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APR 03 - 09 • ISSUE 264 • WEEKLY

Historic Heroine

The Omani professor who BROKE THROUGH THE BARRIERS And Won Turtle Tours / Classic Cars / Flawless Face Va-Va-Voom Volvo / Entertainment Guide Autism Speaks: Raising Awareness

32 For The Developmental Disorder Boy’s Toys: Tech For Teens Something Fishy: In Seeb



Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week



Are We Eating Ourselves To Death?










Now open! Muscat Grand Mall – First Floor A unique French “art de vivre”


Muscat Grand Mall : + 968 2200 95 83


Team Y have been visiting food markets, sampling Omani honey, fighting colds, learning more Arabic words and scoffing Easter eggs.

GET AN ALPHA GURU Jack Canfield, motivational speaker and author of the global hit Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has just been to Oman. The success coach was in the Shangri-La on Tuesday, sharing his success tips. Here are our top three ‘Jack’ guru-isms: v When you’re nice to people, they want to be nice back to you. v Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it. v Most fears cannot withstand the test of careful scrutiny and analysis. When we expose our fears to the light of thoughtful examination they usually just evaporate.




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

Fast forward W

e are a fast-food nation slowly eating ourselves to death. Health experts say that the diets of children in Oman have deteriorated dramatically over the past decade, leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which put kids at risk of other diseases and shorter lives. The solution is easy – eat less and exercise more. It’s a message that many governments, including ours, have spent vast amounts of time and money repeating, to little avail. Back in the UK, I was hired to dream up and publicise all manner of hip, health initiatives. We brought cool cookery classes to schools, encouraged little ones to grow their own salads and asked famous footballers to endorse exercise classes. It made a difference – but not enough. Even as I’m writing this, I’m re-fuelling on chocolate. Like it or not, we live in a world where everything is moving faster and that means relying on cars, convenience foods and computers. The only answer, in my view, is to go back to basics. And that takes time. Tweet me your views @ytabloid.

Penny Fray

EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi

He’s worked with everyone from Michael Jackson and Whitney Huston to Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani – now the star behind hits such as ‘Lonely’ is coming to Muscat. Win two pairs of tickets to see Akon in concert on April 11 by sending your name and contact details to by April 6. There are further chances to win tickets by following us on @ytabloid and

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eihab Abutaha CONTRIBUTORS Kate Ginn, Joe Gill, Laura Shergold

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

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

APR 03 - APR 09 / ISSUE 264


contents APRIL 03 2013

Features 18 Junk Food Nation Full Fat Diner 22 Omani Pioneer Fatma Salem Seif Al Maamary

Your Oman

10 News

06 The Big Interview Mohammad Al Farei

This Week

08 Voice of Oman Reader’s Letters 10 News Mini Maestros

12 Movies Listing The Place Beyond The Pines 14 This Week Baritone Bryn 16 Gallery Anwar Sonya

Food & Drink 24 Trend How Swede It Is 28 Food Seeb Fish Market 29 Restaurant Review The Golden Oryx




Cars & Outdoors Health & Beauty 30 Fashion True Blue 32 Health Autism 34 Beauty Out Of The Shadows

37 Destination Bar Al Hickman 40 Outdoors Turtley Awesome! 42 My Hood Al Khuwair Part 2 44 Y-Fi Boys Toys 46 Car Of The Week Volvo V40










m www.pizzahut.o X

* Coupon Code PH1F *Municipal Tax, Tourism Tax, Service charge will be extra. Conditions apply.





Tell us about your career in 60 seconds or less I completed my study in Business Management from the UK in 2000, and returned to the Sultanate to work within the corporate sector. It quickly became apparent that there was an opportunity in Oman’s market for professional and credible companies in the marketing and communications field. So in 2003, my goal of establishing Zeenah Group got underway. Today, we have more than 60 staff with a big emphasis on Omanisation and building local talent. It has been an extraordinary journey to have undertaken, one that has been made possible with our talented team who have helped launch and market some of Oman’s best-known brands over the last ten years. You’ve just celebrated your tenth birthday. How does that feel? It feels a little humbling but I’m very proud of our ten-year milestone – it’s a great achievement for everyone at Zeenah. Back in 2003, we were a small team of two with big ambitions and an even bigger vision. What have you learnt along the way? I’ve learnt that every minute of every day counts. Time is a precious resource that should not be wasted. In an industry as dynamic as ours, one cannot afford to be complacent. There are always new things to learn and new territories to tread. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Early in my career, I was told that dreams don’t come true overnight. Only hard work and perseverance can help you achieve the impossible. If you had infinite time and resources – what would you most like to achieve? Oman is a beautiful country and is becoming increasingly visible on the global stage for its bountiful resources, hospitable people and breathtaking vistas. In an ideal world, it would be my vision to continue contributing towards building local Omani brands beyond our borders. How do you relax in your spare time? Being able to stand back and take a break is important for me and for my team. Sometimes this is the best way to objectively think about things without the distraction of the modern business environment. On the weekend it’s very much about spending time with family and friends and it gives me a chance to recharge for the busy week ahead How would you describe yourself in three words? Ambitious, curious and thoughtful. What is your life philosophy? Life is what you make of it.

Mohammad’s top tips to success 1. Surround yourself with the right people 2. Invest in yourself and your people 3. Be focused and build on your strengths


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The Voice of Oman Today’s reader is tomorrow’s leader, says Ali Al Balushi

correspondence AFFORDABLE COMMUNICATON Dear Editor,


have always been eager to discover the secrets behind successful leaders and decision makers. And since I don’t rub shoulders with the likes of Richard Branson and other global leaders, I have to turn to the written word. Through reading biographies and listening to success stories, I’m inspired to energise my efforts and accelerate my thinking in order to shine in the future. Of course, those who’ve made it to the top have a certain je ne sais quoi that, if bottled, would make us all rich. Life is never that simple Nevertheless, I have identified one of the keys that’s capable of unlocking the doors to success – and that key is called ‘reading’. Reading widens the pool of knowledge, energises the thinking process and pushes us towards greater things. There is a saying which I find extremely inspiring and that is – ‘today’s reader is tomorrow’s leader.’ How true. I’ve noticed that successful leaders read on a daily basis even though their lives are hectic. They know that knowledge is power. Besides, it’s an inherent part of humanity to pass on valuable lessons and experiences for the next generation to follow. Man has been doing it since the beginning of time through songs, poems and stories. Now, we are even luckier than our forefathers in that we can open a book, click a mouse or even scroll through our smartphones to find answers to almost any question. In Oman we all need to boost our reading in order to triumph and take this beautiful country to even greater heights. So, what are you waiting for? Start compiling your reading list today.

Next week:Jane Jaffer on inspiring the younger generation


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It is high time that local telecom service providers brought affordable communication capabilities in both voice (telephone calls) and data (internet). Until now, the use of the Internet has been restricted to only a few who could afford what in my view is exorbitant pricing. One can be sure that affordable Internet will lead to more users and volumes which will offset the competitive pricing, benefiting both users and service providers. Authorities seem keen to take the e-route in many areas and encourage the use of e-Governance and IT. The scheme of providing subsidised and free laptops to students is also a commendable initiative. Currently, the Internet has only limited takers despite the huge

MOTHER LOVE Dear ‘Y’ ‘Keeping Mum’ (Y 262) is probably the most interesting read this year. Reading about those women and how they feel about motherhood brought to light a very interesting perspective – something that we don’t come across often. I hail from India, but was brought up in Bahrain by a pair of very open- minded parents. In school, I was a merit student. I always had dreams of getting into marketing, seeing the world, making a huge change, being famous and all that. I got married at the age of 20 – don’t get me wrong, my parents never forced me into marriage. I just loved my husband


Winner! Reply of the Week

potential, because prices are seen to be on the expensive side. One can only humbly request telecom service providers to have some easy, affordable schemes, especially in the wireless 3G areas since all can easily access these. Light users who primarily browse or email and do not indulge in heavy downloading need to be especially considered for longer period subscriptions at affordable prices. With the sad exception of a few places, Internet/broadband connectivity has become affordable in most parts of the world. Inexpensive, all encompassing communication capabilities, which include voice (telephone calls) and data (internet) would usher in positive benefits to everyone’s lives. Thank You,
 S. Rupchand. Muscat

and didn’t want to wait any longer. Today, eight years later, I have three children, who I absolutely adore, and I wouldn’t think twice to have a couple more. People ask me, “So what do you do?” I tell them that I am a housewife with three children. So they ask me, “ So you don’t work?” Seriously? It’s a very strange myth that full-time mothers don’t work. I love kids, always have, always will. I WANT to be recognised as a mother. If I excel, I want to excel as a mother. A few years down the line, at my kids graduation, I want to stand tall and know that I have done well. These are my goals. As soon as I held that baby girl in my arms, that was it for me. I just didn’t want anything else. 
 Aisha Chakraborty, Darsait



Radisson Blu

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


Debate of the Week We asked:

What’s the best thing about living in Oman? Mayuri Sawant Oman is a very beautiful, peaceful and developed place, but what I love best is the cleanliness. Vijayalakshmi Shetty It’s beautiful, lovely, peaceful, friendly, heavenly and yet unpolluted. You can still breathe and smell nature. Andrew Catli Aludino The nature and surroundings are beautiful and incomparable to other Middle East countries. The economy is stable amidst world crisis. Peace and security is never a question. Expatriates and locals live in harmony. And on top of it all, the Omani people are very friendly and hospitable.





