I Heart Trucks in Abu Dhabi. Taxis in NYC.
I Heart Trucks here in Abu Dhabi. More specifically, I Heart Pakistani, Decorated Trucks. Who knew the highly decorated metalwork on these certain vehicles would be such a thing of interest to me over here? But they are, and they are adorned in the same manner the interior of Pakistani taxi cabs were back in New York City. Here, many trucks—the simple kind that transport everyday sundries like cabbage, grain and hay on the highways here—come in bright colors, like turquoise, and have elaborate metalwork on them. The metalwork often features the kind of macho motifs you might expect to find on a truck: butterflies, hearts and flowers–yup, butterflies, hearts and flowers, oh my!
Pimp My Ride. Oh, wait! It’s WAY too pimped already!
Back home, the interior of these cabs had curtains, pom poms and bright colors galore. The drivers played loud middle-eastern/Indian-sounding music, and you felt transported for the brief drive across the city–I loved them. I loved the drivers too. They were normally friendly and garrulous. They loved to speak of their culture. They were always genuinely bemused and grateful that someone actually asked about their culture and praised their elaborate decorations, which I always did. Here, is a photo that I found online of the interior of a cab of a proper Pakistani truck from wondrous.com. Sick ride, no?
I am not sure what it is about this nation of people that they value the interior and exterior decoration of their vehicles as highly as they do, but seeing the abundance of these fanciful—err…masculine, probably, somewhere(?)– trucks led me to wonder why? Why the elaborate interiors back in NYC? Why the less then macho exterior decorations here in Abu Dhabi? What I can say now is that this is more than just a one off incident, i.e. NOT just some colorful, immigrant cab driver in NYC; this is a real artistic, movement! If you are interested in learning the history, it apparently dates back to the days of the Raj when craftsmen guilds made glorious carriages for the noblemen. I found a sources for photos and history, here and here, if you are keen to read on.
There are so many of these elaborate trucks on the roads here. I always want to take pictures but we are always driving, and 10 out of 10 photos that I take driving don’t turn out. I captured this one yesterday, and it was quite a find. It was my first turquoise truck—maybe ever—and there it was in a neighborhood I frequent just stopped—motionless—in all its glory. And, of course, all I had was this shoddy IPhone 4 camera. Oh well, I captured the elusive, turquoise hearts and flowers truck with it. Let’s call that one good, camera day.
For what it’s worth, I am not alone in my interest in these rolling works of art. Pinterest Hearts Pakistani Trucks too. The topic has earned a colorful Pinterest board, check it out!
Hearts, Butterflies & Flowers, Oh My!