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WORLD ON THE GO We know of this young travel buff for whom ‘going places’ is a part of everyday life. By profession, he’s a Vice-President in a multi-national firm. By passion, he’s an intrepid traveler. He’s as ecstatic about going on an inaugural flight as he’s clinching a multi-million dollar deal. He works hard not just to party hard, but travel hard. From exotic rail journeys, luxury destinations to backpacking adventures, travel takes him to different worlds. Why travel? The answer is simple. It’s not just unraveling a beautiful new world, but as Miriam Beard says, ‘It’s more than a seeing of sights; it’s a change that goes on deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” Travel is a wholesome experience. It changes you in more ways than you can imagine. You become a seeker… looking at new avenues to explore… and broaden the mind. You soak in new cultures, learn new languages, meet new people and assimilate what you see and perhaps, unconsciously, you become a different person, albeit in small ways. What you assimilate is perhaps what makes you a different person. And that’s perhaps why travel is an important part of who we are. A quick getaway, a stopover or the annual family holiday – there’s nothing like taking a few days off for some relaxation and rejuvenation, much needed in the stressful world we live in. And if you can live without your Blackberry or your laptop, it becomes an ‘escape’ in the truest sense. “The wise man travels to discover himself”, says James Russell Lowell. As you turn the pages of the issue, let the journey of selfdiscovery begin.

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BLOCK YOUR DATES APRIL 2012 Inferno Metal Festival

April 4 – 7 Oslo, Norway

The 44th annual Great Delaware Kite Festival April 6 Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware,US

100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic

World Shakespeare Festival

April 12 onwards Belfast, Northern Ireland

April 23 - September 9 London, England

Tribeca Film Festival

Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2012

April 18 - 29 New York

April 20 - 22 Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain

The Bride Show

April 4 – 7 Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai



Welcome to a new, fresh and bright era of hospitality; an innovative new hotel with a dynamic vision to transform Bahrain’s hotel scene, be it short travel, business, or pleasure: the Hotel Hani Royal is ‘personally yours.’ Ideally situated in Seef, close to the capital Manama, just 5km from Bahrain International Airport and within easy reach to all the major business hubs in the kingdom, the Hani Royal features magnificent sea views and hotel rooms furnished to ensure your comfort. Combined with facilities for conferences, banqueting, special events and an unrivalled choice of outlets, we can guarantee you that Hotel Hani Royal is the perfect choice for all your needs.


Media were treated to the exceptional off-road capabilities of the 2012 Nissan Patrol during a unique event recently. Held at Bahrain International Circuit, the event included a test drive of the Nissan Patrol car on the specially made 4x4 test drive track. The test drive provided media greater insights into the worldclass features of the new Nissan Patrol and confirmed its sporting credentials on the rugged desert track. Living up to its positioning as the 'Hero' of all terrain, Nissan Patrol comes with a powerful 5.6L V8 engine with VVEL and DIG technologies. The new Nissan Patrol is available for test drive at Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons showroom in Sitra. Customers can call (+973) 17732732 for information.


Live it up at Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre during the Formula One weekend. The hotel has created a special package for guests to experience the live, thrilling action of the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix while enjoying the luxurious five-star hospitality at Kempinski. Valid from April 19 – 22, the package is offered for a minimum two night stay in a Deluxe guest room or Senior Suite with complimentary breakfast. The guests will also receive daily roundtrip transportation to Bahrain International Circuit and exclusive access to the prestigious F1 Premium Lounge located on the 10th floor of Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre. For information call (+973) 17171122 or mail


Citibank unveiled the new PremierMiles Visa Credit Card, the first card of its kind in Bahrain to offer flexibility to directly redeem Citi Miles against a host of airlines including Bahrain Air, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. The card is packed with travel rewards, unlimited airport lounge access and many other exclusive privileges. Launched in association with Visa, one of the world’s leading payment solution providers, Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card revolutionises travel rewards redemption on credit card spend with its best offer on miles, widest choice of frequent flyer programmes and no expiry on Citi Miles.


The most rewarding card has arrived. Powered by Citi. Citibank presents the new PremierMiles Visa Card - free ights, complimentary airport lounge access and many more privileges. Apply now to enjoy the introductory offer with: GO FOR


1 return ticket to any destination in Europe or the Far East OR 8 return tickets to any destination in the Middle East OR 2 return tickets to the Indian Subcontinent and 2 return tickets to any destination in the Middle East

March 2012 (E)

To apply, call our 24-hour CitiPhone Banking Service on 1758 2484 (CITI) or visit

The above mentioned offer is subject to payment of Annual Membership Fee of BHD 50 and a one time charge of BHD 100. The three redemption options are applicable for redemption with Gulf Air only. This offer is valid on transfer of minimum 30,000 Citi Miles to Gulf Air. Citibank Terms and Conditions apply and are subject to change with prior notice. They are available upon request and on our website All fees and charges mentioned in the Schedule of Fees and Charges apply and can be found on our website. All offers are made available on a best-effort basis and at the sole discretion of Citibank, N.A. Bahrain. Citibank, N.A. Bahrain makes no warranties and assumes no liability or responsibility with respect to the products and services provided by other entity(ies). Citibank, N.A. Bahrain is licensed by Central Bank of Bahrain as a conventional Retail Bank.



The Sheraton Bahrain Hotel has lots of offers to keep you entertained and fit this April. Enjoy ‘Happy Hour’ at An Nada Lounge with 25 per cent discount on selected beverages served from 1pm to 7pm with live entertainment every night except Saturday. Feast on seafood specialties at Soie with packages starting from BD4.900++ or treat yourself to BBQ Delights at An Nada Lounge for BD5.500++ only. Hearty meals done, you can embrace the new concept of total wellbeing at Sheraton Fitness or opt for a swimming lesson for a healthy dose of fun. For more information call (+973) 17533533


PAUL Bakery & Restaurant will be offering a delightful Charlotte au chocolat for this year’s Easter celebrations. The cake has an outer layer of lady finger biscuits, a base of vanilla sponge and is filled with dark chocolate mousse. Exquisitely decorated with milk chocolate curls, miniature chocolate eggs and marzipan hen shapes this cake is a perfect family treat – not just for the taste buds, but also for the eye! The cake is available in two sizes (4-6 persons and 8-10 persons) and will be available at all PAUL shops from April 6 to 15. PAUL is located in Bahrain City Centre; Seef Mall.


Plums, located in Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, has introduced a new jazzy menu featuring certified Angus and Wagyu beef, dry Aged Prime, and natural veal, grilled on wood burning fire and served with a selection of natural sea salt, and Plums sauces. Don't miss out to try Plums Signature Sauce, a specialty created by the chef and only available at Plums steakhouse. That’s not all. You can also enjoy Lunch Express at La Med for BD 9.500 ++ per person and do not miss the La Med Easter buffet for BD 27 net per person. For more information call (+973) 17586499


Harley-Davidson®, renowned for its rich heritage in customisation and selfexpression, has launched the ‘Art of Custom’ design competition that will search for inspirational new art to appear on bespoke Harley-Davidson fuel tanks. Participants from the Middle East and North Africa will be entered into a regional draw to win US$5000, US$2000 or US$500 valid at a Harley-Davidson dealership in addition to a painted fuel tank as souvenir for the first and second winners. The last date for entries is April 30. For more details log on to 8

For reservations, call 17298008



Chloé's signature scent, l'eau de chloé, opens a new chapter in its story. Like the original fragrance, this unique eau suggests rare elegance and surprising modernity and free, spontaneous, radiant femininity. Shadowing the now familiar silhouette, the l'eau de chloé bottle reprises the pure lines of a luxurious glass cube. Whereas the bottle of chloé eau de parfum is encased in the lustrous sheen of metal, this new interpretation is revealed through sheer, clear glass. Available at Chloé Boutique, Al Aali Complex



It’s Asparagus season at Crowne Plaza Bahrain. Get ready to be blown away by the sensational asparagus delicacies specially created by their Executive Chef during the Asparagus Festival starting from April 20 at the Waves Seafood Restaurant. The festival, which will go on till May 31, will have delectable dishes such as Grilled prawn with steamed asparagus and hollandaise sauce; Panfry Hammour filet with breaded green and white asparagus, sayadeh rice; Linguini pasta tossed with asparagus and creamy white sauce and Asparagus combo with fresh seafood in Red or green curry sauce, steamed rice etc. to name just a few.

Dior creates a new step within Hydra Life, the first Dior skincare line infused with a moisturising and age-defying serum: BB Creme, inspired by Asian beauty rituals and developed in partnership with Dior makeup artists. Benefiting from the scientific expertise of the Dior Innovation Center, which selects the most effective rare and powerful floral and plant extracts for the skin from the Dior Gardens, this moisturising, enhancing and protective BB Creme imbues the skin with the freshness and natural beauty that make women aged 18 to 30 dream. Available with Jashanmal and Sons

For more details you can call on (+973) 17531122


From Guerlain comes the Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau, a new page to the glory of modern femininity – and sensuality. At the top, there is Bergamot. The heart unveils the floral facets, precious Damascena rose and vibrant iris, accompanied by grandiflora jasmine from Grasse, India and Egypt with a subtle and evanescent character. At the base, tonka bean, adds its almond gourmand facet, and of course, smooth, almost sensual vanilla, the very essence of Shalimar. Available with Al Hawaj & Sons, Jashanmal and Sons



From the heartwood of Oud or Agarwood tree comes the warm vibrant fragrance that is Ferrari Essence Oud. Deep, low, powerful, like the engine sound of a Ferrari car, with exclusive dark red tones that add strength and character to the packaging of this new, luxurious fragrance, the Ferrari Essence spells luxury, power and masculinity at every level. Available with Al Hawaj & Sons


From Estée Lauder comes the first global anti-aging crème, called Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme. As skin ages, it begins to feel dry, losing its youthful radiance, and its needs are constantly changing. By reactivating skin’s natural ability to look younger, the crème anticipates and responds to skin’s changing needs, delivering advanced science, nutrients and moisture deep within skin’s surface to help delay the signs of aging. Available with Al Hawaj, Sephora, Paris Gallery and other leading retail outlets in the Kingdom






ahrain is abuzz with news of the return of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix over the weekend of April 20th – 22nd. After being cancelled in 2010 at the height of the troubles that shook and saddened Bahrain, the news of the Grand Prix’s resurgence has generally been met with hope and optimism. This hopeful sentiment is reflected in the carefully considered slogan for this year’s race ‘Unif1ed – One Nation in Celebration’, a slogan which is endeavouring to promote a strong sense of solidarity within the country. Preparations for the event are now in full swing, and not just at the Bahrain International Circuit. Running for the eighth year since 2004, this prestigious event is expected to provide a significant boost to the local economy and bring a huge influx of much needed custom to the country’s struggling tourism and hotel sector. And of course, it goes without saying that the excitement of the legions of F1 fans in the Gulf is almost palpable! Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa was more than happy to answer our questions.


What challenges did the BIC face when getting the Grand Prix back to Bahrain? "Preparing for such a big event as the Grand Prix is a massive challenge in any year for the team at BIC, and a lot of work goes into getting things ready to ensure we put on an outstanding race weekend. "Every little thing must be taken care of for an event of this magnitude; you cannot leave any small detail out. You have to take care of things like logistics, hotel bookings, security, facilities maintenance, meals, the signing of performers for entertainment, setting up the facilities, assigning duties to the workforce, and so much more. And all these are just the tasks that can be handled from within the circuit. There are also the things you have to look into from outside BIC’s walls, such as coordinating with various government offices to ensure the smooth entry of foreign visitors and journalists attending the race, the reception of Formula One officials at the airport, coordinating with traffic police, working with security on the days of the event, and really making sure that you have everything in place to ensure that all those who attend the Grand Prix are well looked after. "It involves a whole lot of people working as one to put on a grand event such as the Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s a challenge, yes, but it’s one we like facing, as it brings out the best


in all of us here in Bahrain. Are you happy with being the 4th race of the year? Did you have a say in the position? "Whether we’re the first race, the fourth race or the last race of a season, we’re always delighted to be a part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It’s a privilege to be associated with such a prestigious series, being part of an exclusive club of only a select few countries that can say they are a host of a Formula One Grand Prix." Do you think you will be able to get the number one slot back next year? In future years? "To be the host of a Formula One Grand Prix is a huge honour, and like I said earlier, whether we’re the first race or the last, we’re delighted just to be a part of the World Championship. Many countries around the world would love to be in our position." Are the participating teams happy to return to Bahrain this year? "It’s not really our place to speak on the part of the teams, so you would have to ask them that! However, as you will have read from reports in international media, we have a huge amount of support from the F1 community and we look forward to welcoming them back to Bahrain. BIC is a world-class track and everyone in