SUPER ADVISE Dear Editor, As a mother of twin toddlers, the advice from your Supernanny (issue 263) was much appreciated. She offered the same sort of common sense guidance that my own parents adhered to when I was growing up in the seventies. Sometimes, we are bombarded by so many conflicting psychology books and parenting manuals that we forget looking after children isn’t rocket science. It’s grounded in love, respect and boundaries. Thank you Y for reminding me of this. Best wishes, 
 Katie L, Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Muscat

I'm a reader

This Week’s Debate: If Y could grant you one wish, what would it be and why? Tell us on Facebook.

Faris Ahmed Hakimi, 6 years old was spotted with a copy of Y Magazine in Qurum.

Mohammed Salman Born in Oman. Live in Oman. Forever in Oman. Best Place. Gayathri Menon The unique blend of tradition and modernity makes it such a wonderful place to stay in. The people, their culture and their hospitality – all are major plus points. The mix of cultures creates a bond between people with different upbringings. Its reminds me of my home back in India with a bunch of friends, a little madness, and a dash of life. Shaidul Ikram We get to visit a lot of festivals and enjoy life as much as we want. Rahid Stylesh Designers My birthplace is in Muscat, my education in Muscat, and I’m successfully established in Muscat. It’s really been an honour to live in Oman and having H.M Sultan Qaboos Bin Said as a ruler. It’s the best country to live in. Abhishek Ojha Life is so easy and so great, with a slow-paced way of life. Omanis and expats alike are generally extremely hospitable and they are very open-minded and global-thinking. I was amazed by the diversity of people living in Oman, from many different backgrounds, making for a wonderfully colourful society. Atif Dafedar It’s one of the most peaceful countries in the world and people are very friendly here. I love it! Naeem Manzoor Words are not enough to tell about my second home (Oman). I simply love being here, it’s just awesome and a perfect to live in.


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:

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Gallery I n t e r v i e w

TREE OF LIFE Planting in Dhofar enters second phase


he Environment Society of Oman (ESO) this week launched the next stage of its national tree planting campaign in Dhofar, entitled ‘Let’s Plant One’. The end of the project in April 2014 will see around 12,000 native and indigenous local trees planted in the desert, mountains, plains and coastal areas in Dhofar. ESO is spearheading the safeguarding of Oman’s ecosystem and spreading awareness of the need to protect the Sultanate’s precious scenery. “Our goal is to encourage the people of Oman and its residents to collectively spread the knowledge on global warming and raise awareness of its impact on our planet,” said Dr Mohsen Musalem al Amri, ESO board member. “We want…. to place the Sultanate on the map as a nation paving the path for the protection of the environment and its resources for generations to come.” The Port of Salalah and Ford Motor

PIZZA THE ACTION! W ith aprons and chef heats on, these junior Pizzaiolos seem to have all the ingredients for a future career in the

kitchen. The young ones were not just having fun but taking part in the grand final of a competition organised by Pizza Express at its restaurant in The Wave, Muscat, on Sunday night. As anyone knows, making pizza is a serious business and the winner of this Junior Pizzaiolo title will have proved they have what it takes to keep cool in the heat of the kitchen.


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Words: Kate Ginn

Company Conservation & Environmental Grants fund the Dhofar campaign. Recently the port has begun upcycling oil drums to plant saplings, which in turn are distributed to local schools and public places. HE Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of state and governor of Dhofar, had the honour of planting the first sapling to mark the start of the campaign at a ceremony in Dhofar University.


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

The Place Beyond the Pines An ingenious, multi-layered drama of crime and broken families, Derek Cianfrance’s new film surprises the viewer by changing pace and even genre through its three very different sections. It opens with circus biker Ryan Gosling becoming a father and deciding to rob banks to support his new progeny, whose mother (Eva Mendez) has now moved on with another man. Part two sees Bradley Cooper as the lone good cop in a bad department, who wants to expose the truth if he can face down the ultra-corrupt Ray Liotta. In the final part of the tryptich, Cooper’s druggie son (Emroy Cohen) is hooked on the stuff supplied by wise dealer Dane

deHaan, whose father happens to be the nemesis of Cohen’s policeman dad. The style is film noir, with a dreamy and poetic atmosphere that leads you entertainingly through the complex strands and intermingled fates of the characters. The narrative and pace turn convention on its head with an action-filled opening and then a more intense, slower second half that moves unerringly toward an explosive conclusion. Director Derek Cianfrance is a master of style who delves deeply into the lives of his protagonists, with brilliant writing and strong performances. This is the place that cinema should take us.

PREVIEW Fire with Fire After witnessing a racist murder in a store, fireman Josh Duhamel is sent into a witness protection programme to protect him from a white supremacist killer. Unsurprisingly, he falls for Rosario Dawson, who plays the FBI officer assigned to his case. Bruce Willis does the shouting as the police officer working on the file. By all accounts, it’s a misfire.

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Ava (Mandy Moore) is a psychologist specialising in marriage counseling. Her muscle-bound husband (Kellan Lutz) is in the wine trade. Things go awry when her parents announce they’re getting divorced. The title pretty much tells you what you’re going to get – a romantic comedy with a formulaic and clichéd script that fails to inspire. Avoid.

Love and Honour It’s 1969 and Micky (Liam Hemsworth) is dodging bullets in Vietnam when his GI buddy Peter (Austin Stowell) gets the kiss off from his sweetheart back home. After a close shave for Micky with a shot through the helmet, the pair go AWOL and head home on a quest to get Peter’s girl back. A mix of action and romance appealing to both sexes. Its good-looking cast do the best with routine material.

Himmatwala This remake of the ’80s Bollywood classic stars Ajay Devgan, Tamannaah and a tiger. It’s the story of a village boy who returns to avenge his father, an honest temple priest who witnesses a murder and has to give evidence against a brutal landlord. A tale of revenge and redemption with Devgan doing his own tiger fight.

Y’s TOP TWO Dead Man Down 1

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace is transplanted to New York for this thriller. She chats up her neighbour, nice guy Colin Farrell, and ends up on a date with him. On the way home she proposes he kill the man who disfigured her in a drunk driving accident. This builds up quite nicely but opts for a lazy shoot-em-up finale.


A woman (Bipasha Basu) divorces her physically abusive husband. The man dies shortly afterwards, returning as a spirit to haunt his wife and reclaim their daughter. Atmospheric chiller that rises above spooky clichés, at least for the first half.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK Madea’s Witness Protection 012

Love Wedding Marriage


The Snow Queen

Evil Dead


Retail Therapy

04 Culinary April

If you love shopping then you’ll love the chance to indulge your favourite pastime with your family at this shopping festival organised by Axis events along with Biya & Bini. The action takes place at

Jungle Bahja Hall, Rose Gardens, Qurum, with the retail mania starting from 12pm. Food stalls, dancing, nail art, live singing, face painting and a free kids play zone, plus much more.






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




BOOK IT! Last spring, after a particularly grueling schedule, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow felt fatigued and faint. A visit to her doctor revealed that she was anemic, vitamin D deficient, and that her stress levels were sky high. He prescribed an elimination diet to clear out her system and help her body recover. But this meant no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy - nothing processed at all! To help her heal, the star foodie came up with a collection of healthy recipes, now published her new cookbook ‘It’s All Good’.


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09 16 24


Who needs Master Chef when there’s Chef Oman? Celebrating the Sultanate’s culture through its cuisine, this month long event hosted by the Oman Tourism College, will see gourmands go head to head with the aim of showcasing the best that Muscat has to offer. The cooking competition, which began on Tuesday, will have its first round of eliminations on April 9, with the semi-finals taking place on April 16. The big finale is on April 23. We can’t wait!




A WELSH FORCE OF NATURE Patients With Passports Cheaper travel has led to increasing numbers of people crossing the globe for medical care. Discover more about medical tourism at The Oman International Exhibition Centre Muscat, from April 8 to 10.

