Hi Weekly - March 18 2016

Page 1

OMAN’S LARGEST CIRCULATED WEEKLY — 54,000 COPIES

VOL 10 ISSUE 12/ MARCH 18, 2016

SALALAH’S STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN PAGE 20

Audited by

THIS WEEK IN OMAN

THALI TIME

LOCAL LING LINGO

HIT THE ICE

Popular in both North and South India, a thali is a meal al composed of little tastes off almost everything on the menu. Swati explains these ultimate sampler platters. PAGE 16

Arabic may be the o official the Sultanate, language here in th kinds of words but there are all kind Omani. This that are purely Oma local slang week, learn r some lo Salim. from Asmaa and Sa PAGE 18

Ice hockey in Oman? With facilities, a new National team, and a growing local interest in the chilly sport, pros and enthusiasts can lace-up and battle it out on the rink in Qurum. PAGE 14




04

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

Give us a shout with questions, comments, compliments, complaints, or just to say “Hi” Founder Essa bin Mohamed Al Zedjali Chairman Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali CEO Ahmed Essa Al Zedjali scottarmstrong@timesofoman.com Chief Executive Editor Scott Armstrong

felicia@timesofoman.com

Executive Features Editor Felicia Campbell Features Production Editor Swati Dasgupta swati@timesofoman.com

Research/Copy Editor Ashish Dubash ameerudheen@timesofoman.com

shafeeq@timesofoman.com

Senior Editors T. A. Ameerudheen Faisal Mohammed Naim Mohammed Shafeeqe

ashishdubash@timesofoman.com

Associate Editor Salim Hamood Al Afifi Multimedia Editorial Assistants Shruthi Nair, Asmaa Al Balushi

shruthi@timesofoman.com

faisal@timesofoman.com

salim@timesofoman.com

asmaa@timesofoman.com Chief Creative Officer Adonis Durado Associate Art Director Waleed Rabin Graphic Editor Antonio Farach Design Editor Sahir K.M. Lead Designer Ali Jani Designers Antonio Ismael Sandiego Geri Batara Sonny Gregory Fernandez Director of Digital Television Joe Morrison Photography MMG Photographers

aziz@timesofoman.com

richard@timesofoman.com

Chief Sales Officer Richard Pakenham Head Of Advertising & Marketing Aziz K. Baker Production Manager Shafi Shaik

On The Cover Design by Ali Jani Photography courtesy of Salalah Rotana Resort For general inquiries or comments: HiWeekend@timesofoman.com

Muscat Media Group AN ISO 9001:2008 CERTIFIED COMPANY Post Box: 770, Postal Code: 112, Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman EDITORIAL 24726600/24726666 Ext 235/160 felicia@timesofoman.com

CIRCULATION 24726600/24726666 Ext 135/136 circulation@timesofoman.com

ADVERTISEMENT 24726600/24726666 exT 435/193 hi7ayam@hotmail.com

SAY “HI” ON SOCIAL MEDIA facebook.com/hiweekly twitter & instagram: hiweekly_oman


Tell us what you’re doing this weekend: Tweet us @HiWeekly_Oman; tag us in your weekend instagram photos @hiweekly_oman; or share with us on FB/hiweekly

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

HI WEEKLY

05

THE WEEKEND LINEUP Your calendar of the hottest events happening in Muscat this weekend

FRIDAY

6:00pm Playtime

5:30am Sweat it Out

The month-long Kidcitement festival is back at the Oman Avenues Mall where for OMR2.500 kids can visit a range of “career zones” and see what it would be like to be a chef, fireman, and more during this edutainment event. Oman Avenues Mall +968 2450 3403

Join the Adventure Oman facebook group and then join them for an early morning rock climbing session in Khubrah this weekend.

7:30pm ROFLMAO Enjoy COMVICTS, a night of standup comedy performed by local and international comedians. Entry is OMR15. Hormuz Grand Hotel +968 9696 0355

10:00am Vroom Vroom Witness the grand finale of the Oman Drift Championship and King of Desert competitions, followed by the Gymkhana national round and a 24-hour endurance race. Oman Automobile Association (OAA) +968 2451 0239 omanauto.org

+968 9931 8651 facebook.com/groups/ adventureoman

10:00am Shop Around

Go roam around the grand shopping village at the Jungle Restaurant near Qurum park to peruse an array of products from clothes to jewellery and cosmetics. Be sure to enter the hourly raffle for a chance to win. Al Bahja Hall, Jungle Restaurant, Qurum +968 9868 4848 alphaevents.om

SATURDAY 9:00am Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise In celebration of its 2nd anniversary, Optimal Health Centre is giving away free consultations from 9am to 5pm at their clinic in Al Khuwair. Optimal Health Centre +968 2448 7886 optimalspinehealth.com

10:00am Get Artisnal This is the last weekend of the season for Souq es-Sabt, Oman’s first farmers market, held weekly at The Walk at The Wave (Almouj). Go enjoy local delicacies from Oman’s diverse expatriate community, buy organic produce, and find handmade, locally produced products of all kinds from 9:00am-12:30pm. The Walk at The Wave, Seeb facebook.com/souqessabt

Photography: Supplied

17 18 19 THURSDAY


06

HI WEEKLY

Have you tried any of our five? Do you have a favourite we didn’t include? Tell us about it on facebook.com/hiweekly

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

FIVE QURAN TO TRY CLASSES AL ETQAN QURAN CENTRE Al Etqan gives morning courses in Quran and Tajweed for juniors between the ages of 3 to 6 years. For adults, they offer afternoon classes for females daily and three days per week for males. This school is located in Barka. Registration is open through March. +968 9401 0046