Formula One always has a wonderful time when coming to Bahrain." Have other Gulf states reacted favourably to the GP returning to Bahrain? "The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been a leading event that benefits not only the Kingdom, but also the entire region. The race brings not only Bahraini fans together; it also brings visitors from all over the Gulf. People come from the entire region to share in the joy of the weekend’s events, and the Grand Prix has had nothing but a positive effect on our little corner of the world." How do you think the return of the GP will effect Bahrain’s worldwide image? "The Bahrain Grand Prix has put Bahrain on a pedestal in the world map. Ever since our very first Formula One race on 04/04/04, everybody around the world has wanted to know where Bahrain is, what is the country like, what is there to do over here and what kind of opportunities are there awaiting. "The race has helped open the doors of Bahrain and the wider Gulf region to the rest of the world. This is especially true in the areas of business and tourism. The Gulf has experienced rapid growth over the last few years. Much of it can be attributed to the exposure given to the region by the Bahrain Grand Prix and the image it has helped portray about this part of the world." It will be hot in April. Do you think the drivers will be able to meet the challenge? "The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has been held as late as April 26. That was in 2009, when

we were once again the fourth race of the season. The heat will undoubtedly be a factor, but that’s a part of the challenge of racing here. Anywhere you go in the world, you have different weather conditions. It just so happens that here in Bahrain, it is hot weather. Being the only real desert race in Formula One, we are known for that hot weather, and that in itself is something not only the drivers know they have to face, but also for the teams who have to find the best set-up for their cars in these conditions. "Drivers, meanwhile, are extremely fit; they are all world-class athletes who can go the distance, and they are ready to take on the heat. Besides, many of them have done it before (racing in Bahrain in late April) either in Formula One or in another category." How are BIC's preparations for the race going? Do you have any new facilities this year? "Preparations are going very well. BIC staff are working around the clock to make sure that everything is ready for our Formula One weekend. The most recent addition to the extensive facilities at BIC is the VIVA Karting Track, located just beside the main circuit. "Fans coming to the Grand Prix will be able to take part in racing at the karting track during the weekend. It will also be the first time our friends in Formula One will see this new circuit, which is an impressive state-ofthe-art facility." What can the public expect from the event? "The public can expect a whole lot of fun, excitement and entertainment. We are

working hard to make sure that this year’s Grand Prix is another memorable occasion for all, and we are positive that a good time will be had by everyone. Are ticket sales going well so far? How many visitors are you expecting? "Ticket sales are doing very well. Compared to this same period before the Grand Prix in previous years, ticket sales are actually up. Indications such as these are extremely positive. Our goal is to match our record crowd from the 2010 race and hopefully we will exceed that number. "For many people in Bahrain and the wider Gulf region, the return of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is a cause for celebration. All true F1 fans are sincerely hoping for a sensational and trouble free racing weekend. Fortunately for these fans, F1 organisers are renowned for putting on a spectacular show so they are sure to be impressed. "How Bahrain as a whole and the BIC in particular respond to the challenges of staging the Grand Prix this year will no doubt impact on the country’s international reputation. With exceptionally high interest in the event and ticket sales breaking all selling records from previous years, it must be hoped that this highly anticipated racing weekend goes some way to restoring Bahrain’s tarnished image." The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix takes place at the BIC over the weekend of April 20-22. Tickets can be obtained from Seef Mall and Bahrain City Centre, online at or by calling the circuit hotline on 17450000.



Nadia Muijrers travels with Faiza Saeed into the world of mosaic art…

With an already full life as mother, wife, and banker, Faiza Saeed serendipitously found herself also becoming an artist. She is the Head of Training and Development at Al Ahli United Bank and during her free time she also creates beautiful mosaics. With any one piece of art consuming about 150 hours of her time, one would expect her to have been intimidated by the challenge of acquiring a new skill. Instead, she has found it to be inviting and meditative. After a few false starts in pursuing the arts, she now looks forward to going home every day to lose herself and all track of time in the world of mosaics. Growing up, Faiza was inspired by her creative siblings, one of whom is the Bahraini artist Abdulhameed Saeed. She was always fascinated by the idea of creating something out of nothing - taking normal, everyday household items and simply using them in a different manner to create something entirely new. Her first stumble into mosaic was as simple as creating a collage out of tiles she had at home. But her initial discouragement caused her to stop until one day her daughter, Wafa, asked her why. It was then that she discovered Wafa’s friends had seen the mosaic and loved her work. Those few, unexpected words of encouragement motivated her to try again years after her first fumbling. It has now been almost four years since she rekindled her passion for mosaics. On one of her annual visits to the Tate Modern Museum in London, a step-by-step book on mosaics found her just as she was ready to commit to her new interest. And so she started learning the art, buying the necessary materials abroad and commencing her artistic career. Her first pieces consisted of tables covered in unique mosaic, staying true to her principle of combining aesthetic beauty with everyday functionality. It is a well-known saying that the more you learn, the less you know. So after a few creative successes Faiza pursued her second challenge, moving beyond breaking ordinary tiles to learning the skill of cutting mosaic tiles. She took lessons in nipping, designing and experimenting with the medium under British mosaic artist Emma Biggs in London, enabling her to create finer pieces of art. While surrounded by creativity her entire life, she never considered herself more than a lover of the arts until discovering mosaic. It was only this accessible medium that gave birth to the label of artist in her mind. And her first exhibition in September 2011 confirmed the feeling she rightly stood in an artist’s shoes. Exhibiting, to her, means being able to share the beauty that is art in all its forms. And


ART in spite of having exhibited her work twice thus far, her most exciting moment as an artist continues to be when she experiments with the new. Faiza delights in the challenge of continuous research and new discoveries because it is only by pushing her own boundaries that she develops. Every piece is a challenge and a unique work of art. Few her age strive to pursue new passions after having forged careers and raised adult children, but Faiza proves herself to be quite the opposite. Not only does she dream up an ever-renewing future for herself but also for Bahrain. Her next steps will include the mastering of micro-mosaics in Ravenna, Italy, the centre of mosaic art in the fifth and sixth centuries. While micro-mosaic is conventionally used in classic work, she intends to apply the skill towards more contemporary pieces. She admires the award-winning work of contemporary mosaic artist, Sonia King, and mosaic mural artist, Isaiah Zagar. Her inspiration, however, comes from anywhere and at anytime, and stays with her until she finds the right outlet of mosaic through which to express it. Sources of inspiration for her past work range from growth rings on tree trunks to Venetian masks, from building structures to the underground layers of the Earth. To be an artist, she says, one must pour their soul into it; to experiment endlessly and always prioritise love for the craft over the functionality of the outcome. To Faiza, art is a practice of freedom. Being the first Bahraini mosaic artist, her vision for the future is to beautify Bahrain using mosaic. Compared to other art media, mosaic consists of strong materials that can withstand both the test of time and the cruelty of weather. Through her eyes, any plain wall is a potential project containing a world of opportunity. She has ambitions to set up the Faiza Saeed Mosaic Centre where she plans to work, teach workshops, raise a generation of mosaic artists, as well as exhibit and sell her art. She is also looking to collaborate with interior designers to create custom made pieces for the home and garden. While the role of art and culture in Bahrain has improved since Faiza was a child, she still finds it is not enough. Art continues to be seen as a perk of the elite, restricted to those with the means to be trained and ability to purchase necessary supplies abroad. What saddens her most is the persisting lack of encouragement in the arts, both by parents and institutions. Today’s youth have more passion than Faiza’s generation (when art was for the kids deemed ‘losers’), but being an artist today still rarely


pays the bills. With little infrastructure, no art schools, and limited artistic career options available, encouragement remains key for future Bahraini artists to forge their path. Faiza’s journey as an artist has taught her, above all, this importance of encouragement because being inspired is but one ingredient in the recipe of artistic success. This lesson, which took a long time to learn, seems to be key in her unfaltering motivation today. She has learned never to respond to an idea with ‘I don’t know how’ because every person defines their own ‘possible’. Her love for mosaic radiates from her, and her vision for the future is full of hope. Faiza Saeed will be hosting a 20 Minute Introduction to Mosaic on April, 7-8pm at Al Riwaq Gallery, as well as a Beginners’ Mosaic Workshop starting April 7. For further details, contact Obai and Hill at or 39329675. Website:


Beats of Nature

Kala Namboodri meets Taiko legend Eitetsu Hayashi and comes back mesmerised


s the curtains rose, so did the anticipation that could be heard in the resounding silence of the Cultural Hall, near Bahrain National Museum. Centrestage was a young, muscled Japanese man with his back to the audience and a gigantic drum in front of him. As the drumbeats took over the silence, they stirred myriad emotions in the 2,000-strong audience. Pluses raced, heartbeats quickened and before we knew it we were enraptured by the magical world of Taiko and maestro Eitetsu Hayashi. Accompanied by his accomplished Taiko ensemble EITETSU FU-UN no KAI and shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) master Makoto Takei, Hayashi premiered his charismatic performance ‘Heart Beat from Japan’ as part of the Spring of Culture event. Hayashi’s Taiko Legend world tour was a part of his maiden GCC tour covering Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain was organised to mark the celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the four nations. The Japan Foundation, Embassy of Japan in Bahrain, Ministry of Culture of Bahrain hosted the performances. Back to the performance, I had been told he's created a unique and emotive o-daiko (big drum) solo style previously unknown in traditional Japanese Wadaiko playing - and having done


some research courtesy Youtube, I couldn't agree more. It was unlike anything else, I'd ever heard. The 90-minute concert began with the traditional Ichiban Taiko/Chakuto which means the first sound announcing the opening of the theatre, and Hayashi's artistry - in technique, physical stamina and expressive range - was immediately apparent. A medley of throbbing, pulsating sounds was unleashed that soon gave way to another medley of sounds that segued into a Hayashi composition Mitsumai (Three dances) on a set of smaller drums (Shimedaiko), accompanied by Takei. The tempo quickened with the next two pieces - Umino Hojo (Abundance of the Ocean) composed by Hayashi and Tension a creation by Hase – leaving the audiences entranced. For Umino Hojo, the master drummer, on his big drum, was joined by four young drummers who played five drums with choreographed movements akin to a martial arts performance - a treat for the eyes as well as the ears! Tension was a smorgasbord of percussion music, ranging from the faintest murmur to thunderous roars. A melodious flute solo by Takei was the perfect follow up with the tranquil notes calming many a racing heart, beating to the cadence of the drums. The final piece, Mio no Hasu Suite (A lotus flower along the water channel), saw Hayashi and his ensemble culminate the ritualised performance on an almost magical note. Each

piece won thunderous applause with a rousing standing ovation at the end. Truly an uplifting experience, to say the least! As I interviewed him, a few days prior to the performance, I was touched by his child-like enthusiasm, and his passion for his craft. Born in Hiroshima in 1952, Hayashi began his career as a founding member and principal performer of internationally-renowned Taiko groups Sado-Ondekoza and Kodo. He went solo in 1982. In 1984, Hayashi made his debut as the firstever solo Taiko performer witht the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Since then, he has been touring around the world, collaborating with a variety of great artists including world’s top orchestras. He

has garnered distinguished reviews and the highest acclaims as one and only Taiko soloist on the contemporary music scene. Hayashi also has produced artistic events in Japan and has composed music for movies, plays, and other Taiko groups under his instruction. He has published not only music but also many essays and a very successful book entitled "To the Taiko Players of Tomorrow (Ashita no Taiko-uchi e)". Hayashi's artistic activities and contributions have been so highly appreciated that he received the prestigious Japanese national cultural award, The 47th Ministry of Education Award in the Popular Entertainment Division in 1997, and received the 8th Award for Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture

(Japan Arts Foundation) in 2001. He has been a guest professor of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music since 2004, and special lecturer for Tokyo University of the Arts since 2005. The year 2011 was the 40th anniversary of Hayashi’s performing activities. Hayashi wants to build bridges and connect cultures with his music, he looks for things that unite people and alluding to the fact that Bahrain and Japan were both islands, with flags coloured red and white. The maestro says: "Each beat of the drum has to go deep. It has to arouse in the audience a boundless feeling, stretching back through time. What I am pursuing is a sound that embodies nature, one that is both aweinspiring yet serene."


Making a statement Maja Soric’s jewellery is all about expressing individuality and she does it exceptionally well, says Nadia Muijrers parents advised her to pursue an alternative given her uncertainty. So Maja gave the field of politics, her second love, a chance.

The thing about artists…is that they make talent seem effortless. Some have an innate talent, others grow into it, but few achievements are without effort. Maja Soric has been a full-fledged jewellery designer for 12 years and her love for her work expresses itself fully in the unique, statement pieces she creates. While she was born into this world with artisitic inclinations, it took her years to settle into her calling. Browsing through her exquisite collection, one would never guess she had dabbled in diplomacy, painting and even fashion design before finding her passion. A major influence in Maja’s life has been the opportunity to travel from a young age. She grew up in Croatia in a family and environment that was not particularly creative. She does not have a clue where she may have inherited her talent. Instead of playing with dolls, as young girls do, she was always found drawing, and her mother encouraged her. At 17, Maja received a scholarship to complete her last year of school in the United States, followed by another scholarship to pursue her first love of painting. She studied painting for two years before homesickness and artistic insecurity drove her to stop. As many artists do, Maja began worrying her talent was not good enough to make it as a painter. Upon returning home to Croatia her


While Maja started her career in diplomacy and journalism, her love for painting remained with her. Her early work experiences enabled her to travel frequently and developed in her a love for cultural discovery. As luck would have it, this phase in her life also saw her marry into a family of both diplomats and artists. Her husband’s diplomatic career set Maja up for a lifetime of travel and also introduced her to artists from whom she was able to learn as she continued to pursue her painting hobby. Just when she was on the verge of leaving art behind entirely, she settled on a career as a painter at the ripe age of 36, and exhibited professionally from then on in. A few years into her painting career, life in Cairo planted in her an interest in jewellery making. Having come from a culture of simple and elegant jewellery in Europe, the stark difference of oriental jewellery intrigued her. Her minimalist taste made her feel naked next to Middle Eastern women who were always adorned in several large pieces of jewellery. And so she began learning the craft of jewellery making at Helwan University’s School of Applied Arts. Maja’s initial dabbles in jewellery design were purely for herself. But by wearing her personal creations, admirers continuously encouraged her to create a collection. She resisted until the opportunity came to design jewellery for the collection of an Egyptian fashion brand, Nagada. She took on the challenge, and since then, one exhibition has led to another. For a while she balanced both painting and jewellery design, but eventually reached the realisation that she would have to make a choice. Doing two things in parallel came at the heavy price of not being able to create art as well as she knew she could. So, after many years of painting, her mind was made up with the help of a dear friend and fan that who told her that ‘there are many good painters in the world, but not a lot of good jewellery designers’. And the rest is history.

