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DEC 26 – JAN 1 • ISSUE 250 • WEEKLY

Gadgets Galore

CHECK OUT THE LATEST SMART PHONES Cool Cans / Apps / Satchels / Girly Gadgets / Instant Pizza



10 News! Islamic Banking


Central Bank issues a new framework. The financial revolution begins in Oman. Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week



The What’s On Guide


Food & Drink Our Unbiased Reviews



Perfect Party Dressing







With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, The Palm Restaurant at The Park Inn by Radisson Muscat is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. Two lucky Y readers could be there enjoying lunch for two courtesy of the four-star hotel in our fantastic competition. Serving both international and Arabic cuisine in casual surroundings featuring an open kitchen and live cooking station, the buffet-style is perfect for informal dining. An after lunch stroll can double up as a shopping trip at the nearby Muscat Grand Mall, which is walking distance away. To win lunch for two, answer this simple question: What cuisine is served at The Palm Restaurant? Please send your Andis excestrunt, nusanis answer to by autem dolupta tessinus es et January 1, 2013. fugiam il everi ommos seCompetition rules apply. quodipsum quunt, siti andusci psamus, corrore rspienis ulpar



Welcome to the new look Y Tabloid- your indispensable guide to everything modern Oman has to offer.

Fast forward I

love this issue. And no, not because it’s new and brilliantly designed – although, there is that. No, I love this latest copy of Y because it tackles a topic that really matters – respecting the environment. Despite the Sultanate’s extensive ‘greening’ programme, there are still some serious environmental threats that need to be tackled, such as beach pollution and littering. Every year, 100,000 turtles around the world die because of the irresponsible way we dispose of our plastic bags. Scenic spots are blighted by rubbish and recycling campaigns go mostly ignored. It’s time to change. We investigate the challenges that lie ahead. Other issues on our radar this week include Islamic banking, new year celebrations and the teenage girls who made history by winning Oman’s first basketball medal. Plus, we discover what’s new in partywear and male pampering.


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Penny Fray

Team Y have been feeding stray dogs, mopping water logged flats and flash dancing in Carrefour (what else can you do when queuing fatigue strikes at a mobile phone counter?) We’ve also been pouncing on fashionistas and flexing our debit cards in the many, many malls of Muscat. Oh, and of course, we’ve been writing this edition of Y tabloid.

EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi



Thanks to a reader’s suggestion, Y is announcing a new initiative called Freecycle. The idea is that you recycle unwanted items from your home – from clothes to books. All you need to do is post what you want to give away with a picture on our Facebook page and we’ll print the best donation in the tabloid. Go on – get involved. It’s caring, cool and community spirited – just like Y tabloid!


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CONTRIBUTOR Kate Ginn, Joe Gill, Becs Morice, Chevron Mosquera

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Y Tabloid is published by SABCO Press, Publishing & Advertising LLC /Y is a SABCO media product. We’d love to hear your news and views. For editorial enquiries, please email

Write to us at Y Tabloid, SABCO Media, PO Box 3779, Ruwi 112, Sultanate of Oman.

contents DECember262012


Features 20 Green Is The New Black Tackling Litter 24 Girl Power Basketball Success

Your Oman 05 Voice of Oman Reader’s Letters 08 The Big Interview We Talk To Rabih Zein 10 News Discover What’s New In Islamic Banking

Food & Drink 28 Food Of Love Shakespeare And Co 29 Restaurant Review D’Arcy’s Kitchen 30 Nightlife O’Malleys 31 Gallery Women In Business


This Week 14 What’s on Guide ACalendar of Events 16 The Gallery Amouage Event 18 Movies Fab Films

12 Health & Beauty 32 Fashion New year frocks 34 Tried & Tested Male Grooming 35 Promotion Shop of the Week 36 Beauty Nail Art

24 Cars & Outdoors 37 Explore On the Buses 39 On Location Wadi Bani Awf 42 My Hood Qurum 44 Y-Fi Gadget Geeks


money makes oman go round tomorrow’s tycoons pop cakes lose weight for 2013 health gadgets travelling to wadi tanuf

The Voice of Oman Yummy-mummy-tobe Karima Farid talks about the trials and tribulations of buying maternity wear.

correspondence Oman – Destination Du Jour

(letter of the week) Dear Y, I was really interested to read your feature about Oman becoming a tourist hotspot. I travel quite a lot with my job and I’m always amazed that the country gets overlooked, especially since it has so much to offer – from beaches and safaris to dolphins and souks. Thank you for highlighting Oman’s potential to a global audience. Best Wishes. M Thomas

Dear Mr Thomas,


s I walked wearily from store to store, suffering rejection after rejection, I started to feel furious. Why wasn’t there any decent maternity wear where I lived? My body’s changing and before long I won’t be able to fit into any of my regular clothes. I need new outfits, but not any old smock, something stylish. Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience but it gets tough if you don’t plan ahead. Finding clothes to wear might seem like a simple task but not when you’re pregnant and living in Muscat. My advice? Shop online, go to Dubai, or start making your own outfits. There is no need to borrow your husband’s clothes, start shopping, you deserve it. I’ve already raided the e-shelves of Mamas and Papas, as well as Before you start your retail frenzy though, make room in your closet. Pile all your clothes on the bed and decide what to wear during the different stages of pregnancy. Where possible, try to buy adjustable clothes such as wrap dresses and easy to wear jerseys. The objective is simple, to be a yummy mummy. Good luck! Next week, meet our man about town Nadim Attieh.


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thank you for the wonderful feedback!

We hope that you visit Oman soon. – Team Y

Clever Cover Hi Team Y, Issue 249 has the best cover photo of Y yet - it was colourful and vibrant, showing the real excitement of going to a favourite holiday destination. There is no doubt about it, Oman became one of my favourite tourist spots because of its rare, natural beauty. It’s also really nice to know about Sheikh Sir Mubarak’s life in the book ‘Between Empires’. Another topic is the exciting new Y tabloid! All the best, Y Team. Arshi Sarfaraz



V Radisson


SEND US YOUR letters, photos, news and views to / @ ytabloid / ytabloid. Impress us and we’ll send the winning correspondent a RO 20 voucher to use at the Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat.


Debate of the Week We asked: What is your favourite holiday destination and why? Nadim Attieh Paris, France. Because of its richness (art, fashion, history, culture) and plenty of must-see places. From the Louvre to Euro Disney, the Eiffel Tower to the ChampsElysees and the little coffee shops (‘Cafe Trottoir’) - it’s all wonderful. Ronak Bhatt Manali, India. The snow-capped mountains, the gushing river, the beautiful colours and the ever-smiling people is what makes me visit that place again and again.





Joynab Akther Jeju Island, Korea. It’s a very nice and beautiful place, where you can relax. Moodi Al-Farai Brazil, South America. For the World Cup 2014. Jili Trivedi Hawaii, US. Because it’s so beautiful and makes for a very special holiday destination. Akansha Lakhyani Salalah, Oman. It’s filled with greenery and the weather is just awesome.

I'm a reader

This Week’s Debate: What is your new year’s resolution? Tell us on our Facebook page.

F h a y e B r a n a , w a i t r e s s a t t h e Tu r k i s h P e a r l R e s t a u r a n t i n S e e b .

Sherrin Finoj Dubai, UAE. Because I love it, it’s such an entertaining city.

New Y Hello Y, Well, here’s a fond farewell to the old Y and a big welcome to Wednesday’s new-look magazine! I’d like to send best wishes to the two young Omanis on their adventure to Antarctica. Between Empires enlightened us about the past and is a must-read for the younger generation. It’ll revive and enlighten their knowledge about old Oman. It is good to know that Oman is becoming a destination to visit. Oman has so much to offer as per the environment and nature. Best wishes, Vijayalakshmi R Shetty


“I’m really excited to see the new look of Y.”

Just send us your picture with the free Y tabloid or pose with our photographer and we will publish it on this page Send it to:

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250








INSTINCTS Rabih Zein, General Manager of The Park Inn by Radisson, Muscat.

