ABU DHABI // After an unusually long, 10-day break for the Eid al Adha and National Day holidays, the nation returns to work today. With the two celebrations falling only days apart, government offices, schools and some private establishments were closed from November 26. Loretta Fernandes, 40, an Indian office administrator at an Abu Dhabi government company, said: "Our three children, aged 13, eight and seven, are not looking forward to going back to school. They're on a Christmas festive mood now.
"It has been a relaxing break for the whole family but it will be going back to the grind and the rush-hour traffic." Suresh Kumar Moothat, 41, a secretary to the chief executive of an oil company in Abu Dhabi, said: "We took advantage of the long break to entertain my brother and his family who visited from Qatar. "We had a lovely time in Dubai and Khor Fakkan. But it will be a very hectic day at the office."
"The holidays were too long," said Leonila Sanchez, 52, a Filipina hospital employee in Abu Dhabi. "Although I was able to attend several church activities and spent some quality time with my son, I still had to visit the hospital during the break to check if they needed anything from my office. As usual, the roads will be congested as we head back to work." Meanwhile, motorists were scrambling to remove National Day decorations from their cars after the official four-day grace period expired on Friday.
Faisal Eissa, 20, an Emirati university student, had the decorations on his red BMW X5 removed yesterday. "Five days ago, they decorated my car with flags, stickers and posters of the UAE Rulers. Now it's time to remove them or else I will have to pay a fine," he said. Abdullah Abdul Karim Mouza, 23, an Iranian who manages the X Five auto accessories shop on Salam Street in the capital, said staff were expecting to work on at least 35 cars from 6pm to 11pm yesterday.
He said Mr Eissa paid Dh700 for the decorations and now had to pay a further Dh80 to remove them. It took 30 minutes to remove the posters of the images of the sheikhs, the flag and other stickers on the car. And Mr Eissa got a discount. "He's my friend," Mr Mouza said. "We normally charge Dh100 to Dh150 each, depending on the car's size, the design and stickers placed on the car." Shanoon al Harthi, 29, an Emirati health and safety adviser at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries, said he chose not to have his car decorated this year. He spent National Day at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai.
"The roads will definitely be busy and crowded," he said. "It is advisable for motorists to listen to the radio for traffic updates. I have strong faith in the Abu Dhabi Police. They will be able to manage the traffic." Peyman Younes Parham, the director of marketing and corporate communications for the Roads and Transport Authority, said: "Things will be back to normal. Dubai is a bustling city with a lot of people going to work and to school. We've delivered on our projects which have had a lot of impact on the traffic in Dubai."