Maja’s choice of materials is a result of her own personal distaste for ‘bling’ as well as having been introduced to crystals during trips to the desert and to Crystal Mountain. She works with individually selected semi-precious stones and with silver, gold and gold-plated silver. Her style encapsulates her love of sculpture and structure, 'mixed in with a little craziness'. Every piece she creates is a statement piece and many are works of variable sculpture. She incorporates as much versatility as possible into each design so that women can match each piece to a variety of looks. She has found her creations to appeal to a specific type of clientele who are confident, value individuality, and who are unperturbed by fashion trends. Her customers range from actors, including Gillian Anderson, to professional women world over. Living between Croatia and Egypt, Maja continues to find inspiration in meeting people from various cultures. She skillfully translates cultural impressions into inspiration for her designs. She describes herself as being restless in creation, always having many ideas and directions, and never really knowing what the future could bring. She takes things one inspiration at a time and never gives up. An idea that is not possible today always has the possibility to be created in the future. And sometimes, impossible ideas mixed in with a little stubbornness create


accidental masterpieces. In addition to being a wife and mother, Maja always sought to find her individual purpose in life. God gave her certain gifts and she feels compelled to use these as much as she can. It is for this reason she continuously strives to create and design. She finds sanity and peace of mind in doing work she loves every day, and being able to see smiles on the faces of customers when they buy her designs. Her advice to others who are still in pursuit of their own talents is to resist being a follower. An artist has to find their own creativity, not

another’s. We are all followers in the footsteps of the generations before us, but by finding our personal paths we can still make a small difference in the world, our own artistic imprint. That is what an artist’s path is about. Maja Soric’s jewellery collection will be on sale in the Albareh Gallery gift shop until the end of April.


‘GREEN’ CHARACTER André C. Meyerhans on reducing carbon footprints, sustainable buildings and green technology


the room and activity.

Bahrain World Trade Center


he US Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) is one of many agencies that establishes county lists on carbon dioxide emissions per capita, the so called carbon footprint. The figure basically indicates the sustainability of the lifestyle in a country and should be, from an environmental point of view, as low as possible. Factors that generally raise the carbon emission are: more developed standards of living, an economy based on industry (as compared to agriculture and services) and a harsh or even hostile climate. In recent years, countries of the Arab peninsula concentrated in the top ranks of all carbon footprint evaluations. The list in front of me locates six of the fifteen most carbon emitting countries in the Middle East – Bahrain on rank five, Oman on fourteen. The accuracy of the grading might be questioned but the tendency cannot be disputed. So, what can we do about it? The answer is sustainable buildings and green technology! Both become hot topics in recent years in the Middle East – and rightly so. The offer ranges from simple solutions, so called low-tech solutions that involve little technology, to most sophisticated systems, the high-tech


solutions which are latest gizmos of science. Let’s have a look at them and see what benefit they provide. LIGHT Out of two reasons, we wish to keep direct sunlight out of the building in this part of the world: one, the light is too strong which creates irritating contrasts and, two, direct sunlight means radiation gain which ultimately turns into heat. A low tech solution focusses on small windows, brise-soleils (shading devices over or around the windows) and shading vegetation. High-tech solutions play with coated and tinted windows or intelligent facades which basically increases and decreases light exposure as needed. Natural light affects humans positively and is preferred over artificial light. This led to an interesting high-tech idea which channels natural sunlight in a highly reflective duct and through a series of lenses into otherwise dark corners of the building. Other ways to improve your eco-footprint: use energy-saving light bulbs (that transform a higher percentage of electricity into light instead of heat), switch off lights when leaving the room, regulate light by movement detectors and adapt light intensity according to

ENERGY Everybody knows the photovoltaic (PV) panels often placed on top of buildings. These arrays convert sunlight into (direct) current. Then, an inverter transforms the direct current into alternating current (AC) required by your appliances. The main challenge with the PV solution lies in the availability of the power in regards of time and amount. One achieves this by either feeding the power generated into the main grid (simple solution) or by storing it in a battery-like device (expensive solution). Unfortunately, no government in the Middle East currently allows private people to enter the main power grid. There are also only limited programs supporting PV solutions. However, I trust this will change in the future. CLIMATE The most important point for sustainable buildings is how to keep the climate inside the house comfortable. And the easiest way to achieve this is sufficient insulation. The entire skin of the building – walls, roofs, windows and doors – should be insulated. The least insulated part of the house is the weakest link in the chain and determines how well the scorching heat is kept outside. So, if doors and windows are not tight or their frames not insulated, other temperature protection loses much of its effectiveness. Here some simple yet efficient design concepts: Revolving doors and vestibules ensure that in high-traffic entrances air exchange is minimised,


Solar array, Masdar

Desert Garden

Aloe blue stick succulents, Huntington Desert Garden

Patterned brise-soleil metal grid, Qatar

hinged windows close tighter than sliding ones and aligning frames with the wall insulation avoids energy bridges. WATER Many arid areas require energy intense desalination processes in order to provide sufficient sweet water. Green buildings reuse the scarce wet and recycle water for cooling or irrigation purpose – may it be from condensation within the air conditioning or gray water, meaning potable water that has been used but is not polluted. Especially today’s landscapes demand much water. Sustainability also involves proper selection of vegetation. Certain plants, especially the endemic types, use much less water than others. LIFESPAN The lifespan includes not only the environmental impact duration of use of a good but also during the production process as well as during the course of decomposition. Extending the usage period is, therefore, ecologically sensible and sometimes even trendy: an old building nicely renovated unveils its charm again, an abandoned shed redesigned as art gallery attracts the urban crowd and the old window shutter converts into a nice coffee table. Often ignored in the green technology


Solarshading calculation is the beginning and the end of a product life: how much energy is required and emission produced during the creation process and how much of the same during the decomposition? Especially high-tech products often lose much of their “green” character when looking at them properly. If this is the case, remember: low-tech might be the solution – doing nothing isn’t!

André C. Meyerhans is a Swiss architect who lives and works in Dubai, UAE. His creations range from 250’000m2-urban plans and onebillion-US-dollar mixed use developments to furniture-like objects, art and jewellery. André has also written for various trade magazines and held lectures in numerous institutions on architecture and design. He is also a regular guest critique at the Architectural Department of the American University in Sharjah. For more details you can visit


EPICUREAN EXTRAVAGANZA! Last month saw the launch of the Gourmet Festival at the exclusive Moda Mall in Manama. Signature samples the culinary delights on offer

Running from February 29 to March 24, the Gourmet Festival was an exceptional experience designed to tantalise the taste buds and allow visitors from all over Bahrain to savour the glorious flavours of a wide range of global delicacies. Moda Mall, Bahrain’s high-end shopping destination, was the venue for the month-long event which was arranged in conjunction with the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. The Gourmet Festival promised to deliver the very best shopping with the very finest cuisine to appeal to every taste and it did not disappoint. It successfully provided a world class fine dining experience at incredible prices pleasingly complemented by the amazing opportunity to win luxurious prizes. Outlets participating in this display of culinary excellence dazzled visitors with an extensive array of international fare in upscale and authentic dining settings. Abd el Wahab provided mouthwatering and flavoursome selections of Lebanese mezze, grills and kebabs in a vibrant location with eye catching décor that perfectly blended Arabic tones and fixtures with modern comfort. MAKI, a haven of Japanese cuisine, offered a sophisticated fusion menu inspired by authentic dishes and traditional classics. The Golestan restaurant served up a remarkable variety of unique and delicately flavoured specialities and fresh oven baked breads of the old Persian empire. And, if that was not enough, BiCE and Soie opened the doors to their stunning and unique venues to cater to those who prefer the impeccable flair of incomparable Italian food with true Tuscan origins or delectable Chinese cuisine with signature sizzling seafood dishes. It goes without saying that this stunning menu of restaurants ensured that every delicious dish was finely presented boasting perfect attention to detail whilst using only premium quality ingredients. For those who chose to concentrate more on

the shopping experience, an array of renowned international cafes including Illy Café, Lina’s Café, Costa Coffee, Caribou Coffee and the exquisite Patisserie Valerie were open for snacks and refreshments and also actively participated in the Festival. The event at Bahrain’s favourite designer mall was further enhanced by an exciting programme of activities throughout the month. These fabulous activities included live cooking stations, food sampling and dazzling themed evenings with exclusive entertainment. Deals and special offers were widely available across the complex giving amazing discounts. Plus, for every BD20 spent in participating restaurants, clients earned the opportunity to

enter a draw to win a magnificent prize of Rolex watches for him and her. Moreover, for every BD5 spent in one of the cafes, shoppers and visitors became eligible for entrance into a draw to win a generous Moda Mall voucher valued at BD 100. With 16500 m2 of shopping space housing 160 exclusive boutiques offering the latest fashions, ample car parking and excellent food, the Gourmet Festival was a truly enjoyable event. As Moda Mall so rightly stated at the commencement of the Gourmet Festival “indulgence of truly gastronomic proportions awaits you”. Let’s hope this epicurean extravaganza returns to tempt us next year. The Gourmet Festival ran from February 29 to March 24 at the Moda Mall in Manama. For details of the event, please contact the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel on (+973) 17533533




Paul Mercer takes a close look at Bushido Japanese restaurant, samples the extensive menu, interviews General Manager Nicolas Budzynski and Executive Chef Chong Yoong Kiong, and visits the kitchen at the height of service! A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE EVERY TIME I started my review of Bushido with an interview with General Manager Nicolas Budzynski and Executive Chef Chong. The moment I began my interview it was clear to me that Nicolas and Chong are passionate about their roles, food and Bushido. Nicolas explained that he is striving to create something special at Bushido and his target is for it to be the best food and beverage experience in the Middle East. Not a small target! Nicolas is convinced that Bushido has the necessary ingredients to achieve this ambitious objective and believes that key to achieving this is being responsive to customers and offering a unique experience for each visit. I asked, is it possible for each visit to a restaurant to be unique, isn’t that too ambitious a target? Nicolas smiled and replied that Bushido offers different experiences for different occasions. It can be the ideal location for a corporate event, a special family dinner, a romantic evening, hosting an international DJ or a fun evening out with friends. I then turned to Chong and asked him about the kitchen. With over 20 years of experience Chong spoke with enthusiasm about how he strives for excellence, about how he tries to ensure each dish from his kitchen is perfect. Chong is focused on quality and service so that diners have a unique dining experience and with supreme confidence invited me to see him at work in the kitchen! This was an invitation that I wasn’t going to miss!

CAN I WITHSTAND THE HEAT IN THE KITCHEN? Watching Chong in the kitchen was a fabulous experience. I saw first hand his passion, commitment and culinary prowess. From the careful and diligent preparation of fresh fish flown in from Japan to orchestrating the preparation and service of dishes, it was a

BON APPÉTIT delight to see Chong in action. I saw certified fresh sea bass, sea bream and yellow tail arrive from Japan and how Chef Chong and his team prepare these for service. Chong examined each fish for freshness, expertly looking for bright eyes and red gills and once a fish passed the fresh test it was then cleaned and gutted and prepared for service. During service, Chef Chong masterfully coordinates the kitchen in the same fashion as a chief conductor manages an orchestra. Chong receives the orders and shouts these out to his team of chefs who in turn prepare the required dishes for Chong’s inspection. I saw him inspect and taste each and every dish. Chong is serious about ensuring all dishes from his kitchen are perfect!

SERVICE I cannot speak too highly of the service offered at Bushido. In the three visits I made I found the service impeccable. Each member of staff was friendly and helpful and I sensed a real desire to ensure that your dining experience is a good one. The staff-in-waiting are knowledgeable about the menu and for those diners who are unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine or perhaps need guidance as to what to order I would suggest you seek a recommendation from the waiting staff. I did this and I wasn’t disappointed! As for timing, the service is prompt – no waiting so you can focus on savouring the culinary delights on offer.

