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MAR 06 - 12 • ISSUE 260 • WEEKLY

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Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week

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GIRLS ON GOAL

Food

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FRENCH FANCIES

Outdoors

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HIP HIKING

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DON’T FORGET IT’S MOTHER’S DAY ON MARCH 21

Not only did she give you life (and suffer stretch marks in the process). Your mother taught you almost everything you know. So give her a M-Day present that proves how much you care – sans the lecture on extravagance. Tell us why she’s so special and we’ll publish the best answer in our Mother’s Day edition. Plus, we’ll send your mum a very special gift. Send your answers to info@y-oman.com by March 15.

IT’S GOOD TO BE A WOMAN

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Muscat City Centre and Qurum City Centre will be offering a series of feel-good discounts. Stores such as Tim Horton’s and Costa Coffee will offer a 10% discount or a free coffee coupon, with similar promotions available throughout the mall.And the rewards keep on coming as Ladies Day will launch on Monday March 11, offering extra treats and gifts from a range of participating retailers. Hooray!

THIS WEEK… Team Y has been buying patisseries in the new Paul Café in Muscat Grand Mall, fighting over whether those fancy pastel discs are macarons or macaroons, learning Arabic and buying silvers from Muttrah Souk.

EDITOR’S

NOTE

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

Fast forward W

hatever their chosen field – from entrepreneurship and entertainment to feminism and fashion – women have been making their mark since time began. Just think of the warrior queen Boudicca, who led an unprecedented revolt against the Roman Empire in 61AD – or Aung Sang Suu Kyi, whose struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in 21st century Asia. Modern-day Oman is full of accomplished women. Whether they’re politicians, academics, sportswomen or homemakers – their contribution matters. That’s why on International Women’s Day (March 8) we’re celebrating all you ladies out there. Join the party by helping your fellow female. Don’t gossip – defend her. Find ways to inspire not isolate. Together we can make a difference.

Penny Fray

editor@y-oman.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eihab Abutaha CONTRIBUTORS Kate Ginn, Joe Gill, Tariq al Haremi, Heather Duncan, Laura Shergold

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PHOTOGRAPHER Jerzy Wierzbicki ART DIRECTOR Matthew Herbst DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Feroz Khan LOGISTICS MANAGER Ayman Canawati

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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 info@y-oman.com

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

MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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contents MARCH 06 2013

Features 18 International Women’s Day Women at the Top 22 Girl Gunners Shooting for Goal

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Your Oman 06 The Big Interview Sharifa Al Barami 08 Voice of Oman Readers’ Letters 10 News Scams on the Rise

Food & Drink 24 Trend French Fancies 26 Restaurant Review Sparkles 27 Recipe Mum Knows Best

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This Week 13 Movie Listings Kai Po Che 14 Gallery Dhow-Wow 16 This Week Burning Rubber

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Cars & Outdoors Health & Beauty 28 Fashion Ahoy There! 30 Health The 5:2 Diet 33 Shop Of The Week The Flower Shop

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34 Outdoors Walking Book 36 Hip Hiking City Mountaineers 39 Review Muscat Hills 40 Destination Delightful Doha 42 My Hood Old Muscat 44 Y-Fi Anchors Away 46 Car Of The Week Nissan Sentra

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News

YOUR

Gallery

INTERVIEW

OMAN

ENLIGHTENED ENTREPRENEUR SHARIFA AL BARAMI, MD OF ALJAZEERA GLOBAL SERVICES & INVESTMENTS Words: Penny Fray

Photo: Jerzy Wierzbicki

Tell me about your career journey so far. I started out wanting to be an astronaut at the age of 11, a doctor at the age of 16 and a businesswomen at the age of 28. The astronaut dream turned into an obsession with astronomy and astrology. The doctor dream was realized into a Bachelors of Science with honours degree in Biomedical Sciences from the UK. And the third dream of owning my own business started when I resigned from the public sector to set up my own startup in 2007. I’m still learning how to perfect this vision, which keeps me interested to continue. You have been active in supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs in Oman – what needs to be done to boost private sector initiatives here? In my personal opinion, it is an issue of vision and trust. We need more entrepreneurs with a clear vision of what their services and/or products are. And we need more trust and faith from the private sector to really support these entrepreneurs on the ground. There are quite a few great private sector initiatives that support the SME eco system, like the OMIFCO “Cell Accelerator Initiative”, OmanOils entrepreneurship in education initiatives and the newly launched “CEOs Mentorship initiative” to name a few. What’s needed now are more of these successful initiatives copied and distributed nationwide. I noticed that you are an active Tweeter. What role do you think social media has? Social media to today’s business is a little like the discovery of electricity for the industrial revolution. It’s a game changer, a catalyst of positive change if and when utilised innovatively to serve the advancement of mankind. I’m always amazed by Omani women’s drive, ambition and intelligence – how can more women be empowered in the workplace? Women are already very empowered; perhaps it’s time for us to focus on how more women can contribute in building the nation, shifting the focus away from gender and onto action. Empowerment, in my opinion, comes from within. It’s an internal process that only needs to be instigated with an external affecter. What single piece of advice have you been given that has helped you immensely either professionally or personally? A piece of advice signed into my yearbook at 10th grade by one of my teachers was: “Know one thing about everything and know everything about one thing.” I still go by that advice, adding ‘and choose wisely’ at the end of it. If time, money and responsibilities weren’t issues Sharifa’s work philosophy: – what would be your ultimate ambition? 1. Always mix pleasure with business To be a great mother – the one-of-a-kind type of mother. 2. Don’t listen to passive opinions, What do you do Maryam when you’re not working? seek active advice offers a gateway for businesses to enter Oman • For more information, go toonly www.blueumbrella.com I read, listen to music and dabble with writing. 3. Have fun 06

MAR 06 – 12 / ISSUE 260


The Voice of Oman Nadim Attieh embraces a life-changing rule

correspondence No fun in ghubrah

Winner! Reply of the Week

Dear Sir/Madam,

O

nce in a while we stumble on a piece of advice that changes our lives for the better. Mine was the 90/10 principle. It’s a simple concept but when applied, can be profound. It works like this – you have no control over the 10% of things that happen in your life but the other 90% is decided by how you react. So, we cannot stop the sun from shining but we can keep cool by walking in the shade. Here’s another example – imagine having breakfast with your family before work. Your daughter spills coffee on your shirt. You start shouting. She starts crying. You argue with your wife. Everyone’s late – then chaos ensues. You get a speeding fine, your daughter refuses to speak to you, you forget the vital report you needed for a work meeting, your boss tells you off and when you arrive back home, there’s tension in the air. Why? Not because of your daughter or the spilt coffee but because of your reaction to the accident. Had you not spent so much time shouting and apportioning blame, you could have quickly changed your shirt, your daughter could have caught the school bus and you could have arrived early to work minus the speeding ticket and the ticking off, then family dinner would have been a pleasant affair. Notice the difference? The same start to the day but an altered ending. Why? Because you reacted differently to the 10% you couldn’t change – the spilt coffee. As the famous saying goes, ‘grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Next week: Rumaitha Al Busaidi asks ‘How well do we know our country?’

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There are not enough playgrounds in Ghubrah for children to play in. The Ghubrah Lake Park has nothing for children, no swings or slides. The cyclone 2006 destroyed the park but it was not rebuilt properly. Playground areas are of such vital importance in the growth of our children to encourage them to play outside instead of watching TV or playing computer games for hours each day. In many localities such facilities are missing. I sincerely request that the concerned authorities take the necessary action and give our children the facility to play and learn outside in safety.

in

Kind regards, Habil Bhagat, Ghubrah

Logistics and OUR love for Y Dear Editor, My wife and I would like to congratulate the Y team for making rapid strides in Oman’s weekly magazine sector, coming out with a new look Y, and making the copies freely available each week despite steep costs of production and day-to-day logistics of distribution to keep it going. We both are ardent fans of Y ever since it was launched and we used to contribute regularly to Y in the early years, but for a family tragedy that prevented us from being active for some time. Still we never miss a chance to get hold of a copy of Y when we are in The Sultanate or elsewhere. This has become possible only because of a good friend of ours who delivers Y to our home when we are away without fail each Wednesday. It is so thoughtful of you to have come

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up with a column ‘I’m a Y Reader’, which is a good encouragement and inspiration to those who make all-out efforts to get hold of Y not only for themselves, but also for friends, which tells you a lot about the voluntary dissemination of good content. Best Regards Dr Suddapalli Bhaskara Rao, Ruwi Dear Dr Rao, It’s heartening to know we have such loyal readers. Here at Y we are making every effort to ensure all our readers in Muscat and elsewhere can get hold of their copy of Y at convenient locations. They do get snapped up pretty quick when we come out on Wednesday. Team Y.

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Radisson Blu

SEND US YOUR letters, photos, news and views to editor@y-oman.com / @ytabloid / www.facebook.com/ytabloid. Impress us and we’ll send the winning correspondent a RO20 voucher to use at the Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat.


YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US

Debate of the Week

LETTERS

E-MAILS

VISA QUERY AT THE BORDER Dear Editor

We asked:

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Are women in Oman playing a full role in society? GHADA AL HARTHY Islamic scholars say women form half of the society. And the other half they raise. This is the most important and primary role that women play in society. Omani women are fortunate to have the freedom and support to play any role they care to be in. We have no gender restrictions.... The freedom to choose those roles is upon individual preference, which varies for all. Suffice to say there’s nothing stopping us. SHEEMA ZAMEEL Women in Oman now pursue careers and professional training, slowly moving from their previous household confinement to the public sphere. Now they are serving society by playing their role as a mother and as a housewife in bringing up the next generation and also by playing important roles in various fields of work and production.

My wife recently got a new job in Oman. Previously she was on my dependent visa and we have made lots of crossings to Dubai without any problems since our first year in the country. However, she recently got a new employment visa and resident card for her current job. She didn’t have to leave the country to change the visa as my company didn’t have any problem in releasing her. Now we plan to go to Dubai next week.

