Fujairah will blow any tourist away with its beautiful scenery. PHOTO BY NAFHA MAANI EBRAHIMI

From the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and before the traffic jams of Sharjah city begin, you make a right turn and join Maleeha road, 45 kilometres later, you feel that you are in another part of the world. The arid Sahara is no longer on both sides of the road and a range of mountains usher you to this beautiful coastal Emirate: Fujairah, the only Emirate located on the Gulf of Oman.

We are still in the United Arab Emirates, but in a totally different environment, one with amazing scenery, here you do not need Burj Khalifa (the tallest building the world) to take your breath away, just look at the mountains joining the sea and you know what I am talking about. Fujairah also has a castle and a fort that reminds me of ones I saw in Luxembourg and Northern Island. What a combination and yet keeping an Arab characteristic to make a picture that fits the place!

Many people think of Dubai as the most important city in the UAE, but Fujairah is also very popular with tourists and has its own airport, with international flights landing and departing from there. The just completed highway will also add to the number of road travelLers who used to spend about three hours to reach Fujairah, this journey is now less than an hour! Add to that the fact that the socio- economic development will greatly improve in all the cities where this road is crossing and make Fujairah more prosperous.

This place is one of the most favoured places for fishermen who come for leisure fishing, and I will share with you a secret only known to experts, that fishing near the giant oil tankers seems to be one of the best places to have a good catch, so if you have a rod and a passion for fishing you know where you should come once on a visit to UAE.

Because of its geographical location, this Emirate has access to major shipping routes, hence a free zone –similar to the famous Jabal Ali free zone- was created. Within this zone many advantages and privileges are availed to foreign investors who can fully own their business and repatriate their capital any time they want, these among many other incentives in a region where having local sponsors is widely common and mostly a prerequisite.

The Emirati Nationals who live in this part are generally very humble and kind people, and although the big town syndromes is creeping here too, many remain faithful to their principals of generosity and hospitality to guests.

One of the best things to do while leaving Fujairah is to stop at the fruit shops along the road, the colours of the fruits and vegetables on display resemble a rainbow! The scents and fragrances create a garden like atmosphere. In this garden you can walk and without worry pick some fruits and taste them to make sure they are fresh and tasty.

In some places, the shop attendant will even peel and feed you some himself, such a contrast to Europe where once a friend of ours picked a French bean from a mountain of French beans and broke it to make sure it was fresh, next thing he was almost shown the door because no one is allowed to touch anything that you are not planning to purchase.

There are numerous quarries at the foot of the mountains in Fujairah providing tons of rocks and lime stone meant for building projects all over the United Arab Emirates, so if we think of the physical and metaphoric picture created by this activity, we can then assume that Fujairah is helping provide the foundation on which this whole nation is being built. This is a town worth visiting and enjoying without a shadow of a doubt.

By NAFHA MAANI EBAHIMI, Daily Monitor

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