Car accessory shops throughout the country switched into high gear this week as patriots began lining up to dress up their vehicles in the latest National Day decorations.
“Every year, more and more people come,” said Adel Al Hosani, the Emirati owner of Bin Sidar Car Decoration in the new Al Shahama area.
“National Day is an opportunity to show our appreciation for our leaders, especially our Founding Father, for what they have done for us.”
Drivers have many options to choose from when it comes to how they wish to broadcast their patriotism on the road.
For Dh10, shoppers can dress a side mirror in a spandex cover the colour of the UAE flag. The Adam Gallery sells these along with a matching bonnet for Dh50. At Ainawi Auto Accessories, a dashboard-length scarf the colour of the national flag with the words “I love the UAE” sells for Dh30. Red, black, white and green pompoms meant to be fastened to door handles sell for Dh5. Green heart-shaped stickers go for 50 fils each.
But the most popular way for car owners to show their love of the UAE is to plaster their vehicles with decals depicting photos of sheikhs, the UAE flag, the Spirit of the Union logo or a combination of these, Mr Al Hosani said.
Depending on where you shop, the decals range in price from about Dh100 for a small panel up to Dh3,000 for full-body coverage. The price also varies based on the type of sticker. American-made transfers are more expensive than the Chinese ones, for instance, because of their improved quality and higher resolution, Mr Al Hosani said.
Some shops, such as Orchid Auto Accessories and Cleem Car Accessories in Abu Dhabi, offer hand-made customised stickers that can be designed whatever way the customer desires. These can cost up to Dh800.
Dr Firas Joumma, a 42-year-old Palestinian who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 35 years, covered his yellow Lamborghini in the red, green, black and white colours of the national flag as a way of demonstrating his gratitude for the UAE.
“To show how much I’m thankful for,” Dr Joumma said, adding the UAE afforded him opportunities he did not have in his homeland.
Noura Al Mhirbi, an Emirati, emblazoned the bonnet of her Land Cruiser with the UAE flag. The back window of her 4x4 was covered with an image of Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
“I love all my sheikhs, I love my country,” Ms Mhirbi said. “Before it was a desert and now it is the best in the world.”
Ahmed Al Hosani, a 33-year-old Emirati, had his wife’s BMW X6 and his GMC Sierra decorated in patriotic colours for National Day.
“This is the way to show our love to this country,” said Mr Al Hosani. “We are a blessed country because of our leaders. We appreciate everything they are doing for this country.”
In addition to decorating his family’s two vehicles, Mr Al Hosani will join about 200 other truck owners who belong to the UAE Trucks Team, a new group for local truck enthusiasts, and travel from Abu Dhabi, through Dubai, to Fujairah.
“We will take part in the parades in the corniche, in Fujairah and all seven emirates to represent our country and how we feel regarding this country,” Mr Al Hosani said.
“It’s part of our love for our country, to represent it in different ways.”