What’s your 60-second biog? I’ve been in the tourism business for 20 years, twelve of them being in the hotel industry. I started in the sales department at the Radisson, eventually becoming global director of sales in Southern Europe before moving into operations as Director of Operations for the Radisson Hotel in Disneyland Paris. Working from the bottom up has helped me meet staff expectations, client expectations and owner expectations. It has also meant that I know the operation from A-Z – from how many minutes it takes to clean a room to how long it takes to check out. When did you move to Oman? I moved here a year and a half ago because I wanted to use my international hospitality experience to support our brand in the Middle East. I was born in Lebanon and my Arabic roots mean I can speak and write in Arabic. In our last edition, we reported that Oman was fast becoming the place to visit. Do you agree? Absolutely! The expansion of the airports and the building of the two ports, among other things, will give Oman a big push. Of course, it’ll attract a totally different target audience from Dubai because of its heritage, culture and wildlife. What have been the highlights and lowlights of your career? The highlight of my career was opening a business hotel in a leisure destination - especially in such a high-profile resort as Disneyland. In terms of lowlights, I have no regrets. I always take risks but they’re usually measurable ones. What advice can you share with those who are working in, or want to work in, the leisure industry? Listening to your guests is essential - If you don’t, you may think that what you’re doing is correct but you’re actually not fully connected. Every day I personally answer all guest feedback forms. I also gather information from those around me by walking and talking. It’s all about the details. The competition is too strong not to pay attention to detail. What are your ambitions? To get my team to love the business as much as I love the business - I really want to share my passion for the hospitality industry. Rabih’s Work Philosophy 1. Think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions to problems. 2. Be people orientated. Listen to others. 3. Be passionate but patient.


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Lebanese born Rabih lived and worked in France before moving to Muscat

The Park Inn by Radisson Muscat is positioned near the commercial district and shopping areas

Words: Penny Fray Photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki






The bank revolution

Central Bank issues framework for Islamic banking launch


new era for bank services has been ushered in by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) which has issued its long-awaited regulatory framework for Islamic banking in the country. The CBO has granted Bank Nizwa, one of the new dedicated Islamic banks, a licence to practice Islamic banking. A statement from the CBO said: “In pursuance to the Royal Decree 69/2012, which amended the Banking Law 2000, the Central Bank of Oman has issued the much-awaited Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework, otherwise known as IBRF. “The IBRF, running to 519 pages, is a detailed and comprehensive document covering all aspects of Islamic banking.” The CBO said that, under Royal Decree, Bank Nizwa would be able to start offering Islamic banking services from last Sunday (23).

Other banks will soon be following suit. A spokesman for Ahli Bank confirmed that its licence to commence services should be granted within days. Sarwar Lodhi, head of product development for Islamic banking at Ahli Bank, confirmed that it was was ready to begin offering Sharia-compliant banking to customers. “We will be offering Islamic banking services through dedicated branches. It will be totally segregated from our conventional banking service, with different books of account and segregated service delivery. It will be operating like a bank within a bank, with no mixing of funds.” Ahli is one of the existing commercial banks, which include Bank Muscat, NBO, HSBC Bank of Oman, Bank Dhofar and Bank

Sohar, offering Islamic banking alongside their conventional banking service. An executive from NBO said it would be offering Islamic banking in the new year. “All the systems are in place and all the training has been conducted. We have been ready for some time and we are now just anxious to start. We are very excited.” They will be competing with the new dedicated Islamic banks, Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank.


DRIVING Download the free Shell Motorist mobile app for a whole new driving experience Manage your journey from the palm of your hand with a Route Planner, Shell Station Finder and Car Care alerts. Download the Shell Motorist App for your iPhone or Android device from, Google Play store, Apple App Store or scan the relevant QR code below.


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Hotel is making Waves Kempinski will bring five star luxury With a shaded courtyard and lush green gardens, the new Kempinski Hotel will bring a touch of class and world famous facilities to The Wave. Work on the Kempinski, which will be the first hotel at the lifestyle development in Muscat, is due to begin in the first quarter of next year with a completion date of 2015, it has been announced. Kempinski, The Wave, will offer 309 hotel keys and 77 hotel apartments overlooking the beachfront. The fivestar complex, built to a maximum height of six storeys, will also feature swimming pools, spa, beach club facilities, a gym, bowling facility and a kid’s club. Guests will be able to enjoy access to Almouj Marina and Almouj Golf.

It has also been revealed that The Omani Hospitality Company has been chosen to develop the project. Michael Lenarduzzi, CEO of The Wave, and Abeer Mohamed Al Abduwani, board member of the Omani Hospitality Company, signed the sale and development agreement.. Three further hotels will be built at The Wave, including two five-star hotels, the Fairmont and a Marina Boutique hotel, and the upmarket four-star Village Plaza Hotel. Kempinski Hotels are already located throughout the Middle East, including the UAE, Qatar and Jordan.

Cameron flies in for jet fighter deal

Street Art adds urban edge to mall Graffiti art direct from the streets brought a distinctly urban feel to the opening of Muscat Grand Mall’s new terrace garden. Professional graffiti artists showed off their skills with paint and spray cans to make their mark on the walls of MGM Podium rooftop garden. Adults, children and aspiring artists were shown


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useful techniques and tricks of the trade before having the chance to create their own street art masterpieces. More than 200 people enjoyed the winter weather to take part in the open Street Art event. As well as showcasing this dynamic and often misunderstood art form, visitors were also treated to music and freestyle dancing.

PappaRoti café provided the refreshments and Jotun supplied the paint. Gloria Jean’s Café, which launched its second outlet in Oman at Muscat Grand Mall earlier this year, was also present at the event. Muscat Grand Mall, Oman’s newest shopping destination, has more than 100 stores, a three-screen cinema, luxury residences and office space.

The Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, made a whistle-stop tour to Oman on Friday and signed a landmark deal between the two countries. During the visit, Mr Cameron also met His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos Al Said for talks. The multi-million OR deal will see a UK company, BAE Systems, supply 12 Typhoon fighter jets and eight Hawk aircrafts to the Royal Air Force of Oman. Typhoon aircrafts are multipurpose fighter jets equipped with the latest technology. “The Typhoon fighter jet performed outstandingly in Libya, and so it’s no surprise that Oman wants to add this aircraft to their fleet,” said Mr Cameron, before arriving in Oman. This was Mr Cameron’s second visit to Oman since he took office in May 2010.

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Looking back and moving forward

Hello 2013! As the year draws to a close and we prepare to wave goodbye to 2012, now is a good time to pause and reflect on the past 12 months. It has been quite a year for Oman; from the high points, the 42nd National Day celebrations on November 18, when the country joined hands as one, to the low points of car accidents and litter. We saw the Royal Opera House and the Grand Mosque plunge

into darkness when they switched off their lights to mark Earth Hour, a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of climate change; the fifth World Beach Handball Championships in Mussanah; Municipal Council elections; the UK indie rock band Snow Patrol playing their debut concert in Oman at the InterContinental Hotel gardens in Muscat in March; the opening of the

It has been quite a year for Oman; from the high points, the 42nd National Day celebrations. to the low points,the arrests of activists and bloggers

new parliament building, Majlis Oman, in Al Bustan, and the legendary Harlem Globetrotters basketball team come to town. Let’s not forget the triumph of the Oman Girls U16 Basketball team, who made history this month by winning the country’s first ever medal in the sport (see a feature on pg24 in this issue of Y). We all have our own personal highlights to look back on and put into perspective as the year slips away and we look forward to new beginnings. Get ready to welcome in 2013 and what promises to be another eventful year for Oman.

