Report and Pictures by Dr. Eugene D’Souza
Bellevision Media Network
Dubai, 19 April 2010: Friday being holiday in Dubai, my host, Elias suggested that we could take a long ride to Fujairah and back and see the countryside of the Sharjah and Fujairah country side. Though it was a long journey, at the end it was worth the time spent and distance covered that gave us a taste of the emirate’s rural topography of sandy desert plains and rugged and barren mountains and valleys with human settlements appearing at certain intervals.
We started our journey from Dubai at around 9am, Elias driving his own vehicle. After some time we entered the Emirate of Sharjah. As we covered more distance, the cluster of buildings began to recede in the background and the outskirts of the city with smaller and spread out structures passed by. After some time we could see the sandy desert plains on both sides of the four lane road running more or less straight looking as if it would end at the horizon.
The desert plain with shrubs and few sparsely spread out trees could be seen for a distance of one hour travel from Dubai. At one place we saw a group of camels grazing the shrubs and tiny grass like growth on the sand dunes. There were few villages with group of smaller houses and mosques were a common sight on the way.
As the desert receded in the background, we came across the mountains and hills, practically devoid of any vegetation passing by on both sides of the road. Due to these mountains and valleys, the road had to take winds and bends and even pass through a tunnel. At certain stretches where small towns are situated, the side of the roads are well maintained with green and flowering plants.
After around two hours drive, we reached Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the other six emirates are on the side of the Persian Gulf, Fujairah is the only with the Gulf of Oman as the border on eastern side. With 1,150 square kilometres, Fujairah is the fifth largest Emirate in the UAE and has the distinction of being almost totally mountainous, while all the other emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are located on the West Coast and are largely covered by desert. Fujairah also has the advantage of better rainfall than other emirates of the UAE enabling farmers to produce one crop every year. Thus Fujairah has more greenery with date palm and other fruit gardens including mangoes.
Though small, the city of Fujairah is well maintained with broad roads and traffic circles with traditional Arabic cultural symbols. The construction activity could be seen where high rise buildings are under construction. It has a large oil terminal and natural harbour and a flourishing free trade zone on the model of the Dubai Free Zone.
Fujairah has a small beautiful beach and attached lawns covered with shade giving trees which are used by families and tourists for picnics during holidays. Being Friday, we could see a number of families camping under the trees with tents, small tables, chairs and even quilts to take rest. At a distance a few young men were having fun with jet ski.
In Fujairah and on our way back to Sharjah we came across a number of circular roundabouts that have some kind of Arabic traditional cultural symbols such as fish, lamp, huge jars and pots. In Fujairah, by the sea side lawns we could see the huge replicas of sea shells. There are two prominent hotels in Fujairah-Hilton and Sheraton.
Since we had taken the Sharjah-Kalba-Fujairah Road while going to Fujairah, Elias suggested that we could go back to Dubai through Fujairah-Dibba-Sharjah High Way. The return journey through this road was equally exciting. On the way we could see a number of orchards of date palms and other fruit trees. By the side of the road we came across hawkers especially from Bangla Desh selling verities of local fruits.
Proceeding further towards Sharjah the so called ‘Friday Market’ greeted us with multiple roadside shops displaying different kinds of wares. As we approached Sharjah the roads became wider and on both sides there were well laid down lawns and beautiful flower beds that could be seen all along the road which practically ran straight up to the heart of Sharjah with beautiful buildings representing Islamic architecture with domes and minarets.