FOOD The Bushido menu is extensive and offers an impressive range of Japanese dishes including Sashimi (very fresh raw meat, usually fish), Sushi (vinegared rice with other ingredients such as vegetables and/or fish) Teppan Yaki (ingredients cooked on an iron griddle), Tempura (battered and deep fried fish and vegetables) as well as a variety of fish, chicken and meat cooked on a Robata Grill (open flame barbeque with flavoured Japanese charcoal). There is a “Bushido Experience Set Menu” which offers a well-balanced selection of dishes to give you a good introduction to what Bushido has to offer as well as a selection of Bento boxes. For a light starter I would recommend edamame (soya beans with coarse salt) or the Bushido salad with herbs dressing followed by traditional Japanese miso soup. If you are feeling a bit hungrier I would recommend something from the Robata Grill - my favourites here were the Gyu Aspara (rolled asparagus and sliced beef) and the Tebakasi (chicken wings) – each dish cooked and seasoned to perfection – succulent and flavoursome. I must also mention


the rock shrimp tempura in spicy sauce and the grilled scallops – unforgettable! You will not be disappointed. If you want some action and a bit of a show I recommend the Teppan Yaki live station bar – this will certainly keep younger diners entertained as they watch the chefs prepare your dishes in front of your eyes together with tricks involving cleavers and eggs! From the Teppan Yaki bar I tried the Angus beef tenderloin with Teriyaki sauce and the ginger chicken – delicious. Alternatively, from the main course section of the menu you could try the chicken cordon bleu or the lamb chops marinated with olive oil and spices or the sea bass with mushroom and cherry tomatoes. I tried each of these and enjoyed them very much. That said, my overall favourite was the prawns with miso mayonnaise cream – exquisite and a must have if you love prawns. The various Bento boxes offer a good selection of Sushi, Sashimi and Tempura with rice and salad and for dessert I would strongly recommend the liquid centre chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream washed down with Japanese green tea.

VALUE Bushido offers a full range of value options. As you would expect for a fine dining establishment there are items on the menu which are expensive however there are also a good number of options for those more cost conscious. For example, the weekday Bento boxes start at under BD8 which is an absolute bargain. The three-course set menu is BD16 nett and the four-course set menu is BD19 nett, which again is good value and is certainly comparable to other similar restaurants. You could perhaps over order and therefore over spend so feel free to seek guidance from the waiting staff as I found them only too happy to provide suggestions.

LASTING IMPRESSIONS I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Bushido and consider it one of the very best restaurants in Bahrain, if not the best. The service and the food is first rate. The restaurant building and authentic Japanese décor with Samurai Warrior uniforms displayed throughout is seriously impressive and immediately gives you a sense of quality. As the restaurant has several themed areas you can enjoy Bushido for a range of dining events and I would say that Bushido does offer a unique dining experience in Bahrain..

Paul Mercer is a long time Bahrain resident, international lawyer and food critic. Paul has travelled the Globe and has sampled some of the World's best cuisines. Paul will be combining his two great passions, writing and food, to provide us with his view on Bahrain's best restaurants.


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2 AM


a GULF NIGHT OUT like no other…..


To imagine an oasis in the Middle East is hard, thoughts of plush green gardens and sculpted waterfalls are not the first things to spring to one’s mind, but this is exactly the setting for the Kingdom’s most impressive outdoor fine dining event. Imagine if you will, a dinner party which stretches from the Gulf Convention Centre, silhouetted against a sunset sky, across the lawn, down the sweeping stairs to fan out around a sculpted pool and tropical gardens. Combine this with an elaborate art instillation of edible delicacies, flavours, colours and smells from around the world fused together through one spectacular ornate presentation, punctuated with live cooking stations. Elegantly dressed guests enjoying a warm breeze of laughter and conversation as they listen to an array of musical entertainment and traditional dance, juxtaposed with creative pool side games for adults and children alike. You have entered the world of the famous and eagerly anticipated ‘Gulf Night Out’ hosted at the world’s one and only Gulf Hotel. The event is everything the title promises, not just a dinner but a complete ‘night out’ with an emphasis on entertainment and incredible food. The five-star Gulf Hotel’s nine restaurants, each from a different country or with a unique theme, participate during the event to showcase some of their best dishes and signature recipes as well as live demonstrations. Guests can enjoy all you can eat


delicacies from Japan, China, Thailand, Italy, Mexico, Lebanon and Iran as well as fusion dishes of East and West combined with an international buffet. Singers, bands and a belly dancer complement the meal with something designed to everyone’s taste with spot prizes and raffle prizes given out to guests. The highlight for many people however remains the famous, Gulf Night Out games which inspire equal amounts of laughter and encouragement from those supporting the brave participants. Individuals balance their way across the pool on floating bridges, guests pretend to be waiters racing each other with trays balancing water glasses and pop quiz questions fill the breaks between musicians. Prizes are given to the winners of the games including, dining vouchers, air tickets and treats from sponsors. Word to the wise, come prepared with a spare outfit if you think you would like to give the water games a go, although the attentive staff at the Gulf Hotel will provide you with a warm towel and cozy dressing gown and slippers while they dry your clothing for you. We asked the Gulf Hotel’s General Manager, Garfield Jones to give us his thoughts as to why the ‘Gulf Night Out is still so popular and what brings it back year after year? “The Gulf Hotel is for me, and I believe a lot of people in the Kingdom, an iconic symbol and institute for the country. It has been in operation for 43 years and developed with the times to cater to the needs of its discerning guests, but it is so much more than just a five-star hotel, we have nine restaurants, three bars and the biggest conferencing facilities attached to a hotel on the island, not to mention our corporate offices, off site catering capabilities and health and recreational facilities. This means we are in a unique position to welcome back numerous guests, time and time again for a variety of different requirements from a corporate meeting room to a friends and family dinner, tennis lessons for the kids or even a wedding. Our aim is to provide unique, bespoke experiences tailored to the individual’s taste and to exceed their expectations and that is the idea behind the ‘Gulf Night Out’; it is a unique dining experience which caters to everyone’s taste whilst still paying attention to the individual’s intimate experience. The food and service is exceptional and the entertainment creates an atmosphere which can be enjoyed by families, corporates and couples alike and that is why we welcome people back time and time again to the famous ‘Gulf Night Out’.”

“This is not your average dinner, it is designed to be a dining experience, we have tried to integrate several things into the mix, fantastic food, impeccable service and hospitality, a double helping of entertainment and a sprinkle of fun. From my side I am so proud of all our restaurants but I know that people often tend to stick to one that they love and do not try out the different options. ‘Gulf Night Out’ gives our regular and new clients the opportunity to enjoy their favourite dishes alongside new recipes and flavours. Many diners tell me they had never tried certain items before sampling them at the ‘Gulf Night Out’ and now they eat them on a regular basis. That’s what it’s all about in my opinion, rich flavours, culture and variety, eat how you want to live and enjoy the spice of life. I look forward to welcoming you all to the Gulf Night Out.”

Neil Mason, Executive Chef

Al Waha


Royal Thai

La Pergola


China Garden


Takht Jamsheed

Gulf Night Out

will run every Tuesday till April 24. Book now on Tel: 17746412 or visit the ticket office at the Gulf Hotel. BD 17++ or BD 15++ Corporate/Prestige Club/ Gulf Air/NSA *Prices are subject to 15 per cent service charge and 5 per cent government levy


A TASTE SO DISTINCTIVE ormula One’s back and to mark its return, the swanky Upstairs Downstairs has organised a fourday live event (from April 19 -22, 8.30 pm onwards) featuring their ever-popular band, Frankie’s Friends with Christine Gordon belting out classics from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. You can enjoy the Friday Brunch with Jo Jo and his trio and you can also turn up for a hearty breakfast, which will be served all these days from 7am onwards.


Breakfast, brunch or dinner, you can be sure to experience some exciting specials, added to the existing menu by newly-appointed Executive Chef Asokan, which is a wonderful melee of fajitas, fish cakes, delectable and healthy salads. If you are a vegetarian do not fret, for the menu includes a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. If you want something more, just ask the friendly staff at Upstairs Downstairs, who are always ready with a solution for you. Located in Adliya, the heart of Bahrain, Upstairs Downstairs makes for a popular haunt not only because of its charmingly traditional English Country House décor, which is as inviting as the comfort of a private dinner party hosted by a friend. The live music by local jazz musicians and international music artists adds to the ambience of the lounge on the ground floor, while the international restaurant on the first floor allows you to feast on a wide array of delicacies, including machboos, a very popular local specialty. For more details you can call on (+973) 17713093


Upstairs Downstairs is the place to be this Formula One weekend. Find out why‌



Thalassa therapy and the related health benefits it promises has finally arrived in the GCC and is available exclusively at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa. The Sofitel is keen to promote their life enhancing thalassa treatments. Samantha Holloway investigates Our amazing world is often referred to by the evocative sounding appellation the ‘Blue Planet’. And for very good reason. Did you know that 70 per cent of the earth is covered by oceans? And that 97 per cent of the planet’s water can be found in the oceans? Over millions of years, the Earth’s rocks have slowly dissolved, releasing their enduring minerals and accompanying life-giving properties into the oceans, making the sea the world’s most powerful and complete mineral water. No wonder then that seawater, seaweed and even sea air have long been known to possess remarkable curative powers. Harnessing these powers in order to promote health and wellness is thalassa therapy whose name derives from the ancient Greek word meaning ‘sea’. Thalassa therapy provides the key to health, beauty and relaxation and contains all the minerals necessary for life and harmonious body balance. Its very nature empowers the response to man’s need to find harmony between his body and his natural environment. Surprisingly, the secrets of thalassa therapy were the sole preserve of the medical profession and could only be discovered in hospital environments until approximately 20 years ago. Since then, it has become more accessible to the wider public and its capacity to invigorate, stimulate, soothe and detoxify the human body utilising only natural ingredients is attracting waves of dedicated followers who rigorously extol its magical virtues. Thalassa therapy is now a globally recognised and recommended treatment for a wide spectrum of ailments ranging from back pain, rheumatism, arthritis, cellulite, obesity, stress problems, aging of the skin, water retention, skin conditions and tiredness. It is unique in its ability to replenish essential revitalising natural elements and mineral salts. It will also improve your blood circulation and offer total relaxation of your body, mind and soul. It is difficult to monitor exact results as each client has varying needs and individual responses to thalassa therapy treatment. But users often report feeling the extensive benefits of treatment long after they have enjoyed the

thalassa therapy experience, often up to six months after the completion of a course of treatment. The Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa is the only hotel in the GCC that currently offers the joys of thalassa therapy and its location was only finalised once the seawater had been thoroughly tested and analysed to assess its mineral content and purity. In fact, the water off the coast of Bahrain was found to be exceptionally clear, clean, pure and rich in minerals making it the ideal location for a state of the art spa. The Sofitel’s Thalassa Spa is an immaculate purpose built 2000m2 complex. Two floors cater specifically to both male and female client requirements and offer six comfortable and fully equipped dry treatment rooms and eight wet treatment rooms. After treatment, clients have access to an opulent relaxation and pool area offering a stunning hydropool constantly flowing with gently heated 31° seawater and an equally impressive freshwater pool. The Thalassa Spa uses clinically-proven Aquascience products manufactured by world renowned thalassa therapy experts Science et Mer. Science et Mer have a long and well respected history of using sustainably harvested seaweed fields which yield 62 tonnes of nutrient enriched seaweed every year. Their products are free of mineral oil, have no animal origin ingredients and are not tested on animals. And crucially, they do not contain the chemical preservative Paraben. The products are non-greasy, subtlely scented with soothing fragrances and seem to glide pleasantly onto the skin where their mineral content is gently absorbed. So what can you expect from a thalassa therapy treatment? Thalassa therapy products will moisturise, nourish, soothe, exfoliate and remineralise the skin leaving you feeling

Know your Facts fresh and energised. They are also highly effective in fighting the signs of aging and are used extensively in the process of beauty slimming. A luxurious week long course of treatment is generally recommended in order to maximize stimulation of the body and promote long lasting effects. And let’s not forget the medicinal benefits which combat the range of previously mentioned ailments. The benefits and pleasures of the thalassa therapy experience are just waiting to be explored. This exciting experience can improve our health, vitality and wellness in today’s busy and stressful world and, fortunately for us, it is now available at our doorstep! The Sofitel Hotel can be contacted on (+973) 17636363 and Thalassa Sea & Spa can be contacted on (+973) 17636391. Spa opening times are 10am to 8pm daily

To truly be called thalassa therapy four strict criteria must be enforced. Do not be lulled into the false belief that any establishment claiming to offer thalassa therapy without meeting these criteria is providing genuine thalassa treatments; CLIMATE – A suitable climate is required to ensure purity of seawater which, in turn, ensures effectiveness of treatment and enhances the unique treatment experience. RAW MATERIAL – ie. Seawater! A thalassa therapy centre will always be situated in close proximity to the source to enable fresh seawater to be pumped directly to the spa in necessary quantities. NATURAL INGREDIENTS – Products are a combination of fresh seawater and mineral enriched seaweed or mud which capture life enhancing all-natural properties. A DOCTOR – The presence of a doctor is essential to advise on illnesses and allergies and to recommend the most appropriate treatments to cater to an individual’s specific needs.


RING IN THE GOOD TIMES Eszter Faykiss reports exclusively for Signature from Baselworld 2012

here are different stereotypes for Swiss people. Probably not all of them are valid, but what I can tell from experience is that time matters to them more than to the sons and daughters of any other nation. Have you seen a train being late in Switzerland? Or Swiss people not arriving to a meeting on time? They are rather five minutes early than one minute late and they also consider it a matter of honour that they pay bills on time. Blessed by the talent for precision and punctuality it is no wonder that Swiss watchmakers have supplied the majority of watches to the world for centuries. Manufacturers from the banks of Lake Genéve and Lake Neuchátel have become the synonyms of quality, inimitable design and perfect reliability, raising the entire Swiss watchmaking industry to the heights of today.

