Archive for the ‘bull butting’ Category


Fujairah Food and History Tour

May 31, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

First a word of explanation, at the end of July our residency in the United Arab Emirates will come to an end. We are moving to Shanghai, China. A new job and a new cultural adventure await us. This is why the blog posts have been few and far between lately. First I was spending a lot of time job hunting and now we are spending a lot of time with the paperwork and errands involved in extracting ourselves from one country and moving into another. It is time consuming.

We are also having as many farewell get togethers as we can. Today was  number three, a Fujairah food and history tour.

cone shaped crisp flat bread

We began with breakfast at Saffron, a vegetarian Indian restaurant at the Perfume Roundabout. This is ghee roast dosa. We also had idly, vada, poori baji, and tea. Well, some of us had tea. Those who arrived late were shocked to hear the waiter say that they were out of tea. What Indian restaurant runs out of tea?

a restored 300 year old fort

Next was a quick stop at Fujairah Fort. The high temperature today was 99F/38C, so it was a bit unpleasant to be getting out of the car.

mountains in the distance, flat desert area in the foreground, two people walking

We drove up Wadi Mahdab to see a couple of archeological sites – copper smelting area and old irrigation trough. Again, it was blazing hot, so we didn’t dilly dally.

goats nibbling on a tree

We then drove to Gizemri and Wadi Sahm to take brief looks at various archeological sites and goats.

table filled with dishes of food

Lunch at Oriental Restaurant, in which we stuffed ourselves with wonderful food.

empty plate

Easy come, easy go.

two bulls butting heads

We finished with the bull butting competition.

A lovely day with good food and good friends.

To see all the pictures, click here.


Bull Butting Friday

December 30, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

two brahma bulls tied to posts

Friday we ventured out to the bull butting competition on the Fujairah corniche. This is an old tradition brought to the region by the Portuguese.

two bulls butting heads

Two bulls butt heads and push in a feat of strength.

two bulls butting heads in a dirt arena

It is held every Friday afternoon between prayers and sunset. As near as we can tell, there is no money or prizes involved. Pride in having a winning bull is the reward. Some drive from as far away as Abu Dhabi to participate.


Amateur Tour Guides

November 25, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

We served as amateur tour guides for Sharjah International Book Fair visiting authors (Mike, Terri, Sophie, Nicola, Stuart, and Yahia – I hope I got that all right.)

We started with lunch at a Yemeni restaurant.

people sitting on a carpeted eating area

We shared a large platter of mandi (lamb and rice).

large platter of lamb and rice

Eating rice with their hands seemed to be a new experience for everyone. It was enjoyed by all and mastered by some.


Then we were off to Fujairah Fort which is open to the public due to the 40th National Day celebrations that started November 11th (with the beginning of the Al Saif sword competitions) and will continue through December 15th. The actual National Day is December 2nd and commemorates the joining of the 7 Emirates into a single country.

inside of the fort

It was a real pleasure to get to see the inside of the fort.

woman sitting at the top of the stairs

Sophie found a place to rest with an inspiring view and took a moment for contemplation.

fishermen making nets by hand

Below the Fort many traditional activities are on display. This man is making a fishing net by hand.

men tying palm leaves together

These men are tying palm leaves together to make a small boat.

palm leaves tied together

boats made of palm leaves

Eventually, it will look like this.

large grey bull

Then, of course, we had to squeeze in a visit to the bull butting. This competition is held every Friday afternoon and dates back to the 1600’s.

two bulls butting heads

The dark bull was something to see. He started by kneeling and rubbing his head on the ground and then was up in a flash, catching the other bull by surprise and gaining the advantage.

Unfortunately, time ran out and the authors had to return to Sharjah for the book fair activities. We enjoyed giving them a taste of Fujairah and Emirati culture.


Bulls Butting Heads

July 26, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

Here’s another video of the Fujairah bull butting. Explains a little more about how it works.

Gulf News – Bull Fighting – Hooved Gladiators Lock Horns in Fujairah

To see our previous posts on the bull butting – click here.