I'm a reader

FA C E B O O K

TWITTER

I am working in the medical sector and she is now in a management position. But her visa and resident card are not even six-months old. So I am wondering if we can cross the border together to Dubai. Since her passport has old stamps of Dubai border entry, I am hoping it will not be a problem. Can Y or its readers please advise me? Name withheld, Seeb Dear Reader There should be no problem. It can be a little arbitrary at the border crossings but the residence card should still allow you to go to Dubai and come back by road. Just head for the border and enjoy your trip. Team Y

LAILA ABDULLAH AL AUFI was spotted with a copy of Y Magazine at Marina Bandar Al Rowdha

Awais Khan Women are playing a vital role in society – they are competing head to head with men! Oman is a very safe place for women so it would not be wrong to call Oman a women-nominating nation! Atif Dafedar Yes, women are ahead in every field of society. Sherrin Finoj I think because Oman is giving an equal importance to both men and women in all fields, women are coming forward to take roles in different fields in society and have proved their skill through achievements.

THIS IS YOUR PAGE!

This Week’s Debate: What’s your favourite joke? Tell us on Facebook.

Just send us your picture with the free Y Magazine or pose with our photographer and we will publish it on this page. Send it to: info@y-oman.com

MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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NEWS

Gallery

Interview

INVESTING IN TOMORROW Muscat Youth Summit exhibition focuses on event highlights

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ITH 200 young people from around the world coming together, the Muscat Youth Summit is all about sharing knowledge and ideas. Now the public can see the result with the opening of an exhibition showing the culmination of what was a life-changing experience for those who took part. Visitors to the exhibit at Grand Muscat Mall will be able to walk through the Summit’s highlights and witness the creativity and entrepreneurship of the next generation of decision makers and social innovators. Urban artwork and fashion designs on the theme of road traffic safety are just some of the work on display until tomorrow (Thurs). A video shedding light on the various workshops and discussions during the four-day residential summit held in December is also being shown. Students aged between 15 and 24 from countries including Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, Poland, South Korea and the UK took part. The theme of the Muscat Youth Summit (MYS) 2012 was ‘Investing in Tomorrow’ and focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, urban development and road traffic safely 010

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“Through a series of diverse and interactive workshops, we were able to offer young people a valuable insight into the skill sets required to succeed in today’s labour market,” said His Highness Sayyid Faisal Bin Turki Al Said, chairperson of the Muscat Youth Summit organising committee, speaking about the benefits of engaging the youth of Oman. “The mobile exhibition is manned by MYS alumni, and has been designed specifically to share the sights and sounds of the summit with the wider community. Hopefully, it’ll also spark an interest in enterprise and innovation.” Taking centre stage at the exhibition is the ‘Muscat Youth Summit 2012 Masterpiece’, a scrap car that was transformed into a piece of art promoting road traffic safety. T-shirts, jewellery and graffiti art canvasses conveying powerful road safety messages created by students as part of the workshop projects are also on display. Asma Berkane and Yassine Yousfi, both 16 and students at Muscat French School took part in the Summit, now in its fourth year, after getting through a selection test. Only four pupils from each participating school can attend the summit. “In our workshop, we had to create a business and make a presentation of the business, which was filmed, which was a bit scary,” said Asma. “We came out with the idea of recycling old unwanted or broken equipment, such as computers, which could be fixed and sold at cheaper prices to schools that could not afford to buy brand new.” Her fellow pupil Yassine enjoyed meeting other teenagers from different countries. “The mixing of the cultures was the best part for me, getting to know people who you wouldn’t otherwise meet. “We all had different ways of thinking to bring to the group, swapping ideas. “We created a Facebook page about the dangers of texting while driving.” Information about 2012 MYS participants, presenters and workshops can be found on the official website www. muscatyouthsummit.com, where films and podcasts can be downloaded in addition to a 3D walkthrough of the Summit. The Muscat Youth Summit Mobile Expo is on the ground floor of Muscat Grand Mall until March 7.


to advertise e-mail: advertise@y-oman.com • for digital edition go to: www.y-oman.com

Scammers still targeting phone users Words: Joe Gill The telecoms regulator is reporting an increasing number of scam calls and is warning consumers that a variety of ‘spam traps’ are out to defraud unwary phone users. In one of the scams, Nawras customers have reported receiving calls from people claiming to be working for the telecoms carrier, telling them they have won a ‘Nawras lottery.’ This scam has been used in the past. One Nawras customer told Y how he had received a call on his mobile from someone claiming to be based at a Nawras call centre. “The caller said that he was calling from Nawras call centre and that my number had won a lottery of RO20,000,” he explained. “The caller then asked for my bank details to submit the lottery amount. The caller spoke Malayalam and when I told him that I don’t speak Malayalam he spoke Hindi with a heavy Malayalam accent.” He continued: “My wife had received a similar call a couple of years ago and she naively divulged her bank details including her PIN number to the caller. “At that time the person was from Pakistan as he spoke with a heavy Punjabi accent. Fortunately before any damage could happen, I asked my wife to withdraw all money from her account.” Hilal Siyabi, media and consumer affairs manager for the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, told Y that phone scams of various kinds are on the rise and that the TRA was addressing the issue with its ‘Be Spam Safe’ awareness campaign. Customers are advised to report such incidents to the ROP or the Public Prosecution Office. “Our role is to educate the public about the many forms of spam trap so they know exactly how to protect themselves,” said Siyabi. Although the majority of scams target Nawras customers, some are also targeting Omantel. “The lottery scam is only one form of the phenomenon,” Siyabi explained. “The problem is increasing and it is international in scale. Different fraudsters craft their own particular way to set up the spam traps.” Nawras spokeswoman Julie Amman said: “This is something we are aware of that does crop up.” She added that Nawras had not seen an increase in the number of customers complaining about the scams. “Our Customer Champions – who have contact with the greatest number of customers on a daily basis – are not reporting an unusual number of calls being received recently in relation to scam messages. “From time to time, however, we do have such calls reported to us and we encourage customers to file a complaint with the ROP. “It’s certainly a worldwide problem and not unique to Oman – similar things happen across the region with opportunists trying to take advantage of people.” *If you have been the victim of phone scams let us know. Email news@y-oman.com MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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Do you have a story or issue you want us to investigate or report on? Contact the Y news team on news@y-oman.com

NEWS

Gallery

Interview

HE Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mahrazi, Minister of Tourism (centre), cuts MGM’s birthday cake with fellow dignitaries

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MGM!

Muscat’s newest mall celebrates its first anniversary with official opening

W

hen you’re the biggest mall in the country and the newest in the capital, the celebrations to mark your first birthday have to be something special too. Muscat Grand Mall didn’t disappoint with a suitably grand occasion to mark the milestone and its official opening, with no less than three ministers in attendance. Crowds gathered to watch HE Ahmad bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mahrazi, Minister of Tourism, cut the ribbon in a ceremony months in the planning. The Minister then went on a tour of the mall with HE Sayyid Saud bin Hilal bin Hamad al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, and HE Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, before slicing up a giant 1st Birthday cake. Since it opened on March 1 last year, Muscat

Grand Mall has grown fast and now has over 150 brands, both local and international, along with a three-screen cinema and ‘Podium’, its unique sky-level terrace garden. The entire building in Al Khuwair is a Wi-Fi hotspot and systems such as air conditioning can be controlled remotely. Management and staff from the Tilal Development Company, the real estate firm behind the mall, joined the celebrations. The mall is just the first step in The Tilal Complex, which includes premium office space and high-end apartments. A five-star hotel with 300 rooms will be added as part of the second phase. “The vision for the project was for it to become a unique property in Muscat and be of significant value to the Omani economy,” said Eng. Khamis bin Mubarak al Kiyumi, chairman of Tilal Development Company. “Completing the first

THINK OF SOFA, THINK OF US.

phase has included many firsts for the Tilal Development Company and we are duly proud as it sets an impressive benchmark for the rest of the project.” Creating more job opportunities for Omanis, fostering investment for the SME sector and encouraging Omanis to get involved in the private sector was also the aim. A third phase of the project will expand the space and scope of Muscat Grand Mall. Hassan Jaboub, general manager of the mall, said: “I am proud to see Muscat Grand Mall grow in leaps and bounds. “It boasts many retailers and brands not seen before in Oman, the largest food court in the country, a superb three-screen cinema and our terrace garden.” The official opening on Friday kicked off a week-long Muscat Grand Mall celebration with entertainment and surprises in store for visitors.

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THIS WEEK

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

Kai Po Che ‘Kai Po Che’ is a victor’s shout in a kite fight. Abhishek Kapoor here tells the tale of three middle-class youth of Gujurat, India - Ishaan Bhatt (Sushant Singh Rajput), Omi Shastri (Amit Sadh) and Govind (Raj Kumar) – inseparable childhood friends, who live by the “All for one, one for all” motto. Ishaan should have been in the national cricket team, but instead is a wastrel and a quitter. Omi is the priest’s son, always on the right path; and Govind is the conscience of the three who does not only dream big, but works towards making it happen by tutoring kids and doing odd jobs to make an extra buck. They form the Sabarmati Sports Club, with the aid of Omi’s politico uncle, who gives them the land and the shop. The film explores the club’s training activities with great insight into the world of cricket – its mid-offs and cover drives, along with the frailties of human nature and the complexities of everyday li – dreams and desires notwithstanding.

