Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dish dash day

On December 2nd, Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates celebrate National Day. It's officially described as "an occasion for the residents of the UAE community to reflect and take pride in the many developments and achievements reached within their country over the last thirty seven years."

Thirty seven years, that is, since they gained independence from British colonials. Still that part isn't mentioned much to allow all the Brit expats to join in.

And we are not talking a couple of national flags stuck on cars. The place is awash with the national colours: houses, restaurants, people, boats...

The children's school...

And some brilliant looking cars...

Incidentally, don't get the impression that people only plaster pictures of the Sheikh over the cars on National Day. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a regular on spare tyres and car windows, and very handsome he is too in a hawkish Mills and Boon hero kind of way.

However, because we are still driving hire cars, we couldn't really do much to customise them. So, we decided to decorate our only remaining large accessories - the children - after the school sent a letter home, encouraging the kids to come in National Dress.
Unfortunately, whereas the local men always manage to look extremely crisp and regal in their dashing Dish Dashes... Dylan looked more like an escapee from a nativity play.

Jody, on the other hand, loved her abaya.

But, while the local women look highly proper, and very glamorous in thier abayas...

And while the local children looked completely charming in their outfits, there was something about the sight of the Western teachers and kids in their flowing black robes that bought Hogwarts to mind.
Still everyone seemed to have a great day - although Dylan got the hump (no pun intended) when Rachel refused to let him push in the queue to ride on a very tired-looking camel.

At home in the UK there's always a huge debate about whether St George deserves a day off, here, one day off is never enough. The kids are now off school for the next two weeks! Admittedly, this also incorporates next week's Eid, but it has to be said, life as a child in Dubai is one long holiday.