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• A rigorous 111 point inspection in accordance with Porsche standards to assure you that your Porsche is prepared to the highest level. • Comprehensive 12 month Porsche Approved Warranty. • A warranty extendable up to a total of nine years. • Trade in your existing Porsche vehicle. Contact or visit Porsche Centre Oman to explore the full extent of the exclusive Porsche Approved Pre-owned Car Programme or visit our website:

Porsche Centre Oman SATA LLC Muscat, Telephone 2449 2544

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


T H E W H AT ’ S O N G U I D E Thursday

Tchaikovsky’s timeless tale about family and the magic of Christmas arrives at The Royal Opera House Muscat from December 26 – 28. Expect one of Russia’s most talented ballet companies to bring the fantastic fairytale to life with amazing choreography, stunning costumes and a sprinkling of fun. This must-see holiday extravaganza has been performed by the well-known Moscow Classical Ballet in more than 30 countries. For more information, please go to

Sea Festival Whether we sail, swim or simply relax on the beach, we’re tied to the sea, which is why we’re super excited about Oman’s Sea Festival. The event aims to promote the village as a tourist

destination, and also hopes to encourage people to try the marine sports the area has to offer. Afterwards, an evening celebration offers everything from competitions to beach games. Expect oodles of fun.

What to do. What to see. What to hear.




D E C E M B E R ART ATTACK WHAT: 20th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition WHERE: Omani Society for Fine Arts Gallery, next to the Ramada Hotel WHEN: Until December 31st MORE INFO:

NewYear’s Eve Celebrations Ring in the new year with a bang and lots of bling at the Glamour 1 Dinner Dance at the Sur Plaza Hotel. Alternatively, paint the town Blu at Radisson Blu Muscat, where there will be a buffet, unlimited bubbly and a DJ. Let the celebrating commence.

Alicia Keys’ new album is out this week 014


Nutty About The Nutcracker




DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


T H E W H AT ’ S O N G U I D E



SATURDAY Picture by wikipedia



Go! Follow the historical journey of frankincense at Wadi Dawkah in Dhofar. This aromatic tree resin was once more valuable than gold because of its scarcity.

Buy, Buy, Buy A Consumer Fair will take place at the Oman International Exhibition Centre in Sohar, from December 29 – January 4.



Just Press


Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire is out this week. Five albums on and she still rocks.

the importance of grip, alignment and posture. Everyone is welcome but advanced booking is necessary. For more information or advice please email

GET ME A MERC WHAT: Win a Mercedes Benz C200

Avantgarde with AMG Sports Package WHERE: Sabco Centre WHEN: Until December 31st MORE INFO:

Fast Forward

WGO’s Annual Croquet Morning It may have been the pastime du jour in 19th century England, but croquet is fast making a comeback thanks to its old-world quaintness. Get involved in the WGO’s annual croquet morning at the British Ambassador’s residence on January 22, from 9am to noon. Tickets cost RO5 at the WGOs Wednesday coffee mornings. Car share recommended.



Give golf a go with Muscat Hills’ free lessons. PGA professional Alex Day will be delivering practical advice and instruction to budding golfers every Wednesday at 5.30pm. Learn the basics of the game as well as


Are you an aspiring Tiger?


Must Read The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, RO4, Amazon. Insightful, bold, irreverent and raw, this new paperback by award-winning author John Green is his most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet. It brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250



New Restaurant


Jazz player at Amouage party


(Left to Right) David Crickmore, CEO of Amouage. HH Sayyid Kamil Al Said and the SABCO Group chairman Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi.

Amouage marks 30th year with the launch of a new factory and visitor’s centre in Muscat. Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

Launch light show at the Amouage factory

Sayyid Aymen Al Busaidi

HH Sayyid Kamil Al Said

David Crickmore CEO of Amouage


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Guests enjoing the evening party at Amouage factory

Amouage perfumes on show at the factory

Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi


MOVIES MOVIES MOVIES THIS WEEK’S MOVIES For more information and times, go to: City Cinema: Al Bahja Cinema: Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641

The Reef 2: High Tide

Hunter Killer Brave heart Gerard Butler takes on the action packed role of a submarine captain who rescues the Russian president from the clutches of a rogue general. Gripping stuff.

Storage 24 Pi may be a small fish but he has a mighty heart. He bravely defends any predator who threatens his friends on the reef - but when a shoal of sharks declare the imminent destruction of his home, will he find the strength to carry on?

Life of Pi Anyone who loved the Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi, will enjoy this film adaptation directed by Ang Lee. It tells the tale of Pi Patel who is left adrift at sea with a tiger after a freak accident. The 3D effects are stunning and the script certainly succeeds in capturing the spirit of author Yann Martel’s written word.

Y’s TOP TWO The Hobbit 1

We’ve yet to meet any ‘kidult’ who has hated this much-publicised blockbuster. It follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his attempt to help a group of dwarves reclaim the Lonely Mountain from a dragon called Smaug.

PREVIEW Les Misérables The historic novel turned smash hit musical comes to a big screen near you in early January. Telling the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean’s struggle for redemption, expect a real tearjerker.

Jack Reacher

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


A murder investigator takes a closer look into the case involving a trained military sniper who kills five random people.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK Dabaang2 / Gangster Squad / American Mary 018

London is on lockdown after a military plane crash - but there’s always someone who hasn’t headed the warning. The result? A group of people get trapped in a storage facility with one super scary guest.


It’s the dawn of a new musical era right here in Oman. Merge 104.8 is a celebration of cultures and a true reflection of diversity. Providing you with the best R’n’B, House, Rock, Lounge, 90s, and Pop music from around the world. Served with fresh local flavour.

Think You probably think this is anywhere but Oman

again Ahead of Oman Environment Day on January 8, Y looks at how the voluntary sector, government and the tourism industry are facing up to the destruction caused by litter.


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TOP Litter: a blight on Oman’s beautiful landscape.

Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

on popular public beaches near its facilities as part of its environmental outreach. One group that has had a dramatic impact in the past year is Clean Up Oman. Founded in late 2011 by photographer and writer Nasser al Kindi, the rapidly growing volunteer organisation is leading the crusade against litter – both on the ground and in the hearts and minds of Omanis. The group’s clean-ups take place in schools, businesses and mosques, while Clean Up Oman Day takes place on the last Thursday in March. The group’s awareness campaigns are focused on penetrating colleges and universities in particular. Al Kindi explains: “We recognise this demographic segment as the best target for four key reasons: they have a better aptitude for change and doing good; they make up the majority of people in the country and are easy to reach within the parameters of educational institutions; they respond well to social media and digital communication tools; and they are an excellent reservoir of volunteers and new ideas.” Roya al Lamki, who is one of its 2000-plus members, was heavily involved in the organisation of the

Words by: Joe Gill


limb up the dunes at Bowshar where 4x4 drivers and quad bikers are free to roam offroad, head over to The Wave for a relaxed family day on the beach or go to a wadi to enjoy nature and the magnificent outdoors of Oman. Now picture a marine turtle choking, suffering a slow agonising death caused by eating one of the countless plastic bags that are dropped on Oman’s beaches. Imagine a camel with a distended stomach, swollen from rocks of calcified plastic, leading to death by starvation. Look again at the wadi, but this time see the litter - piles of plastic bottles, food wrappers and cigarette ends strewn around, scarring the beauty. These images are not part of some alarmist fantasy that’s been dreamt up to cause panic. This is the reality in Oman today. A modern plague called litter is threatening the environment, wildlife and the scenery of the country - and it’s people who are to blame for the ruination. “The main issue, the problem, is the irresponsibility of people, who do not appreciate that their actions contribute to the litter issue,” says Omar bin Salim al Riyami, of the Environmental Society of Oman. The sad fact is, every person in Oman produces on average 700g of municipal solid waste per day, according to Dr Hameed Sulaiman, the assistant professor of the department of biology at Sultan Qaboos University’s College of Science. An average of three per cent of plastic bags in the world end up in the sea, where turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them. “Imagine, 100,000 of these creatures die each year (around the world) because of our behaviour,” says al Riyami. “We have five out of the seven species of marine turtles inhabiting our waters, 18 species of whales and dolphins – a quarter of the species in the world.” If the panda and the tiger were used by campaigners to galvanise action to save endangered species, and the polar bear to

increase awareness about the risks of Arctic melting, then the marine turtle could become the symbol for the horrific consequences of litter in Oman’s nature spots. Sadly, for many people this scourge of plastic waste is just a normal part of the landscape. What is new is the determination of a handful of organisations and individuals who have decided that enough is enough, and are dedicating their time and energy to helping the country clean up its act. Al Riyami, volunteerism and membership manager for the Omani NGO, is a firm believer in the killer statistic as motivation for changing people’s behaviour. “We are not providing enough information, we need to give people shocking facts. “ESO tries to give people ownership and stewardship of the environment they are living in because it belongs to them and to future generations.” On January 8, Omani Environmental Day kick starts a year in which the voluntary sector, the government and business will co-ordinate green campaigns and actions to bring about change: A green call to arms in the environmental war. The Oman Green Awards are presented each year to companies and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to environmental sustainability. The Ministries of Environment, the Ministry of Health and Muscat Municipality take part in the awards, with corporate partners including Oman Oil, Octal and Muriya. Meanwhile, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has placed litter bins and signs