T The writer is a Certified Diamond Grader from HRD Antwerp and has a passion for all things that sparkle. She also has more than 8 years of marketing, communication and event experience in various industries, mainly energy and IT sector and jewellery business, in different regions; Europe, Australia and Middle East.


The history of watch and jewellery exhibitions in the region dates back to 1917, when the first 'Schweizer Mustermesse Basel' was held. In 2012, the one week show of BASELWORLD attracted more than 100,000 visitors, 1815 exhibitors on 160,000 m² and over 3,300 journalists describing clearly the largest and most prestigious event of the kind world-wide. This is the week that all exhibitors have prepared for in the past year, the week that echoes the announcements of novelties in the world, the week that entices the lovers of watches and jewellery to Basel and that the whole industry has sharpened its nerves for. This is the week that defines the trends for the next twelve months.

two pieces with ultra-thin movements. The cases of Chopard L.U.C XP Skeletec and L.U.C XPS Poinçon de Genève 125th Anniversary Edition are less than 8mm thick with incredible 3.5mm thin movements. Among its many complications Blancpain also created an ultra slim movement achieving a remarkable balance: the Villeret collection is the perfect mixture of technical refinement and aesthetic purity. The classical design of the Slim Line collection by Frédérique Constant is elegant and timeless, embodied in a 9mm case. China being the largest and growing market for the sector, the Year of Dragon has inspired many watch companies from different categories. Swatch made a blue-white version for the young generation, Swarowski glitters with The Piazza Grande Automatic Dragon Limited Edition and if one aims to have a more minimalistic version, the Danish Skagen Dragon Watches Collection delivers just that. Jaquet Droz and Glashütte Original elevated the topic to an artistic level. The Petite Heure Minute Relief Dragon from Jaquet Droz with sumptuous materials, realistic decorative motifs and virtuoso technical features present the dragon, that legendary creature whose magic pearl symbolises the power and wisdom of the Emperor. Glashütte, German manufactory has created eight unique timepieces based on the classic Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon, each featuring a Meissen porcelain dial with a beautifully hand-painted Chinese dragon. The ornamental dragons rendered in a ceramic paint are made of pure gold dust.

PROMISING PERSPECTIVES “Since last we met here almost 12 months ago, the world economic situation has continued to deteriorate.” – started his opening speech Jacques J. Duchêne, Chairman of the Exhibitors’ Committee. “In this severely battered world, which is going through radical reshaping, there is, however, one industry that has been able to stand up well and even to break numerous records.”

endeavoured to capture the attention by building more impressive, more extravagant and impeccable multi-level constructions, and opened dedicated floors to the public and restricted areas for people with appointment and for buyers.

Indeed. The exports of Swiss watchmaking sector reached a record 19.3 billion francs (RO. 8.1 billion) in 2011, soaring 19.2 per cent from a year earlier. Over 10 billion francs is accounted for the Middle East and the Far East alone.

VISIBLE TRENDS IN 2012 “Haute horlogerie goes on a diet: extra-slim timepieces have again a grand entrance in 2012” – as Baselworld news described. For the master watchmakers is always a challenge to reduce the thickness of the movement while preserve the accuracy. This year, watches thinner than 1cm, offering a light and comfortable fit started to emerge. Dedicated to the memory of Louis-Ullysse Chopard, the luxury house has come out with

The fair occupied six massive buildings embodying numerous halls, most of which were dedicated to watches, some to jewellery and others to gemstones and related tools. Companies

Baselworld brought novelties. Some of them are really new concepts, others repolish a design from the past. The one week is just enough to see them.

Dragon as a motive is pretty popular not only on watches, but also on other lifestyle objects. Luxury mobile phone company, Vertu came out earlier with a special Signature Dragon Edition, while Caran d’Ache introduced the “Year of the Dragon” Limited Edition pens. This latest addition to the Artist Collection is a genuine tribute to the refinement of Asia, the richness of Chinese culture and the extraordinary graphics of the Zodiac. It is a magnificent demonstration of Swiss expertise by the masters of lacquering running symbolic colours of black, red and gold along the classic pen lines. Last year the global demand for platinum jewellery increased by 2 per cent to 2.47 million ounces, according to the Johnson Matthey Platinum interim report. Platinum played a great role in Basel, too. Baselworld 2012 hosted the 3rd Platinum Design Awards competition organised by Platinum Guild International. Although this metal is extremely rare and requires special tools, and knowledge to work with, more than


A subjective guide to Basel Basel is probably not an evident travel destination when you think of Switzerland, however Basel is a city which has a lot to offer: culture, culinary experiences, luxury shopping to the highest perfection with a charming location along the River Rhine. The city is very well organised, clean and easy to access. You can travel here for business, sightseeing or even for your honeymoon, you will certainly find what you are looking for – something extraordinary. Let us offer you a taster to Basel: What to see? Old town: The first written sources of Basel (Basilea) date back to 374 AD. Basel’s Old Town is one of the bestpreserved and most beautiful in Europe, where buildings from the 15th century are living in contrast, but in clear harmony with modern works of internationally renowned architects.

50 stunning platinum jewellery designs were displayed at the 26 participating manufacturer’s booths. The jury of 50 international journalists rewarded the most significant pieces in four categories. Tendencies can be observed amongst the precious stones, too. In the Hall of Elements many beautiful gemstones were displayed. Colombian emeralds, colourful sapphires, deep blue tanzanites and “Siamese colour” rubies were seen often. Diamonds, of course, continued to dominate. However it was interesting to see the strong presence of the pretty rare pink ones. Pearls continued to be one of the most popular gemstones. Bernd Willy Ripp, managing director of Groh + Ripp, sums up this year’s fair as follows: “After a highly successful show in 2011 we were able to boost the good result we obtained by a further 25 per cent this time round. The quality of the visitors was exceedingly good. The other precious-stone dealers are similarly highly satisfied.” LOOKING FORWARD TO 2013 The building work on the impressive new hall complex which is to be brought into operation for Baselworld2013 is progressing on schedule. The central section of the new building is already standing; Baselworld team has a clear goal: serve the industry at the most professional level. François Thiébaud, Chairman of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, described Baselworld as a complete success: “The 2012 edition has confirmed the success of this unique platform, which brings together the watch and jewellery industry from all over the world. The positive results of the past two years allow us to look into the future full of optimism: we are reckoning with an excellent start to the new Baselworld 2013.”



The Basel Münster cathedral is one of the main landmarks of Basel. It defines the cityscape with its red sandstone architecture and coloured roof tiles, its two slim towers and the cross-shaped intersection of the main roof. Originally as a Catholic cathedral it was built between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles. Today is a reformed Protestant church. Museums: Basel has very rich cultural and art life. As a veritable arts center, Basel is home to numerous museums and galleries. The Kunstmuseum Basel is the oldest museum in Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum also possesses a world-famous collection of the Classical Modern period, such as works of cubism (Picasso, Braque, Léger), German Expressionism, and the American art since 1950 (Newman, Warhol, Nauman). It is well worth to visit the Kunstmuseum this summer. From 01.04.2012 to 05.08.2012 in a grand survey exhibition you can see „Auguste Renoir. Between Bohemia and Bourgeoisie: The Early Years. Insider tip: The world’s premier international art show for Modern and contemporary works, Art Basel features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Art 43 Basel takes place June 14 – 17, 2012. Where to stay? Located in the Old Town of Basel in a unique riverside position, Hotel Les Trois Rois is one of Europe’s oldest city hotels, where already Napoleon, Elizabeth II, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Mann and many other famous people have stayed. The hotel still maintains its prestigious status among the grandest of Europe being in the cultural hub of Switzerland and due its easy proximity to the idyllic Alpine heart of the old continent. Hotel Les Trois Rois hotel is Swiss hôtellerie at it’s best. One can only find this exceptionally personalized recognition in these Swiss traditional places that makes all the difference. Everything is done to perfection making this hotel truly fitting for kings. Where to eat? The region of Basel has many excellent restaurants in every category and style. For a real creative cuisine try Stucki. This restaurant is located a little outside of Basel in a smart mansion with a stylish interior. “Aroma Kitchen“ is what Tanja Grandits calls her culinary philosophy and the Gault Millau honoured Chef cooks with a vibrant array of colours to enhance the flavour of her dishes. Since you are in Switzerland you deserve the sweet treats of real chocolate offered by the small shops on every corner. If you are looking for a local cake speciality, try the Basler Läckerli (also Leckerli or Läggerli, lecker meaning “delicious” in German), which is a traditional hard spice biscuit originating from Basel. Insider tip: If you are a real haute-cuisine addict, is it worth to travel around 45 minutes from Basel to Hägendorf to discover this old coach house with rustic atmosphere. Anni and Reto Lampart’s restaurant offers classic French cuisine with Mediterranean influences and is awarded with two Michelin stars. Where to shop: Of course you can buy the best range of the world’s most precious brands in Basel, like Louis Vuitton, Hermés or Gucci, but why wouldn’t try something else? Elia Gilli presents extravagant jewellery pieces as well as an interesting collection of bowls and vases that combines carved wood with silver. For fine gifts, stationary and luxury pens visit this chic Landolt-Arbenz store on Freie Strasse to re-discover the pleasures of old-world correspondence. Insider tip: Do you own an oldtimer or pretty desiring to have one? Let’s drive 12 minutes from Basel to Birsfelden and Kestenholz Classic will share your passion for oldtimers. The team has competence and experience paired with the latest technology to ensure that oldtimers are in the best hands.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” Jack Kerouac

The Traveller lives by the “have itchy feet, will walk” motto. He will set out to explore his surroundings; visit a new country, devour tastes of myriad cuisines or seek new shopping avenues. He also travels to distant lands to fall in love all over again. In our travel special, we bring all this and more…. Countryscape – Edgy and vibrant, Germany is in a constant state of reinvention. Perhaps that is what makes it interesting to visit…

THE TRAVELLER Honeymoon ideas – Five spots on Earth that magnify the magic of nature’s bounty in all its seclusion

Shopper’s Stop – A recap of five of our favourite shop-till-you-drop destinations…



A traveller to Germany cannot help falling in love with several hauntingly idyllic places. Whether it be the Rhine Valley where lush and dense vineyards line the winding river; rain forests, jungles and picturesque villages; or romantic castles and medieval cathedrals built in the Gothic style, Germany’s rich traditions, culture and biodiversity will cast a spell on you. Muhammed Nafie who has recently been there picks up five favourite destinations…


BONN While travelling in a high-speed intercity (ICE) train from Frankfurt’s long distance train station (Fernbahnhof) to Bonn via Mainz and Koblenz, you will be enticed by the stupendous beauty of steep vineyards on Rudesheimer Berg overlooking river Rhine. These vineyards, planted with Riesling grapes, produce some of the finest wines in Germany. As the train chugs off, straddling the tributaries of river Rhine and beautiful German countryside, you may try an attempt to recollect Ernst Stadler's famous philosophical poem ‘On crossing the Rhine Bridge at Cologne by night’. As one of the fastest growing Meetings Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destinations in Europe, Bonn attracts a large number of international travellers. Capital of the erstwhile Western Germany, Bonn now hosts 17 UN institutions and is the seat of some of the biggest corporate players in Germany. The city is home to one of Germany's oldest churches, The Bonn Minster, which was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. As the hometown of Ludwig van Beethoven, Bonn has three halls bearing the name of the legendary composer including the famous Beethovenhalle. Other major attractions in the city include Old Town Hall, built in 1737 in Rococo style; Poppelsdorfer Allee, an alley flanked by chestnut trees; Centre of the UN Campus situated at river Rhine; Post Tower, which houses the headquarters of DHL; a 12th century church called Double Church etc.

AACHEN Situated close to the Netherlands border, 90 km to the west of Bonn, Aachen is known as the city of water and horses. Famous for its ‘Printen’ (spicy ginger bread), the 2000 years old imperial city of Charlemagne presents itself as a cosmopolitan metropolis with historical flair. In the alleys of the old town, many historical buildings relate to the vivid history of the city. The Aachen Cathedral is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture and the first world cultural heritage in Germany recognized by UNESCO. It was the coronation church of more than 30 German kings and the burial site of Charlemagne. The Cathedral Treasury is regarded as the most important ecclesiastical treasury north of the Alps. It houses sacral art treasures from late Antique, Carolingian, Ottonian and Staufian epoch. Around the cathedral and town hall numerous retailers and branches of well-known retail shops invite you for a stroll. Suermondt-Ludwig and Couven museums give the visitors an insight to the history the city from 12th century onwards, while Izm International Newspaper Museum offers one of the most recent information presentations on international media of the 21st century. RWTH Aachen University situated in the heart of the city is an internationally acclaimed university.