EMAN QURAN SCHOOL Memorise Quran at the Eman Quran School in Al Amerat. Classes are offered for kids aged 3 to 6 years at OMR400 annually, inclusive of Mathematics, English, and Arabic tutoring, as well as various extracurricular activities. The school offers transportation. +968 2487 8251

MANAR AL HUDA Manar Al Huda offers Quran memorisation classes for kids aged 3 to 6, in both Arabic and English. They also offer summer classes for kids aged 3 to 9. The school is located in Al Amerat and courses cost OMR450 annually, inclusive of Mathematics, English, and Arabic tutoring. The school offers transportation. +968 2449 7459

QURAN TUITION

NOOR ISLAM QURAN SCHOOL

Improve your Quranic reading and Tajweed with private lessons. Kamram Ahmed’s Darsait-based, five-day per week classes are offered in Arabic, English, and Urdu for expats who want to learn and understand the Holy Quran. Classes are OMR50 monthly and run Sunday-Thursday. +968 9901 8461

Learn and memorise Quran at Noor Islam Quran School in South Al Hail. Classes are priced at OMR840 per year inclusive of Mathematics, Arabic, English, Computer, and Islamic Studies. For adults and expats, courses run on Sundays and Tuesdays, and cost OMR40 per month. The school offers transportation. +968 2454 2697

MAUREEN ABOOD Well-known Lebanese cookbook author Maureen Abood offers a uniquely personal window into her kitchen and life with her blog “Rose Water & Orange Blossoms.” We love the stories and photos behind her awesome recipes. Instagram: @maureenabood maureenabood.com

MATTERS OF THE BELLY Noha Serag Eldin, a recipe developer and true storyteller from Egypt, now based in Sydney, Australia, has a blog that screams art. We follow her for inspiration for our own food photography and styling. Instagram: @mattersofthebelly mattersofthebelly.com

CHEF IN DISGUISE Following @chefindisquise will make you hungry. Created by Palestinian blogger Sawsan whose posts express her big appetite for authentic Palestinian and Jordanian delicacies, the photos and recipes keep us coming back for more. Instagram: @chefindisguise chefindisguise.com

BUTTERED-UP Sarah Khanna’s blog shares a mix of homemade recipes from Cairo, as well as guest posts from some of the best Arab food bloggers, so following her helps us stay in the loop of food trends around the Arab, social media world. Instagram: @sarahkhanna buttered-up.com

OMANI CUISINE Before heading out to dinner in Muscat, most local foodies check with Omani cuisine first. His reviews are detailed, to-the-point, and amazingly include almost all the hottest restaurants and holes-in-the-wall in the city. Instagram: @omanicuisine omanicuisine.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

HI SOCIAL ARAB FOOD BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW



08

HI WEEKLY

Where are you escaping to this weekend? Show us on Instagram @hiweekly_oman and tell us about it on facebook.com/hiweekly

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

WEEKEND ESCAPE

A DRIVE THROUGH COASTAL VILLAGES

FROM SUR TO JAALAN BANI BU HASSAN The calm coastal town of Sur, located on a large lagoon, once played a central role in the trade routes and to this day, the traditional boats known as dhows are still built there. Inland from Sur, the span of land from Al Kamil Wal Wafi to Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan, is packed with historic fortified houses, watchtowers, and forts. STORY OLGA AYMERICH

FRIDAY 09.00 Wake up and sip your dose of daily Turkish coffee or espresso before starting your drive south to Sur. 10.30 Stop in Fins village to visit the only coffee shop in town (at the entrance of the village). Order karak tea or Nescafe and enjoy a delicious egg sandwich. Refresh with a splash at Fins beach before continuing south. 12.00 Reach Sur, the coastal town famous for dhow (traditional sailing vessels) building, and visit the operational dhow workshop on the main corniche and the historic, 300 ton, 20m-long Fatah Al Khair ship up the street at the outdoor maritime museum. 13.30 Order fresh catch or cuttlefish biryani at the Sur Beach Restaurant (+968 2554 1396) near the souq or for a lighter snack, get some crispy Omani bread and a fruit salad at the small tea and juice shops across the street from Resort Sur Beach Holiday. 15.00 Check in at Resort Sur Beach Holiday (+968 2554 2032) and then take a quick drive to the lighthouses overlooking the bridge connecting old and new Sur. The 360 degree view is a must-see. 16.00 Munch on some luqaimat fried dough in syrup, sold alongside steamed buttered corn at White Coffee Shop on the beachfront. Have an evening stroll along the corniche before heading back to your hotel for a dip in the pool, some dinner, and a night cap.

SATURDAY

12.00 Drive 20 minutes back north to Al Kamil Wal Wafi and stop at the Old Castle Museum to see its large collection of antiques. Don’t miss the old houses surrounding the castle, which still retain their ancient charm. Peek into the small fish market just on the left side of the museum car park before you commence your two-and-a-half hour drive home. 17.00 Arrive to your sweet Muscat home just in time to go to the movies. —HiWeekend@timesofoman.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

09.00 Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel before checking out and getting back on the road. Take the Highway 23 to Jalan Bani Bu Hassan. It features a massive re-built fort, which is closed on the weekends, but the walk around it deserves a short stop.



HI WEEKLY

GET PUMPED

10

Speed lovers, get ready to be blown away by the earsplitting engine roar, the aroma of burning rubber, and sheer force of acceleration when F1 showdown lands in Muscat on April 8.

