View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lost in Translation

A new book written by Australian Richard Woolcott, concerns the perils of translating English into other languages.

A Gulf News article ‘English as an ‘Undiplomatic’ Language’ (30 August 2007) offers a few humorous tasters.

Image: Author, Richard Woolcott, former Australian diplomat and head of the Foreign Service.

Driving the Emirates

There are a growing number of books being written on the United Arab Emirates.

I have recently read and reviewed one of these which is entitled, On-Road in the UAE and is written by Gareth Leggett. This review can be found at:

Reviewing Books and Movies.

Geoff Pound

Image: Front cover of On-Road in the UAE.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Falcon: An Emirati Icon

It is heartening that David Remple and Christian Gross have produced a home grown book on the falcon, one of the national icons of the UAE and the Arabian Gulf. This volume is a reprint and update of the book first published in 1993. Since the initial launch Falconry has gone through four reprints, such is its popularity among UAE residents, tourists, students doing projects and the growing number of serious falconers.

If one is looking for an activity that is quintessentially Emirati, observing or flying falcons in the Arabian desert is the sport. The book commences with an illuminating history of falconry written by Cheryl Remple that describes the development of the art from as early as the thirteenth century B.C. The book distinguishes between eastern and western features of the practice of falconry and despite the lack of written sources in the Gulf region it sets out the distinctive aspects in the Arabian region. Falcon terminology such as ‘quarry’ and ‘raptor’ are explained and throughout the English text the key Arabic terms are also included. It is interesting to note the Arabic feature in which falcons in the Gulf are kitted out with a burqa or hood.

Authors, American zoologist, vet and founder of the Dubai Falcon Hospital, David Remple and Swiss naturalist, Christian Gross have teamed up to offer a comprehensive but highly practical book. Readers will discover the reasons that motivate people in the activity of falconry and will learn how to capture, train and look after them. The varieties of falcons and other birds of prey are described in detail and illustrated in a host of colorful pictures. The book is furnished with several black and white photos of early and notable Arabic falconers, including the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The final chapter sets forth the threats facing falcons and their owners today and sketches how the art might develop in the future. Such is the changing face of falconry that the book requires regular updating. While Falconry describes the recent innovation of attaching radio transmitters to the legs or tails of falcons to track them when they get lost it would be important to include in a future update a statement about the threat of bird flu and the 2005 UAE requirement that all falcons be issued with an individual passport. Additional information would be helpful on where prospective falconers might purchase their falcons (if they cannot trap them), the cost of these birds and details about falconer schools and clubs.

This book is an interesting read. It needs to be in every school library and it is a good idea for a souvenir and a gift from the Emirates.

David Remple and Christian Gross, Falconry and Birds of Prey in the Gulf (Dubai: Motivate Publishing, 1993, reprinted 2007).

This book is available from Magrudy’s Bookshops in the UAE at a cost of Dh 75.00.

Geoff Pound

Image: Falcon wearing the burqa.

Friday, August 24, 2007

'The Greatest Driving Road in the World' is in the UAE

A blogger is claiming that the United Arab Emirates has another world record-"the greatest driving road in the world."

Check out these wonderful pictures from the road and from the sky and watch the video, especially if you cannot visit to drive the road yourself.

Also a link to a revised version of The World's Greatest Driving Road.
Geoff Pound
Image: One of the scenes from the blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fujairah: Don't Sell Off the Beaches

In announcing the new luxury Iberotel Hotels and Resorts in Fujairah this week, there were some revealing insights as to how property in the eastern emirate is being developed.

In contrast to Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, which are continuing freehold development, Fujairah is concentrating on the establishment of hotels and resorts.

The Iberotel proposal will feature two hotels, shopping and dining facilities, as well as a spa and a raft of leisure activities. The Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort should be open next month.

This style of property development is based on the premise that the east coast beaches are beautiful, ideal for a lazy holiday in the sun, offering attractive coral reefs for divers and those wanting to fish.

Fujairah is perceived as a slow, ‘get-away’ emirate where land is still relatively cheap, the seaside air is pure enough to be inhaled and the mountains provide archaeological and ecological treasures for the curious and energetic.

One caution to sound is the privatisation of the coastland. Even on the Fujairah corniche plans are being staked out for greater lengths of the beach to become part of new and existing resorts with access only to customers who paid a charge.

Furthermore, one of the pleasures of a beach is to be able to stroll along the promenade while getting a clear and sustained view of the sea. It would be a great mistake if the sensational views out to the eastern sea are blocked and hidden behind high rise hotels.

Geoff Pound

For more information, check out the blog posting, ‘Fujairah Sticks to resorts, Dubai Sticks to Property, 20 August 2007.

Image: The Fujairah beach and sea.