FRANKFURT As one of the busiest transit hubs in Europe connecting you with most of the German and European destinations, Frankfurt is the best place to start a German trip. Its excellent transportation infrastructure consists of three railway stations for high-speed ICE trains and the Autobahn interchange where two of the most heavily used motorways in Europe meet. In addition, the city has two underground railway systems as well as an above-ground tram system. Your first impression about Frankfurt will be the newly opened Airrail Center Frankfurt which is built in the airport on top of a train station, and considered the largest office building in Germany. Frankfurt’s skyline is dotted with some of the tallest skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Europe such as Commerzbank Tower and Messeturm. As the seat of European Central Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several German banks, the city is nicknamed as ‘Bankfurt’. Frankfurt also hosts the world’s largest motor and consumer good shows, and trade and book fairs. The Zeil and Goethestrasse are some of the most expensive shopping streets in the city. Saint Bartholomew's Cathedral, a 14th century building named after Bartholomew the Apostle, Saint Paul's Church, Archaeological Garden, Frankfurt city hall and Goethe University of Frankfurt are some of the places a traveller to Frankfurt can not afford to miss.


SCHMALKALDEN If you are fed up with the hustle and bustle of busy city throughways, gear up to explore the green heart of Germany. A six-hour drive from Bonn through the dense forest of Thuringia, the central state of Germany, will take you to the snow-clad pristine farmlands of Germany. The medieval city of Schmalkalden, tucked away at the Schmalkalde River and down the crest road of Thuringia Forest with half-timbered and stone houses, is a far cry from Germany’s developed areas. St. George Church in the city is a Gothic church constructed in 1509. The Castle of Wilhelmsburg, lying high above the town, is a significant monument of art and culture of the German Renaissance. The mural paintings and stucco elements at the castle take you for a walk down memory lane to the history of Renaissance and Reformation in Germany. A view from the castle over the historical town to the mountains of Rhon and Thuringia Forest invites you to make a stop and probably to stay longer. The factory and headquarters of Viba, one of the famous German sweet manufactures, is based in this city. Some of the sights one should not miss in the city are Lutheran Deanship, Todenwarth's stone house, The Island and the Salt Bridge, The Rose Pharmacy and Large stone house, The Liebaug House etc.

LUBECK Legend has it that Lubeck is the first city in the world to produce marzipan. According to an apocryphal story, marzipan was first made when the city ran out of all foods except stored almonds and sugar. The presence in the city of 200-year old Niederegger, one of the world's best manufactures of marzipan and sweets, testifies to this claim. Niederegger café in the town centre of Lubeck has got a marzipan museum on its upper floor, where you will see a marzipan statue (group photo made in almond and sugar) of all eminent people related somehow with marzipan. Situated on the river Trave, the port city of Lubeck is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its Brick Gothic architectural heritage. Much of the old town has kept a medieval look with old buildings and narrow streets. The old part of the town is an island enclosed by the Trave. The Elbe–Lubeck Canal connects the Trave with the Elbe River. The borough of Travemunde is a sea resort and ferry port on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Hometown of two Nobel Laureates for literature - Thomas Mann and Gunter Grass - the city keeps their memories still alive in two houses named after them. Lübecker Dom and the Marienkirche are the oldest of seven church steeples in the city. In addition, Lubecker Rathaus (Town Hall), Saint Catherine Church, Fehmarnbelt Museum port, Hospital of the Holy Spirit and crow-stepped gabled town house building are some of the attractive places in the city.




Up the ante on romance a bit, travel to places that no one has travelled before. No, we do not mean space…. NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE, NGORONGORO CRATER, TANZANIA

Perched on the rim 2000 feet above the surface of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater sits its namesake lodge, providing one of the finest destinations in the whole of Africa for those who want to combine a bit of adventure with their romance. Guests get their own Maasai-themed traditional huts, bedecked in warm natural colours and blending into the verdant landscape. During the day, take a safari down into the crater (an extinct volcano) and enjoy the sites of Africa’s Big Five in the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Tired but happy from the day’s adventure, enjoy the spectacular sunset from your veranda and let your mind wander in this perfect escape from modern life.


MOUNTAINS OF TAIWAN For the outdoor enthusiasts why not make your way to the little known mountains of Taiwan, where the world’s highest density of alpine peaks await the intrepid explorer. Tackle the highest mountain on the island, Yushan (12,966ft), the eye-cactching Dabajian Mountain (1,450ft) or any of the more than 160 others that reach the landmark 9,800ft. A perfect place to rest your head after the exertion might be The Lalu, a stunning lakeside hotel, high in the Central Mountain Range. Enjoy the crisp, cool air and the absolute stillness of the environment and leave the hustle and bustle of urban life behind.

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA Formally known as Leningrad, St Petersburg was founded in 1703 by the then Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great. Home of the Mariinsky Ballet Company and a plethora of classical architecture, this port city offers the sights and sounds of more than 300 years of Russian history in a skyline that has been kept deliberately traditional and low rise. Enjoy the unsurpassed luxury of the Grand Hotel Europe as you explore the intricate network of streets, boulevards and canals in this remarkable city. Try to catch it in winter to provide that picture-perfect romantic getaway, just remember to wrap up warm.


HAYMAN ISLAND, AUSTRALIA This private island in the midst of the Whitsunday archipelago off the coast of Queensland offers the perfect beach hideout in the azure blue oceans. Repeatedly voted one of the top luxury destinations in the world, the island and its accompanying resort have undergone a number of renovations over the year, ever keen to maintain its standing. Enjoy the wildlife both above and below the waves, or just recline on the clear white sands and doze to the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore. What better statement of intent for a romantic gesture than fly half way around the world to a life of luxury on tap.

HOTEL DAS CATARATAS, IGUASSU FALLS, BRAZIL Deep in the heart of the Iguassu National Park sits a hotel purpose built to enjoy one of the sights that is pre-determined to take your breath away. Guests staying at the hotel enjoy exclusive access to the awe inspiring Iguassu Falls at dawn and dusk, spending the day lounging in colonial Portuguese-styled residences. In being up close and person to nature on such an epic scale, it perhaps make you appreciate our relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things, and how lucky we are in being able to share such moments with those most precious in your life.


TO ADVERTISE CALL: (+973) 17 564250 - (+973) 39 477727



Milan, Paris, Bangkok is where you go if you want electronics, high-end fashion, jewellery and watches. But then shopping is not just about all that is it? Great shopping can also be found in some unexpected places, such as in Astana, Kazakhstan, the second coldest capital in the world. We pick a few destinations that will appeal to the shopaholic in you..

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA Argentina has excellent leather, the soft almost-buttery-to-thetouch kind of leather that feels fine to wear and fine to look at. Leather stores, leather shops, leather boutiques - they are all fronts for the factories. If they don't have what you want they are skilled in getting you to go to their nearest store or factory. The shopping mall has found its place in Buenos Aires. Patio Bullrich, in Recoleta, is probably the most exclusive and an afternoon’s activity itself. Galerias Pacifico, on the corner of Florida and Cordoba, is a three-storey mall quality clothes and sports stores. There is also excellent cashmere - sweaters, dresses, skirts, jackets. Antiques are another excellent buy in Argentina, and San Telmo is the most recognised center of antiques. Many of it's old mansions have been turned into antique shops, and on Sunday the square becomes an outdoor antique market. 54

Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre

17-19 April 2012


Showcasing Bahrain’s Food and Hospitality sectors and hosting exhibitors from all over the GCC.






For further details please contact Amal Abdulla, Senior Sales Officer on Tel: 17558898. Mobile: 33879969, or email: Anas A. AlAmer, Senior Sales Officer, Bahrain Exhibitions & Convention Authority (BECA), E-mail:, Direct line +973 17558854Ȇ Direct Fax: +973 17555513

TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN Shopping venues in Taipei, Taiwan include department stores, malls, underground transit malls, night markets, and shopping districts. Technology and beauty products are two reasons why Taipei City has become an international shopping destination. For instance, Nova Electronics Mall is a mega complex filled with every sort of gadget imaginable – many of the models are not yet available overseas. International beauty brands such as Estée Lauder and Lancôme can be found at exceptionally low prices at the Uni-Hankyu department store. But then, it is the night markets that make Taipei lively. The most famous and busiest of them is the Shilin Night Market in the Shilin District (accessible from Jiantan Station). Other notable night markets in Taipei include the Raohe Street Night Market (Songshan) 56

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ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN Don’t let the world’s second coldest capital tag deter you from visiting this place. Kazakhstan’s capital Astana is in the middle of a building boom largely financed by profiteers from the oil industry. Last year the upscale shopping mall Khan Shatyr opened, revealing a clever and distinct design in a 150m tall tent as a tribute to the country’s nomadic background. With mini-golf, concerts and a water park it always provides a pleasant shopping experience, despite the cold outside. 58

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND Laugavegur is the shopping street in the downtown area. In this popular shopping area of Reykjavik visitors find a large number of shops and craft studios. Skólavödustígur has also turned into a very hot shopping area. Several shops can be found selling outdoor wear and equipment, such as Skátabúdin at Snorrabraut 60. The Kringlan shopping mall in the new city centre of Reykjavik, is a shopping hub of social activity. Get some souvenirs from Íslandia, the popular store with Icelandic souvenirs. Fur apparel is found at Eggert at Skólavördustígur 38. The famous lopapeysa (Icelandic jumper) are also great to bring home - they can be bought in every big store in Reykjavik.

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT Kuwait is a modern country with everything from glitzy shopping malls to old ‘souks’ and Friday markets where culture and tradition abound. Sharq Souk Mall located in downtown Kuwait City is one of the largest modern malls, similar to an American mall, but with styles of the Middle East. For those of you with a burning desire to drop US$3000 on the lastest leather briefcase, Salhiya Center, behind the Meridian Hotel offers a wealth of designer stores in Kuwait's most exclusive mall. Do viisit the spectacular Al Hamra mall, a 400m-tall sculpted skyscraper, housing top notch luxury brands such as Hermès. 60







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VACATION CHIC Comfort is paramount on vacation, but it does not just apply to feeling physically comfortable as you tour an ancient site, relax in a sidewalk café or lie on the beach. It also means avoiding disapproving stares from locals of the country you are in. Whether you are in Italy, Paris, St Tropez, London, Seychelles, Jaipur, Mumbai, Istanbul or New York, one must always stick to casual elegance and opt for understated clothes with clean lines, neutral colours and easy-tocare-for fabrics. All holidays involve loads of walking around and it’s always smart to carry flip-flops, athletic shoes and low-heeled, stylish, leather walking shoes for both men and women. Summers can be a little steamy, so carrying two pairs of shorts for men and cotton slacks or capri pants for women are a stylish alternative. The appeal of jeans is universal, and a quality pair (no holes) matched with a pressed sports shirt, polo or blouse is acceptable casual wear anywhere in the world. Pack a sweater or light jacket for airports and those long flights and transits to keep you warm. A small raincoat or travel umbrella is a smart accessory to have year-round. A hat and sunglasses are vital anywhere in the world to protect those eyes. There is no need to carry one, but shopping for a local scarf, shawl or men's tie to dress up your travel wardrobe is always a good It is hard not to look like a tourist as you gaze in wonder at the sights in any country. Play down your image by opting for a messenger bag or sturdy leather purse rather than a backpack.


Shop at travel stores for a stylish bag with reinforced straps to thwart knife-wielding purse snatchers. Fanny packs are susceptible to pickpockets and also label you as a tourist. Keep vital documents, money and credit cards in an inside jacket pocket or front pocket of your pants or jeans. Pack a crushable string or canvas shopping bag to avoid juggling cumbersome packages. Mostly on travel, we often visit churches, temples, mosques, holy shrines and some musuems, so carrying some conservative silhouettes for both men and women always helps. Basics are best for both men and women. If one is planning to visit families, buddies and long lost friends over dinners and lunches at formal places, it’s advisable for men to pack slacks and a polo-style shirt that can make a great attire at a dinner and the shirt can be worn the next day with shorts. One can always shop for a coat and a tie in case there is a formal engagement during the holiday. For women, don't limit yourself to dresses and heels because you may regret it. Dinner wear is actually fairly simple. For daytime, always pack a pair of light slacks and a pair of black slacks with blouses or tanks. Formal night is whatever you want it to be but slacks with a dressy blouse are fine. Lastly remember even though you want to travel light, carry some bright-coloured clothes that look fabulous in pictures that will make a good memory!




Shawn Stephens is a PR professional and has worked on the teams that handled accounts like Dubai Film Festival, Christies, Art Dubai, Qatar Airways, The Hilton group, Adidas and Dior. He is seen quite often on the red carpet making show-stopping entrances at some of the most chic events and parties in Dubai and around the Middle East. He is currently Account Director with Z7 communications in Dubai, United Arab Emirates that handles Versace, TOD’s, TAG Heuer, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bonhams, JAMM art advisory, MRPORTER.COM, Net-a-Porter, THEOUTNET.COM and Hoss Intropia.



Carolina Herrera - THEOUTNET

Orlebar Brown - MRPORTER.COM

Common Projects - MRPORTER.COM


A few things that can make a traveller’s life all that better….

THE TOMTOM GO LIVE The GO LIVE 1005 is already a great Sat Nav system but pony up a little more cash and you can get this – the ‘World’ edition. And as the name implies it has maps for more destinations around the world in addition to automatically post your ETA to your destination on Twitter.