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

STORY FAISAL MOHAMMED NAIM


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

F

rom cobbled city streets in Europe to baking deserts in the Americas to conquering the highest road in the Himalayas and skating on the frozen rivers of Canada; the Showrun Team has been to every inhabited continent. And they are finally coming to Oman with former Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard taking the wheel of the Constructors’ Championship winning F1 car to rip down the Muttrah Corniche during the high adrenaline ‘Red Bull Formula 1 Showrun’ on Friday April 8. The exact route along the Muttrah Corniche is yet to be officially declared, but the proposed starting point is the Riyam Park roundabout, down the waterfront, rounding off at the Al Alam Palace. The former F1 champion and highest scoring British driver of all time will also be performing a full repertoire of donuts and burnouts along with the speed stretches to enthrall the sure-to-be-huge gathering of Omani and expat motorsport fans invited to line the streets. To give fans a chance to witness the contained ferocity of a Formula 1 car at very close quarters, the team’s car, which accelerates from 0-100km/h in 2.4 seconds and reaches speeds of 250km/h and above, will be displayed and fired up at various locations around Oman including the Omantel headquarters (the event’s principle sponsor) on April 7, the day before the main event. Stay tuned for more details on the roaring motoring extravaganza, as we bring you the latest updates over the coming weeks. —faisal@timesofoman.com

Venue Muttrah Corniche

Golden Tip Wear earplugs at the venue. You can seriously damage your hearing when these monsters accelerate, producing dose to 8,585 times the acceptable auditory noise level for your ears

PHOTOGRAPHY: RED BULL

Date and Day Friday, April 8, 2016

HI WEEKLY

11


12

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

STORY SHRUTHI NAIR | PHOTOS COURTESY OF NOHA STYLE ICON


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

I

was invited to attend the launch of the Rosa Spa at the Azaiba Mall last month, which turned out to be a grand affair graced with the presence of important dignitaries and celebrities. Among the four well-known fashionistas that the public were going gaga over that day, the one that caught my eye was Noha Nabil. With almost 3 million followers on Instagram alone, the Middle Eastern fashion icon caters to the visual fantasies of Arab women under her supremely popular “Noha Style Icon” tag. She went to the US to pursue a masters degree in Chemical Engineering, but (thankfully for the style world) she changed course to follow her true passion. This bubbly mother of three (a fact that I was shocked to learn) developed and nurtured her own sense of style and presentation, and is now a household name in the GCC, with millions of women fangirling over the fashion blogger, TV presenter, and social media superstar. —shruthi@timesofoman.com

How long have you been actively involved in the fashion industry? I launched my blog back in 2009. I started by blogging my daily outfits and accessories when I was in the US and when I came back to Kuwait last summer, I found that fashion blogging is huge here and the people in this part of the world really understand the concept of personal style and fashion media. How do you see the fashion industry in Oman? I think generally fashion in the GCC countries are expanding and growing. It’s probably thanks to the social media boom that people are keeping themselves up-to-date when it comes to the changing trends in global beauty and fashion. You don’t really have to buy fashion magazines or religiously follow fashion shows to know about the prevailing styles nowadays, as everything is at your fingertips, quiet literally, thanks to smartphones. So that is helping to empower the fashion industry in Oman too. How is fashion here in the Middle East different from that in the rest of world? I was blogging in the US for seven years and I think there is a huge gap. We’re still exploring the realms of fashion; accepting trends, playing with colours, and constantly experimenting. There is a lack of fear now, which is a good thing. Also, fashion bloggers and social media influencers are playing a huge role. What aspect of the fashion and beauty world are you most interested in? To be honest, initially I was just into pure fashion, i.e. just clothes. But when I came to Kuwait I realised that the women here love to go bold with their makeup as well. Makeup is extremely important in all of the GCC, so to prove myself in this market, I had to take makeup courses. I’ve been improving a lot (I hope), you know, by watching makeup tutorials, and attending classes to make sure I’m on the right track. What does it feel like to be a role model for so many women across the GCC? Firstly, it’s a huge responsibility. The women here expect a lot from you, so you feel the constant pressure to live upto their expectations. Apart from being up-to-date with the fashion trends of the world, you also need to be able to localise the international trends in fashion. We are still a conservative society, so it becomes our duty to customise and localise the fashion trends to suit the tastes of the women in this part of the world. Whenever you walk out in the streets, people recognise you. So, do you feel pressure to look good all the time? Trust me, that’s a huge task in itself. It’s very very difficult. Back in the US, when people didn’t recognise me, I was in my comfort zone. I used to go to school in my PJs or trackpants, but now I have to be fully dressed up all the time. Instagram: Noha Style Icon (2.8m followers) Twitter: @nohastyleicon (157K followers) Youtube: Nohastyleicon blogger (140,162 subscribers) Fashion Blog: NohaStyleIcon.com

“WE ARE OPENING UP TO NEW IDEAS THANKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA. WE KNOW WHAT THE FASHION ICONS ACROSS THE WORLD ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH AND THE INFLUENCE IS GOING BOTH WAYS” Also, there are a lot of events and launches happening for which I need to be camera-ready. Besides fashion blogging, what else are you up to these days? I am a TV presenter in Kuwait. My ticket to fame, as I would call it, was a kids TV show back in 1992. I’ve worked in a lot of TV stations in the Middle East such as Kuwait TV, Dubai TV, MBC, Alrai Media, and Al Watan Television as a presenter and otherwise. I am preparing for my next TV show, which is a talk show that deals with the issues in society, beauty, and fashion. How do Middle Eastern fashionistas fit into the global style scene? We get invited to the big programmes that happen in the fashion hubs of the world. I got invited to Paris and New York for fashion shows recently, so I think they have a good amount of respect for the fashionistas of the Arab world, primarily because we are extremely active on social media. In fact, I was in a meeting with Snapchat and Instagram last month and they were shocked to learn how huge we are here. Fashion bloggers in the GCC countries get millions of followers and that is huge. So that indicates that we are on the right track and have the power to influence the fashion industry in the region. How are women integrating Western fashion trends into the more conservative Eastern fashion scene here in Middle East? I think we are opening up to new ideas. About ten years back, ladies were really scared to try leather pants or jackets and now you see them donning spikes and full leather outfits and, once again thanks to social media, we know what the fashion icons across the world are experimenting with and we can adopt it and introduce it to our followers. And the influence is going both ways, iconic brands like Dolce and Gabbana are considering us now, and have come up with their own range D+G abayas. That’s how powerful we have become.