4 Hip Ways To Go Green

Want to help the environment but don’t fancy going vegan or wearing a sackcloth? Penny Fray considers these options: 1 Ditch the plastic bag in favour of organic cotton carriers that you can use again and again. There are some really cool ones out there by designers like Cath Kidston and Vivienne Westwood. Keep them in the boot of the car, so you don’t forget them when you go shopping. 2 Buy foods that are produced locally when possible. Think about the energy used in shipping and consider supporting local industry. 3 We know you love a bit of bling – but have you ever considered the implications of demanding diamonds? Watch The Blood Diamond starring green film god Leonardo diCaprio.

4 Save money and the earth by checking your home energy consumption with a display device that measures personal energy use. Do you really need that air con on 24/7?

recent Littered Landscapes photographic exhibition, hosted by PDO’s dedicated EcOman Centre, along with The British School Muscat. “It started with a sustainability conference in March, and following that, teachers and other members of Clean Up Oman got together and came up with ideas for what they wanted to do.” She continues: “I wanted to increase awareness among Omani youth, so I organised it for CUO in the government schools. We got the support of the Ministry of Information, and through them the Ministry of Education helped take it into the Omani schools. “We only had two weeks, but the response from secondary school pupils was very good.” Al Lamki has a seasoned campaigner’s view on how to start changing people’s attitude to the environment. “We have to be careful how we address the public. When we do our cleanups and we talk to people on the beach, we are very polite. But from our experience, we have found the attitude to be: ‘Well, why should we? The government employs the workers, the Indians,


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who are getting paid for it, so if we do it they will lose their jobs’ or ‘It’s not my problem there was already rubbish here.’ Rubbish accumulates rubbish and this is a problem.” Al Kindi says: “The government is doing its part; it is now the turn of the public who love this country and want to put a stop to behaviours affecting it adversely.” However he does believe the government needs to impose taxes on the raw materials for plastic bags and plastic bottles, as well as beverage cans and tetra packs. “We estimate that more than 12 million plastic bags are provided freely to consumers in Muscat every month. It is unfair to make people pay for bags when hypermarkets and producers get them really cheaply. We need to make it more costly for hypermarkets to buy plastic bags, and in turn they will reduce their provision of bags to consumers.” Another problem raised often is that litter fines are not imposed. “Actually, in the legislation of Oman, it is prohibited to throw garbage, and there is a fine for doing so. But the implementation of this has not taken place in a proper way,” says al Riyami.

“People think there are these guys who work for the municipality who will pick up this stuff, and sadly they are conveying this attitude to their kids, the next generation.” In Oman’s international schools, at least the need to create a new green generation is well under way. “Environmental awareness comes up across the curriculum in just about everything we do,” explains Tamsin Turner, humanities and sustainability co-ordinator at the British School Muscat. “Five years back, we started green teams and eco-warriors using the UK Eco Schools Programme [which] awards status levels to participating schools from bronze, silver and the top green flag. They made us the first green flag school in the Middle East.” Eco Warriors are involved in all kinds of after-school activities, such as building nesting boxes for birds, sustainable planting and recycling. “Green teams are for children in the first year to sixth form – they are elected by their class to do presentations. They have a bigger remit than Eco Warriors to organise clean-ups and collect ring pulls, which are then sent to Thailand to make essential components for prosthetic limbs.” Out of such programmes Turner saw the need to co-

fact box Estimated number of

1 marine mammals and

turtles dying each year globally due to plastic litter: 50,000-100,000 (various studies) Average quantity of

2 debris items on Oman

shoreline: 1.79 per metre (study 2002) Percentage of total

3 marine debris that is

plastic: 60-80% (Derraik 2002)

Percentage of marine

4 debris from land-

based sources: 80% (Greenpeace) 50% of camel deaths in

5 the UAE caused by

ingesting plastic bags: (UAE Ministry of Environment and Water)

1.79 per metre Average quantity of debris items on Oman shoreline: (study 2002)

ordinate with other schools, and began working with Jenny Harris of the Royal Flight School and Roya al Lamki from Clean Up Oman. A meeting of 40 teachers in March then decided to run a photography competition, which became Littered Landscapes. Green teams have had some rewarding interactions with Omanis during their clean-ups, says Turner. “Take Barka. A few years ago it was absolutely appalling, then last year we actually persuaded the fishermen to get involved and in the end they promised to clean it up. When we came back the next year it was noticeably cleaner than the previous year. We had 125 people on the beach. People have got to see there is a cost to it. When you see a plastic bag caught in a turtle’s throat, then you really see the impact of it.” Turner is aware of the need to reach beyond the international schools and activist community into mainstream Omani society. “Quite often we are preaching to the converted when we need to be reaching out. [Clean Up Oman’s] Roya al Lamki is planning to take Littered

Landscapes to the Oman Festival, and this should have a real impact.” Al Lamki sees hope in the way attitudes to the environment in other countries have changed dramatically in recent years, partly through tough controls and also through growing environmental awareness. “Your view as a campaigner is first to spread awareness, then the government will act. That’s how it works in America. There are quite a few states that banned plastic completely.” According to a poll conducted by US advertising agency the Shelton Group in March, getting caught throwing your trash out of the car window is more socially unacceptable than being a tax cheat and only six per cent less embarrassing than being caught drink-driving. Shelton points to research showing that once 20 per cent of the population adopts a behaviour, it reaches a tipping point and becomes mainstream. This is the kind of behavioural revolution that Oman’s green campaigners want to see. Al Kindi has a vision of the way this can be achieved. “We hope that with the time and effort

“We estimate that more than 12 million plastic bags are provided freely to consumers in Muscat every month.” we and others, such as Clean Up Oman and the Ministry of Environment, are putting in, people’s attitudes will change soon. There are three ways to do this: let people see on the ground what they have done to their environment; provide information and use dramatic and shocking facts to motivate people; and work with government bodies to change regulations on plastic bags and littering to reduce the amount of both.” HH Sayyid Taimur Bin Shabib Al-Said is on the frontline of this battle with the throwaway culture, first because he cares deeply about preserving Oman’s natural heritage, but also because the award-winning ecotourism business Hud Hud Travels, that he works for, depends on it. “With our business, we are always clearing up a beach so our clients aren’t walking on bottles. It takes a full day to set up. We fill up 10 bin liners and take it back with us. Three weeks ago we went to Khaluf and there was a whole beach full of campers.” He describes the site as something out of a Mad Max movie. “There are a lot of decomposing trucks, a lot of rubbish.” It took ten of them half an hour with a

total of 16 bin liners to make the beach spotless. The problem is such that people do not even realise there is a problem. “I even see it with some of my Omani friends,” says Sayyid Taimur. “I went camping with some friends, and I saw one of them throw a can right next to where we were camping. I asked: What are you doing?’ And he replied: ‘What do you mean?’ He didn’t even know what I was talking about.” Al Kindi sees a stark race ahead between a new generation of activists and a rising tide of rubbish. “More and more people are becoming aware of the problem, but those who dump litter continue to do so at a frightening rate. The cheap acquisition of plastic bags, plastic bottles, cans and phone cards in particular is the greatest environmental challenge facing Oman at the moment, coupled with used up fishing nets being dumped in the sea.” It is a battle that Clean Up Oman and the thousands of people who support their work are determined to win.