CHANEL CHANCE TWIST & SPRAY Choose your favourite version of Chanel scent Chance and get it in a handy ‘twist & spray’ fragrance atomiser that fits in the palm of your hand, making it easy to use and easy to pop into your handbag. Compact and luxurious, this take-anywhere spray can be used at any moment. Its quick and easy-to-use refill system means that you will never be without, so there's always a chance. Ashrafs BGDC Tel: +973-17112727

CANON 5D MARK III If movies are more your thing then the successor of the legendary 5D Mark II is the perfect camera for you; offering improved speed, greater resolution, enhanced processing power and extended creative options for both stills and Full HD movies. Electronic Equipment Est. Tel: (+973) 17727260 64

IPAD 3 Featuring all the bells and whistles of the iPad 2 coupled with a stunning new Retina display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight camera; makes the new iPad the perfect travel companion on those long transatlantic flights

PANASONIC HC-X900M The HC-X900M sports a long list of features that include: 1920 x 1080/60p recording, clear 5.1-channel surround sound recording with Wind Noise cancelling function, 32GB of built-in memory, the ability to record in 3D (with the optional 3D lens), and a 3-sensor 3MOS sensor system. So, you've got the capability to produce extravagant, detailed, beautiful images anywhere you go and under almost any circumstances. Pansasonic Al-Futtaim Sons Co. Tel: (+973) 17564777

GERBER BEAR GRYLLS STEADY MULTI-TOOL Perfect for any weekend adventurer, the Gerber Steady combines the utility of a multi-tool and the functionality of a camera tripod. It comes equipped with an adjustable screw-in and cell phone camera mount and two foldable legs that serve as a tripod.


Especially for Apple products, A-solar developed a special line of high quality portable power products to charge your iPhone / iPod or iPhone. It is the first manufacturer in the world to launch a Solar Power Dock for iPhone and iPhone. And it will ensure that your iDevices will never run out of juice on those long outdoor excursions.


Key pieces from this collection include: Smith Cross-body, Westley Weekender, Jefferson Slim Brief, Miller Small Kit and Cartway International Expandable Carry-On. Steamer trunks, synonymous with first-class travel. Each of the trunks is handmade using vachetta leather trim and high polish metal hardware. The collection features a hatbox, attachĂŠ, wardrobe and shoe trunk. Tumi Tanagra, Bahrain City Centre, Tel: (+973) 17179570







“If it hadn't been for the ship going down, I'd be an American leading an ordinary American life,” said Millvina Dean, the last surviour of the Titanic tragedy. She died in 2009. It was 100 years ago that the world lost one of mankind’s greatest creations; but the HMS Titanic has left a lasting legacy that that, till today, affects every aspect of maritime travel. The HMS Titanic was like no other cruise liner in operation at the time. It was one of only three Olympic class ocean liners operated by White Star Line. It was also the largest and grandest ocean liner to ever sail the seas. Designed to look and feel like a floating highclass hotel, it was like no other cruise liner that came before. Her passengers are said to have included some of the wealthiest people in the world, such as millionaires John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isidor Strauss, as well as over a thousand emigrants from Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere seeking a new life in America. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, highclass restaurants and opulent cabins. She also had a powerful wireless telegraph provided for the convenience of passengers as well as for operational use. Though she had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. Due to outdated maritime safety regulations, she carried only enough lifeboats for 1,178 people – a third of her total passenger and crew capacity. Measuring in at a colossal 269m in length, 28.2m in breath and over 6,000GRT (Gross Register Tons), the Titanic was no doubt a grand spectacle as it lay docked at Southampton on the morning of April 10, 1912


Olympic and Titanic

waiting for its 2,240 passengers and crew to board in preparation for its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. Little did they know of the nightmare that was to ensue in a matter of four days. On April 14, 1912, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm. The glancing collision caused Titanic's hull plates to buckle inwards in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank. A fraction of the passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. Just before 2:20am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean. Of the 2,240 people on board the vessel, only 723 survived. They were taken aboard from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia a few hours later. On April 15, 2012, it will be 100 years since the Titanic met its fate in the icy waters of the North Atlantic on


its maiden voyage to New York. A lot of stories have emerged since then. Some true, some not so. The Titanic has been eulogised in books and movies. Who does not remember being moved to tears while watching Jack and Rose die in James Cameron’s adaptation of the Titanic saga! The year 2012 will see the release of this epic movie in 3D. While many people know of the movie, not many know that for three years now, an inspirationalist artist Dodo Newman and her team along with Swarovski Elements have been working on the extraordinary Titanic Commemorative project, an art initiative that marks this centenary. Newman’s creative work highlights the human aspect of the tragedy – the 2,240 passengers and crew, 1,517 of whom perished. It conjures a poignant image of people boarding the Titanic full of hopes and dreams, unaware that they were destined to share a tragedy of unimaginable magnitude. They came from every walk of life: personnel from the ship; the rich and famous (American millionaires Benjamin Guggenheim, Isodor Straus and John Astor all drowned); professionals; the

poor, seeking a new life. Friends, families and strangers alike, they were to be linked in collective memory forever. Dodo Newman has worked for nine years to experiment the right formula, which makes the surface stable as well as provide a long term solution for keeping the quality high. Using her own special techniques, Dodo Newman’s Commemorative Titanic Memorabilia depict the emotion that the survivours experienced. Fragments of glittering diamonds, semiprecious stones and brilliantly glinting Swarovski Elements represent icebergs, which she applies to transparent Plexiglas. The surface effect is magical: liquid crystal against a background of swirling oceanic blues, reflecting the play of light on icy water – shockingly beautiful and, quite simply, unique. Furthermore, since the Memorabilia are created on Plexiglas the diamond and the Swarovski Crystal masterpieces are two sided in an extraordinary way, each Memorabilia being unique and producing different effects on each side of the Plexiglas. The impressions of the Memorabilia are further enhanced with

Dodo Newman’s Commemorative Titanic Memorabilia

the use of LED lighting in the edges. This limited range of rare and Ăźber-luxe handcrafted collectibles, each with its own certificate of authenticity, consists of 2,240 diamond- and Swarovski Elements-surfaced masterpieces, each dedicated to a passenger. The Titanic had passengers from 44 different countries and depending on the country of origin, some pieces are extremely limited in number. A further 200 items will be selected by 100 museum curators around the world, while others will be auctioned and sold, with a major portion of the proceeds going to 100 charitable causes. The Titanic Memorabilia Collection offers a unique opportunity to own a part of history and enrich our human heritage. Dedicated to the memory of the passengers, it touches our hearts today, 100 years after the worst maritime disaster in peace-time history. None of this would have been possible were it not for the discovery of the actual wreck on September 1, 1985. After years of speculation and educated guesses that had turned up nothing, explorer Robert Ballard, an oceanographer and former Navy captain, in

conjunction with a French expedition tracked a debris trail to the wreckage. A year after the remains of the Titanic were discovered, more oceanographers went to explore the sections of bow and stern and the extensive debris field. In 1993, the company RMS Titanic Inc. gained the rights to collect found artefacts and launch expeditions to the ship. Many argue that collecting items from the wreckage violates a sacred resting ground and that all the disturbances are causing the ship to deteriorate faster than it would if left alone. Others blame the multimillion-dollar expeditions for causing regular and unnecessary damage. But those same expeditions have dispelled some of the myths surrounding what actually happened that night almost 100 years ago. Regardless, time is running out for researchers, some of whom claim the wreck will not exist 50 years from now. Ironically, the act of discovering the Titanic may be the one thing that results in its final destruction and the loss of a treasured legend

For more details on the project you can log on to http://

Cruise down memory lane The Miles Morgan Travel company have gone a step further than commemoratives. This UK-based company is offering Titanic Memorial Cruises from South Hampton and New York (the destination city of HMS Titanic). The 8-day cruise takes you on a voyage of a lifetime, exactly 100 years to the day that the Titanic departed Southampton (UK). From specialist lecturers telling the fascinating story of the Titanic to visiting Halifax; where you will have the opportunity of visiting Fairview Lawn Cemetery where victims of the RMS Titanic sinking are interred, the cruise itinerary seems to have thought of everything that could get us curious travellers closer to the mystery of this magnificent ship!



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SOLE TO SOUL The celebrated shoe designer Guiseppe Zanotti was in Dubai and spent the afternoon with some of the city’s most prominent fashionistas at Voi Restaurant, Jumeriah Zabeel Saray recently. Voi was transformed into an exotic sanctuary of birds of paradise, especially for the occasion with hydrangea flowers dotted over the tables. The event saw women dine on a French-Vietnamese menu of vanilla-scented cod and Valhrona chocolate soufflé and mingle with Giuseppe Zanotti in a private and intimate setting, getting their shoes signed along with personalised sketches. The festivities continued in the evening with an in-store party, where Giuseppe greeted over 150 fans and signed shoes for them. Giuseppe's trip to Dubai was to celebrate the regional expansion of Giuseppe Zanotti Design. He now has stores in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Lebanon. Rosemin Manji caught up with Guiseppe at the event. Here are the excerpts... How and when did you know you wanted to be a shoe designer? “I wanted to be a shoe designer since I was a child. I was inspired by my mother, who was a seamstress. I still remember the pair of shoes that her customers tried with the suits that my mother stitched." You branched out into jewellery. Which other new directions do you see your business expanding in? “Yes, four seasons ago I launched a new jewellery collection and it has been a great success. I also recently developed a sneakers line for men and women. So I still have not had time to think of the next project." Where do you take your inspirations from each season? “From every moment of life, music, art, and also life on the street life.” What are your thoughts on the Middle East? “I like the Middle East very much and often visit for holidays as well. It is always a pleasure to meet style-conscious people here, to whom beauty and elegance seem to be very important.” When was that ‘ah-ha’ moment when you knew you had made it? “I have never felt this ‘ah-ha’ moment. Each season



ushers in a new era in my creation process.” Favourite celebrities in your shoes? “I have many requests by celebrities for special orders of shoes. The most recent requests include Lady Gaga for her next tour and Nicki Minaj who ordered sneakers for the last Superbowl, when Madonna performed. It is always very exciting, working for these kind of projects. I enjoy them a lot.” Your best collaborations “I have done many collaborations in the last year. It is always very interesting to share creative points of view with other designers. Recently I did a collaboration with Chopard for a pair of sandals with real precious stones. It was a unique piece that was auctioned for the AMFAR at Cannes. I also enjoyed working with the very talented and young designer Anthony Vacarrello at the last Fashion week in Paris.” Five things you can’t live without? iPod Blackberry Watch Passport Glasses Favourite spots around the world Best restaurant: Zuma, Dubaï Best hotel: Burj Al Arab, Dubaï Best club: Mint, Shanghai Most stylish city: Paris

Giuseppe Zanotti was born in San Mauro Pascoli, a small village on the Adriatic Riviera. His strong passion for music, fashion and art drove him towards the world of beauty and accessories in the early 80s. Enchanted by feet and native to a village of luxury shoemaking tradition, he started his career as a freelance designer working with international luxury fashion houses. The big leap came in 1994 when he decided to take over a small shoemaking company, Vicini spa, and to devote himself to an ambitious project: designing and manufacturing his own shoes. So, with a small workshop employing just a handful of shoe experts he started his challenge with passion and steadfastness. His first collection was launched in New York City and his temporary showroom was just a room in the Plaza Hotel. Since then, the most prestigious specialty stores worldwide have been carrying Giuseppe Zanotti Design footwear and there are more than 60 flagship stores in the most important fashion capitals of the world.

Rosemin Manji is the founder of RR & Co. Bespoke Luxury Management that specialises in styling, media relations among other luxury services around the fashion industry. Manji is an authority on fashion in the region. Her weekly fashion segment on Dubai One TV’s Studio One has fashion followers throughout the region tuning in as she shares her tips. She has brought international designers to the region from Tom Ford, Alice Temperley to Christian Louboutin to the Middle East . She has contributed in Harpers Bazaar, Grazia and Esquire and has covered Atlantis Palm Dubai opening Red Carpet interviewing top International celebrities for MTV. Manji’s style has been celebrated in Best Dressed lists for Harpers Bazaar, Grazia, Pashion, Mondanite, Ahlan Masala. Her contribution to the fashion industry has been recognised by Arab News as Top 20 Business women in the Gulf, Gr8 Women of the Year Middle East and Ahlan Hot 100 List 2010 and 2011 as Style Icon and Contribution to the Media Industry.




inning over people’s hearts is not an easy job; and retaining it is even more difficult. Nobody knows that fact more than the engineers at Lexus, the brand which has been in the luxury market for more than two decades. Now, it is out to woo its fans anew with the new Lexus GS

THE PERSONA It has aggressive front face and definitely looks different from the previous model. Like many cars which have sporting ambitions, this GS has a frowning front face with LEDs posing as eye liners below the blazing headlamps. The overall look is smooth and curvy with refreshingly bold crease lines along the body. The side profile looks


cool and we just love the back with those chrome tipped exhausts, curvy bumper with integrated lights and the ‘angry looking’ tail lamps.

INNER CHARMS The interior is remarkably more beautiful than the previous generation. The splashes of wood veneer over the dashboard, door panels and rest of the cabin makes it look very lively at the outset. The leather seats come in a wide choice of colours and enhance the interior according to the owner's specifications. The dash is tastefully designed and studded with an LCD screen, leather covered arm rests at the sides and shift lever in a leather ‘evening gown’ with contrasting stitches adding to the sophistication. The front seats are spacious and available with optional 18-way power adjustment.