HI WEEKLY

13


14

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

TO D LIST

PUCK IT THE COOLEST AND FASTEST OF GAMES ON EARTH, ICE HOCKEY IS BECOMING A POPULAR SPORT IN THE SULTANATE STORY MOHAMMED SHAFEEQE

E

xcept the fact that there are rare natural phenomenon like hail storms and occasional snowfall on Oman’s mountain tops during deep winter, pitching the idea of a game on ice in a country dominated by desert isn’t always the easiest sell. But for Oman’s Ice Sports Committee (OISC) passion for the sport is earning converts since the National team placed 4th after defeating India and Malaysia in its first participation in the IIHF Champions Cup of Asia in Kuwait last year. Now the team is polishing their skills to prepare for next Winter Olympics, set to be held in Japan. At first glance, the Sultanate seems ill-suited to ice hockey. The country boasts summer temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius, and the only snow and ice to be found is usually in fabricated form in shopping malls. It was only a few years ago that an ice rink opened in Fun Zone at Qurum, the only rink in all of Oman as the earlier rink was closed in Al Khuwair. But a growing number of Omanis are taking to the ice, inspired by the introduction of LTP (Learn to Play Hockey), a programme designed by the International Ice Hockey federation (IIHF), in Oman. “We are trying to use the fact that hockey is a new sport, and up-and-coming sport in our country,” Ibrahim Mohammed Mohammadi, National team captain said. “It’s the coolest and fastest sport in the world and we’re trying to push that message. It’s a fast-paced, all-action sport and we’re doing everything we can to get young people interested in it.” Ice hockey is one of the four major North American professional sports and the official national winter sport of Canada, where the game enjoys immense popularity, which makes sense as it has traditionally been most popular in areas that are sufficiently cold for natural, reliable seasonal ice cover, such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Nordic countries (especially Sweden and Finland), the United States, Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. But with the advent of indoor artificial ice rinks it has become a year-round pastime in the GCC countries,

LEARN TO PLAY HOCKEY (LTP) OMAN Every Friday from 8am to 12:00pm Skating and ice hockey programme for age 4-15 years OMR30 per month Duration: The LTP programme will run twice a year – from September to January and from February till June. Hockey Equipment (gear): The hockey

with many taking up the sport over the past few years, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. The sport’s growth in the past decade has contributed to the rise of the UAE national team, which has gone from a laughing stock — once losing to Kazakhstan 38-0 — to one of the region’s emerging powerhouses, winning the Challenge Cup of Asia in March for the second time and finishing third in the Asian Winter Games last year. The UAE’s success also has inspired other Gulf nations to embrace ice hockey, including Oman. “For the kids, we are running a programme called LTP, designed by the IIHF. We started this programme five months ago and again we just started the second season last Friday. The game needs some equipment and safety gears which will be provided by the OISC in addition to the service of coaches. You just need to pay OMR30 for four sessions a month. The coaches running the programme are national ice hockey team members,” said Ibrahim of the lessons being offered at Fun Zone in Qurum, where there are multiple levels offered. “Level 1 is learning to skate. We teach them how to skate and how to get proper balance. And then they go to Level 2 and reach till Level 4. When you reach Level 4, you will be a good skater. Then you can shift to the ice hockey team,” Ibrahim said. “LTP is the first step towards becoming an ice hockey player in Oman. An aspiring adult player can also pursue the passion by joining the Muscat team. But for the adult players the equipment and gear should be provided by themselves. You have to purchase it from UAE or online and the OISC will help to purchase it,” he says. There are two Omani teams, the Muscat team and the Khanjar team, in addition to a team in which all of the players are foreigners (mostly from Canada). “For the National team we choose from both the Omani teams,” he said. The OISC is planning to form Under-15 and Under-9 teams and is also looking for a new third team in Oman. “We are looking for good players to come. If you are good enough you will get selected for the National team.” —shafeeq@timesofoman.com

equipment includes: helmet with cage, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pant, gloves, shin guard, skates, sticks, jersey, socks, and a hockey bag. Location: Fun Zone skating arena, Al Qurum No transportation is provided by the club at the moment.

Sign Up Forms can be downloaded from OISC website: oisc.om Send the filled forms to LTP@oisc.om

Fun Zone Skating Rink Instagram FUNZONEOMAN +968 2466 2951 support@funzoneoman.com

Oman Ice Sports Committee (OISC)Teams +968 2205 8546 info@oisc.om Twitter: @O_I_S_C Monthly charge for Khanjar OMR20 per month Practice session: Every Saturday at 7am


AD


16

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

BATT LE O F THE THA LIS STORY SWATI DASGUPTA | PHOTOGRAPHY ALI JANI

M

uscat palates are getting ever-more adventurous, and thali lunches are the perfect way to enjoy a menagerie of dishes in a single meal. Thalis feature a wide array of regional Indian dishes served in little bowls set atop a stainless steel platter. Here in Muscat there are a number of places that serve thali lunches with both North and South Indian options. A north Indian vegetarian thali is a complete meal that includes fritters, chutney, pappad, dal, and beans served in katori or small bowls with whole wheat bread like chapatti or parantha. There is rice, served as khichdi (porridge), pulao, or biryani. A non-vegetarian Northern thali will also include a chicken or a mutton dish. South Indian thalis come with a liberal helping of rice, sambhar, rasam, vegetable curry, pappad, curd, and a sweet and are known for their chilli and tamarind-based curries, which are eaten with rice. The Southern non-vegetarian option will include a fish curry. —swati@timesofoman.com FISH CURRY

ROASTED PAPPAD

KHEER

The crisp and thin wafer-like snack made of lentils and gram flour is served as an accompaniment with meals in India. It is either fried or roasted and is usually served with onions and tomatoes.