Ingesting just 10 cigarette butts can kill a small turtle from toxin poison or starvation A plastic bottle or take-away coffee lid that has 20 minutes of use can spend years killing countless turtles. An animal killed by swallowing plastic will decompose long before the plastic does, leaving the plastic free to kill over and over again. The amount of turtles found dead with debris in their gut is 50-80% (Greenpeace)

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hot shot: marwa ibrahim janki al ajmi displays her skills


Queens of the basketball court win Oman’s first medal and show the boys how it’s done Photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki

U Marwa in action. Pic by Fatma Ibrahim Janki al Ajmi

Words: Kate Ginn


DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

NDER the gaze of a roaring crowd, the tiny figure of a basketball player executes a perfect V-cut before racing away to leap and score a goal. Turning to accept the congratulations of her teammates, Marwa Ibrahim Janki al Ajmi is all fired up and ready to go into battle on court again - without even pausing to catch her breath. It is a surprise, then, to discover that off court the No.12 is a small, slight and shy 13-year-old schoolgirl who loves Justin Bieber and playing the Oud, and looks ill-equipped to cope with the physicality of the sport. On court, however, it’s a different matter. Wearing basketball shorts and a vest top, with the Hijab removed, the transformation is extraordinary, as she tussles for the ball and jostles for position with the type of steely determination usually reserved for older boys. Little wonder she was an integral part of the Oman Girl’s U16 Basketball team, who made history last week after winning a bronze medal in the inaugural GCC Girls Basketball Championship - the first medal ever won by an Omani team in the sport. In full flow, Marwa is quite a sight, dribbling and weaving with the ball seemingly glued to her fingertips. Her decision to play without a headscarf is purely a sporting one: it allows her more

Y caught up with five of Marwa’s teammates: Leena al Zadjali, 16, Razan Al Zadjali, 14, (Jacqueline) Daisy Richmond, 15, Sahar Nasser Ali al Harthy, 14, and Aaliyah Nasser al Mabsali, 16, who told us why they like to play basketball: Leena: “It makes me feel like I have attitude. It releases my anger. When I don’t play basketball, I have real anger issues.” Attends The Sultan’s School

Razan: “It’s quite a tactical game. You have to be smart.” Attends International School of Oman

Daisy: “It’s a good way to push yourself and set goals for yourself.”

(Only joined the team late November, two weeks before the GCC tournament). Attends British School Muscat

Sahar: “It’s just really cool.”

Attends Fitha Al-Mirafa School

Aaliyah: “My mum used to play a lot of basketball and she got me started on it. I just really got into it.”

Attends The Sultan’s School/Knowledge Gate International School

freedom of movement. “I feel more free to play,” explains Marwa. “When I’m playing, the power from within me comes out. I enjoy it so much.” Her mother, she admits, was a little concerned at first about the decision to play with uncovered hair, as were her brothers although her father was very supportive - and they weren’t particularly taken with the idea of her playing basketball at all, a sport yet to make huge inroads into Oman’s public sporting consciousness. However, they’ve come round to the idea of having a little pocket-sized basketball dynamo in their midst; Marwa has a basketball hoop at the family home in al Khoud, Muscat, and before that used a cardboard box propped up high as a makeshift target for shooting practice. Her achievement is even more remarkable given that she only started playing the sport six months ago, and had to be persuaded to join the girls national team. Now her coach, Abu Bakar al Jahwari, describes her as a naturally gifted playmaker

and “the best defender in the team, great at one-on-one situations’. Despite her slight stature, she doesn’t hold back when it comes to getting stuck into the rough and tumble of a contact sport, where bumps and bruises are the norm. Thankfully, there have been no serious injuries to worry her mother at home. The GCC event in Doha, which ended on December 16, was only the second tournament for the talented U16 Oman Girls’ team, who train indoors at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. Their coach who had only ever worked with boys before, admits it was a steep learning curve for him and his young female charges. “It was a bit difficult at first being a male coach, we’re in a culture where I cannot touch the girls when I’m trying to show them moves or how to hold or position parts of their body to play,” says al Jahwari. “So, I had to get used to different teaching techniques and focusing on jumping and speed. “Most of the girls didn’t know anything about basketball, not even the rules, so we had to start at the beginning.” It was not without a few dramas. “They weren’t used to coaching sessions, so if their mobile rang they would run off the court to answer it. “I was tough and strict until they knew the rules. At the beginning, they were pampered and when I shouted at them, they would start crying and would say ‘coach hates us’, but I told them ‘when I shout, I’m not shouting at you, I’m advising you, just listen to my voice and what I’m telling you. “After they learned the rules, we had fun. Now they say to me that they don’t want any other coach.” Teething problems aside, the girls quickly won their coach over with their work ethic. “I was amazed at how disciplined they were and how hard they worked - much harder than the boys,” he says. He admits to being in tears when the girls’ third place was confirmed after a nail-biting finish that saw Qatar beat Kuwait in the final game of the tournament after Oman had beaten Kuwait by just two points, holding off a last charge with eight seconds to go. “The girls watched the last game but I was nervous, I waited outside,” says al Jahwari. “When we won I just couldn’t believe it. I thanked the girls and told them that, at last, the dream I had of winning a medal had been achieved by us, that Oman had made history. “I started crying and when the girls saw I was emotional, they started crying. We were all crying together. “They have put us (Oman) on the map in the basketball world.” On arrival back in Oman, HH Sayyida Sana Bint Hamid Saud Al-Busaidi, Women’s Sports Committee chairman, who has been a constant presence offering support, greeted the triumphant team. As for Marwa, it’s time to concentrate on end-of-term school exams – she wants to be a doctor – but she has no plans to give up the sport she loves (she’s also keen on tennis and football) and is already looking forward to the next tournament in March. “We are all very proud of her,” says her big sister Fatma. As for Marwa’s mum, while she’s now one of her biggest fans, she still can’t quite overcome her nerves and watch her youngest daughter in action on a basketball court. DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


food and drink


New Restaurant


Hooray! Doughnuts are making a return to the snack stage. But forget about those ghastly synthetic, sugary rings you sometimes get in the supermarket. We’re talking about freshly made, deep fried delights in upmarket flavours such as crème brûlée and salted toffee. Make them yourself for extra kudos.

Did you know?

Bedouin tribes who eat a high percentage of dates in their diet have one of the lowest rates of cancer.

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


food and drink


R e v i e w s New Restaurant

The Food of Love With its faux antique interiors and diverse menu, Shakespeare and Co is fast becoming one of Oman’s hippest restaurants, says Penny Fray.


orget about beige booths and plain walls – the coolest places to eat right now ooze eccentricity and eclecticism. From cows preserved in formaldehyde to kitsch Russian living rooms, the crazier the concept the better. So imagine our excitement when we heard that a new Shakespearean restaurant was opening in The Wave. An eating place named after the English bard may conjure up images of Elizabethan extravagance and scenes straight from Romeo and Juliet - but Shakespeare and Co’s sophisticated dining rooms look distinctly 18th century. Not that it really matters. With its opulent decor, and familiar European menu, it sits somewhere between Marie Antoinette’s parlour and a Parisian cake shop. The mishmash of candy coloured chairs, faux antique portraits and extravagant chandeliers creates a kooky vibe. Of course, the concept isn’t completely new. Launched in Dubai back in 2001, there are now 14 similar outlets throughout the UAE, but this is the first Shakespeare and Co to open in Oman. “I think our unique selling point is the decor as well as the wide variety Now good of food we serve,” digestion wait explains head chef Samer on appetite and Othman.” The menu is indeed health on both. mixed - offering everything from crêpes William and salads to burgers Shakespeare and pasta. “My personal stand out dish though is the classic chicken with mushrooms and mash,” he adds. The restaurant, while open, is still in its infancy and some aspects of the menu are currently unavailable. But we can’t wait to sample their famous hand made pastries, chocolates, croissants and cakes. In the meantime, we’ll settle for their very impressive list of flowering teas. We particularly like the sound of a pot of Jasmine Fairies while reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 028