It is refreshing to see the friendship of three young men on celluloid without a woman stepping into the equation to cause an imbalance in the predictable Bollywood format. It is also devoid of dramatic dialogue, with a script that echoes with real-life conversations. Still, this is Bollywood and they have their own song and dance routines – their lean frames jigging to the tracks, celebrating their new shop, life or an India cricket win. The film is not entirely devoid of women – Vidya (Amrita Puri), Ishaan’s younger sister, is tutored in maths by Govind, and a little love story plays out between them. The Gujarat earthquake then turns their simple existence and complex dreams into a pile of debris and dead bodies. Insurmountable troubles abound, with the political climate taking a communal turn, resulting in riot, savagery and death. How Ishaan, Omi and Govind’s friendship survives these troubled times is the crux of the last part of

the film, going some way to prove that being a good human being is the toughest religion of all. Raj Kumar’s meticulous performance is the film’s strongest, while Amrita Puri as Vidya is adorable in her portrayal of a love-struck student. Both Sadh and Rajput have made a wonderful transition to the big screen – throughout the film’s length, you feel engaged and share the character’s poignant journey. Javed Akhtar pens the lyrics and captures the spirit of the story with characteristic sensitivity. Anay Goswami’s cinematography caresses the alleys and bylanes of the Gujurati location. Sound design by Baylon Fonseca is fantastic and adds depth to the drama. Is Kai Poche is a great movie? I don’t know, but Chetan Bhagat’s story and Abhishek Kapoor’s genius has surely made one of the few good movies to come out of the Bollywood stable in a while – a must watch. Review by Abhudit Greene

Diana (Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids) is living the high life in Florida, where she maxes the plastic using the identity of a Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman), who lives on the other side of the country. He heads to Miami to confront her and attempt to bribe and coax her back to Denver. Cue a comedy road movie that’s all over the place and turns to syrup in the final act.

Dracula 3D Italian horror director Dario Argento set the mould for terrifying and groundbreaking horror movies in the 1970s. Here the old master tries to bring something new to the extremely well trodden tale of the bloodsucking Transylvanian count, but he seems to have completely lost his way. It’s not scary and adds nothing to the legend. The choice of Thomas Kretschmann as Dracula is misplaced and even the presence of Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing can’t save this undead dud.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D This new outing for the Silent Hill horror series, itself adapted from a video game, is definitely aimed at the audience of gamers who enjoyed the first movie. The girl star of the earlier movie has to return to the dreaded town of Silent Hill to save her kidnapped father.

Y’s TOP TIP

PREVIEW

ADMISSION

VEHICLE 19

Paul O’Connor from the Fast and Furious series is back in a South Africa-set movie about fast cars being driven furiously by Paul O’Connor. He’s an American fleeing parole who arrives in Cape Town and picks up the wrong rental car. There’s a surprise lurking in the boot – one that holds the key to an ongoing corruption trial. Some crooked cops try to frame him, leading to the chase of chases across town as he tries to reach the prosecutor’s office and clear his name.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK GI Joe: Retaliation

Identity Thief

Playback

Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer whose professional ambitions are compromised when she discovers that an improbable applicant may be the son she gave up for adoption years before. Paul Rudd co-stars as Fey’s love interest and father figure to the teenage boy (played by Nat Wolff). Based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel, thwwwis is a comedy about ambition, family and forgiveness.

Jack the Giant Slayer MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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The What’s On Guide

Dhow-Wow Women ride the waves at the OPW Dhow Networking event

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Movies

GALLERY Photos by: Lady Haifa - followgram.me/omanprowomen/album/view/42287/

THIS WEEK


T H E W H AT ’ S O N G U I D E March

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Paddy Power The Irish community and all their friends are getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. The Oman Irish Society will be kicking things off on March 7 at the Yacht Club with a ‘Family Fun Beach Day’. There will be sports, fun games for the children and lots of laughs for the

adults followed by a BBQ. Tickets are RO7 for adults and RO4 for kids, with under-threes free. On March 15, ‘Paddy’s Day Ball’ will be taking place at Grand Hyatt. The night will include music, Irish dancing and a general good craik. Tickets are RO45 per person. For tickets call 99172849.

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What to do.

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What to see. What to hear.

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JANUARY

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Burning Rubber The asphalt will be melting at the first Oman Motor Sport Festival at the Oman Automobile Club this week. Expect many surprises in the first festival of its kind in the Sultanate, including the kick-off season of Oman Rally Championships with 18 racers competing for the top honours, as well as the Drift Racing Championships and Motor Bike Championships and many more not-to-be-missed events.

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Realm of the Senses ‘In Oman I live in a matching world of beautiful nature, bright colour and dramatic light, where everything affects and inspires me,” says award-winning artist Radhika Hamlai, whose new exhibition ‘The Invention of Letters’ opens at the Bait Muzna Art Gallery this week. The exhibition, supported by Bank Muscat, MHD and Al Nahda Resort, continues until April 4. Call the gallery on 2473 9204 for details.

Gallery

Movies


March 20

MARCH

Going, going… Get your thinking caps on ladies for the annual Women’s Guild in Oman quiz night at the Dolphin Village in Bawshar. Tickets are RO8 including dinner. Starts 7pm. Tickets available at the WGO Wednesday coffee morning.

Dune quest

Could your little one be the next pizza-making maestro? Members of Pizza Express’s young diners Club Margarita have been invited to come to the preparation classes from March 7 to 14, ahead of the Junior Pizzaiollo Competition on March 18. The final will be held on March 30 with exciting prizes for the winners. It takes place at Pizza Express Shatti Al Qurum. Call 2469 6269 for more details.

March

7-14

13-15

7-8

Mohammad Al Attar, Kuwait’s first Red Bull Free Running Athlete, will demonstrate a captivating mix of free running and gymnastics for the first time in Oman, along with his team member including Mohammed Al Mutairi and Abdullah Sheshtar 
The trio of top free runner and Parkour athletes will overcome natural obstacles with creativity, style, skill and fluidity at the public village at the Extreme Sailing Series at the Wave, Muscat on March 7 and 8. An earlier show will be held for Horizon Gym on March 6 at Fun Zone in Qurum.

For the children 12-14

March

Get rolling

Running of the Bull

March

Adventurers and nomads should get ready to deflate the tyres on the 4x4 and head into the dunes. The Guide Oman is organising a desert crossing from Badiyah to Ras al Ruways that will be in the desert for two days and two nights starting on March 13. Bookings close at 8pm March 11. For more information email Rebecca Mayston at rmayston@theguideoman.com or call Abdul Rahman al Zadjali on 9228 5813.

If you fancy yourself as an art appreciator you’ll need to be fast. Omani artist Wafa Al Shukairi is holding an exhibition at the Antiqua Living showroom in Al Khuwair and work has proven popular with buyers at previous exhibitions. Described as Kashmiri-style with Omani influences, Al Shukairi uses a range of colours enhanced with stones and silver threads. Opening hours: Sat-Thurs 9am to 9pm and Friday 5pm-9pm. Call 22061870 for more information.

March

Question time

March 10

The Modern College of Business and Science in Bawshar will be hosting the Third Youth Charity Festival. The event aims to bring together and help the less privileged groups in society – primarily orphans and children with special needs – with live entertainment, leisure, educational and professional activities, and a wide variety of global cuisines.

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A t T h e To p

ome Crew members of the Al Thuraya Bank Muscat, who competed in the recent EFG Bank Arabia Sailing Tour

As the achievements of women around the world are celebrated for International Women’s Day on Friday (March 8), Y looks closer to home to honour the strides Omani women are making in different fields. Words: Kate Ginn 018

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THE ADVENTURER (AND MUM)

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n first meeting Buthaina Mahruqi, the steely spirit that lies behind her slight stature and softly spoken manner is not immediately obvious. The only clue is the quote on her Facebook page, “You can do what you want to do. You can be what you want to be,” one of the famous sayings of billionaire businessman David Thomas, a high-school dropout who went on to found the Wendy’s burgers chain in the U.S. Perhaps this has been the inspiration for the challenge that Buthaina has just embarked on. As you are reading this, the mother of two is somewhere in Antarctica, the coldest place on earth, where average coastal temperatures plunge to -30 degrees Celsius – with some of the most inhospitable terrain known to man (or woman). It couldn’t be further, both geographically and personally, to her life in Oman. At home, she is a wife and mother to two young daughters, with a busy job as a business analyst at Petroleum Development Oman. For the next two weeks, she will be living and working in the White Continent as part of the 2041 International Antarctic Expedition, designed to increase awareness of global climate change, becoming in the process only the second Omani woman to reach the icy outpost. By today (March 6), the intrepid explorers should have reached the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, their home for the next week or so. “I don’t think my family or friends really believed that I was going to do this, they didn’t take me seriously at first,” admitted Buthaina, talking before she left on the epic voyage. “It’s so overwhelming for me because it’s a dream come true. It’s taken me six months of hard work and two years of dreaming to get to this point.” She first heard about the expeditions to Antarctica in 2011 but missed out on becoming the first Omani woman to make it. That homour went to Zeena al Towayya last year. After winning a place in this year’s expedition, along with fellow Omanis, Bader al Lawati and Ameer Abdulhussain, she raised the required $37,000 (OR14, 245) in sponsorship after knocking on endless doors, with PDO putting forward half. “My husband told me I could go if I raised the money. When I told

him that I had, his jaw hit the floor. Once he realised I was going to go, he has been so supportive,” she said. During the expedition, the crew will stay on board a ship making shore landings every day, where Buthaina can expect to get up close and personal with some of the local wildlife, including penguins and whales. One night, they will sleep outside in a sleeping bag. It will be far from easy going, though, in a land where 98 per cent of the surface is covered by ice. Even harder going for someone who doesn’t like the cold. “It’s going to be the most difficult thing I have ever done but also the most amazing,” says Buthaina.“When I first thought about going, I wasn’t sure as an Omani lady whether the culture would accept it but it was in my heart, I had to do it. I want to be an inspiration for other woman.” Her four-year-old daughter did not want her mummy to go away. “I will tell her that one day, when she is older, she will be able to go to Antarctica just like me.”

