Friday, December 2, 2011

40 and counting

Just a couple of days ago I was walking along the cobblestone streets of Boston, one of the oldest and most charming cities in the United States of America, founded by English Puritans back in 1630.
For an entire week I was immersed in US history. After all, in every corner there seems to be a story, linked to the many events that took place in the city and surrounding areas, especially during the American Revolution, the first successful colonial war leading to the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
I remembered the 4th of July I spent back there in 2006. Thousands of people out on the streets dressed in red, white and blue, family barbecues, parades, fireworks, the famous Pops Orchestra playing at the Charles River Esplanade… I thought I’d never see a more patriotic celebration in my life.
And then I moved to the United Arab Emirates
I was seriously taken back when I first experienced National Day (December 2) in Abu Dhabi. I guess I simply did not expect to see so much devotion in a country so young.
But then again, if you think about it, there actually is a lot to celebrate. What this country achieved in so little time is just amazing!
Back in 1971, when this union was created, pretty much all you saw around here were sand dunes and almost no paved roads, water came from wells and people traveled on camels and donkeys.
All this in a time where Apollo 14 had already landed on the moon, the Concorde had already done its first transatlantic flight and the email, although not yet so popular, had already been created by an MIT graduate. Crazy, huh?
Now, only four decades later, the UAE is one of the most important countries in the Middle East. It has placed itself in the center of all worldwide action, has diversified its economy and, with zero taxes, has become one of the best places for people to do business.
The most luxurious and desired brands are here, the tallest building in the world is here, one of the most exquisite Mosques ever built is here, renowned educational institutions, such as Sorbonne, INSEAD and NYU are here. 
Not too shabby for a country that is only 40 years old, right? So I guess its people are more than entitled to an awesome celebration!
This year, the festivities will last not only one, but several days. When I landed, Wednesday night, the city was already filled with lights, cars were decorated with national colors (red, green, white and black) and special events were happening everywhere.
Since my building faces the Abu Dhabi Corniche, I have front row seats to all the action. In the last 24 hours I have seen amazing fireworks and waterworks displays, helicopters carrying flags, jet planes doing crazy stunts and pirouettes and thousands of happy, loyal and proud people roaming the streets, honking their horns and celebrating the enormous success of this amazing country.
Here are some images for you:




















Happy 40th Birthday UAE!!!!!!

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