The world’s most beloved bass baritone Bryn Terfel brings his sublime voice to the Royal Opera House Muscat on April 7. Okay, I may be a little biased listing a fellow ‘Cymro’ (Welsh person) here, but the renowned singer really is a force of nature. Opera buffs can expect a night of classic music from Richard Wagner to Giuseppi Verdi, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Nader Abbassi.


April April

April 10

Deep Art Don’t miss the launch of Safiya Al Bahlani’s third art exhibition – Beneath The Surface - at the Shangri La’s Art Gallery on April 10, from 7pm.


Make like a goat and start climbing for a good cause. The charity event will take place at The Wall in Al Khuwair on April 11. For an admission fee of just RO4, you can have a totally cool adventure, complete with climbing instructor. The fundraising activity will help support The Children of Jebel Shams, a project set up to promote education and reading in the remote mountainous area. For more information, contact or call 2454 3002.

Let’s Plant One Green is the new black. That’s why we’re excited to hear about this month’s launch of the Let’s Plant One campaign, spearheaded by the Environment Society of Oman. The idea behind the year long initiative is to safeguard the local eco system by planting more 12,000 native and indigenous trees in Dhofar. Find out how you can get involved by logging on to

Get Curated Send your events for inclusion in The Week to

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The What’s On Guide




Photos by:Jerzy Wierzbiecki

thousands visited the Classic cARS festival this week AT lulu hypermarket in BAWSHAR

HH Sayyid Fatik bin Fahar Al Said (left)


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ll u F Fat Soaring rates of diabetes and obesity, children as young as 10 classed as obese and heart disease victims getting younger. The state of Oman’s nation is far from healthy, reports Kate Ginn.


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On the menu today we have:





f you were to use a metaphor to describe the health of Oman’s nation, we are not quite in intensive care yet but the vital signs are not looking good and we are in need of some urgent resuscitation before it’s too late. We are, according to one doctor, sitting on a ticking medical time bomb, which will detonate with devastating consequences if intervention isn’t undertaken to defuse it. The effects will ripple out for years to come, impacting not just on the country’s health system but economic and social stability too. If this sounds alarmist, let the figures do the talking. In 1990, 12 per cent of the population had Type 2 diabetes. By 2011, this had almost doubled to 22 per cent. There are 170,000 diabetics and a similar amount that are not diagnosed, say the Oman Diabetes Association. The International Diabetes Federation goes even further and paints a bleak picture, claiming that by 2030 the rate of diabetes would have doubled in the Sultanate. A further 35 per cent are pre-diabetic with abnormal blood sugar that will, unless they receive treatment, develop into full-blown diabetes. People aged in their mid 20s are being seen with heart disease, and one study found that five per cent cent of children aged between 10-18 years old are overweight and nine per cent classified as medically obese. “Around nine to 11 per cent of children in Oman are classed as obese, which is quite high,” says Dr Fahad al Zadjali, assistant professor in the college of medicine & heath science at Sultan Qaboos University. “Children who are obese are more likely to be obese when they’re older. They are more likely to suffer from health problems. Those who have obesity lose, on average, eight years of their life. “Will there be a big health problem in the future? Yes, it’s coming. Rates for diabetes are going up all the time.” Dr al Zadjali is a working member of the Oman Society of Lipid and Atherosclerosis (OSLA), a non-profit organisation made up of doctors, researchers and other health professionals, formed a year ago which campaigns to raise awareness of the potential problems and health risks, and influence national health care policy. Atherosclerosis is a vascular disease arising from an abnormal thickening and hardening of the arteries. It is caused by the deposit of cholesterol and other fatty substances on the inner lining of blood vessels, especially those in the heart. Due to changes in dietary habits and lifestyle in Oman, the prevalence of atherosclerosis-associated diseases is on the increase. “We are seeing 27-year-olds with heart disease,” says Dr Mohamed al Qafari, a member of OSLA. “It could be they are obese or have high cholesterol. It’s very young to be having problems like this. It is a sign that more work needs to be done.” OSLA held an Obesity Awareness Day on Thursday under the theme ‘To Stop Silent Killer Disease’ and held a 2.5km run on Qurum National Park to highlight the need to work together for a healthier Oman. In 2010, the regional boss for the UN children’s agency, Unicef, described obesity as the one of the biggest problems for young Omanis, along with road accidents. Sigrid Kaag said poor diets were a problem among under-fives, with high levels of stunted growth (13 per cent).

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Childhood obesity is a major public health problem, which is associated with chronic diseases, such as diabetes Type 2, high cholesterol and heart conditions. “Children are leading a more sedentary lifestyle now in Oman and eating habits have changed,” says Dr al Zadjali. “Fast food is replacing fresh food. Sugar is even put in bread now. “Children are not exercising enough or playing outdoors, this is the iPad generation. “These children are learning bad habits and storing up potential future health problems. We have to raise awareness and start educating young children about the need to look after their health. “I think the government needs to really take the fight to obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. “There need to be lectures in classrooms and awareness campaigns. Things are being done but still the government is not pushing.” The signs are that Oman is starting to gear up for the battle ahead. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health’s National Diabetes and Endocrine Centre was officially opened in Muscat last month. It will act as a one-stop centre for diabetic patients, both adults and children, and offer treatment. Around 11 per cent of deaths in the Sultanate are due to diabetic complications, according to the Ministry of Health. Dr Ali Talib Ali al Hinai, the undersecretary for planning affairs in the ministry, told Y Magazine that the war on bad health is being waged on different fronts.

“The Ministry of Health is interested in promoting good health practice and looking at risk factors, such as diet, exercise and quitting smoking. “Modifying lifestyle, even just exercising for 30 minutes a day, such as walking, can make a big difference.” If the health of future generations is to be improved, educating children now is the key, he agreed. The challenge, however, is how do we tempt them away from a diet of burger and fries and computer games, to fresh vegetables and playgrounds? “That is a real problem with children. We need to make them aware about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. We need to have more awareness about the benefit of sport in Oman. “This is something we need to make a habit, part of the culture, from a young age rather than wait until the age of 40 to make changes. “Parents need to be role models. If the children see their mother and father, or older siblings, doing sport and eating healthily, then they will. It conveys a good message to them.” The consensus is that a collective approach, from different ministries and interested parties, is the way forward. Their task is certainly not going to be a piece of cake. “The biggest problem is artificial and processed food and no exercise, a lack of activity,” says Dr Vamsi Krishna, a diabetologist with SUGAR – Apollo Clinic for Diabetics in Ruwi. “I am very disturbed about the age group factor. In India, we would see


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patients aged between 45-55 but in Oman it is fast becoming patients in their 20s and 30s. “Eighty per cent of diabetes is preventable by monitoring diet and exercise. “Childhood obesity is also growing a lot. Many children go to school, go home and then sit and read.” Arabian countries are more genetically predisposed to diseases such as diabetes. Of the 10 countries with the highest rates of diabetics in 2011, six were from Arab countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Oman ranked 12th in the league table. Complications from diabetes can range from problems with eyes and feet, leading to amputations, to kidney and heart conditions. A team from Sultan Qaboos University is about to start work in a joint project with the UAE to study whether childhood obesity means those children will grow up to be obese adults, with all the resulting health complications. This in turn suggest that screening for obesity at an early age may help to predict, and perhaps control, obesity in later life. “There are three easy steps that can be taken to show immediate results,” says Dr al Zadjali. “Stop night-time eating, reduce the quantity of food being eaten and have a high-profile campaign highlighting the need for healthy eating and exercise. “The problem is that these are silent killers we are talking about. “With high cholesterol, for instance, it doesn’t give any symptoms. There is more risk of having a heart attack but it does not show outwardly.” His assessment is that there is still time – just. “It is not too late but we need to start taking action now. We need to do this for our children and for the future.”

230 calories in A small serving of fries


registered diabetics in Oman

12th place.