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

New Restaurant

REVIEWS Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki


D’Arcy’s Kitchen

An award-winning establishment that sets you up for a beach walk, says Karl Baz


ess than a minute away – was delicious, though we would have from the beach, this quaint preferred it a bit hotter. The sides of little cafe offers decent beans, toast, sausage and so forth were food and excellent service. all standard fare, and could have used D’Arcy’s is open all day, but you’d be a bit more heat as well – the toast in wise to make the most out of its seaside particular didn’t taste fresh, so we left location by wandering down early most of it on the table.The French to enjoy a relaxing breakfast and the toast however was spot-on, and with cooling sea breeze. a sprinkle of sugar was just the right The waitresses at D’Arcy’s wear balance of sweet and crunchy. It adorable outfits that – while not did come late to the table, but that critical to the overall mood – add a meant it came right out of the pan, bit of charm to the entire experience. which is always worth the wait. Our party ordered a full The real treat however was English breakfast and some the location; sitting outside at VERDICT: French toast, and while D’Arcy’s and enjoying the there was a bit of confusion 10 morning breeze and the with the orders it was quite faint smell of sea, and taking Great location for a hearty understandable considering a stroll along the beach breakfast the overwhelming breakfast after breakfast – all of this is crowd that this place attracts. why we moved to Oman in the The omelette – stuffed with onions, first place, and why we’ll be here for mushrooms, cheese and other goodies a very long time.


Info Box

Contact number: 2460 0234 Address: Shatti al-Qurum Opening hours: 8.30am-10pm Average price (for two people): RO 10

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


O’Malley’s This spacious Irish pub in Radisson Blu - right where the cellar used to be - serves up frosty drinks and hearty food in a lively setting, says Karl Baz.


e arrive early to O’Malley’s, just a few minutes before the evening opening hours. Despite that, we were welcomed warmly by a Dutch lady who kept us company for a few minutes then let us in, made sure we were taken care of and then left to attend to her duties. And that was the standard of service throughout the whole evening – the O’Malley’s bar staff were warm and


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Trend helpful, and truly made the place worth the visit. The atmosphere was just as friendly, and while we were the first to walk in, in just a couple of hours the place had turned into a gathering of football fans watching the game, and sharing a laugh, even though it was the middle of the week. The patrons were a lively bunch, and many were very approachable. Once the football match started, the place divided itself nicely between the two teams, and we were able to quickly pick a camp and make new allies. We were slightly disappointed by the food, though. It wasn’t bad as such, but when we looked at the price of the bangers and mash we expected something special. But we instead got some soft bangers in so-so gravy and (admittedly) fantastic VERDICT: mash. We also got a club 10 sandwich which was large, Friendly and fun tasty and filling, but we but the food was weren’t blown away by the average. side of fries. We’ll be back when the food is as good as the football and atmosphere. And we hope that will be soon.


New Restaurant

REVIEWS Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

food and drink

Info Box

Contact number: 2448 7777 Address: Radisson Blu Hotel, Al Khuwair Opening hours: noon – 3pm, 6pm – 2am Average price (for two people with drink): RO 25


New Restaurant



The launch of the first Gulf Business Women Forum at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

HH Sayyida Dr. Muna bint Fahd Al Said H.E. Khalil Abdullah al Khonji The Charman of Oman Chamber of Commerce

Musicians playing their instruments

Sayyida Basma Al Said, HH Sayyida Taghreed al Said, HH Sayyida Muna Al Said and H.E. Khalid al Khonji

Wque An amazing nis dolorep performance raturibus event eatque volum est accu cscptatem

Otam imporerunt qv amGuests fugiassenjoy refreshments Eped molessi sunt et

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250







When it comes to New Year’s Eve fashion, light up the night with sequins and statement accessories. Don’t be afraid to experiment with clashing textures, prints and colours.

Model wears jumper RO21, skirt RO21 and necklace RO6 from (free international shipping)


DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

PARTY PERFECT Stand out from the crowd this new year with a selection of fabulous frocks and statement accessories. By Penny Fray

Vasco Trophy jacket, RO61 from Monsoon, Muscat City Centre


n an ideal world you’d be the ever-elegant guest. Gorgeous and groomed, you’d never freak out about last-minute invitations. There would be no closet meltdowns or fat days. You’d simply slash on some eye kohl and slip into an elegant black dress, perfecting the socialite’s élan. Alas! Reality is never a kind companion. That’s why Hazar Al-Zadjali, owner of Boutique Muscat in Shatti Al Qurum, is happy to navigate us through the sartorial maze of glitzy events, including ringing in the new year. “Embrace this season’s obsession with sparkle,” she says. “Embellishment is so trendy right now. Sequins may have been around since 2011, but most designers, still use them. Embroidery, however, is set to be very popular in 2013. Maxi dresses and skirts are also making a come back.” When it comes to accessories, the high street is currently awash with statement jewellery. We love Monsoon’s sparkly pieces, and the souks are definitely worth a visit if you’re after a slice of style that you can see from space. If, however, you don’t fancy looking like a human glitter ball there’s always an option to toughen up a black evening dress with studs as seen in the Maison Rana collection at Boutique Muscat. We seriously heart.

set clo wns o n tdo rs mel el wea ress Mod Rana d e on tiqu Mais m Bou rice fro cat. P Mus ilable on ava uest. req

Bur Bracelet, RO8, Monsoon, Muscat City Centre

Black Sequin Mask, RO2, Accessorize in Qurum City Centre

Sequin Dress, RO62, Next in Qurum City Centre

Black Monaco Clutch, RO34, from Accessorize in Qurum City Centre

Platform Shoes, RO23, Next, Muscat City Centre

Hazar Al-Zadjali’s


1 Many designers have launched collections that mix different textures, colours and cuts together. If in doubt, though, keep it simple. 2 Choose an outfit that suits the event, as well as your shape and age. 3 Confidence and comfort are important. It’s difficult to enjoy yourself if you are not completely at ease with yourself.

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The radio presenter gets head to toe treatment in a barbershop



Chris Fisher discovers the best a bearded man can get at Blade – a pioneering barbershop in Bowshar


quick wash with soap and water followed by a splash of heavy cologne may have sufficed in your dad’s day, but today minimal grooming is no longer considered acceptable. The age of the metrosexual is upon us and with that comes lotions, potions and spa days aplenty. For my pre-holiday pampering session, I headed to Blade, a pretty sophisticated barbershop with an allencompassing menu of treatments and services. It was a modern and masculine one-shop stop in Bowshar, offering pretty good value for money. Prices started at just RO2 for a traditional


DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250



STREET STYLE Name: Muhanad Al-Jawati Age: 17 Occupation: Student Wearing: Bench T-shirt, Splash jeans and a bracelet from Saudi Arabia.

shave and went not to detract from up to RO35 for a the proficiency of 90 minute facial. the service. I just My three-hour to need to “A lot of toxins were happen session started know what’s going on with a Swiss removed from my around me. facial, followed My favourite by a foot spa and face - although the treatment, however, shave. The aim the foot spa. mask is a tight fit, was of the treatment It took 45 minutes was to eliminate so claustrophobics of scrubbing and congestion and softening but my need not apply.” feet felt like they skin impurities with a deep were walking on air cleansing system afterwards. It was and mask. absolute bliss. A lot of toxins were removed To finish off my evening of from my face - although the mask indulgence, I had a traditional is a tight fit, so claustrophobics trim and shave. The whole process need not apply. Then again, that’s was done with the skill and flair

Spotted at: Shatti Al Qurum you’d expect from this kind of establishment. The barber even lit up his instruments for added drama, which I loved. On the whole, I was more than impressed by the standard of service offered here. Everything seemed pristine and professional, and they even went the extra mile by providing a constant stream of coffee – that alone, in my book, deserves extra points.

