Day 11: Fujairah

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Today was our first day in the UAE. After getting to our hotel last night, we headed out this morning into the Emirate of Fujairah. Fujairah is an industrial Emirate who focuses on shipping and rock production thanks to their geography on the Arabian Gulf and with various mountainous terrain close by.

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After a hearty breakfast, we got on the bus and were off. We met our new tour guide Wendy. We are in the Emirate of Fujairah, a small and rural Emirate. People have lived in this area since the time of the Phoenicians. This area is a hardworking Emirate, humbler and more traditional than the Emirates of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The workers here are from countries like Pakistan, the Philippines, and India. They work in labor camps and send money home to their families. There’s a growing tourism industry in Fujairah, due to the beautiful beaches, mountains, and falcons (the national bird of the Emirates). The sheikh of this Emirate is named Sharqi, and there are billboards of him all around. We entered Fujairah City, which has the Sheikh Zaid Mosque, the second largest mosque in the UAE. We visited the fort of Wadi al Hayl, built in the 1830’s in the traditional mud brick and rock style. Next we saw the oldest surviving mosque in the UAE, the Al Bidya Mosque. It’s a very small mosque that was built around 1446. Unfortunately, it’s being restored so we couldn’t go inside. We saw the port, with huge container ships and traditional dhows both there. Unlike what the Western Media would tell you, the UAE and Oman actually have many differences. The UAE is more touristy and flashy, and Oman is more authentic. They hold on to heritage more in Oman, while the Emirates are racing forward at an astounding pace. Omanis make up more of the labor force in Oman, in the Emirates tons of people are brought into the country for work. There’s more oil in the UAE. Oman doesn’t have any mega cities like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Each area of the Arabian Peninsula, we’re learning, has its own distinct culture and identity.   

Sophie G. ’19

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Throughout our entire trip, it was clear that there were many similarities and differences between the UAE and Oman. In Oman, local people dominate the culture with their traditional beliefs and the Arabic language. The people in Oman were also very nice. They even invited us to have lunch in their home. On the other hand, people in UAE are more mixed that many of them come from Western countries such as the United States, Italy, Brazil, and Russia and they do not use Arabic language as much as before in Oman.

Natsumi N. ’17

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