Where Oman is in the diabetic league table 2011

12.3 per cent of adults with diabetes in Oman

5 per cent

of children aged 10-18 overweight

11 per cent

9 per cent of

of deaths in Sultanate due to diabetic complications

children aged 10-18 obese

1350 calories

in a Big Mac, large fries and a large coke

54g of

fat in a Big Mac meal

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Fatma SALEM SEIF AL MAAMARY was the first person from the gulf to be awarded a PhD. y talks to her niece and biographer Words: Joe Gill Images: Kate Ginn DR ASYAH al bualy



here is a passage in the new English edition of the biography of pioneering Omani academic, Professor Fatma Salem Seif Al Maamary, that gives a clue to the singular personality that lay behind her incredible achievements and iconic status as an Arab scholar. On Fatma’s first day at Cairo University in 1929, she and her fellow students – all male – were invited to meet Professor Taha Hussein, who was also a family friend. “He asked each student what they would like to drink in order to ease the tension which was palpable,” recalls her sister Etidal Salem Seif in the book. “Fatma asked for a cup of coffee, astonishing every person in the room. The office attendant and her colleagues all sent condemning looks.” In those days it was considered improper for a woman to drink coffee in the presence of men, never mind a student to ask for one from her esteemed professor. But instead of retracting her request, Fatma rejected her colleagues’ criticism, saying: “Why are you all staring at me in this way? I drink coffee at home with my father and uncle.” This is only one small example of the way in which Fatma Salem defied the conventions and restrictions of her time to blaze a trail for Arab womanhood in the highest echelons of education in Egypt, the UK and later Oman. Born in a time when most women in Arab countries were confined to the home and educational opportunities were very limited, she led the way for the future generations of Arab women who aspired to become academics and intellectuals, becoming the first person, male or female, from the Gulf countries to earn a PhD. Last week saw the launch of the English edition of a biographical study written by her niece, Dr Azyah Al Bualy, in front of an audience of 300 in Qurum, where Fatma lived for many years after returning from Egypt in 1974. At the event, Najat Salem Rashid spoke of her great aunt’s formidable character. “She was a selfless character who so fundamentally believed in education for all. We feel her uniqueness was to inspire a love of learning. She was a woman far beyond her time. Her achievements are still relevant six decades later. Her traits of pursuit of excellence, service, discipline and quest for knowledge are ones that I strive for today.” The heart of the biography is the testimonies from family members, academic colleagues and other friends on the life of Fatma through her time in Egypt, England and later Oman, where she returned in 1974. As Dr Al Bualy explained to Y, the book “has a flavour for an ordinary reader, not just an academic readership. That is why I interviewed a variety of people who knew her, her

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neighbours and students, to give a genuine picture of this woman.” One of the people interviewed was the Minister of Higher Education, HE Dr Rawya Saud Ahmed Al Busaidi, who was Professor Fatma’s niece. For Dr Al Bualy, importance of the English translation of her book, first published in Arabic in 2006, is clear. “The Arabic edition of the book was very renowned. In fact it created a lot of awareness about Fatma Salem throughout the Arabic world, including giving rise to the award she received posthumously in Syria in 2008. “We are talking about an Omani symbol who carries a lot of weight, historically and culturally.” In her book, colleagues and family members describe Fatma Salem as a dedicated, selfless and even romantic person who cared deeply for those around her, playing a major role in raising her siblings and exerting a powerful influence on the children of the family, including the author. Dr al Bualy recalls being told the importance of books and reading by Fatma, who she thought of as her grandmother, in no uncertain terms when she was very young, a lesson she never forgot. “Many people, not just British but English speakers from other countries, will read it and come to know about her life and what she symbolises. It will correct a lot of notions and ideas about the Arab world and Arab women, in particular women in the Gulf. We are talking about a women who was completely exceptional in the early 20th century. It is very important to emphasise this idea and to show the world that this is a symbol for Arab women. “Not only that but she has encouraged a lot of women who are not stereotyped, who are educated and forward looking, also for the coming generations, they are going to be proud of her and inspired by her as an Omani woman. Fatma came from a prominent and wealthy Zanzibari family who valued education and intellectual achievement. Her father and his brother wanted to educate their children – not least their daughters – in the heart of a culturally rich Arab society, and that meant moving to Cairo. She arrived by steamer in Port Said with her father in 1918. In 1927 she was among the first group of eight girls to receive her Baccalaureate Certificate from the Sanniyah School in Cairo, the first secondary school for girls in the Arabic world. This was just one of many firsts for Fatma. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Classical Studies Department of the University of Egypt in July 1933. Deciding to teach, she graduated with a Diploma of Education in 1937. Then, in May 1942, she was awarded a Master’s degree from the Classical Studies Department of King Faud I University. It was at this point that she applied for a permanent position as a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts. “She was a pioneer – a lot of highly intellectual, cultured

and educated women in this and the coming generation can be very inspired by this symbol,” says Dr Al Bualy. Fatma was never to marry, something referred to by a number of the friends and family interviewed in the book. “Whether or not she had [a man in her life] is a secret that was buried along with her,” says her younger sister Etidal. The author adds her own insight on this subject: “She was totally loaded with responsibilities of the rest of the kids in the family. She was a very strong and confident personality and was totally occupied with her career, so some men might have been intimidated by her,” explained the author. Of course, the fact of her not marrying would probably never have been raised had she been a man. In the early ’50s she went to the UK on a scholarship to pursue her doctoral thesis, completing her dissertation in Latin on Juvenal’s Satires in 1955. She returned to Egypt where she continued lecturing and publishing in Cairo and Alexandria until she retired in 1973. Alexandria was once the home to the ancient world’s most famous library until it was destroyed by invaders some 1500 years ago. Later it was Arab Islamic scholars who preserved and revived Greek knowledge through their translations of ancient Greek texts (eventually transferring this lost cultural world to Dark Ages Europe). In a remarkable turn of the wheel of knowledge, Fatma Salem’s research on Roman writer Horace’s The Art of Poetry was included in a paper to mark the opening of the new Alexandria Library in 2002, the year of Fatma’s death. Fatma discouraged her niece from writing this biography when she first started working on it in her ’20s, saying: “There will be a day when my biography will be documented, even if it is a century after my death.” In her own moving ‘ A Message of Love’, Dr Al Bualy talks of the two women’s common zodiac sign of Pisces, birthplace in Zanzibar and schooling, and asks: “Were you determined to create a similar version of yourself ? Or is it my subconscious desire to formulate myself into another Fatma Salem?” Dr Al Bualy’s motivation in writing the book was not just a love for her remarkable aunt but a passionate desire to preserve those values she represents – “ethics, being genuine, honesty. You find a lot of people now who want to creep on top of other people’s efforts – opportunists. If you look at it, older generations were different.” With this new edition she has moved closer to fulfilling her wish that Fatma Salem should “remain a symbol that deserves to be revived in all times. In particular in this own deficient time of ours.” This testimony and work of love is now there to be read by Arabic and English speakers alike.

  

Diabetes can lead to long term health complications like heart attack, kidney failure, brain damage, blindness and foot problems. Treat Diabetes and protect your future. 

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APR 03 – APR 09 / ISSUE 264


food and drink


New Restaurant



It all started with the rise of Ikea and cult TV programmes like The Killing. But now, fashionable foodies are becoming increasingly curious about Scandinavian culture – particularly the fanaticism about fika – otherwise known as coffee breaks with yummy treats such as cinnamon rolls, rusks and sweet, yeasted breads called vetebrod.

The backlash against bold, bright colours has begun as simple, Scandinavian styles make a come back in the kitchen. According to Omani interior designers, natural woods and matt paints in neutral shades like cream, grey and oatmeal are all the range at the moment. To make the space less austere and more welcoming, try mixing little humorous touches like Moomin mugs and funny-faced fishes. We love these understated accessories from Debenhams in Dubai.


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This Forhoja kitchen trolley is a great space saver. RO50 from Ikea.

Scandinavian design is known for its simplicity – from Ikea furniture to Bang and Olufsen gadgets, Penny Fray celebrates the revival of Nordic interiors with a twist.


kay, I admit it. I’m nutty about all things Nordic. From wistfully scrolling through Ikea’s online catalogue to drooling over True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard, I have a soft spot for Scandinavian style. So, imagine my delight to discover that unfussy, natural interiors are back in vogue. But in 2013, it’s less about the crisp, clean lines of 1990s and more about a raw simplicity that oozes organic modernism. Think uneven slate floors, ceramic crockery and wooden furniture that look like it’s been handmade. In other words, don’t bother turning your home into a sterile, white gallery. These days, it’s all about looking subtly homely. The first port of call for neutral pieces mixed with whimsical accessories is Ikea. The global phenomenon is yet to hit Muscat but is currently available in Dubai and online. Here in Oman, European brands like Zara and The White Company offer a similar look but at a slightly higher price. When it comes to the kitchen and dining room, look for plain plates, quirky shaped glassware and natural materials like linen, cotton, wood and rope – but give it an updated edge with brass lighting and humorous prints. Want designer looking cutlery for less? Try Zara in Muscat City Centre. I love the restrained design of this set for RO65

Cute candle holders from Nordic House. RO6.

I’m a bit Moomin mad at the moment, so naturally, I love this cake platter from – RO 32.

These basket weave place mats from The White Company in Muscat City Centre are tres chic and cost only RO14

Matalan at Markaz al Bahja stocks expensive looking ceramic dishes for less.

