Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, UAE!!

UAE celebrates it's 40th birthday today, December 2, 2011. 40 years ... that means I'm older than this country. Does that also mean UAE is now "over the hill"? :)

National Day, as it is called is a pretty big deal here and there are celebrations and lots and lots of decorations. They put our 4th of July efforts to shame, but of course, they're much newer at it than we are.

I had the pleasure of being in Al Ain teaching a course in our all female, Emirati contact center during their National Day celebrations so got to see first hand some of the festivities. The first fun thing was all the UAE bling. The colors of the UAE flag are red, green, white and black so everyone had some on (even me!) Still black abayas and head scarves so the bling came out in the form of colorful Shaylas that were the colors of the flag, decorative pins worn on the outside of the abayas, watches, bracelets, temp tattoos, rings and bright red shoes and lipstick - it was really cool!

The event itself consisted of a speech by the manager of the contact center, singing of the National anthem, some traditional dances by the children of the ladies of the contact center and then a bazaar with traditional food, handicrafts and henna. It was a really nice celebration and I was sorry I couldn't stay longer, but had to get going for the 90 minute trip back as we were leaving for Jordan early the next morning.

Back in Abu Dhabi, everyone was decorating their cars ... no, I mean REALLY decorating their cars. We saw elaborate flags draped over car hoods, stickers, streamers and lots of window clings with UAE and photos of the Sheikhs, etc. Pretty amazing to see. I'm told that all these cars then head down to the Corniche and drive back and forth, playing loud music and dancing in the streets. Rumor has it the streets are bumper to bumper all day long, including the road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai! Glad we're out of town, actually as I would have liked to see it and Brian would have hated driving in it! :)

So, Happy Birthday, UAE and many happy returns!

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