THE SPORTSW OMEN

A

s the first all-female Omani sailing team, the crew of Al Thuraya Bank Muscat are used to making waves in more ways than one. The pioneering women have broken down barriers in a traditionally male-dominated sport in the country to set a course for a brighter future for Omani sailing. The girls, aged between 21 and 28, have just finishing competing in the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour, where they just missed the podium in the final leg racing towards The Wave, Muscat. Crossing the finish line, the team all burst into tears in disappointment at not making the top three places, so determined are they to show the undoubted talent they have. Steering their careers is British record-breaking skipper Dee Caffari, who is the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world in both directions. MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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Astonishingly, many of the girls only started sailing a year ago. They were among the first graduates from Oman Sail’s Women’s Sailing Programme, which was launched in late 2011. “I love it because it’s an adventure sport, very active and it’s about pushing yourself,” says Tahira al Yahyai, 21, one of the crew. “When I first started sailing, my friends were asking me why, because it was for boys and risky but I carried on. We are very sporty but all still feminine. It’s given us self-confidence.” Fellow crewmember Asrar al Ajmi, 20, adds: “I loved the idea of a racing team just for women.” All the girls had to pass a tough selection process to get into the team, testing their fitness as well sailing ability. Despite initial reservations from some members of their respective families, everyone has come round to the idea and is now fully supportive. Sailing is now their full-time paid job. They have all signed up to a rigorous regime of daily gym workouts, hours on the sea and strict nutritional guidelines, curtailing any active social lives for now. The seven-strong crew all cover their hair when out

at sea, saying a scarf does not restrict their movements around their 30-foot craft. Raja’a al Owaisi is the captain. One of the smallest in the crew, she’s also the one who takes the helm and does the serious business of steering the boat, as waves crash around and the wind whips across the water. “I’m not scared at all,” she says. “In fact, I want to try bigger boats in the future.” When racing offshore, the girls take turns to catch a few hours sleep in the claustrophobic cabin, next to the spinnaker (sail). At the thought of marriage and children, most say they will probably give up racing when that happens. Spending weeks away at sea would make a family life difficult. All of them intend to carry on sailing in the future, even if it’s just as a hobby. “When I marry, I will sail with my husband and if he can’t sail, I will teach him,” laughs Intisar al Tobi, 22. As for the immediate future, the girls are getting ready to head for a training camp in France on March 18. Who knows what is next? A place on the podium would be an achievement; a gold medal at the Olympics would be a dream. Tahira al Yahyai says: “If any girl wants to try something, sports or anything else, I would say to them go for it, achieve something for yourself.”

THE ACADEMIC

D

r Yasmeen Shanan al Balushi started her career as a language teacher in the Ministry of Education in 1997. After five years of teaching secondary school students, she moved to higher education at the College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS), teaching adults mostly from the banking sector in the Sultanate. A rapid rise up the ranks followed. Last year, she was appointed Assistant Dean for Academic Support and Students’ Affairs at the college in Ruwi, the youngest in the college management and the only woman. Now, she is inspiring the next generation of women to achieve, not only in the tough sector of banking and commerce but in every part of their lives. “As most of the students at CBFS are females, they equally benefit from the opportunities like placements, trainings and skill development programmes provided at the college,” says Dr al Balushi. “We continuously strive hard to instil leadership qualities in our students. We opine that the ability to lead an initiative in the right direction is essential to succeed in today’s world.” Dr al Balushi, who obtained a doctorate from the University of Leeds in the UK, also held the post of director of the English Language Centre at the college. In her new post, she manages the functioning of the registration department, students’ affairs unit, library and the English Language Centre. “I am a certified EQ (emotional intelligence) trainer and also conduct corporate training programmes on business communication and leadership. I was a part of the legislative fellowship programme [to the USA] in 2012, based on the US presidential elections.” She also writes research papers, which have been presented at conferences around the world and published in international journals. ‘Learn, grow and share,’ is the best advice given to her, which has helped in her career. Her career highs, she says, are being appointed assistant dean, becoming a member chairperson of various decision-making committees at CBFS and being the youngest and the only women in the college’s top management. It’s not all work and no play. When she has free time, Dr al Balushi unwinds by travelling, meeting up with friends, watching movies and exploring tastes and foods from different countries and cultures. When it comes to her career, however, she still has goals. “My ultimate ambition is to establish a unique educational institution, which ensures innovative delivery of quality education.”

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THE RISE OF THE ALPHA POSITIVES Penny Fray discovers why

you don’t have to be scary or unsisterly to be successful.

B

eing seen as someone successful used to be so simple – all you had to do was wear blood-red lipstick, be prepared to stomp all over someone with your Jimmy Choo shoes and you were good to go. But these days, not even the classic baddie is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Why? Well, being an alpha villain is totally outré in 2013. Take recent rumours about the catfight between Hollywood stars Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, for example. Rather than allowing the media to divide and conquer, flame-haired Chastain hit back on social media with an inspirational message of female unity. “Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?” she justifiably asked on Facebook. “Every time an actress is celebrated for her great work – I cheer. With support and encouragement, we can help inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we know, a great year for women in film is a great year for all females.” It is an important point. After all, whenever a woman supports another in the workplace or in public, they become a little bit stronger. But it’s not just a matter of gender. It’s about supporting humanity in general. Competition may be useful to a certain point but then co-operation must come into play. Proof of this can be seen throughout history. And so, the message du jour is that you can achieve any goal on your own merit rather than trampling on a fellow human being. After all, if super celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Queen Rania of Jordan are using their influence to inspire others, can’t we?

EDITOR’S PICK OF Here are eight tips from a selection of Omani business- INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN women on how to become 1. BOUDICCA. Queen of the Iceni people in ancient Britain. more alpha positive: This strong, determined woman led a 1. Never use ambition as a get out clause for bad behavior. 2. Help others achieve their dreams without expecting anything in return and you will achieve yours. 3. Be sufficiently secure to admire rather than envy your competitor’s success. In this context, green is not the new black. 4. Hire people who are more talented than yourself. 5. Place worth ahead of wealth. 6. Get involved in mentoring schemes. Use your knowledge and experience to help others avoid the mistakes you’ve made. 7. Turn friendship into a fine art. 8. If you can’t help others, at least resist the temptation to harm them.

major uprising against occupying Roman forces after they attacked and defiled her countrymen. She’s my favourite female historical figure because she did not buckle, seduce or manipulate her opponents – she fought them head on, against all the odds. 2. MOTHER THERESA. Missionary Working amongst the poorest people in Calcutta, this modest nun tirelessly looked after the lowly, unwanted and dispossessed until her death in 1997. She reminds us that even the weak can make a difference if they’re armed with love and faith. 3. MARIA CURIE. Physicist Best known for her work on radioactivity, this Polish-French scientist has a whole heap of firsts under her belt. She was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, the first female professor at the University of Paris and the first woman to be enshrined in the Paris Pantheon on her own merits. The reason why she’s on my list speaks for itself. 4.OPRAH WINFREY. Media proprietor and talk-show host. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Despite being born into poverty, Oprah is now worth more than an estimated $2.5bn, helping millions of people along the way with her philanthropy and messages of hope and empowerment.

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SHOOTING FOR THE TOP

Girls are taking on the boys on the pitch in Oman and even beating them at their own game Words and photos: Tariq al Haremi

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T I’m proud of her, and I’m also going to send my younger daughter to be a rising star in soccer soon

Physical exercise helps improve mental and physical growth

he enthusiastic screams of the children could be heard on the approach to the British School of Muscat’s football pitch. A number of little red shirts were running around chasing a football, their faces set with determination and their mind only on one goal, or more accurately to score a goal. The young footballers of the future were hard in training. A closer look reveals that several of these mini Beckhams are girls, dribbling, tackling and fighting for the ball, going head-to-head with the boys in every aspect of the game and clearly loving every moment of it. The girls and their male teammates are being put through their paces at the Arsenal Soccer School, which uses the pitch at BSM in Madinat al Sultan Qaboos. Established in Muscat in 2010, the soccer school is training the children “the Arsenal Way” – the same philosophy established by manager Arsene Wenger at the London Premier League club. “Of course girls can play football, there’s no reason why not. We try to mix them together, the girls and the boys, so there’s no difference in our approach,” says Luis Miguel Gorgulho, head coach at Arsenal Soccer School. Gorgulho should know a thing or two about spotting talent when he sees it. Having had 10 years coaching experience with Arsenal, he’s seen the greats rise through the ranks. There’s no reason why a little star of the future to graduate from Muscat’s football academy shouldn’t be a girl. “We have several talented girls, two of them really excellent, one of whom has a future I think,” he says. While girl’s football is still in its infancy in Oman, interest is growing. The development of women’s football as a whole in the Middle East and central Asia only dates back around 10 years or so. Oman no longer has a women’s national football team, and never played in any official match, but the younger girls enjoyed some success. In 1995, the U17 team competed in the U17 World Women’s Championships, where they finished fourth following a 2-0 defeat to Argentina. At grass roots level, such as the Arsenal Soccer School, work is being done to attract girls to play the game and hone their skills on the pitch. Girls like Rania, five, who could be part of the sport’s future in the country. Brought up by a Pakistani father and an American mother, it was her mother that introduced her to football. “I want my daughter to play soccer, as I used to play soccer. I’m very proud of my daughter and what she has achieved. She was rewarded as one of the valuable players in the Under Five competition,” says her mother, beaming at her daughter in her mini Arsenal kit racing exuberantly around the pitch. Although Rania likes playing with boys, she feels that they are a bit challenging and would prefer to play with girls. “When we travel to the United States we will allow her to join a full girls soccer team,” said Rania’s mother. “I’m proud of her, and I’m also going to send my younger daughter to be a rising star in soccer soon.” Y also caught up with seven-year-old Mokshini Jasol, who is Indian. Mokshini’s mother explains that her daughter was shy, and had some trouble in school. Her social life was difficult and she didn’t make many friends. Since joining the soccer school, all that has changed. “I love the way they teach them here,” says her mother. “They taught them how to socialise and speak to one another as this is a team sport. It is not boring as they try and make the lesson as fun as it can be.” Learning football with Arsenal Soccer School has boosted the young footballer’s confidence. Her mother agrees that physical exercise is just as important as theoretical learning. “Physical exercise helps improve mental and physical growth, which will help her in the classroom,” she asserts. While it’s early days yet, all the signs are that women’s football in Oman could make a comeback on the pitch some day soon.