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food and drink


New Restaurant




Seeb’s fish market is gritty and unpolished. Penny Fray walks a fine line between what’s hot and not in the latest fad for buying fresh seafood.


t’s something that my mother still laughs about – the day she duped me into eating fish. I was nearly five years old and going through a faddy food stage. Back then in the UK, news stories about mad cow disease and dodgy eggs had scared me, so I insisted in being told the provenance of everything I consumed. I wish I hadn’t. I liked fish cakes but had a horrid feeling that those golden discs of yumminess, carefully


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balanced on a mound of fluffy mash, weren’t quite what they seemed. Being Venetian, my grandmother had a habit of buying everything fresh and I had made the mistake of wandering into the kitchen when a fish’s head was being lopped off. I made the connection and wasn’t happy. “Where’s this from?” I demanded when a fishcake landed on my plate. “I’m not eating anything that comes from the sea. Honestly, if it has eyes, I can’t eat it.”

“Darling, it came straight from the freezer,” replied Mum. I believed her. And hailing from an era where everything was vacuum packed and pumped full of preservatives, 30 years on, I’m still squeamish about eating anything fresh – particularly fish – you know – the kind with heads, tails and scales still on. So, wandering towards Seeb to find the ‘famed’ fish souk wasn’t the ideal assignment. Friends had mentioned that it was an interesting

Trend ‘alternative’ to Muttrah’s market and was close to the office. I needed to fill the food section, so off I went to investigate. I only had to see the nets lying on the beach, circling cats, screeching birds and the faint whiff of sea to freak out. It was already feeling a tad too ‘real’. But the mission came to an abrupt halt when, en route, I stumbled across the bird market with pathetic bundles of feathers stuffed in cages. Suffice to say, I won’t be eating chicken anytime soon, not unless the overly gritty image is wiped clean from my brain. Nevertheless, for the braver foodies among you, Seeb certainly offers an authentic experience in buying fresh ingredients. There are no snap happy tourists and it feels a little rougher around the edges than Muttrah – but get to the market early enough and, I’m told, you’ll find the freshest catches straight from the boat. It’s the best way to buy fish, say chefs. And it’s even better if you buy straight from the fishermen who caught it. Not only is it cheaper but it’s also very cool. You’ll know the provenance of the produce and have peace of mind that your money is going to sustain a small family business rather than a large supermarket. There are similar opportunities elsewhere in the city, Muttrah of course, being the most famous fish stop. Fishermen in the Azaiba beach area may also sell their daily catch to you. But wherever you go, expect an experience that’s a little richer than just grabbing a bag from the freezer.

New Restaurant

MINI TUNA BURGERS WITH BITE Ingredients: 2 x 300g packs of ready to bake mini paninis 500g tuna 4 salad onions, thinly sliced
 2 tbsp sesame seeds
 20g of fresh coriander, finely chopped
 2tbsp extra light mayonnaise
 4cm piece cucumber, thinly sliced
 2tsp wasabi paste

 Method R Bake 12 panini in a preheated oven, set to 220°C, gas mark 7, for 5-6 minutes, then allow to cool. 
 R Meanwhile, prepare and cut the tuna into large chunks, place in a food


processor and pulse until roughly minced. Transfer to a large bowl. 
 R Stir in the salad onions, one teaspoon of the wasabi paste, the sesame seeds, coriander and seasoning. R Use damp hands to shape the mixture into 12 burgers. R Preheat the grill or barbecue, then cook the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Remember, when preparing a barbecue, make sure the coals are glowing under a thin layer of ash before cooking. R Combine the mayonnaise and remaining wasabi. Split open the paninis and fill with the burgers, cucumber and wasabi mayonnaise. R Serve with fresh salad leaves.

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food and drink


New Restaurant


LIVE IN COLOUR ANWAR SONYA’s new exhibition opened at the beirut bank in ghubra this week

Anwar Sonya discusses his work with HE Youssef Jabre

Anwar Sonya Photographed by: Jerzy Wierzbicki

The Venue

Monique Helou and Alia al Farsi

HE Youssef Jabre, consul of Lebanon, opens the exhibition


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review N e w R e s t a u r a n t


It may be a destination restaurant but Joe Gill was less than impressed by the blandness of The Golden Oryx.



Info Box

Contact Number: 24706128 / 24702266 Address: Al Burj Street, Ruwi. Web Address: Opening Times: Sat - Thurs 12pm - 3pm / 7pm – midnight; and Friday 1pm-3.30pm / 7.30pm - midnight. Average meal price (for two): RO16

t is a fixture on the Muscat restaurant scene. Situated in the damning score – but, having tasted them myself, I could not disagree. VERDICT: Mumtaz area of old Ruwi, The Golden Oryx has that oldThere was nothing distinctive about the dish. Decent Szechuan noodles fashioned vibe of a traditional Chinese restaurant, thanks to its a kick and the spice brings out the flavour of the vegetables, meat 10 have red and gold ornamentation, dark woods and lanterns. The staff, and noodles. In this case, each seemed to drown out the other with Disappointing however, are mostly south Asian. disappointing, slightly gritty, results. The Oryx has a reputation for being one of the best eateries in town. Over lunch we discussed our favourite kinds of food: that sort of All the guidebooks rave about its sumptuous décor, impeccable service Asian cuisine which explodes in your mouth with fresh ingredients and and yummy Asian fare, so I was eager to visit. Unfortunately, we spices that bring the whole thing to exciting life; or wonderful homewere there for lunch and we didn’t have long. cooked style food that makes you think of a mother, making The menu was divided into Chinese, Thai and Mongolian favourites dishes with love for the whole family. Barbecue. This was a little surprising as I assumed it would Unfortunately neither could be found in the dishes we ate be Chinese only. at the Golden Oryx, which is in need of some burnishing My associate and I shared a vegetarian dim sum to bring back the shine to its name. I had better noodles at starter. The waiter told us we would have to wait 10 the takeaway place in the Grand Mall the next day. minutes for these, which was fine because it indicated freshly cooked fare. I have fond memories of eating dim sum in a couple of really good Chinese restaurants in London. When good, these little parcels of flavour and texture are the perfect appetiser. For mains, we ordered Szechuan stir-fried noodles with mixed ingredients and one of the house specials – Golden Oryx noodles – which consisted of spinach and crab meat in a white sauce with thick noodles. All the dishes came at once, as requested. The starter did not taste as fresh or flavoursome as I had hoped. There was something tired, almost overcooked about the vegetable mixture in the neat little packets. As for my mains, the crab and the spinach offered an interesting mix of flavours, but the whole was somewhat sloppy and again, did not have that much zest or vitality. The noodles were overly soft for my taste. Still, I was hungry and enjoyed them. I asked my lunch mate what he thought of his Szechuan noodles. I had taken a mouthful and did not think much of them. He ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ for ages, so I pressed him for a verdict. He settled on 5.5 out of 10, which was a pretty


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HEALTH& BEAUTY Get preppy by layering different shades of blue. We love La Redoute’s classic take on the jeans and blazer look.


Blue is this season’s key colour – whether deep and denim or light and bright – you need to buy something in this brilliant hue.


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Inspired by a clear Omani sky and sun-kissed sea – blues of every hue are in fashion this season, says Penny Fray.


icasso dedicated three years to it, while designers have devoted several seasons to the shade du jour. We are, of course, talking about blue. Forget black. This is now the fashion forward’s go-to colour. Whether it’s cobalt, navy or powder pastels, we’re all feeling a little blue at the moment. And with everyone from Stella McCartney to Christopher Kane investing in the happy hue, the high street is fast following suit with a range of dresses, jeans, tops and blazers in the classic colour. Lively yet ladylike, it is the easiest of the brights to wear to work. Embrace it in print, stripes or even block form for maximum impact. Chambray is also seeing a revival this year from its heyday as a work wear staple of the 1900s, thanks to everyone from Marc Jacobs to Tibi. Ultimately, though, our heart belongs to the ultra-modern metallic interpretation seen at both Burberry and Proenza Schouler.

The biker is back and it doesn’t get cooler than this blue version from La – RO30

Obvious ‘it’ bags are a bit passé. If you want a designer brand that oozes class, try Sophie Hulme. This top tote is available from Harvey Nichols in Dubai for RO350

Tiffany blue is our favourite shade – that’s why we ‘heart’ these luxe shades from Dar Optics. Price available on request.

Metallic – tick. Blue – tick. And available on the high street – tick. Fashion forward shoes from H&M at RO25 Not all Missoni pieces are striped. We love the simplicity of this cashmere scarf – from RO117

This maxi dress from Monsoon is so versatile. With the right accessories, it can be worn either night or day. RO117

She Wore Blue: Penny’s guide to wearing fashion’s most conservative shades. 1 Update the look by wearing it in metallic form. 2 Colour block brighter blues with neutrals for a subtler interpretation of the trend. Otherwise, coral makes a gorgeous accent shade. 3 If you don’t want to embrace blue in your clothing, try a pop of electric liner on your eyes. It’s tres chic.