Info Box

Blade Contact number: +968 93111193 Address: 18th November St. Azaiba, Bowshar, Muscat

p r o m o t i o n

Swarovski The party season is in full swing. It’s time to show off your most glamorous outfits and accessories. and what better excuse to treat yourself to some gorgeous new jewelLery.


of the week I


Cross Pens For more than 166 years, Cross has re-invented writing instruments, combining design ingenuity with quality craftsmanship. they were America’s first manufacturer of quality writing instruments, and that means that they’ve been making pens people use, depend on and enjoy for a long time.

f you love shopping, then you’ll love Khimji’s. It’s a chain of upmarket department stores that stock all sorts of exclusive brands – from Chanel to Swarovski and Schaeffer to Samsonite. Whatever your style, needs or aspirations, the chances are this amazing one stop store will meet it. Available departments include fashion, footwear, homeware, gadgets and much, much more. And as the holiday season approaches, we’re already stocking up on suitcases, cameras and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Expect a pleasant atmosphere, excellent service and a chance to flex your retail muscles. This, my friends, turns shopping into a joy like no other. And afterwards, we suspect you’ll be sharing your retail experience with evangelical zeal, especially during the sale time. Khimji’s is part of the Khimji Ramdas Group, an established Omani conglomerate that has been around for more than 142 years.

Samsonite Over one hundred years of reliability, durability, style and innovative functionality have made Samsonite’s iconic products, and brand, the global leader they are today. If you are going to head out the door, do it with peace of mind. Because, life has a way of coming at you fast.



Created in the 1936, Ray-Ban is one of the most iconic eyewear brands in the fashion industry.

With brilliant versatility, quality and style; you can now capture your memorable moments on the go in high resolution images & hd movies. Your photography will never be the same.

HURRY! There is 60% off all these products till 30th December 2012, go grab them at your nearest KHIMJI’S LUXURY & LIFESTYLE STORE.

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250


HEALTH& H e a l t h BEAUTY



NAIL IT! From blue tips to Chanel logos, Oman’s beauty fiends are going crazy for the printed manicure, reveals Penny Fray


orget statement shoes or designer bags, if there’s one accessory you should have right now it’s the creative nail. From crackle coats to cartoon transfers, getting arty with your talons has never been trendier. They’ve already hit the runway at Vivienne Westwood, and several celebrities

have been spotted sporting customised creations – such as Smurfs and Smilies. Leading the polish pack are pop stars Rihanna and Katy Perry, but the phenomenon really hit global attention when female athletes in the 2012 London Olympic Games seemed more willing to show off their natty nails than their medals. As we approach 2013, the trend for statement talons is a beauty story that just won’t go away in Oman. Everyone seems to be pimping their paws and photographing them on social media sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. There are even whole blog sites dedicated to nail art. In the Nail Lounge at Al-Huda Street in Muscat, women embrace everything from polka-dot talons to glitter tips. Meanwhile, in Tips’n’Toes, texture is everything. “Velvet nails are really big right now, as are caviar manicures featuring pearlescent beads for a 3D effect,” explains Vangie Valientes from Tips’n’Toes in Muscat. Other trends currently causing a stir on the beauty scene are the reversed French tip and negative space - where shapes are created over a bare nail.

The recent explosion of nail art into our consciousness has been obvious – from patriotic paws on this year’s Olympic podiums to the painted talons of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Do you have arty nails?

We’d love to see your handy work, so please send us your photos via our Facebook page ytabloid. 036

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

My Hood





Hop off Oman’s new Big Bus to see the latest cultural offerings of the Royal Opera House Muscat. Combining Arabic architecture with European-style theatre space, it’s certainly worth a visit.

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My Hood





If buses aren’t your thing,


ith so many scenic treasures to be found around Oman, it’s easy to forget the great stuff that’s happening right on your doorstep. It can be just as exciting spending a day exploring your own city, discovering hidden gems and new places to hang out. Rather than paying out for taxis or taking the car, you could just hop on one of the new Big Bus Tours and be ferried around Muscat at your leisure. Plug in the headphones, relax, sit back and get ready to see the city from a different perspective. After all, you don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy the chance to discover the best things the Sultanate has to offer. The London based company launched in Oman two weeks ago, and fleets of the distinctive Big Buses, with their burgundy and cream livery, are expected 038

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to become a regular sight on the streets of Muscat. The open-topped double deckers have been designed to give those on board a bird’s eye view of the city’s attractions, including big landmarks such as the Royal Opera House and the traditional Old Quarter. It’s hop-on, hop-off, so you can jump out whenever you fancy a stroll; take the opportunity to wander around the chic boutique shops of Shatti al Qurum, or stop for a fuelling cup of coffee. Not only are the tours interesting, but they’re great fun too. Y has already tried out the Big Bus Tour in Abu Dhabi, where it launched three years ago, and nearby Dubai. There are also Big Bus Tours in the UK, the USA, and Hong Kong. So in the interests of research, we just had to hop on board the Big Bus in Muscat and try it out for ourselves. An experienced and helpful team

from Dubai was at hand to make sure everything ran smoothly. We took the shuttle bus from Sultan Qaboos Mosque, the only major site not actually on the tour, and joined at the start outside the Muttrah Souq. The route takes in all the city’s important tourist destinations, including the Muttrah Corniche, Bait Al Zubair Museum, Al Alam Palace and the hidden bay, the marina, the charming Muttrah old town, and then into Muscat, past the Opera House and up to Shatti. The commentary, which is in six languages, including English, is very informative, and also has an introduction to Islam and Omani history and culture. It’s early days yet and the buses were far from full but, no doubt, word will spread. One might hesitate at the cost - RO20 per person - or RO50 for a family with two children (under fives go free) but it’s cheaper than taxi rides, and the ticket is valid for 24 hours, so

you could always go under your own steam to get to know Muscat. Take advantage of a free guided walking tour offered by the Big Bus company to flex your pedestrian power. Meander through the heart of old Muscat, stopping to snap up a bargain on the way on the Heritage Walk, or soak up the local life on foot. You’ll also pass by the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the concealed harbour and the Royal Court. Get your walking shoes on and join the daily 60-minute stroll departing from bus stop 9 (Al Alam Royal Palace) at 3pm, finishing at Bait Al Zubair. you can freely jump on and hop off wherever you like between 9am and 5pm. This really means you can get the best out of the service and enjoy all the sites without the hassle of taxi haggling or doing your own research. Tickets are available on board of from major hotels and travel agencies.

My Hood




Wadi Bani Awf Amid spectacular views and fantastic-shaped rocks, all you hear is the beating of your heart in the silence of these mountains.

Words and photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki the CAR

Jerzy travelled with his two of his friends to Wadi Bani Awf in his Land Cruiser

THINGS NEEDED You absolutely need a good 4x4. Be careful about the weather. Do not go when it is raining in the mountains, because it can be very dangerous.

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My Hood



The sky was deep blue with massive white clouds. All elements of the landscape looked perfectly composed. It was my sixth trip to Wadi Bani Awf but I was aware that these conditions were not typical


ne of the most well-known tourist destinations in Oman is located in Jabal al Akhdar. Although I usually try to avoid featuring popular places, there are still a few of them that really deserve to be highlighted. Wadi Bani Awf is undoubtedly one of them. A few weeks ago, I got an email from a big fan of landscape photography, and I was invited to a trip into the mountains.  Previously, we’d decided to go


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to the top of Jabal Al Akhdar, but we changed our plan and went to a small town called Hamra with a brave plan to cross the mountain range into Wadi Bani Awf. The main reason we switched was the excellent visibility that day, giving us a great opportunity to take good landscape photographs. We reached the top of the hill behind Hamra around noon. Although it was the hottest part of the day, the temperature at this high altitude was dramatically lower. After a quick break on the

top, we set off on a gravel track that led us deeper into the valley. The blacktop road finished exactly at the top of the hill so the rest of our journey was spent driving on the windy and sometimes very narrow route between the rocky mountains. The perfect visibility meant we could see many details of the landscape at a distance of several miles. The sun was strong but the temperature a very pleasant 20C. Around five kilometers from the top we pulled over and left the car

for a short walk with the serious intention to capturing some long distance landscape shots. Since using low ISO and telephoto lenses are a tricky combination, we set our cameras on to tripods. The hazy effect, which is very common in the mountains, often hides details and makes long-distance pictures a bit blurry. Fortunately, the air that day was extremely clean so I took more than 50 photographs with a very long lens and I could see all details on the photographs.

this area offers amazing photographic opportunities, says jerzy.

football pitch, which feels very incongruous. There is enough space to park, though we stopped the car and went into the rocks. On the dark hill I found a few fresh green plants. From the top of the small rocky hill we saw overwhelming views. I used an extremely wide lens to take panoramic shots with total depth of field where all elements of the pictures were sharp. The leaves, just 10cm from the lens, and far

away mountains and clouds all had the same intensity. In the afternoon, we had another break and then we went into a deep canyon. The rocks there had fantastical and surreal shapes, sculpted by water over millions of years. The silence there was incredible. I love sitting in that place. After a few minutes I could only feel and hear the beating of my heart and nothing else.  Wadi Bani Awf is a great

location not only for fans of offroad but landscape photography. It is simply one of the best examples of the beauty of the Omani mountains, and should be obligatory for anyone visiting or living in the country. The vistas here are breath taking.