Kheer is a favourite dessert in North India made of rice, milk, and sugar flavoured with cardamom. Garnished with nuts and pistachios, it can be made with vermicelli instead of rice as well.

Laden with spices and full of flavours, this fish curry is a spicy treat. The fragrances of fresh ginger, garlic, onion, green chilli, turmeric, and red chilli with fresh coriander leaves add to the flavours.

PULAO RICE Fragrant rice is jewelled with spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, and shahi jeera, along with vegetables. Ghee is sprinkled on before serving.

CHEERA CUR

It is a spinach curry with a coconut and onio gravy. The spices inclu cumin seeds, coriande mustard seeds, and cur

SALAD A colourful bowl of cut fruits and vegetables, with a dash of lemon and chaat masala is a typical accompaniment to a North Indian thali.

PAYASAM DAL Cooked with onion and tomato and flavoured with ghee and spices, any meal in North India is incomplete without this mouth watering lentil dish. Dal is eaten with jeera rice, steamed rice, or pulao.

What’s kheer in Nort is payasam in the Sout prepared for almost all a occasions. Made in variations, vermicelli pa the most commo

K ALOO JEERA This is an easy side dish made of potatoes and roasted cumin. The slightly nutty flavour of the cumin makes it a comfort food favourite.

A vegeta curry be

VEG MAKHANI Vegetable makhani is a North Indian mixed vegetable curry served in a cashew and tomato based gravy with vegetables, onions, and cream.

DAHI Dahi or yoghurt is an essential accompaniment to North Indian meals. Mostly eaten plain, it is at times spiced with roasted cumin powder or chaat masala.

NOR VS SOUT


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

KERALA STYLE KOOTU CURRY

CHICKEN 65 A spicy, deep-fried chicken dish, chicken 65 is a popular snack in south India and has many variations.

Try making this coconut-y

THORAN This dry, coconut and vegetable stir-fry from Kerala can be prepared with any fresh vegetables and is usually eaten with rice.

HI WEEKLY

CURD In South Indian cuisine, curd is essential to almost all meals. This buttery, creamy curd is either eaten plain or as curd rice.

mustard-spiked staple of South Indian thalis. It is easy to prepare and so delicious, that you’ll want more than a sampler-size portion.

Ingredients Black chickpea: 250g (soaked in water and kept overnight) Turmeric powder: A pinch Salt: As per taste Long brinjal: 250g, chopped Snakegourd: 250g, chopped Long runner beans: 250g, chopped Elephant yam: 250g, chopped Cucumber: 250g, chopped Raw plantain: 250g, chopped Coconut: 1/2 of one grated Dry red chillies: 4 - 5 Peppercorns: 8 Curry leaves: As per required

RRY

made on-based ude garlic, er seeds, rry leaves.

For seasoning Coconut: 1/2 of one, grated Black gram: 1tsp Dry red chillies: 2 Mustard seeds: 1/2tsp Coconut oil: 2tbsp Preparation • Cook black chickpeas along with turmeric powder and salt in a pressure cooker till soft in about 15 minutes. • Add all the chopped vegetables to the black chickpeas and cook until tender for about 10 minutes. • Grind coconut, red chillies, and peppercorns together to make a coarse paste. Add the paste to vegetables and chickpeas and allow it to boil. • When the mixture boils, remove the pot from the flame and add curry leaves. • Heat another pan and fry the grated coconut, till it turns brown. Add the fried coconut to the curry and mix well. • Heat coconut oil in a pan or a kadai. Add black gram, dry red chillies, and mustard seeds. When they splutter, remove from heat and add them to the curry. • Serve with rice.

M

h India, th and is auspicious many ayasam is on.

KOOTU CURRY

A curry of miscellaneous ables and Bengal gram, this has pumpkin, snake gourd, ans, yam, and cucumber cooked with coconut.

RASAM It is a South Indian soup traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with tomatoes, chilli, pepper, cumin, and other spices.

SAMBHAR

PACHADI

TH

S TH

RICE Rice forms the basis of all meals in South India, especially during lunch. In Kerala matta rice or red parboiled rice is quite popular. The fat rice grains take longer time to cook and have a fine, earthy flavour.

Kerala Pachadi is a vegetable dish and served as an accompaniment for rice. It consists of coconut and green or red chillis tempered in oil with mustard seeds, ginger, and curry leaves.

Made with tamarind, this tangy lentil-based vegetable stew or a broth is the most popular South Indian dish, served with rice, dosa, and idlis.

TASTE TEST Which thali reigns supreme? You’ll have to taste them for yourself to decide. At OMR1 or

LEMON PICKLE Pickled lemon pieces seasoned with chilli powder, fenugreek seed powder, mustard seeds, and asafoetida, are a must in every South Indian thali.

