x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Abu Dhabi awash with flags, foam and feelings of unity

The Corniche was teeming with crowds eager to participate in the revelry of National Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Cars decorated with UAE symbols and people wearing masks and carrying flags flocked to the Corniche yesterday, celebrating by spraying each other with silly string and honking their car horns.

"The world is so red and green," said Dalia Sufian, 28, a sales manager from Palestine and the US.

Dressed as a UAE flag in a red dress, green jacket, a mask, wig and hat, she said the whole point of coming to the Corniche was getting stuck into the festivities.

One man hung out from the roof of his car wearing a huge mask. His friend, who was driving, made the car backfire.

Men selling foam sprays ran between the cars yelling "five dirhams each", only to be sprayed themselves by motorists.

A convertible filled with women decorated in flags and hats was sprayed by teenage boys roaming the streets. While the women tried to resist at first, brandishing a cane, they eventually gave up, covering their heads with their hands as they were showered with spray.

"I was just complaining that I can't feel the spirit because it's not as crazy as last year," said Amal Al Kalla, a 30-year-old healthcare executive from Texas who was in the convertible with her friends. "But now covered in foam and ribbons I feel the joy of the Union," she said, amused by passersby who were taking video of her car.

An eight-year-old Emirati boy jumped from the car he was riding in and ran over to one filled with girls and sprayed them through the window with foam.

Some roads to the Corniche were blocked by police in a bid to manage the crowds.