Thursday, 2 December 2010
I wandered down to the Sharjah Corniche this evening and spent twenty minutes snapping away at the procession of madly decorated cars, getting sprayed with silly string, beeped at, waved at and generally enjoying the atmosphere of celebration and delighted joy that swept everyone, even the poor expats caught in the huge end-to-end motorcade. It was the kind of buzz you'd only get from going to a big footie match or a Formula One race, everyone united in celebration and being jolly nice to everyone else. For a people normally so reserved and private, this public demonstration is always a remarkable reminder that national identity is utterly critical to the people of the UAE.
'Kulluna Khalifa' (as I explained yesterday, it means 'We are all Khalifa' in reference to HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE) was the motto of this year's celebrations, although 'Kulluna Blissed Out and Only Delighted' would have been closer to the mark.
Bring together hyper-nationalism, a reason to get together and be joyful and ubiquitous car culture and the result is remarkable. Shots I didn't get included the guy who had totally painted his car in poster paint, the guy who had 100% covered his car in UAE flag coloured feather boas and the car of grinning youths who'd painted their faces in the flag (the light was bad by then and my snap of them was blurred, dammit). The police were also in evidence, appearing to be nicking those who had flouted the 'keep your back windscreen clear' rule.
All in all good, harmless fun and quite, quite silly.
From The Dungeons
(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...