One of the features we love most is the 8-inch inch LED screen (a 12.3 inch LED screen is available in F sport). The menu can be accessed via voice controls or ‘Remote Touch’. Located towards the end of the arm rest, it is very convenient to use just like a computer mouse. We can also access the features via voice commands, which is very convenient.

BELOW THE HOOD The new GS is available in four grades and two engines for catering to a broader range of Lexus enthusiasts. The GS250 is powered by a 2.5L V6 which pumps out 207 hp @ 6400rpm. The GS350 is fitted with a 3.5L V6 which belts out 312hp @ 6400 and available in three levels, basic, luxury and F Sport. The power is delivered to the wheels with the help of a six-speed automatic

with LDH (Lexus Dynamic Handling) system. This system facilitates optimum steering wheel angles to facilitate the best response from all the four wheels resulting in a response on par with drivers’ expectations. The package also comes with an Adaptive Suspension system for optimum wheel control, agility and confident driving.

SAFETY The car is as safe as it can get; it is equipped with 10 airbags, which also includes a knee airbag for the driver and front passenger. All the four outboard occupants are protected by side curtain air bags. Apart from that, the outboard rear seats also have seat mounted side airbags.

transmission (with paddle shifters). The driver can choose from a choice of four driving modes i.e., Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport + modes. Eco mode helps one drive the car in the most fuel efficient way; the engine power, response and air conditioning are accordingly managed by the system so as to ensure best results. The Sport and Sport + modes help one get the best out of the car in terms of aggressiveness and spirited driving with improved stability and firmer suspension. The GS is also equipped with paddle shifters for the people who prefer to be in charge totally.

The seats have being designed so as to lessen ‘Whiplash Injury', by reducing the distance between the headrest and occupant’s head. The other safety features include EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) which works with ABS to ensure that proper brake force is applied to each wheel during emergencies, TRC (Traction Control System) and Hill Start Assist Control. The optional safety features include Advanced Pre-Crash Safety System – which (uses radar technology to maintain a safe distance) alerts the driver and applies brakes automatically when the collision is imminent. An important option is the Blind spot monitor system, which uses radar devices mounted on rear bumper to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes (not visible through the side mirrors) and warns drivers accordingly.

THE F SPORT PACKAGE The GS is also available with the F Sport grade as mentioned above; this comes with a distinct exterior and interior which have an even more aggressive flavour. This sport grade comes

HANDLING Getting into the car, we are overcome by the ambience which speaks of nothing but luxury. We expect a quiet ride and press ‘start’. The

seats are spacious and very comfortable and we switch on the Mark Levinson sound system (available as an option), and the legend Michael Jackson bursts through the 17 speakers with the hit The way you make me feel. When the song reaches its very second line You really turn me on we are already turned on and cruising down the highway at considerable speed, enjoying the drive in normal mode. Luckily, when he says, You knock me off my feet...our drive – the Lexus approaches a corner, but doesn’t knock us off and keeps its feet steady and on solid ground. We see that a guy in another fast car approaches, when the song hits My lonely days are gone, almost immediately we overtake this guy and are alone on the highway with the rest of the traffic far behind. Sounds unreal? Well, when we look back – we can’t believe it either, but then facts can be stranger than fiction. We now approach a deserted road on the outskirts of town and shift to Sport +. We press the accelerator a little harder, to see what ‘she’ has got – and ‘Vrooom’ we are off to a blistering start leaving a cloud of dirt behind. The acceleration is very good and the shifts are very fluid. Now comes the time to test the brakes, and ‘Screech’... the car comes to a dead stop in an impressively controlled way. My colleagues seated at the back have no complaints, and are smiling.

VERDICT It is like a breath of fresh air and something totally different from the Luxury cars out there. We had a wonderful time driving it and enjoyed every moment of it. Lexus GS had got the charm to expand its fan base, storm the market and give its rivals a hard time. Contact EK Kanoo Lexus Showroom, Sitra, for a test drive


STREETS AHEAD Being hailed as ‘the only’ essential read for tourists, expat residents and Bahrainis alike, the StreetSmart Bahrain guidebook features a mix of mainstream must-sees and hidden gems, complemented by insider tips, illustrated maps and guided tours, which not only helps you to physically see the country, but to feel it, taste it and literally get under its skin. Nichola Sanders reports Recently launched at the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre, under the patronage of HE Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah, the visiting Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, StreetSmart Bahrain offers a fresh approach to exploring the Kingdom. As its author Melissa van Maasdyk poignantly points out, Bahrain is a multi-faceted country, where ancient sites cohabit with modern architecture, atmospheric souqs with luxe malls, Middle Eastern street food with international restaurants, and sun-kissed beaches lapped by aqua-marine sea give way to vibrant nightlife. StreetSmart therefore aptly covers everything from the country’s ancient archaeological sites and museums to its restaurants and leisure options such as pearl diving and sailing, plus where to lay one’s head at night. Signature met with the lady herself to talk about the trials and tribulations of its making.

What prompted you to compile such an in depth guide to Bahrain? "I love Bahrain and in my six years here I have never stopped discovering new places, people and things that I haven’t come across anywhere else in the world. I’ve lived in several cities in South Africa, where I was born, as well as New York, Paris and London, and I can honestly say that I’ve had some of my most interesting experiences in Bahrain, yet so often people say there isn’t that much to do here. "I also sometimes see people who are obviously visitors wandering around aimlessly and I want to run up to them and tell them about a great shop or restaurant just around the corner or direct them to an interesting site or museum. Realising that I might be branded a lunatic if I kept doing this, I decided a guidebook would be the way to go."


As a non Bahraini how did you structure your research and did anyone local mentor/guide you? "You could say that I’ve been researching this guide for the past six years as I’ve been freelancing for various magazines and websites since I arrived in Bahrain. When I started writing it in April 2011, I therefore thought I knew it all and could take everything I’d learnt and distil it in the course of a few months. "I discovered, however, via talking to various people who are shaping Bahrain’s lifestyle (designers, chefs, DJs etc.), that I didn’t know half of it and a few months became nine months, my anticipated 144 pages increased to 220. "Apart from discoveries like great spots for street food and wonderful artisans, I also gained fascinating insights into Bahrain’s rich history from some knowledgeable people, such as the historian Dr Abdulla Al Sulaiti and archaeologist Nadine Boksmati-Fattouh at the Ministry of Culture, as well as the owners of Mattar Jewellers (specialising in pearls), Depaj Swords and Bradran Carpet Store, which are all longstanding family businesses, whose history is integral to that of the country."

How did you remain focused throughout the research stage? "I don’t think ‘focused’ is the word. Every time I went out into the field, I discovered something new that would take me on a whole new tangent. In the Bukuwara district of Riffa for example, while hunting down a shop selling T-shirts by Arab designers, I discovered a host of jelabiya tailors and some lovely delis, and decided that I had to add a page on the area.

own and differentiated it from other guides on the market. "Luckily, I happened upon a brilliant young Bahraini designer, Bader Kamal, who helped me turn the name 'Streetsmart' into a really cool logo and then followed through with pages that are fresh, clean and contemporary. Since this is a travel book as opposed to a novel, there were, however, also similarities between working on this and lifestyle magazines. Most importantly, it was a team effort and the success of the finished product has as much to do with the words as with the design, beautiful photographs by Phil Weymouth (who’s shot seven Lonely Planet guides), illustrations by artist Anna Thackray and polishing by copyeditor Jennifer Downey. "

What advice would you give to anyone considering writing a book?

"But, if somewhat randomly, what kept me going to the end, even when I hit some major obstacles, was the fact that I wanted other people to experience the fantastic things I had. I also felt I owed it to the people who were so generous with their time and information to finish it."

"I think it’s essential that you’re passionate about your subject, because getting words on the page can be really hard – and lonely – but if you love the subject matter and really want it to come to light, you’ll keep going. "Another piece of advice that might seem to contradict the above is that if you don’t feel like writing, you should just force yourself, and once your fingers are moving across the keyboard the ideas start coming; you can then go back and erase the waffly stuff you wrote when feeling uninspired."

You have been a magazine editor so how easy was the transition to writing a book?

How has it been received since your launch last month?

"The biggest difference was that rather than just working for a publication with a readymade image, voice and branding, I had to come up with a personality for the book that was all its

Really well. I was a little bit nervous about showing it to anyone, but when some of my stylish, discerning friends loved it on first sight, I knew it was going to be okay. It was

also given the thumbs up by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, whose entrepreneurial development course got me started on the project and who thought it would help businesses in the sector. Since then, the feedback has been consistently good. Even Bahrainis have said they’ve discovered things they didn’t know and everyone loves the maps and insider tips. What misconceptions about Bahrain do you hope the book dispels? The view that Bahrain comes second-best as a tourist destination to other areas of the Gulf such as Dubai, when it has so much more to offer in terms of history and heritage, and actually has some museums and heritage sites that are among the best I’ve been to in the world. Apart from that, I think Bahrain has some amazingly stylish restaurants, incredible artists and galleries, plus great shopping. There’s also the option to go island-hopping and pearl diving, and and, and... I don’t think there’s any excuse for being bored. Are there any more books in the pipeline? "I hope to produce Streetsmart guides for other niche destinations, following the same formula as this one. I’m also currently looking for a publisher for a novel I’ve written, which has a strong focus on my two loves, food and travel!" The StreetSmart Bahrain 2012 Guide is currently available at Jashanmal stores (Al A’ali Mall Bahrain City Centre and Seef Mall), Virgin Megastore (BCC) and Words Bookstorecafe (Budaiya Highway, behind Crepe Cafe). The retail price is BD7.9.



At Signature we take our causes seriously. So when we heard of the term ‘Conflict Minerals’ we got our writer Charlie Bean to decode the term for us and you…. How many of you feel you would be lost without your phone? It keeps us in the loop and our finger on the national and international pulse 24 hours a day, and we feel safe in the knowledge that whatever happens we will instantly know about it. A multifunctional, interactive piece of modern technology which has become every man’s accessory and in some cases even a status symbol, with high end smart phones retailing for several hundred BD. You can receive an email, send a picture, type a message, tweet, chat, surf, listen to music and play games against international opponents, not to mention the video and camera options and that’s all before you’ve even made a phone call. But did you also know your phone could very well be an accessory to rape? While we are on the subject, so is your iPod, iPad, toaster and digital camera. Everyone has heard of ‘Blood Diamonds’ but how many of you have heard of Conflict Minerals? Yet, with over five million dead, two million people displaced and tens of thousands of women and children raped, conflict minerals are responsible for the deadliest conflict since World War II and it is all happening right now, today, in the Dominican Republic of Congo in Africa. What are conflict minerals? Conflict minerals are natural resources of gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten found in vast quantities in Congo’s mines and unfortunately used in all our electric consumer products. Government and rebel militias fight to control these mines which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The armed militia groups use rape and murder to intimidate civilians and fracture society in order to keep control of the mine areas. The most horrifying fact however is the that the FARDC (The Congolese National Army) and the PNC (Congolese National Police) which are meant to protect civilians are the largest group responsible for some of the worst of these sexual atrocities. Many of the actual militia are absorbed by the army with no retraining and the majority, are not

even registered on a national level, making regular payment an issue and corruption rife. How do they end up in the products I buy? Minerals are smuggled out of the DM Congo through neighbouring countries, then shipped across the world for refinement making them very difficult to trace. Currently there is no certification system, so your mobile phone, computer, music player and gaming systems all contain these minerals but there is little awareness across the world that it is happening, let alone that every time we buy an electronic device we actually have a choice as to whether or not we want to support it by selecting conflict free brands or more realistically brands which are trying to become so. Some companies that are proactively trying to shift their practices towards conflict free sourcing include Dell, Hp, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and Motorola, while others like Apple, Acer, Sony Ericsson, IBM, Phillips has shown a slight move towards backing the cause, but there is still room for vast improvements. What is being done to stop it? There are some people, whom after being enlightened have decided to do something about it. Robin Wright, Martin Sheen, Julianne Moore, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Sheryl Crow, Don Cheadle and Javier Bardem all support ‘The Enough Project’ which fights to end genocide and crimes against humanity. One of the projects they support is ‘RAISE Hope For Congo’, which ‘seeks to fundamentally change the equation for Congo by using The Enough Project’s robust field research, advocacy, and communications to bolster a broad grassroots movement that promotes lasting solutions. The initiatives work to educate and empower individuals to be a part of these solutions to the conflict.’

What can you do? It needs to be the responsibility of everyone, through the choices of brands you purchase now you are aware of the unspeakable atrocities. We must work together to bring about an end to the trade through conflict and demand for the responsible sourcing of minerals. 1) Pick up your phone and since you already have the culprit in your hand, use it and get the message out there to as many people as you can, tweet, IM, blog, talk, email and create as much awareness as possible. 2) Next time you want to replace your electrical items, think carefully about which brand you want to carry around with you, make sure it is working towards being conflict free. 3) Go to the websites below and support their activities. Ending and preventing sexual violence in eastern Congo will require political and financial commitments to reforming Congo's security, justice, and economic institutions and the more voices backing this reform the more likely it is to happen. Read more on

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