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H ealth





Unable to find the specialist care her autistic son needed, May Ibrahim opened up her own centre to help him – and it seems to be working, reports Kate Ginn


n her imagination, May Ibrahim had pictured her young son all grown up and fulfilling the expectations she once had for him, pursuing education, a career and his own family. Like most mothers, she had such ambitions for him – and the prospect of watching him achieve them would be her own personal success. Her son is now nine and all those dreams have been shattered. Everything changed when Bassil was diagnosed as autistic shortly before the age of two, after a long battle with the medical profession. He needs almost constant care, unable to speak and reliant on others for even the most basic needs. “When I was told Bassil had autism, like somebody had told me your son is dead. It was almost like grief,” says Ibrahim.


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H ealth “Although I knew something was wrong, it was still devastating. “All my big dreams for my son were gone. I wanted him to be cultured, well educated and have his own mind. I wanted him to be a good speaker and learn three or four languages. “So it was a real shock, I lost all those hopes. It was a disaster for me. In a way, I could have coped better if it had been a physical problem.” The extraordinary bond between mother and son is evident to anyone who sees them, forged in the most difficult of circumstances. Ibrahim had suspected something was wrong with her firstborn when he didn’t respond to his name and avoided eye contact. When he stopped speaking the few words of language that he had learnt at 18-months-old, she sought medical advice. Doctors insisted there was nothing amiss. Unconvinced, she left her husband in Oman and went to Egypt for advice, where a psychologist diagnosed him as autistic. “Afterward, I spent two years looking for a magic pill that would make Bassil better,” says Ibrahim. “I went to every doctor and tried anything if someone told me it might help, even oxygen therapy. I paid all my money for doctors and therapists and he still wasn’t improving. “I was desperately searching. I wanted a miracle. I wanted him to wake up and stop being autistic. “It took me a long time to accept that he will always be autistic. All I could do was give him tools to manage his life the best we can.” Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterised by social impairment, communication difficulties and repetitive patterns of behaviour. Autism or classic ASD is the most severe, while at the other end of the spectrum is a milder form known as Asperger syndrome. At its worst, children can be locked in their own worlds, unable to communicate or engage with life around them. The exact cause of the problem, which mostly affects boys, is still not known. All Ibrahim knew is that she needed to get her son help but on return to Oman, was unable to find anything geared towards his particular needs. So, with the assistance of a bank loan and a heap of determination, she decided to set up on her own and, a little over two months ago, the Autism Complete Therapy centre (ACT) was born. Based in Al Khuwair, the private centre has seven to eight children, whose parents pay for the unique expertise. Ibrahim, who gave up her career as an architect to care for her son and also has a healthy three-year-old, Maya, uses a picturebased technique she discovered online to enable children with autism to communicate their needs and wants. “After three or four months, he started to say a few words. He can now say ‘baba’ and ‘mama’ and his sister’s name. “I am teaching him to write using the iPad. “I made him a soft book with the all the items that he knows and we take that everywhere. “I am training other people in the system so that it can become common practice in Oman. I believe it works. “With autism it takes time. It can take years



just to get eye contact or toilet training.” There are no official statistics on children with autism in Oman and just 450 or so caes registered with the authorities but it is believed there may be as many as 4,000 autistic children in the country, many of whom are undiagnosed. Looking after Bassil is a full-time job, requiring patience and dedication, and the support of her husband. “It isn’t easy to have such a child. It’s very hard and can be very depressing. “I don’t have a social life or a career. “Bassil can get very frustrated if he can’t communicate and screams. His sleeping pattern is still bad.” World Autism Awareness Day, which was held on April 2 aimed to shine a light on the disorder. “Physically, my son looks perfect, autistic kids seem very normal,`’ says Ibrahim. “There needs to be more awareness about autism in Oman. I have kids coming to the centre who are five years old and still not speaking but the parents are in denial about the problem. “There needs to be more understanding about autism in general. I don’t want people judging my son for being different.” Now, Ibrahim’s hopes for her son are simply that one day in the future he will be able to lead an independent life of sorts. “I want him to be happy. I want people to accept him for the way he is. “Do I still hope that one day he will be able to say to me ‘Mama, I Love you’? Yes, I do. “But although Bassil cannot express how he feels speaking, he can say it with his eyes, He has his way to show me that he loves me.”


 Autism now affects 1 in 88

children  Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism  Cause of autism is still uncertain, although studies of people with the condition have found irregularities in several regions of the brain  Symptoms general appear before the age of three  Early indications can include no response to name, poor eye contact no smiling or social responsiveness and no single words by 16 months old  About 40 per cent of children with autism do not speak  Prevalence of autism has grown steadily over the last 20 years  Children with autism do progress – early intervention is key  There is no cure for Autism but it is treatable Source: National Autism Association APR 03 - 09 / ISSUE 264






OUT OF THE shadows Celebrity make-up artist Vimi J shares her secrets on perfecting darker skin tones with Penny Fray.


t this time of year, make-up trends usually revolve around pretty pastels and dewy finishes, but this season, it’s all about a more polished take on barely there beauty. Muted colours like taupe, coffee and beige were all seen on the catwalk shows of Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung and Diane von Furstenberg. The ’70s inspired look was also spotted at Gucci, where models wore coppery shadow around the eyes, and showcased highlighter for a golden shimmer on the cheeks. It’s a trend that perfectly suits women with darker skin – but a flawless face can be tough to perfect in a hot, sun drenched climate like Oman, according to celebrity make up artist Vimi J, who represents M.A.C in the Middle East. “Women who live in warmer climates tend to get discolouration of the skin,” she says. “The heat of the sun can cause uneven pigmentation and darker skin around the eye and chin areas. Fine lines is another problem. Concealing darker skin is almost like searching for the holy-grail.”

Here, Vimi takes you through her successful six-step technique on how to even out and conceal darker skin tones: 1 Apply a generous layer of M.A.C Fix + Infused with vitamins, minerals and a calming blend of green tea and chamomile, it adds much needed radiance to parched skin. 2 Massage a mineral charged gel into your face. “The key to beautiful skin and longevity of make up is to use a water based moisturiser, and use a fluffy buffing brush to get it into the skin,” adds Vimi. 3 Apply an orange toned corrector under the dark area

of the eyes and blend well using a tapered blending brush. “This neutralises the blue tinge that darkens the skin. Then,

add M.A.C’s NW35 Studio Moisture Cover Concealer over the orange corrector to warm up the under eye area and stop any greyness from coming through.” 4 Using your fingertips, warm up the NC42 Studio Finish

Concealer and apply it over your under eye area as this will seal the other products and bring your concealer back to your own skin colour. This will also prevent any fine lines

from occurring under the eyes. 5 Apply a long wear foundation in a downward motion using a foundation brush. Choose a shade of foundation closest to your warmer skin tone. “The key is to look like you’re not wearing makeup,” explains Vimi. 5 Using a large angled contour brush, apply M.A.Cs

Coppertone and Pink Swoon Powder Blush along the cheekbones and the apples of the cheek. This creates dimension to the face, says the expert


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Editor’s Top


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rid of super stubborn dark circles. Plumping hydration makes thin eye areas appear less transparent while a cooling massage tip refreshes tired looking eyes. 2 Help conceal the signs of fatigue with YSL Touche Eclat. Apply underneath the eyes and darker areas of the face.

3 M.A.C Pro Longwear Foundation gives up to 15 hours of wear – even in hot climates.

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My Hood





Dunlins fly close to the shore on the Bar Al Hikman peninsula, a paradise for bird watching

APR 03 - 09 / ISSUE 264



Destination Bar Al


Leave the world of high dunes and desert to visit the vast tidal flats of this stunning bird sanctuary. Words and photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki


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flock of dunlins. These birds are much more timid than the seagulls and it was difficult to get close enough to them even with a very long lens. I took several hundred pictures but I was happy with just three of them. In the afternoon, I decided to explore the western part of the Hikman peninsula. I stopped the car for a short break and dipped my aching body into the warm sea. After a hearty campfire lunch, I drove back to Filim. I parked by the fishermans’ huts. The water in the shallow bay was completely out, ideal for taking close-up photographs of the birds. The weather was perfect for this kind of assignment – bright but with not much contrast. In that moment I had no idea that the biggest achievement of the day was just ahead of me. I moved quickly to the dry seabed and saw a flock of flamingos several hundred meters away. I needed to get closer to them. Flamingos are very shy and very difficult to approach. One group of birds flew off when I tried to get closer to them. I used some sea plants to hide behind, so the other group did not see me. I moved in and was less than 40 metres from the birds, closer than I had ever been. The flamingos saw me so I slowed down dramatically. Suddenly the birds started flying straight in my direction and I began taking pictures. My camera’s viewer allowed me to see these exquisite creatures at an exciting angle, taking in the fine detail of their bright pink wings. The colour of the seabed in this place is very dark and contrasts with the brightness of the flamingos’ plumage. The birds landed 100 metres behind me. I check the settings on my camera and continued chasing them. With several hundred photographs – all taken with a 500mm telephoto lens – I had all I needed and headed back to the car feeling visually full and more than satisfied.