OMR1.400 each, either one is a steal. We got ours from

Four Squares Restaurant Behind the Sheraton Hotel in Ruwi +968 2481 1055, +968 2481 1066

17


18

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

OMANI SLANG Interspersed with the Arabic conversations overheard throughout the capital city, even native Arabic speakers might be surprised to hear some unfamiliar words. Though Arabic is the official language in the Sultanate, there are all kinds of words and phrases that are purely local. Here’s your monthly primer from Hi’s Omani team members Salim Al Afifi and Asmaa Al Balushi. STORY SALIM AL AFIFI & ASMAA AL BALUSHI ILLUSTRATION ISIDORE CARLOMAN

Broom Mgam’aa

Spoon Muqamsha

Pottery G’hla


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

HI WEEKLY

Mattress Doshaq

Bed Kurfaya

Want to learn a particular Omani phrase or saying? Get in touch with us on Facebook/HiWeekly and we’ll post your tutorial on our “All-Local Omani Tuesdays”.

Cooking Pot Sufriya S

19


20

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

HI WEEKLY

21

ANOTHER SIDE OF SALALAH STORY FELICIA CAMPBELL

When I think of Salalah, I fondly remember roadside grilled chicken being served by Dhofari women in colourful, floral dishdasha. I think of camel cooked on hot wadi stones in a local preparation known as muthbi and the curtains of beef air-drying in ramshackle shops lining the street that leads out of “town” into the mountains. I think of the foggy hills carpeted with lush greenery during khareef, and the spectacular cliffs overlooking the tropical teal of the teaming Indian Ocean below. I think of the old souq and the ladies there in frilly black abayas and niqabs, their perfectly lined eyes enhanced by their coverings. I think of herds of camels and cows wandering through the streets and I sigh at the thought of the fresh coconut and banana stands. PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

And then I think of my accommodations.


HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

G

oing to the wilds of Dhofar is an adventure, and usually adventure comes with its fair share of hardship or “roughing it” as we call it in America. It can be part of the fun. So I didn’t hold it against the destination that most of my stays had involved camping, staying in run down apartment hotels, and, even in the more up-market properties in town, dealing with the inevitable wear and tear of ageing they all seemed to suffer from. Maybe that’s why I’ve never thought to head south any other time of the year besides khareef. I didn’t savour the idea of “roughing it” in that sleepy city in its even sleepier off-season. But apparently that aspect of the Salalah experience is changing, with the opening of new, luxury resorts over the last couple of years, and many openings on the horizon. Or so I’d heard. Last Thursday I rushed out of the office, nervously watching the rain splash on the pools of floodwater that still remained from the torrential downpour the day before. I was scheduled to go check out the new Rotana Salalah Resort, and I had a plane to catch. Part of me felt that I’d be less than heartbroken if my flight was cancelled. Sure I had hopes for the property; the pictures looked fabulous. But it was Salalah. People don’t go to Salalah for luxurious stays, they go for the cool weather in the dead of summer, they go to see the wildlife, maybe they even go to bring back bags of the local speciality, frankincense, but to stay at a luxury resort? I didn’t think so. And the fact that the Salalah Rotana has a staggering 400 rooms, making up nearly half of the entire room inventory for the city, added to my concern about the quality. Usually mass market means “the cheaper the better” when it comes to building and operating costs. And anyways, why bother providing world-class accommodations, when the local market doesn’t demand it?

“From the expertly selected furnishings to the hand-set stone flooring, it was obvious that this was not a cheap, quick project — this was a world-class luxury resort.”

Damp with rain and plagued by my concerns, I arrived to the airport. My flight was right on time. Two hours later I landed in Dhofar and after a twenty-minute ride from the new Salalah airport, the softly lit palm trees and classic, arabesque white of the resort rose out of the darkness, providing my first glimpse of the socalled “Jewel of Arabia”. A buggy was waiting to drive me to my premium ocean front suite. As we drove along the venetian-style, man-made canals amidst softly flickering lanterns and glowing palms, I learned that each structure houses a combination of classic rooms, generously sized at 43-square metres; slightly larger deluxe rooms and suites; and premium rooms and suites that feature two bathrooms. Some blocks overlook the canal and manicured walkways, while others open directly onto the beach front lawns. We pulled up in front of the 700 Block and I followed the concierge to a heavy, carved wood door. Inside, a foyer led to the guest bathroom and then to the sitting room, where a platter of fresh Salalah fruit was laid out. Just beyond the sitting room was an outdoor majlis, which also connected back to the master bedroom. The space was striking, with a massive, plush bed set on a carved stone base; a vaulted, red clay ceiling; a Moroccan-style window box overlooking the sea; and a bathroom with the largest soaker tub I’ve seen in Oman, in addition to the usual niceties like a rain shower and double vanities stocked with premium French toiletries from L’Occitane. I walked around the suite, which was around 90-square metres, a few times, taking it all in. The architectural details looked as though they were classic Arabesque made modern, rather

than the more typical Western modern-style infused with Arabesque touches. From the intricately carved wooden details to the understated, deep purple accents, to the pointed arches and dramatic red clay ceiling, there was a perfect cohesion in the space thanks to someone’s keen eye for the details and, in no small part, thanks to the extremely high-end finishes. From the expertly selected furnishings to the hand-set stone flooring to the generous, meandering use of space, it was obvious that this was not a cheap, quick project — this was a worldclass luxury resort. I gleefully sprawled out on the bed and ordered room service, which I enjoyed on the spacious terrace. Despite near tropical humidity, the balmy weather was pleasant, and with the sound of the crashing waves as a sound track, I felt it was a picture perfect start to the weekend. The next morning, the resort revealed itself in all its glory. After ordering coffee and pastries, I wandered out onto the terrace and was surprised to see that the sprawling 8.2 kilometre beach front began mere steps away from where I stood, just on the other side of a perfectly manicured lawn and walking path. The lounges set under wide wooden umbrellas were calling my name. But there were so many options to choose from: Dolphin watching tours or excursions into the surrounding Dhofar coastal and mountain areas to see frankincense trees, the Mughsail geysers, the souq, and historic ruins with local guides selected and arranged by the Rotana staff. I was keen to have a few laps in the Olympic-size swimming pool or to try my hand at tennis with one of the pros, or maybe to head to the spa for the signature aromatherapyacupressure massage treatment.