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food and drink

T rend

New Restaurant

Reviews

Top Tip

Home made-macarons make marvellous gifts because they keep for several days and look tres pretty. Simply wrap in clear cellophane, tied with a colourful ribbon and voila – you have the crème de la crème of baked tokens.

Looking for a small, sweet and colourful treat? Forget about cupcakes– macarons are having a renaissance. These pretty French pastries have a crispy outer shell that gives way to a light tender centre. Sandwiched together by ganache, they ooze Parisian chic. You’ll find them in speciality bakeries and upscale coffee shops in Muscat. But for the Chanel of macarons, try the Laduree shop in Dubai and now Qatar. The packaging alone is enough to make you squeal with delight.

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T rend

New Restaurant

News

MACARON MANIA They’re the ubiquitous treat that we turn to in times of triumph or trouble – but is our frenzied love affair with the cupcake fading? Penny Fray reveals her new object of desire the macaron.

I

am in the middle of a love affair with macarons – not macaroons, the coconut sweet – but the cute, colourful and tres chic French delicacies. These soft discs of airy almond meringue have become my class-A drug of the cake world. Of course, I’ve always had a bit of a crush on them but it was only when a colleague bought a box back from the Dean & Deluca store in Doha that my passion for these petite patisseries were well and truly re-ignited. It’s not that I particularly enjoy the taste (they’re not sweet enough for my palate) – no – the appeal is purely an aesthetic one. As far as I’m concerned, they are the Chanel of cakes. They Make your always come beautifully boxed and somehow ooze Continental own French glamour. Think little discs of Macaron luminescent pinks, sea-foam greens and sunny yellows Ingredients: that shimmer like the palette 4 large egg whites of Seurat. 140g caster sugar And let’s be honest here – no 230g pure icing sugar one can really beat the Parisians on patisseries with panache. 120g almond meal That’s why I was practically 2g salt doing cartwheels when I found Food colouring out that they were being stocked (optional) in the newly opened Paul cafe in Muscat Grand Mall. Directions: They’re also available at the o Preheat the oven to Chedi hotel and, more obviously, 150 degrees Celsius Laduree, where they first made their delectable debut nearly 85 o Place egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl and mix years ago. with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl The super-swanky Parisian upside down without it falling out, continue to whip for a shop can now be found through out the globe, including Dubai couple more minutes. and Qatar. o Add the food colouring and mix. Of course, until recently, the o Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice. must-have confectionary for The mixture should be fine. fashionable Muscat women was the cupcake. Made famous by o Fold in the egg white about 30 times using a rubber Carrie & Co in Sex and the City spatula until smooth. more than a decade ago, the o Pipe on to trays lined with a non-stick baking paper. cupcake is now being trumped by Then, bake in the oven for 20 minutes. the macaron. Or is it? According to a recent survey, o For the ganache, bring 30ml of cream to the boil and the cupcake craze shows no sign pour over 100g of chocolate. Let it stand for a minute and of abating, with hundreds being then stir. If it is not adequately melted then microwave for sold every week in Oman. And a quick office poll reveals that our 20 seconds and stir – repeat until smooth. Allow to cool affection for the sponge delights and thicken before piping onto the macarons. cannot be taken lightly. Like any o Once ready, wrap and cellophane, using a ribbon and love true affair – it runs deep gift them to friends and family. because it speaks of pleasure, seduction and friendship. MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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Reviews

GIRL POWER

Info Box

Contact number: 24488090 Address: Sparkles Cafe and Beauty Spa Centre, Al Khuwair, Muscat Website: www.sparkles-oman.com Email: ahlamalsabahi@sparkles-oman.com Average lunch price (for two people) RO10

Peace and quiet away from the men, with amazing cakes, is a recipe for a sparkling time for Laura Shergold.

I

’d heard about a place, a little secluded paradise for women, offering food and surroundings that were nourishing for both the soul and stomach. It seemed too good be true. Leaving my husband at home for what was strictly a girlsonly event, I headed off with a female friend to find this little piece of heaven. So began our initiation into the serene world of Sparkles Café and Beauty Spa Centre in Al Khuwair, the brainchild of make-up artist Ahlam al Sabahi, who wanted to create an exclusive hangout where women could kick off their heels and socialise, or even work, while being pampered and beautified and, of course, lunching. The concept is said to be the first of its kind in Oman. A feeling of relaxation and ease starts the minute you walk through the door. We were given a friendly welcome and a tour of the spa before taking our seats for lunch. The salon and spa offers a variety of treatments including manicures,

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massages, facials, make-up and hair Our lunches arrived soon after treatments, with separate rooms and were spot on. The portion size for each. was just right, managing to avoid The steam room was particularly the overload of bread sometimes impressive, reminiscent of presented to fill out the dish, a wadi, complemented accompanied by a fresh by soft, moodsalad instead. enhancing Eating and gossiping is hard lighting. work, so we were ready to refuel on And so to desserts. The cakes on offer looked the actual so tantalising, even more so when café, which is our waitress informed us that she spacious with had made them herself that a comfortable very morning. seating area and Indecisive as ever, I opted for two walls adorned of the ‘mini cupcakes’, the pistachio with black-andand the red velvet. Andre plumped white photos of for the blueberry cheesecake. classic film actresses, The red velvet cupcake was the including Marilyn Monroe and my best cake I have eaten so far in idol, Audrey Hepburn. I knew I was Oman (and there have been a few). in good company. To that end, we both had one Sparkles also provides laptops more. Well, it would have been with free Wi-Fi, offering the perfect rude not to. place to catch up with emails or At just over nine rials for both simply browse the web. of us, Sparkles is great The lunch menu value for money. VERDICT: featured homemade food, What’s more, hot and cold snacks, the salon and spa 10 and fresh juices made to treatments are also A little gem, order. competitively priced. Sparkles is truly one of a kind. I opted for a tuna We headed home sandwich with chips and both in agreement coleslaw and my friend Andre that we would be back to went for the chicken sandwich with this haven again soon for some the same sides. We both opted for more women-only time and those the lemon mint juice to drink. amazing cakes.

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re c ipe N e w R e s t a u r a n t

CALLING ALL COOKS Y

Make your favourite recipe famous on Mother’s Day.

Ingredients: 4 onions 1 mug of brown lentils 1 mug short grain brown rice 3 mugs water 2 glugs olive oil salt For the salad half a cucumber 4 tomatoes 1 red onion or 4 spring onions 1 small lemon salt Directions: Fry one of the onions and then add the rice, lentils, water salt, olive oil and cover the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer on the lowest heat possible for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the

onions into half moons and fry in olive oil on a low heat for at least 25 minutes until they are brown and caramelized. Now for the salad, dice the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes as fine as you can and throw into a salad bowl. Add a glug or two of olive oil, a ‘Mediterranean’ pinch of salt, squeeze the lemon and crush two pinches of dried mint over the salad. This is a classic Arabic salad, which I learnt from my mum. It’s simple but so delicious! Serve the mujaddarah on to plates, then cover with the fried onions, then the salad. Make sure to get a good amount of the juice from the salad too. Suhtein!

The Polo

www.volkswagen-oman.com Weekly draw dates: February 9, 16, 23 – March 2, 9, 16, 23 ,30 – Monthly draw dates: 2 draws on March 15 – 2 draws on April 15

Offer is valid from Jan 28 until March 27 of 2013. Terms and conditions apply. Specifications & price may differ from model to model. Finance subject to status. Models featured are for illustrative purpose only.

in association with Radisson Blu Muscat is undertaking a citywide search for fantastic family recipes – you know, those forgotten gems handed down through the generations. Unlock your private recipe archives and get a chance to feature the winning dish in one of Radisson Blu’s many restaurants. Then try it alongside your family on Mother’s Day. Send in your entries to hazel.carvalho@radissonblu.com by March 15. This week, Tanushka Marah shares her adaptation of mujaddarah – a Palestinian dish that her father grew up on and now her daughter Amali loves!

News

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For 60 days, Volkswagen is giving YOU a reason to celebrate. Test drive a Volkswagen today and win an instant gift in addition to a weekly draw for Samsung Note 2*. What’s more, buy a Volkswagen and get a great opportunity to be one of four winners of 1,500 Omani Rials cash. To book your appointment, please call 24573727 or SMS Polo to 99825454.

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2/3/13 5:14 PM

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HEALTH& BEAUTY STYLISH SAILING

This season’s statement stripes are the perfect companion to Oman’s sailing events. Worthy staples to any wardrobe – a nautical top teamed with a bright blazer and shorts are cool and comfortable.

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Health

Beauty

FASHION

Classical, preppy and chic, these pieces from Betty Barclay give a nod to this season’s nautical trend.


NAUTICAL BUT NICE The Extreme Sailing Series starts in Oman this week, so raise the sails with seafaring style, says Penny Fray.

M

arine mode seems to be a ubiquitous catwalk trend – and this season is no different with everyone from Michael Kors to Tommy Hilfiger indulging in colourful stripes. While Muscat’s malls are currently overrun with Breton style t-shirts, blazers and anchor-themed accessories, why not add some individual flair to the look by experimenting with shapes, patterns and bold, clashing colours? Try a shot of neon, embrace spots or just keep it preppy by teaming cropped trousers with a classic French top and boating shoes. If you just want to flirt with the boating trend, statement jewellery with sea-themed emblems should do the trick.

Silk Dress, Beyond Vintage – R0160

Hermes’ Clipper Watch Price on request

Leather Tote, GAP – RO52

La Redoute T-Shirt – RO10 www.leroute.com

Ship Shape

Fashion Targets Denim, M&S – RO12

PENNY’S TIPS ON HOW TO INDULGE IN THE NAUTICAL TREND:

1 Riviera chic is one of the simplest everyday styles to pull off as it all starts with a stripy tee – something we all have lurking in the back of the wardrobe. Pair with this season’s must-have – slightly rolled-up coloured chinos with tan or nude coloured heels for extra leg-lengthening power and a nipped-in soft blazer, and your look is complete. 2 Who says you have to wear stripes to embrace Riviera chic? Wear a ’50s-style broderie dress with ballet pumps or a pair of loose-fitting linen trousers and some beautiful gold and aquamarine jewellery. 3 Wear both vertical and horizontal stripes at the same time for a modern take on the sailing look.

