The first example of a fabulously decorated car that comes to mind is that of Plácido in the great film of the same name by Berlanga. This was one of the best films of the period following the Spanish civil war, at the tentative beginning of a new stage of economic development.
Plácido, José Luis G. Berlanga, 1961
In the case of Plácido the adornment of his motorcar was not exactly voluntary, but today the decoration of one’s car or bike has become a custom which in many countries comes to extravagance. The Spanish language has created the verb tunear from English ‘tuning’ to designate these excesses (perhaps forgetting that “tunear” has been used for the life of tramps and vagabonds…) You can find crazy cars in all parts of the world.
On the streets of Palermo…
…and the famous tuk-tuk of Bangkok
In Cairo, on whose streets you can see anything (here is a blog with daily photos of Cairo), we encountered hundreds of these incredible bone-shakers full of blinking lights, blue LEDs, flashes, all kinds of gadgets, curvy calligraphies covering them top to bottom, their interior transformed into a suspicious atmosphere by red lights and, of course, emitting loud music… The show is multiplied by night when on the unlighted and unpaved streets suddenly pops up one of these alien spaceships series B competing to be the loudest and most flamboyant object of the universe. However, the following images are not of Cairo, neither of cars. The truly peculiar race of the villages and oases of the Egyptian Western Desert is the bike.
The main street of Bawiti
And in the Al-Kharga Oasis, near to Luxor, we have encountered this result of the clash (or let us call it alliance) of civilizations in the sign of an absolutely peculiar local aesthetics. The most elegant Egyptians cover the dashboard of their cars with these stylish mats of long fur. Soon it gets dusty and gray, but there shines on them the Book, a splendid copy of the Quran… Well, it certainly does not shine as much as the star of Betlehem did on the motorcar of Plácido.
In any case, we can clearly imagine what the Islamic authorities think about the replacement of the Quran with the image of Tweety.
[In Spanish Tweety is known as Piolín, a name taken from a Nahuatl word meaning the canary]