travel guide


am standing on a beautiful, white sandy beach in Bar al Hikman, with a crystal clear view of the azure sea that stretches far towards the horizon. There is a feeling of infinite space here. The peninsula is incredibly flat, so there seems to be nothing between you and a vanishing point. But appearances can be deceptive. This area also boasts hundreds of kilometres of perfect white beaches, some of which are home to a rich variety of bird species, including flamingos. It’s an amazing place. I had come from the small town of Hijj, where I stocked up with supplies and refueled the car. At the village of Filim, a well-known bird-watching spot, I stopped and waited until the tide went out so I could take some photos of the birds feeding in the shallow waters. The distance from the asphalt road to the end of the Hikman peninsula is around 45 km. I started off driving on a track road but around 10km before reaching the beach, I found myself gliding over virgin sands. I stopped my car on the beach an hour before sunset and looked for the best location for the next day’s bird shoot. I established a small beach camp behind two dunes, and prepared some food and a big cup of strong tea before going to sleep. The next day I woke early and, after a strong cup of coffee (I can’t do anything without a caffeine hit), I drove down the beach in search of birds. Around 15km from the small fishing harbour, I found a big concentration of seagulls perched on a small, sand island just 300-400 metres from the shoreline. The tide had started to go out and the water was shallow enough to approach them. Surprisingly, the birds didn’t take fright until I was about 50m from them. Then suddenly they flew off but not before I took some great shots. Back on the beach, I quickly moved behind a

Bar Al Hikman is some 500km from Muscat. Take road 32 to Sinaw, where you can refuel your car and continue the journey to the small town of Mahout. In Mahout turn toward Shennah. After 12km you will reach the town of Hijj. In Hijj there is a small roundabout with a road signed to Filim (20km from Hijj). Four kilometres after Hijj, turn right into the desert. Reduce the pressure in the tyres due to the sandy surface and go straight south into the Hikman Peninsula. A 4x4 is really needed there. Keep on the established track. In some parts of the Hikman there are salty basins (‘sabkah’), where the ground is very unstable, making driving difficult. GPS location of the beach on Hikman: N20’23’3 E58’20’33 APR 03 – APR 09 / ISSUE 264



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TURTLEY AWESOME Seeing a baby turtle come into the world on a beach in Oman was a magic experience for Laura Shergold.


e heard them before seeing them. Into the absolute quiet of the night there was the sound of something scraping gently against sand. Then silence. We stopped, hardly daring to move in case it somehow broke the spell. Then it started up again, the same noise echoing into the stillness. Our guide asked us not to make a sound as we drew closer to the source of the noise. Then we saw her, a female green turtle laying her eggs and using her flippers to bury the precious beginnings of life in the sand. She was enormous and, by covering her eggs, had made a little pit for herself. We couldn’t see the tiny haul. Mum had covered them, but our guide told us they looked just like white golf balls but were soft in texture. I felt so privileged to see her laying her eggs in front of me. It was a particularly special moment for me, as I had wanted to visit the turtle reserve of Ras Al Jinz since I arrived in Oman some months back. Admittedly, I have been lucky enough to see the odd turtle around the coastline of Muscat, but this, I knew, was going to be something extraordinary. The opportunity to see these wonderful creatures of the sea nesting on the beach was not to be missed. Ras Al Jinz reserve is around 200km from Muscat, and approximately 60km from the charming fishing village of Sur. Located in the Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve on the eastern shores of the Arabian peninsula, 040

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the reserve was established by Royal Decree in 1996 and is world renowned as a major nesting site for the endangered green sea turtle. Its aim is simple – to conserve the natural habitat of the turtles and hatchlings from dangers such as poachers and litter. Strictly speaking, the time to see turtles nesting is between June and September, however, more than 20,000 female turtles return to the beach throughout the year to lay their eggs, so there is always a chance you will be lucky enough to catch a glimpse out of season. My husband and I had opted to reserve tickets for a night-time turtle viewing, which was due to start at 8:30pm (early morning guided tours are also available on a daily basis). We decided to make a road trip of it, and left Muscat early morning so we could fit in some sightseeing on the route down, arriving at the reserve around 7pm. This gave us enough time to look around the turtle museum. The museum is not solely dedicated to the sea giants but also features lots of interesting information on archaeological findings in the local area. One word of warning here though – entrance costs differed in price from those advertised on the reserve’s website (RO1 for adults, free for room guests). We also experienced this in the reserve shop, with the assistant charging us more than the advertised cost of some items, stating that the prices had since changed. My advice is to check prices before you buy. The reserve operates a policy that payment for tour tickets are not taken until the guides are certain there are actually turtles on the beach. This is good as it means no turtles, no payment, but should also act as a reminder to manage your expectations if going to the reserve out of season -there is always a chance the tour won’t go ahead if there is a no show from the green stars of the tour. Around 45 minutes later and we were finally given the green light – turtles had been spotted on the beach. A mad rush to buy tickets ensued and then we were split into groups and allocated guides. Our guide, Kamis, was friendly and informative, while also making it firmly clear that there was to be absolutely no photography, as the flashes would disturb the turtles. After a 15-minute walk to the beach, we stumbled upon the big mother. As if that wasn’t enough, Kamis then signalled that some baby turtles were nearby. We quietly headed to where they were. At first, I thought it had been a false alarm, all I could see was a dip in the sand, and I was scared they had already scarpered. But then, a baby turtle freshly hatched and probably still warm from incubation suddenly poked its head out of the sand, quickly followed by a dozen more. It was better than any David Attenborough documentary I had ever watched. Nothing can beat the feeling of seeing new life come into the world before your very eyes. Our guide Kamis gently gathered them up and took them into the sea, before any nasty predators could swoop. It was at this point I realised just how important the reserve is in helping preserve these beautiful creatures. Thanks to their invaluable work, the chance to see turtles in their natural habitat under a canopy of beautiful stars was something I will never forget.




Fact Box Green sea turtles are named after the green colour of the fat under its shell Adults grow three to four feet long Adults weigh between 110kg and 190kg The largest green turtle ever found was five feet and 395kg Diet consists mostly of sea grass and algae Nests between three to five times per season, with an average of 115 eggs in each nest Found in all temperate and tropical waters around the world Around 88,520 nesting female global population

Info Box For full details of the reserve go to Call 968 96550606/96550707 for booking information Advance ticket reservation for the guided tours is essential Night tours commence at 8:30pm and dawn tour 4.00am (timings subject to change) Turtle tour ticket price RO3 per person or RO5 for family (2 adults and 2 children) High season is June to September so do keep in mind there is no guarantee you will see turtles outside of these months. Rooms and luxury eco tents are available to stay in – breakfast, turtle viewing and entry to the museum included in the price. Rooms from RO65 and tents from RO85. Children under four years free of charge. Rates may vary depending upon season and day of week.

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Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki


Regular Y readers will know that we’ve had to spread Al Khuwair over two weeks to cover everything that the area has to offer. In part two, we look at living there, where to shop and what to see… LIVING THERE As we mentioned before, Al Khuwair is fast becoming a desirable area to live with reasonable rents, the largest shopping mall in the capital and a real buzz about the place. Your neighbours are likely to be Omanis or expats, a lively blend of nationalities and cultures. One Y reader, Steven Darwish, described Al Khuwair as ‘Trad-Mod’ as it fuses modern road links and upmarket shopping with the more traditional features such as the Tamil Mosque, small tea shops and the famous Omani hospitality. Choose from villas or a good selection of apartments in the commercial district, which run parallel to the highway. You won’t be lacking views either way, with towering mountains on one side and a vista stretching as far as the sea on the other. It’s not just a feast for the eyes. The stomach gets a pretty good look-in too with a grand selection of smart hotel restaurants, cheaper but excellent alternatives and cosy cafes. The hustle and bustle is not for everyone – and there is not as much open space or greenery as other areas – but most love the convenient transport links and proximity to the action. Being in the city of the centre, everything is within easy striking distance whether it’s beach, a spot of culture or a picnic in the park.