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HEALTH& BEAUTY

H ealth

Beauty

Fashion

?

DO YOU WANT

TO EAT

THIS

5:2 is the new weight loss plan that let’s you have your cake and eat it too. Tanushka Marah follows the diet du jour and drops a dress size in less than a month. Find out how she did it … 030

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H ealth

Beauty

Fashion

S

till doing the Dukan? You need to move on to the latest food fad to sweep the country. Not only does it help you lose weight but studies show that fasting twice a week can also help you live longer and protect the brain against illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Based on a book called The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, the idea behind 5.2 is to eat normally for five days, whilst fasting on just 500 calories during the other two days. Eager to drop a dress size and find out what all the fuss is about, Y correspondent Tanushka Marah has a go with her own healthy recipes. Here’s how she got on:

Week 1 It’s the end of my first week on the 5:2 diet and I’m writing this eating a bag of crisps, having just finished a whole packet of biscuits. I feel disgusting. So far, I’m not so sure about this diet, not just because the fast days are really difficult but because all the healthy habits I’ve gently built up over the years have gone out the window. High Point: I do feel clear headed and refreshed when I woke up the day after fast day. It’s a good feeling knowing you have scheduled in two days when your body can have a break from digesting. Low Point: Going to bed hungry is hard. I can’t sleep, so I’ve bought some chamomile tea.

Fast day Menu

Pint of water with half a squeezed lemon: 11 cals Two cups of tea with semi skimmed milk: 28 cals Half a large banana: 55 cals Two boiled eggs and a few slices of smoked salmon: 200 cals One bowl of cabbage soup with smoked paprika, made from fried onions with 1tsp oil, veg stock and cabbage): 200 cals Total: 494 cals Tip: Start the day with a pint of hot water and lemon. It takes ages to drink and decreases the appetite as well as being a cleansing start to the day. Weight loss: 1lb

Week TWO This week has been easier. I have been prepared and bought special foods for my hunger days – but I still think fasting has given me the God-given right to have a croissant. So here I am dunking my French patisseries in a cup of coffee, pretending I‘m skinny, sophisticated and European. High Point: Enjoying some healthy carbs guilt free on my diet ‘off ’ days – Dukan is just sooo 2011! Low Point: Eating a handful of walnuts before checking on the calories and realising I’d used up my lunch quota. There can be no approximating and it’s about calories not health, so ditch the olive oil and open a can of Diet Coke.

Fast day Menu

Pint of water with half a squeezed lemon: 11 cals Two cups of tea with semi-skimmed milk: 28 cals Oatbran, fat-free yoghurt and vanilla: 80 cals Two-egg omelette with courgettes and onions and oregano: 160 cals White fish, green beans, stir fried cabbage with soy sauce: 220 cals Total: 499 cals Tip: Oatbran expands in the gut to give you a feeling of fullness. At only 20 cals a tablespoon this makes a tasty snack once soaked in hot water. I add sweetener and vanilla essence, and serve with fat-free yoghurt – almost yum! Weight loss: 3lb

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H ealth

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Week 3 It’s got hard again and I feel sorry for myself. This is worse than having my legs waxed. It requires great mental discipline and a steely determination to get thinner, so I’m not sure if this diet is a good idea for anyone with food issues. But it’s interesting to think that with food so readily available, we have forgotten how to ride out a hunger pang. High Point: Being asked out to dinner and not having the sinking feeling of eating a day’s calories in one meal. Low Point: I’m hungry!

Fast Day Menu

Pint of water with half a squeezed lemon:11 cals Two cups of tea with semi skimmed milk: 28 cals Three carrots: 24 cals One Ryvita: 27 cals Two salmon fish cakes, half a small jacket potato and long green beans: 410 Total: 500 cals Tip: Skip breakfast and snack on vegetables until dinner. Save at least 380 calories for dinner and have something to look forward to so you don’t have to go to sleep hungry. Weight loss: 2lb

Week FOUR I love this diet and I’m now evangelising to all and sundry until their eyes glaze over. (I was the same when I finished the Dukan diet, begging friends to give up their carbs.) It only takes a compliment to start me off on a monologue about my menu and meal planner. But I’ve done it – I’ve reached my nine-and-a-half stone target. The thrill of being able to ask the sales assistant in Benetton to get me a small size is indescribable (although the material did stretch). I realise that I must be number dyslexic and the calorie counting is a bore so I bought a ready meal for 350 calories. High Point: Four people noticed that I had lost weight and said that my clothes fitted nicely. I can see the benefits and it feels good. Low Point: My friend who was babysitting my daughter whilst I was at evening class thought she’d do a spot of cleaning and cleared up my plate with half my ready meal. I was so upset I scoffed a bowl of cereal and never counted the calories.

Fast Day Menu

Hot water with lemon: 11cals Two cups of tea: 28 cals Three carrots: 24 cals One ready meal: 430 calories Total: 493 cals Tip: Buy a complete ready meal with exact calories and divide it into two meals. Weight loss: 2lb

THE CONCLUSION Next week I’m going on holiday, so maybe I’ll do my own, less draconian version of the diet – the 6:1. But once I’m back, I’ll stick with the 5:2. I’ve grown used to being more relaxed about food five days a week and enjoy the respite of not eating much for two days. I haven’t seen any signs of renewed youth but for now I am happy with the weight loss.

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promotion

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the week

THE FLOWER SHOP L

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ooking for a shop selling sophisticated stuff that you thought only existed on Pinterest boards? Let me introduce you to The Flower Shop. It’s more than just a fabulous florist with super friendly staff – this pretty little pit stop in the heart of Muscat has put the joy back into gift giving. Their carefully curated range of homeware, candles and toys are always incredibly stylish. And thanks to covetable brands such as True Grace, LSA, Bombay Duck and Jellycat, you’ll be the most popular person in Oman– not least because your presents are always beautifully wrapped and delivered by experts. But it’s not just about gorgeous goodies. As any stylish Muscat hostess knows, The Flower Shop is renowned for being at the forefront of fashionable floristry. Selling the crème de la crème of blooms from some of the world’s most exclusive growers, you can guarantee amazing arrangements. After all, their team of international designers have a wealth of experience, helping everyone from brides to big brands realise their vision. Our verdict? This is the place to go when you have something to celebrate or just want to indulge in some retail therapy.

For more information about The Flower Shop in Muscat’s SABCO Centre, call Emma Brown on 00968 99233964 or log on to www.flowers-oman.com

MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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CARS AND OUTDOORS

Heritage Hunter

Travel writer Tony Walsh takes all the photographs for his new book on Oman’s World Heritage Sites

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My Hood

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OUTDOORS

Taking a stroll

through the years

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T has taken him several years and thousands of kilometres of travel to complete what became a very personal journey. Now everyone can follow in Tony Walsh’s footsteps without leaving the comfort of their armchairs thanks to his book, Walking Through History – Oman’s World Heritage Sites. Through a series of stunning photographs, some of which are printed here, he takes the reader on a colourful adventure across the Sultanate. Among the sites he visits, often several times over the years, are Bahla Fort, one of four historic fortresses said to date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, nestled at the foot of Jebel Akhdar, and the ruins of the town of Al Balid (or Al Baleen) in southeast Salalah. “This book has been a part of me for many years. Oman has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but even some residents in Oman are unaware of them and it was this relative obscurity that made me want to give them a little bit more awareness,” says Walsh, who has lived in Oman and the Arabian Peninsula since 1986. The coffee table book, which is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, was originally going to be pictures only but now includes a description and brief history of each site. Walsh, who is director of Panorama Tours Oman, visited every site and took most of the images himself. “In all cases I have been to the sites many times over many years, in remote ones sleeping near them so to maximise my time there. “The photos, most of which have been taken by me, are like familiar friends “It has been an interesting journey.” While the book is a look at Oman’s history, it is also a record of Walsh’s love affair with the country and it’s unique charms. He has travelled through all countries in the Arabian Peninsula and widely elsewhere in the Arab world. With his work, he has led tours and lectured in Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. He has also given lectures for university alumni associations including Harvard and Stanford Universities. A keen photographer, he has had a wide range of written articles published both internationally and locally on Oman. As for future trips, there is one place in Oman that Walsh has yet to visit – the remote Hallaniyat Islands in the south. MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

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New Restaurant

Red Bull Soapbox TEAMS GATHER FOR OMAN RACE - and a flashback to earlier events

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MAR 06 - 12 / ISSUE 260

GALLERY


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MUSCAT HILLS

Golf and Country Club

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hey call the wadi that bisects so many fairways on Muscat Hills Golf Course – Leopard’s Leap. It is a dramatic description, but one that justly sums up the impact of this chasm on the high handicap golfer as he stands trembling on the tee. The carry is not always terribly intimidating, but even if you are only trying to negotiate 120 yards across the deeply inhospitable terrain, it is an effort of will to shut out the consequences of a potential duff shot.
In my case, most of my efforts were more ‘rabbit’s scramble’ than ‘leopard’s leap’, but I somehow managed to steer my ball across unscathed, even picking up a couple of pars on holes on which it features. The terrors of the wadi aside though, Muscat Hills represents a relatively benign challenge, and a highly enjoyable one for the holiday golfer. As its name suggests, the course is a splash of lush green carved into the copper reds and chocolate browns of the hills on the outskirts of the city. Lined with palm trees and exotic flora, it offers picture postcard-pretty views from many of its fairways and tees. The course is woven into a large and stylish development of luxury villas and apartments, but unlike many similar holiday golf complexes around the world, you rarely feel hemmed in or worried about damaging the expensive real estate around you.
Perhaps surprisingly, only around 20 of the club’s 200 members are residents on the development, which has become a popular base for expat workers in Muscat, despite membership discounts of 10 per cent for tenants and 20 per cent for property owners. Members pay RO1400 for a 12-month silver membership, or RO1790 for a gold membership, which includes use of golf carts and the driving range. Golf carts are a bit of a must at Muscat Hills, given the hilly terrain and the gaps between some of the greens and tees. There are no distance markers on the course, but this is more than compensated for by the excellent built-in sat nav screens in the carts, which give you a map of each hole with precise yardages to the green from your position. 
Off the white tees, the course is a relatively gentle 6126 yards, but you can up the ante significantly by playing off the blue tees (6573) or the tournament tees at 6980. The ladies play 5774 yards. The tee markers themselves are in the style of the traditional Omani Khanjar dagger, a neat little touch on behalf of the designers. Designed by Paul Thomas of Dave Thomas Associates, the course

