sharjah.

Crossing Borders
If tourists drive towards the east coast through the Gillay Tunnel at the southern most part of the UAE, they will reach Sharjah’s enclave of Kalba, which is a couple of kilometers from the Omani border and eight kilometers from Fujairah.

One might be heading for Fujairah but there’s so much to see in Kalba.

If one was to drive north from Kalba the full length of the Fujairah coastline, one would go in and out of the territories of Sharjah two or three times and quite likely through an enclave of Oman.

Impressions of Kalba
The National has recently posted a good-news story from Kalba about the healthy state of football (the team now plays in the Pro League) and the impressions of some of the big names that are visiting this ‘football outpost’. Here’s a sample:

David O’Leary, Ahli’s Irish manager, who has walked touchlines in major din at Leeds United and Aston Villa, finished a trying evening of management after a 2-2 draw he did not expect yet still said: “It’s been a lovely place to come and play football.

“I’ve been coming to Dubai for 11 years with my family. I really like this part of the world. I never thought a place like Kalba existed. We came down here last night, were here today and it’s just a lovely coastal town. Beautiful, and will only get more beautiful.”

Out in the hallway near the end of the night, he effused still more. “Refreshing, to come here,” he said. He noted that from afar you always hear about “Dubai, Dubai, Dubai,” so it had energised him to see this place just two hours away, “just to wake up, walk around.”

Read this article by Chuck Culpepper and watch the short video by Razan Alzayani:
Kalba Scores in UAE from Football Outpost, The National, 18 September 2010

Things to See and Do Along the Fujairah Corniche to Kalba and the Omani Border, FIF, 20 June 2009.
Sharjah and Fujairah Look to Team Up to Promote Tourism, FIF, 7 July 2009.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: Ittihad Kalba players going through their training routine. (Photo courtesy of the Gulf News)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fujairah Classifieds on Fujairah in Focus

Several people have asked for a classified section on Fujairah in Focus, which is also linked to Fujairah in Focus on Facebook.

I’ve resisted up until now but this new page provides a way of posting many of the enquiries that come via Fujairah in Focus.

Wanted! For Sale! Service Provided! Free to a Good Home!

Go to the Link at the Top of the Page
Fujairah Classifieds

Geoff Pound

A New Fort Roundabout in Fujairah Would Tell UAE’s Best Kept Secret

The Fort Roundabout
Fujairah in Focus has recently been dropping the suggestion of creating some new roundabout architecture, notably a new date roundabout and now a new fort roundabout.

Essence of the Emirates
The proposal is motivated neither by the view that more is better, nor by the notion that roundabout architecture must keep pace with a growing city. It is suggested because the roundabout architecture in Fujairah city is about cultural identity and the fort is a major symbol of Fujairah’s rich history.

Fujairah has never tried to be a ‘record breaker’ and is unlikely to be written up like Dubai, which was recently described as possessing:
+ the world’s tallest building
+ the world’s largest mall
+ the building with the largest floor space
+ the world’s tallest all-residential tower (to be completed!)
+ the world’s largest manmade island

It’s tempting to lust after world records and Abu Dhabi (in the same article) was touted as having the ‘world’s furthest leaning tower’.

Vocal Architecture
Fujairah seldom makes grand pronouncements and its marketing is restrained and modest. The nearest that introverted Fujairah gets in speaking about itself is through its roundabout architecture.

Sometimes information about Fujairah can be wheedled out of its spokespersons as it was in a recent interview with Patrick Antaki, the General Manager of Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. For this interview he was speaking as a member of the newly created Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority (FTAA).

Making Some Noise
Antaki talked up the emirate’s assets which included the coast with its beach holidays, diving and fishing (including fly fishing). He also highlighted the mountains in which resides much natural beauty, typified by the UAE’s first national park, Wadi Waruyah.

But according to Antaki, the first tasks of the FTAA are “to put the tourism house in order” and to develop significant infrastructure. Only after that can the FTAA “start really making some noise.”

