Emiratis splash out thousands of dirhams decorating their cars for the National Day parade on Yas Island, but to many the cost is worth it in order to show their love for the UAE.
Yas echoes to formula fun as UAE celebrates National Day
ABU DHABI // Yas Island was buzzing yesterday with the roar of engines and honking of horns as thousands of Emiratis took part in the Union Car Parade.
Creatively adorned cars and 4x4s vied for space on the road and possibly a share of the Dh100,000 in prize money for the best-decorated vehicle.
Emiratis, some with their families, travelled from all over the Emirates to take part, although most were not concerned with the money and came only to mark the 41st National Day.
One man from Sharjah said he had spent close to Dh30,000 decorating his car with fresh red and white flowers and UAE flags.
He even drove to Abu Dhabi at no more than 40 kph to preserve the fragile decorations, leaving his home at 2am and only reaching the capital at 12.30pm.
He said that the long trip and cost was nothing compared to what his country and its Rulers had done for him and other Emiratis. "I am 27 years old and the UAE has cared for us all these years, so if I devoted one day from one year it's nothing. And it's also not about winning the competition at all."
The sea of red, white, black and green patriotism during the parade packed the island's roads for an hour. The top prize was Dh25,000 and Dh20,000 for the runner-up, with the remaining money divided into eight prizes from Dh15,000 to D5,000.
Emirati Samer Saeed Zuma, from Shamkha in Abu Dhabi, could not register for the competition because of the traffic jams. He decorated his car by himself, rather than pay for it to be done.
Mr Zuma said: "This is real celebration, to gather along with other brothers and enjoy. We love to do these thing as we love our country too much."
Abdul Hameed Mohammed travelled from Ras Al Khaimah to take part. "I just wanted to thank His Highness Sheikh Khalifa by visiting Abu Dhabi and taking part," said Mr Mohammed, who spent Dh25,000 to cover his car with crystals, flags and pictures of the Rulers.
It wasn't only Emiratis who took part in the parade. Ahmed Essa Baloushi, a Pakistani expatriate, spent almost Dh17,000 on his car. Mr Baloushi, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 26 years, said it took 15 days to complete the decorations, which he does every year out of love for the UAE, not to win praise or prizes.