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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Madrid, Pamplona, Fujairah…

Judging by the number of people at last Friday’s Fujairah bull-butting experience, the crowds are getting bigger or is this just the high-tourist season?

Since my last article on bull-butting there have been some modifications to this Fujairah tradition:

New Barricades
In recent months new fencing has been erected giving better definition to the arena and further protection to the spectators. There are, however, plenty of spaces near the entrances where daredevils can get up close and personal with the bovine contestants.

One of the attractions of bull-butting Fujairah-style is a bull on the loose. It did happen once or twice last Friday, resulting in a small crush but there were no spectacular incidents of spectators being hurled over the fence or a Brahman bull ripping a 4WD apart with its horns.

Instead of the old echoey megaphone, the bull-butting show now has a microphone and public address system with an almost non-stop Arabic commentary. Some of my international visitors were longing for an English translation, an explanation of the rules and an idea of the score but the desert of information adds to the mystery and the mystique of the Fujairah bull experience.

No More Innovations
The arena is still earth and dust with the soil watered a couple of hours before the event. It would be a pity if the Fujairah organizers succumbed to the pressure to conform to international sporting events and put down synthetic matting, erected steel grandstands and introduced electronic scoreboards.

Somehow the humpy Brahmans, the dust, the bovine excrement and the look of anticipation on the faces of the spectators forge a powerful link with the past and encapsulate what is essentially Fujairah.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Two bulls providing a good show.

Slideshow: To see more photos from the last Fujairah bull-butting event in 2008, click on this link.