Bull Butting Again

April 30, 2010

two bulls butting heads

We went to Fujairah for the bull butting contest again, one last time before the heat and humidity get unbearable. The crowd was smaller and most of the spectators were gathered in the shade of the two large trees. I suspect we aren’t the only ones who will be taking a break from the sport until next winter.

men gathered to watch the bull butting

I couldn’t pass up taking a picture of this grandfatherly figure. This is technically inside the arena. It is very dangerous, not just from the bulls, but from the panicked spectators who run frantically any time a bull heads into the crowd (and they do).

spiral cone shaped shell on the beach

We spent a few minutes on the beach. The sand is dark. It is almost chocolate brown when it is wet. I resisted the urge to collect this shell and settled for a picture. Takes up so much less space that way.

two girls swimming in the surf

There was a family near us and their daughters (approx. 10 yrs old) were swimming in the surf wearing full length dresses and head scarves. They were having a blast.

falcon sculpture

Fujairah’s known for its roundabout sculptures, large art works in the middle of roundabouts. (Previously posted pictures here) Unfortunately, these pictures were taken at dusk from a moving car, but you get the idea. The guy sitting on its leg is a nice touch.

falcon sculpture

After this it was off to Al Meshwar restaurant for great food, then a two hour drive back home dodging the dangerous drivers. A day well spent.


Bull Butting

March 7, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

Friday we drove to Fujairah to see the bull butting competition that is held every Friday afternoon. It was pretty entertaining and I hope you enjoy these videos.

We don’t know all the details on how this is scored and how the winner is determined, but it seems fairly simple. Two bulls are placed in an arena and they butt heads. Fairly bloodless and quite entertaining since each bout is different. It has been going on for hundreds of years. It was first introduced to the region by the Portuguese.

The bulls are tied up outside the arena until it is their turn to compete. As you can see, they dig holes, stomping and snorting while they wait. These were directly behind where I was standing, so you will hear them in the background of the videos.

The arena is simply a large sandy area. The fences have only recently been added. There is a chain link fence around the outside and a metal railing inside that and most of the spectators stand behind the metal railing. You will notice, however, that there are several people (including children) sitting or standing in the arena. We happened to be at one of the corners where the bulls enter/leave, so you will see a few closeups as they pass by.

The men who handle (and try to control) the bulls are barefoot. One is armed only with a long riding crop. There is a rope around each bull’s neck which they use to pull the bulls apart and lead them. The bulls all have rings in their noses and before and after the bouts they are lead using a rope that is threaded through that ring. There are no rodeo clowns and no riders on cutting horses.

This first video is a fairly straightforward bout. Not too many surprises.

This second video shows a bit of a stalemate with the bulls standing still head to head. It turns into a bit of a tug of war toward the end.

This last video is the most exciting. Keep your eyes on the spotted bull.

How did we find out about this spectacle? Another expats blog – Focus on Fujairah and it was written up in TimeOut Dubai, a local entertainment guide magazine.

We attempted to see this event last year – see previous post – but it was canceled that day.


Bull Butting Bust

February 28, 2009

We drove all the way to Fujairah yesterday in hopes of watching the traditional bull butting. We did find the “arena” and there were other hopefuls there waiting to see a contest or two, but none materialized. Someone said that someone important had died that morning which would mean that the contests were canceled due to mourning. Nothing in the Gulf News this morning, so it wasn’t a government official.
Notice how this guy drove up onto the berm so he could watch from the comfort of his vehicle. Below, more of the hopefuls waiting for some action.

Anyway, we had a blast on the drive, the dinner, and the drive home. We had the company of two new friends and lots of interesting sites and experiences. I will post each separately.

Oops, you are probably saying “What IS bull butting?” It is a contest between trained bulls who butt heads and the winner is the one who pushes the other out of the “ring.” It is a mostly bloodless sport. No bull is killed. No matadors. Think of it as bulls wrestling.

We intend to go back, so if and when we do, we’ll have video so you can experience it vicariously for yourself.