It’s strange to be living in a country which is younger than you. Later this week the UAE celebrates its fourtieth birthday, in fact to be accurate it has been celebrating for the past few weeks but the climax is on Dec 2nd National Day. Everywhere and everyone seems to be in on the act. In one supermarket flags, bunting and patriotic stetsons (yes really, large felt ones in green white and black stripes with a bit of red tinsel round the brim) and coloured lights were piled high.
In a mall car park we spotted a black Honda sports car whose bonnet sported diagonal stripes of electrical tape in green and white, trimmed with red to represent the national flag. I expect that will take some removing afterwards. Houses, car showrooms and government offices alike sport blocks of coloured illuminations and the number forty appears in lights everywhere as does the UAE flag. We even saw a museum lawn in Al Ain being spray painted with a flag ahead of the big day
The imagination of marketing teams across Dubai knows no bounds; at the Egyptian themed shopping & restaurant complex WAFI they are offering free henna and Arabic coffee in a majlis tent as well as stilt walkers. Google are planning a special doodle drawn by Emirati schoolchildren. Even Costa Coffee locally has joined in as you can see from the photo I took yesterday (Costa are in fact a UK brand but their first non-UK shop was opened in Dubai some 12 years ago).
However the best tribute yet has to be the following one as featured in yesterdays Gulf News:
I’ll post some more pictures of the weird and wacky ways this nation is celebrating as I find them! Perhap we Brits could learn a lesson or two in patriotism! Meanwhile for those of you who love trivia the Gulf News has been busy digging up the nations past. In their picture gallery you’ll also find some great photo’s showing how oil wealth has transformed the Emiratis from tent dwellers to lovers of anything with a superlative or a sense of adventure (cf the bungee jumping shopper complete with carrier bags), there is even a shot of real snow in the UAE that fell on the mountains not on the MoE ski slope!