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

22


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

HI WEEKLY

PLAN YOUR ESCAPE GET THERE • Fly There are several daily 1 hour 45 minute, nonstop flights available on Oman Air. Book online at omanair.com or call +968 2453 1111 • Drive from Muscat to Salalah via Nizwa through the very flat desert of Wusta on route 31 (9-10 hours) or take the scenic route along the windy coastal road via Duqm and Mirbat (12-13 hours).

STAY Salalah Rotana Resort Rotana.com/salalahrotanaresort +968 2327 5700 Salalah.resort@rotana.com Check online for special rates and packages, as there are some amazing offering inclusive of airport transfers, spa treatments, excursions, and meals. The ocean front premium suites are truly something special, but all the accommodations are equally well equipped, and the ocean is moments away from any room on the property. Weekday rates for classic rooms start around OMR55 per night and two-bedroom premium ocean front suites starting around OMR155.

EAT • Fresh coconut and fruit at roadside stands. • Camel muthbi at the restaurant in the village adjacent to the Mughsail blowhole. • Steak, in any iteration, at the Rotana Resort. • Seafood at Rotana in the form of fish tacos at The Beach restaurant and sushi at Silk Road. • Even more fresh, local fruit and excellent coffee on your terrace or balcony.

DO • Buy frankincense, available in excellent quality at much lower prices than in Muscat at the Salalah souq. • Book a dolphin watching trip or scuba diving excursion through the resort • Ask the concierge to book a local guide to show you the ins and outs of Dhofar. • Nap on the beach and enjoy doing nothing at all.

I was craving roadside muthbi, fresh baby bananas, and coconut water, but I was also tempted to try The Beach Restaurant and the eastern fusion, Silk Road. Over the course of the weekend, I discovered that the wintertime cliffs of Salalah, though now slate grey and beige rather than green, make an equally stunning backdrop for the crashing, pale blue Indian Ocean waves. The roadside coconuts and bananas are actually sweeter now than during khareef, and the quiet streets are still ripe for adventure and discovery. On the Rotana property, I was surprised to find the best quality steak I’ve had in Oman, with American USDA sirloins served classically char-grilled alongside potatoes and steamed vegetables as well as atop Asian-inspired salads. The seafood, freshly caught right there in Dhofar, was used inventively in delicious, crispy fish tacos topped with lime, red onion, avocado, cilantro, and pickled beets at The Beach Restaurant, while the premium, sashimi-grade catch was used for everything from Arabic-style grilled fish at Saffron to sushi rolls at Silk Road. On my last afternoon, I lounged on the

beach, enjoying the feeling of the hot sun and the cool, moist air blowing around me. I looked around at the groves of palms, at the thatched roof shades peppering the sand, and back at the lovely white exterior of the palace-like property behind me. I listened to the pleasant, odd menagerie of German, Russian, and Arabic voices and children laughing against the pulse of the waves. In that moment I realised that I felt as far away from my daily routine as if I were on a remote island in Southeast Asia. I was a world apart, but without the underlying dread of a full-day flight waiting to take me back to reality. I marvelled that a tropical paradise like this had been waiting for me less than two-hours south of Muscat, since 2014. This resort is a place that is blissfully off the radar, where the details matter so much, from the design to the service, that I can forget about them entirely. It represents a new side of Salalah, one of sophistication and luxury that somehow fits right in with the city’s casual, natural vibe. I’ll still come to Salalah during khareef for outdoor adventures, but I no longer plan on roughing it. —felicia@timesofoman.com

23


24

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

NAUTICAL BY NATURE NAME: LOÏCK PEYRON JOB: YACHTSMAN MISSION: CROSS THE ATLANTIC IN A 52-YEAR-OLD WOODEN BOAT

STORY SHRUTHI NAIR


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

I

HI WEEKLY

25

reached the pitch dark Al Mouj parking lot at around 8:30pm. From there, I found my way to the tent village that had been erected for the sailors, crew members, media, and organisers from across the globe who had gathered in Seeb for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World series. As

I drew closer to the brightly lit tents, I saw it was busy with well-built, macho men running around with tool kits and screwdrivers. I couldn’t stop myself from blushing when one of the young men would pass a smile or a warm greeting while doing their strenuous tasks. Inside one of the massive tents, I found a boat with Artemis written along its side. I began to look around when I heard a voice coming from somewhere above me. “Times of Oman?” he asked. I looked up at the guys perched on the boat, trying to carefully dismantle it and I nodded my head. Described by his fellow sailors as someone who’d seen it all and done it all, I’d come to find 56-year-old French sailor, Loick Peyron. He was set to leave the next day for the next leg of the competition in Bermuda, so I’d hurried down to The Wave to try to get to know the man behind the lore before he left. A middle-aged man wearing a smart white shirt and big wide smile began striding towards me and I knew I’d found the one

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

I’d come here to see.


