Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy Hijri New Year! and a visit to the Rainbow Sheikh

November 5th was the Hijri New Year, which is the first day of the Islamic calendar. As I've shared before, many of the Islamic holidays are based on the moon cycle so they aren't fixed dates on the calendar. This year, new year's day was November 5th.

I asked my Emirati acquaintances how the new year is celebrated by Muslims here in UAE and got only a shrug - doesn't seem to be that big a deal. But, it did mean a day off work so everyone was happy about that. What's most amusing to me is that the 5th fell on a Tuesday this year, which is in the middle of the week. So, the government declared the holiday from work for November 3rd giving us all a three day holiday weekend. Who am I to complain? :)

So, did the Stolls jump on a flight to somewhere exotic? Sadly no - this time we stayed closer to home and explored a bit of our own back yard. We visited the Emirates National Auto Museum!

This museum is actually the private car collection of HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan and consists of around 200 cars - everything you can imagine. Here are a few highlights:

Sheikh Hamad is know as the Rainbow Sheikh (no, not because he's gay - that would never be admitted in public here) but because he owns a fleet of rainbow colored Mercedes!
We couldn't even figure out what this was - the seats look too small for anyone but children.
I don't think this behemoth runs as there is a set of stairs going up into the cab (sadly blocked off when we were there). Here's Brian kicking the tires to show just how monstrous the thing is.  Why? As one of my recent taxi drivers said to me, "too much money".

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