‘And Nobody Knows About Them’
In setting up the FTAA the Ruler of Fujairah highlighted the twin aims of the new strategy—to grow traditional types of tourism (mountains and scenic beauty) and to showcase the emirate’s antiquities.

Antaki elaborated:

“I don’t know if you know but Fujairah has the largest number of antiquities in the country. I mean forts, old houses, old mosques and nobody knows about them—it’s the UAE’s best kept secret.”

Telling Secrets
Best wishes to the FTAA as they do the ground work prior to making the big noise.

Perhaps the establishment of a new Fort Roundabout might be the first signal that the emirate is committed to a new era in sharing its treasures for others to enjoy.

Suggested Location
It may be appropriate for the Fort Roundabout to be located at the junction of Showroom Rd., Al Sharqi Rd and Sheikh Zayed Rd., below the Fujairah fort and along the road from the Fujairah Museum.

View Suggested Location for Fort Roundabout in a larger map

Discover What Fujairah is about from its Roundabouts, FIF, 3 September 2010.
Fishing Lures People to Fujairah and Still They’re Getting Hooked, FIF, 14 September 2010.
It’s Time for the New Date Roundabout in Fujairah, FIF, 18 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.

Image: “It is suggested because the roundabout architecture in Fujairah city is about cultural identity and the fort is a major symbol of Fujairah’s rich history.” (Photo courtesy of Webshots)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It’s Time for the New Date Roundabout in Fujairah

Fujairah is a city of roundabouts which each symbolize the essence of the way of life lived in this north-eastern emirate—the coffee pot, the perfume dispenser, the falcon and more.

It’s been said that fishing and agriculture are the twin pillars upon which Fujairah was traditionally built.

A fish roundabout stands appropriately on Fujairah’s Corniche Road but the city lacks a roundabout that reminds people of the essential importance of agriculture.

So why not a date roundabout located at the roundabout that connects the suburbs of Al Owaid and Old Fujairah?

This is the roundabout nearby the large date farms on either side of Al Nakheel Road.

View Suggested Location for Date Roundabout in a larger map

The roundabout already boasts half a dozen mature palm trees that bear dates each year.

Roundabout architecture stylishly created in the form of a cluster of ripe dates may complete the circular area and make it look like a Fujairah wadi.

In addition to becoming the only roundabout that brings to mind Fujairah agriculture, the proximity to the Faseel coffee pot roundabout suggesting coffee and dates, would evoke a myriad of sweet memories about daily hospitality and iftar meals at Ramadan.

International Date Line
There would be a certain timeliness in establishing a date roundabout in Fujairah as soon as possible, as in November of this year (22nd to 27th), the UAE is hosting the Fourth International Date Festival.

This will be a conference that will give people the chance to taste hundreds of varieties of dates, sample innovative date recipes, take cooking classes that use dates, discover the history behind the national fruit and learn how the palm tree has been used in Emirati culture.

Something More
This date conference in Abu Dhabi and its interactive activities suggests something more that would benefit Fujairah life and tourism—a date farm (down Al Nakheel Rd?) where people could visit to learn about the importance of dates in the history and in the contemporary life of those living in the Emirates.

The Big Date
You’ve heard of The Big Pineapple in Queensland and The Big Banana in New South Wales?

The Big Date in Fujairah, developed as an interactive, hands-on centre (not a dating service) could become an effective educational centre as well as a powerful tourist magnet.

Take a Look
Some photos related to this article on the proposal of a New Date Roundabout in Fujairah can be found at this link.

Discover What Fujairah is about from its Roundabouts, FIF, 3 September 2010.
Fishing Lures People to Fujairah and Still They’re Getting Hooked, FIF, 14 September 2010.

Going on a Date in Fujairah, FIF, 9 June 2009.
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, 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

Image: “So why not a date roundabout located at the roundabout that connects the suburbs of Al Owaid and Old Fujairah?”