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REVIEW

The gaping abyss of a wadi tames the big cat in Mark Thomas on the testing Muscat Seco in our snd Hills Golf Course. review eries

golf clu ing the bs of O man.

opened in 2010, and hosts around 16-20,000 rounds of golf a year – about 5-6,000 being played by tourists and other visitors. With competitions for members most weekends and a steady stream of weekday visitors, the course is busy without feeling crowded. For a new course, it is bedding in very well, with the fairways in very good condition. The greens have a smattering of sand on them, but play surprisingly fast and very true. The first hole at Muscat Hills is a fairly straightforward par 4, requiring two decent hits down a wide and forgiving fairway to a generous green. But then the fun begins, as you negotiate the winding 505-yard par 5 second. It takes good strategy or a bit of luck to avoid the sand traps, which weave so dangerously into the fairway.
The third is a par 3 of just 176 yards, which would be no problem at all but for the first intervention of the wadi, a deep and imposing natural hazard which becomes all too familiar by the end of the round. And so it continues, with some lovely holes and some interesting tests of golf, all in a really delightful setting. To score well, you will need to position your shots with care, but if you are having an off day, the course is forgiving enough not to spoil your fun or rob you of too many golf balls. By the time you reach the par 4 18th, with the wadi safely behind you at last, your eyes are in for a treat. From the elevated tee, the view down the fairway, with expansive water hazards glistening in the sunshine all down the right, and the hills as a backdrop, is a delight. Muscat Hills already has a small clubhouse with dining area, bar and locker rooms, but work has started on construction of a new clubhouse and a major new hotel near the final green. This addition will provide the perfect 19th hole to relax and reflect on what will have been a memorable 18 holes of golf.

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CARS AND OUTDOORS

Hiking in Muttrah A great day out with breathtaking views lies at the edge of the city, if you pull on your walking boots, discovers Heather Duncan

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he first time I heard about an amazing hiking trail in Muttrah I was a little confused. When the Muttrah area of Muscat comes to mind, your first thoughts are of the famous Souk and the only place I imagined stretching my legs with exercise would be a leisurely stroll around the beautiful stretch of Corniche. I was wrong. There is a hike and an amazing one at that. Oman’s Ministry of Tourism is promoting these kind of outdoor activities for people to get out of their cars and explore this beautiful country. To make it easier and accessible to people, the trek routes can be found on their website. So there really is no excuse not to pull on some sturdy shoes and get hiking. The recent mild winter weather has been perfect for a new outdoors adventure. I found a route on the Tourism Board’s website that was 2.5km long and listed as ‘easy’, which seemed ideal for my first Oman trek. The website advised it would take between one-and-a-half and two hours, so I rounded up a couple of willing friends, packed a picnic and off we went. This particular hike begins from the parking area at Riyam Park, where we hit the first hurdle. Once you are parked, it is not obvious at all where to go. There are steep mountains all around. Luckily, we figured it out and were on our way. The map forgot to mention the part where you should cross the road out of the car park and go up the small hill in front of you. Never mind, we soon put the shaky start behind us and got into our stride. A big rusty diesel pipe running down the hill marked the start of our walk. It would have been easy to miss; thankfully we had a more experienced hiker in our group who worked it out. The old pipeline is a reminder of days gone by when supplies of diesel oil were pumped from a ship anchored in Muttrah harbour.


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We began our ascent, climbing the steep path winding its way up the hill. This initial hike is possibly the hardest part of the entire walk. It was worth every step, though, for the spectacular views. From the top, the next landmark is the distinctive Incense Burner monument, from which the vista stretches out in front of you, shimmering in the sun, the blue of the sky meeting the aquamarine sea offset by the brown craggy rocks. There are ‘flags’ painted onto the rocks along the way guiding you where to go, though some are a little faded so an eagle-eye is advised. The route cuts through a wadi area for a time. This could be quite treacherous if it had rained recently, with bigger water pools and a slippery surface underfoot, so any hiker would be advised to proceed with caution. We stopped for a snack and a well-earned drink of water whilst in the wadi, where you can shelter from the sun. Though it’s rated an ‘easy’ walk, I would personally give it a ‘moderate label. They should really recommend that you wear sensible footwear as it can be pretty steep and there are lots of areas with loose rock underfoot. Perhaps the person who rated it ‘easy’ had the balance and coordination of a mountain goat. I don’t. At times, we found ourselves having to scramble and hold onto higher rocks for balance while moving our unsteady feet down the path. I sensibly wore sneakers, which were perfect for the job. Surprisingly, we only saw two other people during our trek. It seems that people are unaware of this amazing hike in the city and tend to head further out to places like Wadi Shab for their adventure fix. That is a shame. This trek is a little gem, close to home and yet a world away from the frantic pace of modern life. * If you are interested in trekking this Muttrah route and others then you can find and print the route map on the activities section at www.omantourism.gov.om

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REVIEW

Things to remember Sun protection – hat, sun block Water for hydration and snacks for energy Sensible flat shoes Take a mobile phone or tell someone where you are going in case you have an accident Check the weather – make sure that there are no heat waves or heavy rainfall forecast that can make trekking very dangerous from dehydration or flash floods.

Facts A hike can also be called trekking, bushwalking, rambling or backpacking amongst other things from different areas of the world. Hiking can burn more than 500 calories an hour. You are three times more likely to die from a motor vehicle accident than you are to be injured while hiking. Jebel Shams is Oman’s highest mountain at 3,075m high.

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Destination

Delightful Doha

There’s plenty to do in a day in the Qatari capital with ice hockey, gondolas and giant oyster shells, and not a camel in sight, says Kate Ginn

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system, a new network of roads and even an entire new city, Lusail, north of Doha, are going to be built over the next eight years. Not to forget the 12 stadiums, nine of them brand new, which will start to rise from the sand next year. It even has its own version of Dubai’s The Palm – The Pearl, a man-made island development nicknamed the ‘Arab Riveria’ with the city’s most exclusive marina and luxury residences. Preferring the old-fashioned mode of transport, I walked to Doha’s Corniche rather than take one of the official taxis, with their distinctive turquoise livery. Doha literally means ‘the big tree’ and there are some of these down by the waterfront, just don’t expect lush greenery, though I did pass one grand-looking building with an immaculate lawn like a giant football pitch. The Corniche, with its dazzling views of the skyscrapers of downtown Doha across the water and dhow boats bobbing in the harbour, impresses, as does the simple architectural elegance of the Museum of Islamic Art. This spot is popular with families, joggers or those simply seeking a break from the frantic pace of this multicultural melting pot. I got the obligatory photograph posing next to the giant pearl shell on the Corniche and headed off for some retail therapy. There are several good shopping malls in Doha but there could be only one for me; Villaggio. It was a 40-minute taxi drive away but worth the trek. Located in the Aspire Zone, the Doha Sports City complex, which includes the 50,000-capacity Khalifa stadium built for the 2006 Asian Games, the Italianate-themed mall is a must-see. Inside, it’s like stepping into an Italian hill town with the ceiling painted as the sky and a 150-metre long indoor canal complete with gondolas. It’s a surreal experience, especially with the disorientating lack of With many famous

brands from the US, UK, Italian and German markets, and a designer alley with top names on the shop fronts, along with familiar favourites such as Carrefour, a whole day can easily be passed here. I even sat and watched the local junior ice hockey team, the Qatar Raiders, in a practice session at the indoor ice rink. The mall recently re-opened after a fire in the nursery in May last year, which killed 19 people, including 13 children. On the way out, I declined to go up the 300m high Aspire Zone Tower, the tallest building in Qatar, as I’m terrified of heights but I’m told the view is spectacular. As my budget didn’t stretch to food at top restaurant Opal by Gordon Ramsay at The St. Regis Doha, dinner was a very fine salad and bowl of pasta at gourmet deli Dean & Deluca. I didn’t get time to see the Grand Mosque, National Museum, Fort and Doha Zoo, or wander round the Katara Cultural Village, with its brand new opera house and ampitheatre. Children and big kids will also love the Aqua Park, with its slides and lazy river, while cultured types have the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The only camel I saw during my trip was a toy one in the Duty Free at Doha airport but there are plenty of companies offering Desert Safari Tours. Is Doha worth spending a day? Yes, definitely. In fact, it is worth stopping for two. I’m just not sure there’s much to sustain visitors for longer than that, though.

HOW TO GET THERE

travel guide

Doha – worth spending a day?” This was the question recently posed on the travel website TripAdvisor by an American lady who was travelling from New York to Malaysia and had the opportunity to do a 24-hour stopover in Doha but wasn’t quite sure whether to bother. All six replies were of the same opinion: definitely worth the stop. I don’t know if the American traveller took their advice but I did. Faced with a time-critical assignment, I had the urge to spread my wings further than Dubai but not so far from Muscat that my day’s excursion would be spent in airport departure lounges. Doha, ‘the shining jewel of Qatar’, came to mind, being a short hop away but far enough to feel like a mini-adventure of sorts. The fact it has great shopping too clinched the deal. First off, here’s an astonishing fact about Doha, the capital of Qatar. More than 60 per cent of the country’s population, around a million, live in the city or its surrounding suburbs. It’s also the economic centre of the country, which in turn is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Quite how fast the city is growing was apparent when I looked out the window of my hotel room on arrival. Right in front was a huge sprawl of a building site with the yellow skeletons of cranes dominating the skyline, a fleet of mobile cement mixers trundling around and an army of blue boiler-suited worker ants scurrying about to the thud-thud beat of metal on stone. It was just like being in Dubai. This little hive of activity was, I discovered when I tried to sleep that night, a 24-hour operation and floodlit too. How any of the residents in the area got any shuteye is anyone’s guess, but I suppose they are used to it by now. All around, similar work can be seen, evidence of a country in the grip of a construction boom fuelled by the World Cup, which the tiny oil-rich state will host in 2022. Up to RO17 billion will be spent on hotels, leisure, tourism, sports and other projects in the run-up to the World Cup. An entire rail network, a metro

Flying time is around one hour direct from Muscat and several airlines offer the service including Oman Air, Qatar Air and KLM. Other airlines, including Gulf Air, Emirates and Etihad, offer one-stop services, stopping in Bahrain or other cities. Gulf Air fares from RO20 one way. All airline prices vary according to date and time. Cheapest tickets available when booked in advance.