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Cars SHOPPING Let’s start with the big boy of the shopping experience and, for now, the undisputed king of the malls. Yes, we mean Muscat Grand Mall. It recently celebrated its first birthday with a little bash, which Y managed to wheedle an invite to. Locally known as ‘MGM’, it’s very swish, all glass and marble, and still retaining the smell and feel of a brand new building. There are 150 brands to choose from and when you need a retail break, there’s a three-screen cinema or a skylevel terrace garden to sit back, relax and look through your purchases before hitting the shops again. There’s a huge indoor play area for children and big kids, which should keep even the most demanding tots and older ones amused for hours, allowing mum or dad to slope off shopping alone leaving the other parent in charge. MGM is not just about the stores, coffee shops or restaurants (although we have to say, we love the new Paul French bakery and patisserie. The cakes are to die for), the whole complex also has office space and upmarket apartments. Where better to live for a shopaholic than above a mall? If that wasn’t enough retail space to keep residents happy, a short walk away (as the credit card flies) is a massive LuLu hypermarket, open 24 hours for round-the-clock shopping. It does get horrendously busy at peak night times, so be prepared to wait for a parking space, but all the weekly shop can be happily done under one roof here. Next door, the shell of what likes a mall to rival MGM looms. The older Al Zakher Mall is the heartbeat Al Khuwair’s commercial area. Opened in 1995, it still attracts over 1,000 visitors a day and has the usual range of shops from eye care to fashion. For those who prefer a more personal touch, a host of smaller independent shops selling anything from less bulky electrical products through to home furnishings, can be found locally along the slip road and off the Al Khuwair Roundabout towards Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. Car drivers can also head to the nearby delights of Shatti al Qurum and trawl trendy boutiques at Jawharat A Shatti. Souvenir hunters can pick up decent quality items here from pashminas to wooden camels. After a full day’s shopping at all the above places, loaded down with shopping bags and with aching feet, grab a chair and refreshing soft drink or coffee at one of the cafes in Shatti and watch the sun go down.



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Why I live here: It has good access to all areas and easy ways around the traffic on the expressway as we live in Al Khuwair 33. It feels safe and is quiet at night. There are some good places to eat in or takeaway and gyms close to Grand Mall. You get a lot more for your money when renting. Natalie Linnell, expat and Al Khuwair resident

ATTRACTIONS Said Bin Taimur Mosque, with its unique Turkish style, was built in memory of the father of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and features a breathtaking blend of colour and calligraphy. It’s by no means the only mosque in Al Khuwair. Giving it a run for its money is the architecturally splendid Zawawi Mosque. This beautiful mosque with its dome glowing orange at night and high minaret, was donated to the Omani people by the Zawawi family and graces the main route into Muscat from the west in Al Khuwair. Shaped like an inverted lotus and covered in 22-carat gold leaf, the dome is considered one of the most magnificent in Muscat. The area is also home to a few ministry buildings as well as some banks and official offices, such as the Embassy of India and the Iranian Embassy. One of the most impressive buildings is the head office of Oman International Bank with imposing 10-metre high front doors, plated in 24-carat gold, which are said to be polished every day to ensure a spotless gleam. The interior is just as lavish and well worth a look. Not far from from the Zawawi Mosque is the Natural History Museum, which is in turn sited in the Ministry of Heritage and Culture Building. It’s small, lovely and packed with interesting sight and artifacts. Where else could you see traces of tree fossils dating back more than 260 million years, alongside the remnants of a jaw belonging to a specific type of monkey or incredibly well preserved butterflies? It also has a whale hall with a fascinating collection of bones and skulls of these gentle monsters of the deep. APR 03 – APR 09 / ISSUE 264



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Rivaldo D’Silva and Penny Fray reveal this season’s must have gizmos for kids and ‘kidults’ alike. VIVA LA VITA Discover a new way to play the biggest and best games on the go. The PlayStation Vita is an amazing handheld gaming console with exciting features such as touch pads at the front and rear, dual cameras, analog sticks, six-axis motion sensors and a three-axis electronic compass as well as built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Available from Amazon for RO96

FLYING HIGH Forget about remote control cars – flying machines are now all the rage - especially since technology has started to soar and prices tumble. This three-channel helicopter from Syma is virtually crash proof. It even comes with the latest gyro system for precision control - available from Amazon for just RO18.

EDITOR’S PICK LET THE FORCE BE WITH YOU Apart from being super cute and having a lightsaber, the best thing about being a master Jedi like Yoda, is being able to move objects with the flick of a hand. And soon you’ll be able to do the same with the new MYO Gesture Control Arm Band. This super cool piece of kit lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favorite digital devices. Cool, huh? You can pre-order yours now on for RO58


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SHOOT & SHARE Don’t you just hate all those annoying group photos that seem to take forever because everyone wants to capture the moment on their own cameras? Thank goodness for Samsung’s Galaxy Camera. This critically acclaimed shooter lets you share pictures with up to five other wi-fi direct devices within range. For more information, go to

F I ND O U T W H A T ’ S H I P & H A P P E N I N G I N G A D G E T S MOVIE MAGIC Just imagine your own portable mini-cinema, to give instant movie shows wherever you go. Introducing the 3M Streaming Projector by Roku. The palm-sized projector comes with a built in speaker. Just plug in the streaming stick, pick up a wi-fi signal, and you can project anything from Hulu to Netflix on any screen up to 120”. Popcorn not included - from OR112 Amazon.


NEW! SMART BODY ANALYSER This super sleek health scale from Withings, monitors and tracks not only your weight, but also your body fat percentage, heart rate, blood pressure and environmental air quality.

It’s the number one book app in both Norway and Finland – but most 30-somethings in Oman will feel a little nostalgic on hearing that the Moomin’s stories are now accessible on your smartphone. Moomin and the Lost Belonging is available for RO1 on either iPhone or iPad.

Use the device’s Health Mate app as a coach, breaking down data into weekly achievable targets. It’ll also keep you focused with relevant tips and reminders on your smartphone and tablet. Installing the scale is a breeze. Just tap a few times on your mobile or tablet to download the app and pair the scale with your devices. This scale is family friendly in that it’s able to recognize up to eight users. Everyone can have his or her own user profile, which can be accessed independently. For more information, go to


Give your technology a stylish upgrade with Dolce & Gabbana’s sexy iPad sleeve. The smooth black leather lining protects your tablet from nicks and scratches, while the leopard print screams style. RO100 from

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Volvo V40 T4 2013 Engine: 1.6L 4-cylinder Turbo Max horse Power:180 @ 5700 rpm 0-100 km/h: 8.5 seconds Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Check this out

Car of the week The Volvo V40 has plenty of zip and shows its mettle on mountain and urban roads

D • •• •• •• •• •• • •• ••


Two-step airbag, drivers and passenger side SIPS airbag front Whiplash protection on front seats Inflatable curtains Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) Isofix – outer position seat Knee airbags, driver side City Safety Key integrated remote control, central locking Immobilizer Audio ‘high performance’ eight speakers Automatic dimmed inner rear view mirror Cruise Control Front Armrest Rear park sensors Bluetooth

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riving through the twisting and undulating mountains on the Yiti Road from Muscat to Sifawy, the new Volvo V40 came into its own. The power steering was firm and confident, the turbo GTDi engine could take the steep ascents without a struggle and the brakes – although occasionally a little jolty when you put your foot down – can bring you back to a safe speed on a bend or descent without fuss. The T4 engine comes with automatic six-speed Powershift transmission that is responsive and smooth in all conditions we drove in. On first sight, the new Volvo does not obviously stand out from other compact family hatchbacks. There was a time when a Volvo looked unlike any other car and could be spotted at a distance, but in these ultra-competitive times it seems all imitate all in the aesthetic sphere. Opening the boot, we were a little disappointed as it only just passed the buggy test – with a shove or two. Compared to some hatchbacks, this one does not offer a spacious area for your holiday essentials and on the way home the buggy went in the rear seating area next to our toddler daughter. That said, the proof of the pudding is in the driving and in this respect, the Volvo V40

T4 acquits itself respectably for a 1.6-litre, 180 horsepower family car. It does not necessarily purr but it most definitely zips along nicely. It is nimble in congested urban environments, and reaches cruise speeds on the highway without breaking a sweat. Inside, the digital display panel is easy to navigate, with useful additions such as Bluetooth® technology for hands-free phone calls and music streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled portable music player. The eight-speaker audio system produces a deep, clear all-round sound. Crash safety is comprehensive and includes a safety cage and ‘deformation zone’ in the panels, and a chassis strengthened by various grades of high-strength steel. Most impressive is an improved City Safety system that activates at speeds of up to 50 km per hour. City Safety automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops – or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast. Such high-tech features and dynamic driving means the V40 comes at a premium for a small family car, starting at RO11,700. So if you want a good-looking Scandinavian model with superior power and control and the reassurance of worldclass safety technology, you could do worse than go Volvo.

Carrera S 2012, 8,500 km, Gold Lime Exterior, Black Interior, 44,000 OMR.

Cayenne S 2008, 101,955 km, Olive Green Exterior, Beige Interior, 19,000 OMR.

Cayman 2008, 30,163 km, Red Exterior, Silver Interior, 13,500 OMR.

Y Magazine #264, 3 April 2013  
Y Magazine #264, 3 April 2013  

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