A hot tromp along dusty boulevards
Trip Start Apr 03, 2010
9Trip End Apr 11, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We tried to sleep in today but ended up waking a little before 7am, as the ship pulled into the port at Fujairah. Paul and I took care of some email, then woke the kids. Went down to breakfast in the dining room.
About 9:30am, we headed to shore, taking the free shuttle to the port exit, where we were greeted by a huge queue of taxi drivers. None, however, were interested in just taking us to the Fujairah Museum -- they all wanted to give us a two-hour tour. We were shunted to the drivers in the back of the line, although the one we found also had a bad attitude about taking us to the Museum.
We enjoyed the museum
It was a small museum, and we finished quickly. After, we walked for a photo opp of Fujairah fort. The fort itself is nicely restored, though closed, and beautifully situated against the mountains behind. The surrounding area is being thoroughly renovated; it appears that they are building a "heritage village" there.
No cabs were available at the museum or fort, so we began to walk down one of the many main boulevards, towards what we hoped, and what the street signs on the roundabout indicated, was the center of town. But it was clearly a long way, and when a taxi driver stopped, we jumped at the offer. We asked for the “Old Fujairah Town”, which we had seen labeled on a street sign, but the driver did not understand
We walked through the market -- smelled like fish; fish piled in stacks, with the mongers fanning off the flies; at the center, men chopping fish into bits; fish scales everywhere. The meat market consisted of individual shops instead of stalls, each with a large carcass of some animal dangling in the front. Several of the shops were empty -- clearly unrented -- not sure I've seen that before in markets. The vegetable market was next: lovely looking tomatoes, kale, leeks, and many other types of vegetables; we wondered how many were imported, and where they were imported from; we guess most and India. Lots of the vegetables were sold in cellophane-wrapped containers, like we get from Trader Joe’s -- although there were plenty sold much more like in farmer’s markets. Beyond the veggie market were the tailor shops, all selling the same styles of dresses with nearly identical fabrics. I do really like some of the styles and fabrics; could see ordering one if we were here for longer.
The food markets seen, we decided to get a cab … but realized we didn’t have small change. We walked back and forth through the market a couple of times, then spotted a small canteen, where we purchased drinks and got our change
The gold souk, however, was very uninteresting -- just a stretch of shops, some of which sold gold, others that sold a variety of goods from shoes to tiles, and many of which were empty. It was along a main boulevard, and the shops were all of recent construction. Beyond the shops were narrower streets, with high walls and gated entrances -- the closest thing to the “old quarter” we had seen, but not appealing to walk through.
So, we decided to see if we could find the mall where the shuttles take tourists from the ship. Walking again through the intense heat along the boulevard, we ran into a couple who said they had come from the mall, and it was indeed that, just a mall. We told them about the gold souk and the vegetable market, and they thought they would try that. We reached the main boulevard, looked down towards the mall and the large hotels, and decided it was too hot to continue. We inventoried the possible sights to see outside of town and rejected them all. Found a cab, and back to the ship -- fortunately, the driver was able to get through the gate and drop us off so we did not have to wait in the heat for the free shuttle
The museum and fort were definitely the most interesting part of the visit; Fujairah beaches, from what we could see driving past, are gray sand and look incredibly hot. The city itself is very modern, with wide boulevards lined with shops. Some of the houses are massive, both those inland and many along the waterfront; most of the sky scrapers are newly built or still under construction. The port is large and happening. It might have been interesting to get out to the ruins of the old mosque, or the old palace, but, in some ways, it was more interesting to see modern UAE in the shape of the city of Fujairah.
Went upstairs for a swim and drinks, then spent some time viewing the first set of Keegan’s slides from India. Napped in the afternoon. Had the captain’s cocktail party before dinner -- despite dress being “gala/formal” many people were dressed more casually. Paul and Keegan were few of the men in suits. I only saw one tux … about three kilts, though. The women were also less gussied than anticipated; can definitely like this cruise line, if this is how “formal” runs.
After dinner, it was late, so we returned to our cabin to talk. To bed before midnight.