MAR 06 – 12 / ISSUE 260

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EXPLORING

Old Muscat & BUSTAN The Good, The Bad & The Ugly From Al Bustan Palace to Old Muscat is a short drive that takes you through the oldest part of the city. The renovated city walls still stand – in the old days they used to close every night – and more than anywhere one feels the sense of being in a sleepy old port town where life has revolved around the sea for centuries. This is also the centre of royal and governmental power, with the Diwan of the Royal Court, Al Alam Palace and the Ministry of Finance all located here. Old Muscat still has its poor and those who enjoy the seedier side of port life, including barely hidden public drinking. Nearby Sidab has been known among those who live there as the centre for smuggling operations from other countries, hence the presence of the ROP coastguard facility in Sidab harbour.

Living There Finding a property here can be difficult, even though rents are cheap. Old Muscat still has a traditional Omani community with strong connections to the sea and the fishing industry. While many of the old houses have been renovated, it’s charm lies in its lack of new residential developments. Around here, children actually play out on street corners and people walk around the narrow winding streets greeting one another, bringing to mind an older, slower way of life that is missing elsewhere in Muscat. Some expats choose to live in this neighbourhood, which is set among the striking beauty of the mountains and rocky harbour, with access to the sea and a real contrast to the rest of the city. 042

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Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

The LowDown With the Diwan of the Royal Court and the Ministry of Finance here, this is a hub for officialdom, while Al Alam palace is the ceremonial residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said. Old Muscat is just down the road from the fishing community of Sidab, where a fleet of small fishing boats supports the local community that has lived here for generations. The human scale and sense of community here sets it apart from the rest of the city on the other side of the mountains. The locals are generally friendlier than elsewhere in Muscat, although it does have the slightly rough edge of a port town.

Enclosed by rocky peaks, the old town is a treasure trove of history and culture


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My Hood

Why I live here: I live five minutes’ Places of Interest walk from my work. It’s cheap to live For history and culture lovers, Old Muscat offers a rich of palaces, forts, museums and galleries. Al Alam here but close to impossible to find a flat. I find it menu Palace is a prime example of modern Islamic design, built difficult to do grocery shopping because there are at the beginning of the Blessed Renaissance in 1972, while historic Al Mirani Fort gives superb views of the bay no shops. There are lots of cheap restaurants and the – but is off-limits to visitors. The most well-known expat is the British Ambassador’s residence, situated the people are much friendlier than elsewhere in property right above the Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, between Sidab Bustan. The oldest Hindu temple in Oman – a temple the city. It’s a great place to walk around. and to Shiva – is also to be found in the back streets of Old Abdullah Al Busaidi, Bait Al Zubair Museum

Muscat, hinting at the community’s long history here. The newest addition to the great public buildings in the area is the imposing Majlis near the Al Bustan roundabout.

Hang Outs Old Muscat itself does not offer the kind of nightlife or eating options to be found in the likes of Muttrah or Ruwi. There are cheap Omani and Indian restaurants where you can get your kabuli or biryani. For culture, Bait Muzna Art Gallery and Bait Al Zubair museum exhibit interesting modern Omani and international artists, while the latter also offers treasures of Omani heritage – and cappucino. Just down the road by car there is some fine dining to be had at Marina Bandar Al Rowdah’s restaurant, The Blue Marlin, a perfect spot to enjoy a meal or drink, watch boats come and go and to catch a fishing or dolphin-watching tour. Just above the marina is a pretty little park in the shadow of the mountains, an ideal picnic spot. Cross the Bustan roundabout and you can have tea in the ultimate opulent surroundings of Al Bustan Palace Ritz Carlton.

Shopping Pickings are a little thin for the shopper here. Sidab is the place for anything fishing related as well as some handicrafts. And, of course, there is the Sidab fish market where you can find the freshest catch straight from the Sea of Oman. Muttrah Souk and Ruwi are only a short drive away while LuLu in Darsair is the closest for household groceries. MAR 06 – 12 / ISSUE 260

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-FI THE TECH IN YOU

My Hood

Cars

Outdoors

WI-FI

AHOY MATEY!

Extreme Sailing is in Oman and Penny Fray’s going weak at the knees for these sea-friendly gadgets. ANCHORS AWAY This award-winning sonar device displays 3D images of underwater terrain in ‘real time’. As such, it is already proving popular with blue-water yachtsmen who want to explore areas where charts are usually unreliable. There’s also complete forward coverage whatever the hull form, and the screen updates every couple of seconds depending on the range setting. Available from RO 4,000 at echopilot.com

PHONE HOME Keep your smartphone sail proof with Magellan’s ToughCase. Not only is this chic little cover water resistant, shockproof and touchscreen responsive – it also transforms your iPhone into a handheld GPS receiver. Oh, and just in case you get into difficulty at sea, it doubles the battery life of your phone too. Brilliant! Available fromwww.magellangps.com for RO40 GOLD CUP Guess what? It is now possible to drink quality espresso on the high seas. Handpresso’s new thermos flask has a thermometer on top of the lid to ensure that the water is always warm enough for one more caffeine shot. RO20 from handpresso.com

EDITOR’S PICK PICTURE PERFECT Capture all the excitement of the sea with this GoPro Hero 3 camera. Pushing the limits of what’s possible with action photography, this latest Wi-Fi enabled Black Edition is smaller, lighter and much more powerful than previous models. It’s ideal for sailing because the waterproof lens delivers sharp images above and below the water, while wind noise is significantly reduced by its super sound technology. RO 226 from gopro.com

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FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS TITANIC TIME The signature feature of this limited edition watch is an oxidised bezel made from the hull of the Titanic along with modern shipbuilding steel plate from the Harland & Wolff shipyards, where the doomed luxury ocean liner was built a century ago. Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome was the first brand to create deep-black carbon watch dials using genuine coal dust recovered from the boiler room of the legendary vessel. Other distinctive characteristics include hands inspired by the anchor of the Titanic, and small counters and numerals reminiscent of the ship’s steam pressure gauges. Price is available on request. For more information head to romainjerome.ch

NEW! SONY VAIO LAPTOP E SERIES Take care of all your daily computing tasks with this latest Sony laptop. The Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB RAM provides plenty of power for everyday use as well as more demanding applications.

APP OF THE WEEK

Calling all petrol heads! Freemium game Motor World: Car Factory lets you build your own cars, upgrading the facilities as you go. The addiction factor is high as you can even race your Facebook friends.

Store thousands of photos, hours of video, music and more on the large 750GB harddrive. Connect your laptop to a HDTV or monitor using the HDMI port. Ideal for sharing photos and video on a bigger screen with friends and family. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to wirelessly share data with compatible Bluetooth devices. Vaio Rapid Wake lets you put your laptop into a lower power state and, if the laptop is then turned off whilst in sleep mode you won’t lose any data.

THE GIRLY GADGET

Statement brows are back in vogue. Keep yours in tip-top shape with Bobbi Brown’s deluxe slant-tipped tweezer. Crafted by Rubis of Swizerland.

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Outdoors

CARS

Nissan Sentra Engine: 1.8 litres four cylinders Transmission 6-speed automatic CVT Horsepower 130 Torque 128 feet-pounds at 3600rpm

Check this out

Car of the week

Nissan Sentra aims to zoom into the compact sedan sector

Standard and optional features: Electric speed-proportional power steering 12V front power outlet(s) Tilt and telescopic steering wheel Auxiliary MP3 audio input AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo Auxiliary MP3 audio input 4-wheel ABS Front and rear head airbags Dual front side-mounted airbags Child seat anchors Emergency braking assist Ventilated front disc / rear drum brakes Engine immobilizer Stability control Electronic brake force distribution Tyre pressure monitoring

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he battle for the fiercely competitive compact sedan market – the one where most cars in Oman are sold – just got that much hotter with the unveiling of the new Nissan Sentra. Exclusive Oman importer Suhail Bahwan Automobiles has high hopes that the model will be a game-changer due to the new-look Sentra’s upmarket styling and copperbottomed safety standards. Sentra is the new brand name for Nissan’s compact sedan, which, like a much-venerated Japanese imperial line, is now in its 13th generation. Heritage notwithstanding, the Sentra seduces with aerodynamic design, spaciousness, sculpted panels and a front end that widens at the fenders for executive panache. The engine options are 1.6 litre or 1.8 litre four cylinders, with a six-speed, automatic continuous variable transmission (CVT).

And then there are the high-end details that you might expect in a more upmarket model, such as LED head lamps and tail lamps and bespoke interior craftsmanship. The Sentra comes with state-of-theart features including dual-zone climate control, intelligent key with push button start, rear-view camera for parking, and allround connectivity including Bluetooth and satellite navigation. Passengers can stretch their legs in the front and back, with legroom closer to the mid-size sedan norm. The Sentra’s 510-litre boot is enough even for the most indecisive traveller with space for the kitchen sink too. The Sentra has all the standard safety features – ABS, EBD and brake assist – as well as full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Rear drum breaks and rear discs are both options for the safety conscious.


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2/21/13 3:23 PM


Y Magazine #260, 6 March 2013  

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

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