Go to Barka, and when you get to the centre, turn left to Rustaq. Before Rustaq is a brown road sign leading you into Wadi Bani Awf.

travel guide

The sky was deep blue with massive white clouds. All elements of the landscape looked perfectly composed: it was my sixth trip to the Wadi Bani Awf, but I was aware that these conditions were not typical.  The gravel track in Wadi Bani Awf is very steep and very narrow, which can appear very dangerous. The driving there needs special attention and definitely a good 4x4. About halfway up is a


Around 45km from Rustaq

GPS Coordinates: Entrance to the wadi: N23’20’20 E57’29’22

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250





The LowDown


QURUM The Good, The Bad & The Ugly It has everything the aspirational visitor could want, and as a result, traffic can get congested around the main junction - especially at peak hours.

Living There There’s no doubt that this is a desirable place to live, thanks to its hilly setting, luxurious houses and great schools. A word of caution though, most of the properties in this area are in high demand due to the fact that Petroleum Development Oman is situated locally, and demand, as you know, drives up prices. In terms of schooling, Muscat Private School educates children from kindergarten age upwards. 042

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

Calling all shopaholics – Qurum offers a wealth of malls and unique boutiques, as well as some superb hotels and restaurants. But it’s not all about lovely leisure facilities and retail therapy, Qurum is also home to what is arguably the best beach in Muscat. It also has an impressive park, equestrian school and nature reserve. Residents and visitors alike love it because of its central location and smart vibe.

This upmarket area offers everything from picturesque parks to amazing shops, discovers Penny Fray

MY ‘HOOD Why I Live Here: “Its central location means it’s a great base, plus my wife and I love all the shopping centres. Al Waha is a particularly good place to go for the whole family.” Said Al Baraami.

Places of Interest Apart from the beach, the Qurum National Park & Nature Reserve offers everything from stunning gardens and lakes to horse riding and ice-skating. If, however, you want a great place to relax and watch the world go by, try Qurum Heights.

HangOuts The local hotels and shopping malls have several restaurants and bars that serve a variety of cuisine and beverages. For something a bit different, head for Bollywood Chaat, a vegetarian restaurant, with plenty of Bollywood flavour or Jean’s Grill for an international feast. If you’re looking for something a bit special, try the Left Bank for its designer interior and high quality food. PDO workers, however, are often spotted at the Ras Al Hamra Club.

Shopping Wow! Where’s a girl to start? There are several amazing shopping malls, packed full of famous names and offering free parking. Qurum City Centre is handy because it’s anchored by a decent-sized Carrefour supermarket and offers well-known high street brands like Next and Mango. For luxe goods, head for SABCO Commercial Centre, which hosts posh shops such as Godiva, Raymond Weill and Amouage. DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250



My Hood





Block out everything from roaring jet engines to chattering colleagues with our top-of-the-range noise cancelling headphones


Dunhill - RO 370 Designer brand Alfred Dunhill - joins forces with hi-fi expert Denon to create the ultimate in luxury headphones. They come with a leather flight case, commemorative booklet and USB pen.

Bose Quiet Comfort – RO115

Bose’s new noise-reducing technology makes these their quietest headphones yet. Expect brilliant sound quality and a comfortable fit.

Dr Dre Studio RO115

Hear sound as it was originally intended with these sleek, stylish designer cans – a clear favourite with footballers and funky young things.


Bubble gum pink has never been hotter on the fashion barometer, so naturally our heart did beat a little faster when we spotted this Nikon 1 J2 two lens zoom kit in the runway’s coolest, candy colour.

MUST BUYS The humble satchel remains the accessory du jour for the stylish young professional. That’s why we seriously rate this leather computer bag, RO103 from www.


DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

Green is the new black, so buy this recycled leather iPad folio from for RO19


Are you a lazy, fast food fiend? Yes? Well, sit down. We’re about to make you dizzy with excitement. Pizza company Red Tomato has just launched a fridge magnet that allows you to order pizza at the push of a button. The VIP gadget is for priority customers only and has a pre-set order that is based on your previous purchases. The service is currently active in Dubai – but fingers crossed that it’ll be available in Oman soon.


Fed up of filling your wallet with bundles of business cards? With the CamCard app you can now scan people’s contact details straight into your smartphone as well as exporting information into an Excel file. Free at the Apple App store.

NEW! NOKIA LUMIA 620 Add motion to still pictures with Cinemagraph – an exclusive feature for Lumia cameras. With Nokia City Lens, just holding up your phone reveals everything around. Watch shops, restaurants and businesses pop up. Then tap the screen to see reviews, directions and links. Customise your phone’s colour. Work in layers of colour with either matte or gloss finishes. Stream music for free. You can choose from hundreds of channels or create your own. And, best of all, you can even listen when you’re offline. Your service provider, however, may charge for data transmission. Work on the move with Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Sync via SkyDrive to keep important files at your fingertips. Amazing!

Available end of January in Oman.

DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250



My Hood





Length 191.5 / Body width 72.0 / Body height 57.9 Wheelbase 109.3 / Ground clearance 5.4 / Gross weight 4,211

Check this out The 2013 Nissan Altima will be the first Nissan with the next-generation XTRONIC CVT, a system that dramatically improves fuel efficiency and acceleration, reduces friction and noise and offers a more seamless shifting experience. It accomplishes all this by giving you one of the highest transition ratios on the market (7.3:1), and through the use of intelligent CVT Logic, which eliminates any wasteful gear hunting. The expanded gear ratio also reduces engine revolutions drastically, allowing for better fuel efficiency and a noticeably quieter ride.


DEC 26 – JAN 1 / ISSUE 250

class above appeal The Nissan Altima is the product of 20 years of refinement and innovation

Car of the week The all-new Nissan Altima offers a top-notch look and feel at a reasonable price


ne of Nissan’s most successful lines, the fourth generation Nissan Altima, is a product of 20 years of refinement and innovation. The Altima’s main selling point is what Nissan calls the ‘class above appeal’, which means that you’ll be paying far less for a car that looks twice as expensive. The 2013 Altima comes with a more dramatic front-end, wider front and rear tracks, a longer sloping rear roofline and a raised trunk, all of which combine to create a more fluid silhouette. The interior

matches the exteriors and offers a luxury look and feel with premium comfort seats, reduced cabin noise, available leather options and chrome trimmings, and an available BOSE® Premium Audio System is with nine speakers and USB, iPods, aux-input and Bluetooth® Streaming Audio connectivity. The 2013 Altima also offers up plenty of premium gizmos including Advanced Drive-Assist™, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection. Head down to the Nissan showroom now for a viewing!

A culinary magnum opus revealed

Introducing, The Indus at Opera Galleria. The Indus is a unique concept. A ďŹ ne dining destination located at the Opera Galleria amidst the grandeur of the Royal Opera House. Offering you an authentic experience of Indian & North West Frontier cuisine as indulged by the Nawabs and Maharajas of Yore. Come experience The Indus. For reservations, please contact Priyanka on 93883919 / 22022888. Location: Galleria First Floor, overlooking ROH Maidan.

Y Magazine #250, 26 December 2012  

Your top guide to the best that Oman has to offer.

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