26

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

L

PERHAPS BECAUSE HE HAS SPENT SO MUCH TIME ON THE SEA, HIS PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS ARE A LOT LIKE THE VAST BLUE OCEAN — UNPREDICTABLE AND DYNAMIC.

the situation struck me and I started visualising myself hanging onto a knife stabbed into the side of an iceberg in the middle of the pacific all alone. I’ve realised that it is important to be scared when you’re sailing. It keeps you alert and makes you react immediately so can do something to save your life.” Since his early voyages, he has learned to avoid many of the self-inflicted hardships he encountered in the beginning, going on to complete four around-the-world trips, ten off-shore races, three America’s Cup World Series, and 49 Atlantic crossings. This May, he will set off on his 50th Trans-Atlantic crossing. Perhaps because he has spent so much time on the sea, his personal characteristics are a lot like the vast blue ocean — unpredictable and dynamic, so his 50th Atlantic crossing isn’t going to be a typical crossing. Loick won’t be racing, instead he will cross the Atlantic for the 50th

time on the same boat that won the race in 1964 as a tribute to the forefathers of sailing. A firm believer in the philosophy of ‘respecting the past to embrace the future,’ the 52-year-old wooden boat will also have 52-year-old technology with no GPS trackers or any kind of electronics or fancy navigation devices. He is chasing the feeling of sailing as it was in the 1960s as authentically and honestly as he can. He is also certain that he will finish last in the race. “I think I need to give the young chaps a chance,” he laughed. “Sailing is the best school of life. More than anything else it instils strong values of respect, humility, hardwork, and team spirit.” I looked around the tent at the men unwinding screws, disassembling pieces, and dismantling the boats. They weren’t hired helpers, but they were the sailors who had been competing only days earlier, all working together to

bring the pieces down so their vessels could be shipped to their next racing destination. I couldn’t help but feel proud. These were the values Loick was talking about. Maybe these rugged, self sufficient ways are the reason he has been able to survive so many life-threatening situations, emerging as a champion time and time again, and, inspite of spending so much of his life on the sea, never getting fed up of his challenges. Every journey, race, and adventure fuels the next, leaving him high on the adrenaline rush and giving him a sense of purpose. I looked at the wild, free expression on Loick’s face as he continued to recount stories of daring and danger on the open sea and I let myself get lost in his tales. I knew that soon he would bid adieu to Oman, setting out for yet another sail, for yet another beginning. —shruthi@timesofoman.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUPPLIED

oick Peyron’s father was the captain of a super tanker, his brother a well known sailor, famous for being the first to beat Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days hypothetical limit, rounding it in just 79. However, inspite of his family background, things weren’t exactly hunkey dorey for him when he first took to the sea. At 18, Loick was a man with a dream — a dream of conquering the world in his boat. His parents wanted him to finish school first and then head out on his sailing ventures but Loick was determined that he wanted to do it right then, in the summer of 1979. A rebellious teenager, he stormed out on his own, and as a result, he found himself without food or money, living on a small boat. It was under such circumstances that Loick Peyron set sail on his first Trans-Atlantic crossing in 1979, all by himself. He faced a lot of challenges on that journey. Since there were no GPS tracking systems at that time, he had to rely on a sextant, which is an old, primitive navigation instrument that requires a lot of calculations. It was also important to know the precise time, especially when you’re on a long, difficult adventure alone. But the tiny wrist watch he was wearing was damaged, so there were times when he had no idea where he was or what time of the day it was. Before finishing the first lap of the race, he dozed off and woke up to find himself lodged onto what looked like a huge rock, but was in fact the foot of a mountain. Thankfully, the boat hadn’t sunk and he was able to push it back to sea. He finished last on that lap, but by the final round, he finished 5th, an achievement he was proud of for his maiden voyage. He faced many dangers over his hundreds of maritime journeys, his eyes gleamed as he described his exploits. “When you’re in the south of the Pacific, you just know that you’re far from everything. The temperature is zero degrees, it snows on the boat so it’s super wet, and there are huge icebergs of sizes you’ve never seen before and you still need to keep going. The feeling is... impressive. The scariest are the icebergs that have melted and can’t be seen from a distance, you go bang into them and your boat sinks and that’s about it. So when I was doing my 1st round the world trip, which took me 110 days, I had come across all kinds of icebergs and obstacles. But the funny part is, it was almost a- month-and-a-half later that the graveness of



28

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

Astrophotography Workshop An astrophotography workshop was held at the Oman Avenues Mall.

IN FOCUS DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FOCUS? SHARE YOUR PICTURES WITH US ON FACEBOOK.COM/HIWEEKLY


VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

IN FOCUS DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FOCUS? SHARE YOUR PICTURES WITH US ON FACEBOOK.COM/HIWEEKLY

Maya Restaurant Indian Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey at the opening of Maya Asiana, the new Indian restaurant, at Cave Complex, Darsait.

HI WEEKLY

29


30

HI WEEKLY

VOLUME 10 ISSUE 12 MARCH 18, 2016

SUDOKU HOW TO PLAY Fill empty cells with the numbers 1 to 9, so that each number appears once in each row, column, and area.

Level | Very Easy

Level | Easy

4

1

2

6

2

7

8

3 9 5

7

4

6

8

9

2

1

1

2

4

5

6 2

1

4

5

4 3

9

3

4 5

8

8

7

8

5 7

7

6

2

5 6

6

8

Level | Moderate

9

5

Level | Difficult

3 1

8

3

9

8

8

1

6

3

6

7

8 3

2

6

8

5

3

6

4

5

4

5

3

9

9

5 1

9

1

2

6

8

3 3

4

6

6

7 4

7 3

2

1

8

8

1 7

7

2 8

4

5

3

5

7

9 5

6

7

8

2

9

3

1 9

1

7 4

3 1

5

8

VISIT US AT FACEBOOK.COM/HIWEEKLY FOR THE SOLUTIONS TO THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE