x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Putting pride in their ride

Feature The advent of National Day in the United Arab Emirates always shows how much Emiratis love their country - and their cars.

The advent of National Day in the United Arab Emirates always shows how much Emiratis love their country - and their cars. The streets of Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE were ablaze with the red, white, green and black of the country's flag this past week, with cars of every size and shape covered in stickers and paint to celebrate the UAE's anniversary. For most, the work involved in the decoration is a labour of love.

For Abdullah al Bloushi and his friends, seven hours of work and Dh1,000 to decorate al Bloushi's shiny white Honda Accord in the colours of the United Arab Emirates was all worth it on Tuesday. "We wish we could have done more than this," he said. "This is part of our love for our country. "Our country did a lot of things for us, we can do plenty for our country." The group of Emirati men from Al Ain had taken their car to a shop there where they worked with shop employees to deck their car out with posters of the nation's rulers in the windows, black and red stars on the body and a sticker of the UAE flag on the gas tank door.

He said a lot of thought had gone into preparing the car for the big day. "We were thinking where to put the red one, the black one, which kind of pictures, how big the pictures should be," Mr Bloushi said. A UAE flag, fitted tightly to the bonnet, had taken two hours to get just right, they said. They had wanted to have the best decorated car for the 37th anniversary of their country. They faced stiff competition as the streets of Abu Dhabi were jammed with cars driven by residents who had, in the days leading up to National Day, been busy getting their cars dressed up for an informal car parade.

Shops along al Salam Street had been inundated by motorists eager to get their own unique designs etched onto their vehicle. From luxury 4x4s to Nissan Sunnys, they were all out on the roads taking part in the celebrations. At least one poster of a ruling Sheikh seemed to be a prerequisite for every vehicle, as was the UAE flag. Some motorists, like Khalifa Mohammed Mezar al Romathi, had purchased paint, stickers, flags, and streamers for decorating their cars and spent the time decorating vehicles themselves.

For al Romathi, it cost him about Dh500 and took two hours to finish his car, he said. Others, like Mohammmed al Amri, went with a different look. Mr Amri, 18, had used colouring markers to swathe his white Nissan Sunny in red, white and green. The process had taken him two days, he said. "It's home made," he said with pride. "It's better I think." mchung@thenational.ae