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Suits You Sir

THIS SEASON’S STATEMENT TAILORING Underwater Wonders / Iron Man 3 Y Welcomes The New Weekend Free! B-Boy Champ EVERY WEDNESDAY



GAME BOY: What’s New In Hand Consoles GALLERIES: Breakdancing & A Big Birthday

Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week

MAY 01 - 07 • ISSUE 268 • WEEKLY

HOME IS WHERE The Help Is Is nanny the new mum?



rain special








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4:28 PM

new Y DAY

It’s all change in Oman as the new weekend kicks in this Friday (and we’ve all been blessed with an extra day off on Thursday). Y is changing too. But don’t worry – the fabulous content is staying the same with all your favourite features and must-read sections. We’re just changing the day we come out. From next week, your Y will be hitting the streets on Thursday – perfect timing for you to grab a copy and plan your forthcoming weekend. Look out for Y in the usual places on a Thursday from May 8.

TREND BAROMETER GOING UP Dancing in the Rain Hunter wellies are the staple rain shoe for any fashionista. And their new fold up boots couldn’t have been timed better for those fed up of Muscat’s unpredictable weather. Crockery with Heart Nando’s has donated more than 800 pieces of custom-made crockery to Dar Al Atta’a. The plates, bowls and cups will be given to low-income families living in Muscat. GOING DOWN Haute Hair Remember the time in Sex and the City when Carrie declared that no chic city woman would be caught dead wearing a scrunchie? Well, read it and weep because the naff accessory is back in vogue. Justin Bieber Okay, I’m prepared for the backlash – but after courting recent controversy and having his concert cancelled in Oman – is the pop bubble about to burst?



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

Fast forward A

working mother’s lifeline can come in many forms. Setting family and friends aside, top of the roll call is usually the nanny. She allows a woman the freedom to purse her dreams and ambitions. The nanny is undoubtedly a heroine. Literature, films and even plays often portray her as a magical person, pouring adventure, love and happiness into a kid’s otherwise unhappy life. But not all nannies are Mary Poppins – and even the best nanny cannot replace a mother’s love. Studies have shown that children who spend most of their time away from their parents can be psychologically damaged. Of course, some mothers who don’t work still choose to pay someone else to look after their child. Getting the balance right is difficult. That’s why we explore the nanny’s role in modern Oman. Is she a help or hindrance? As someone whose own mother worked, I think support is essential in so far as a child needs security and structure without causing unnecessary sacrifice. Everyone has his or her own view about childcare and we’d like to hear yours. Tell us your thoughts @ ytabloid or by emailing us at

Penny Fray

THIS WEEK… Team Y has been to a book fair in Abu Dhabi, toured Dubai on the Big Bus and taken in the delights of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. But since dancing in Oman’s rain, we’re now suffering with sniffles. Someone pass the honey and lemon….

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

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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.

MAY 01 - MAY 07 / ISSUE 268


contents MAY 01 2013

Features 18 Bringing Up Baby The Nanny Diaries 22 Heroin Hell An Addict and Her Mother Speak

Your Oman


06 The Big Interview Garry Friend

This Week

08 Voice of Oman Readers’ Letters 10 News It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

12 This Week Only The Brave 14 Movies Listing Ironman 3 16 Gallery Happy Birthday Al Wisal 96.5 FM!

Food & Drink 28 Trend Cool Crustacean 30 Restaurant Review Shakespeare and Co



18 Business 26 Success In The City PR Power

Cars & Outdoors 36 Gallery Red Bull BC One B-Boys 37 Destination Nizwa Bazaar 40 Outdoors Snorkelling 42 My Hood Mabela 32 Fashion 44 Y-Fi Suits You Sir Gaming 46 Car of the Week 34 Fashion & Beauty Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Trends

Health & Beauty


OMANI ARTs on the rise success guide be square for fashion rose water recipes





GRAND AUSSIE GARRY FRIEND, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE GRAND HYAT T MUSCAT Words: Penny Fray. Photo: Jerzy Wierzbicki Run through your CV in 60 seconds or less: I started off working at the Australian ballet doing post-show parties, which I really enjoyed, so I decided to go into full-time hospitality. I was working for the government analysing seeds at the time. After graduating from the Australian School of Tourism & Hotel Management, I worked with the Sheraton and a free-standing five-star hotel before getting a job with the Hyatt. That was 26 years ago. I left Australia for the Hyatt Regency in Guatemala before moving to the US, Greece and Zurich. My first GM position was at the Sharm El-Sheikh, then the Grand Hyatt Cairo – which was a huge hotel. I fancied working in a boutique hotel, which I was lucky enough to do in Johannesburg. Then I was manager of the Grand Hyatt in Doha for nearly six years before coming to beautiful Muscat. You’ve done a lot of globe trotting – is travel one of the perks of the job? I was planning to go back to Australia after Guatemala but, like most Australians, I caught the travelling bug. I guess I enjoy exploring different countries, cultures and meeting new people. What do you enjoy most about your role? I like making decisions, working with different people and developing their talents. You also come across the most amazing individuals in this industry – I’ve met most of the recent US presidents with the exception of Barack Obama. Describe yourself in one sentence. I’m fun, thoughtful, creative and commercially aware. What advice would you pass on to others who want to work in the hotel industry? Enjoy what you’re doing and learn as much as you can along the way. A lot of hotel work is common sense – if you look after your guests, make them feel special and they have a good experience, they’ll come back. You’ve only been in Oman a few months – what do you enjoy most about it? I love the diversity of terrain – you have the beaches, desert and also mountains and greenery. The Grand Hyatt Muscat is celebrating a big birthday this month – how are you planning to celebrate? It’s going to be amazing. We’re going to have a whole week of celebrations culminating in a party. The theme is 15, so we’re going to invite our top 15 guests and let them bring 15 guests and so on – 15 is going to be everywhere. We’re also preparing to host an activity day to support the children of the Child Care Centre in Oman. There will be face painting, games and lots of activities for the kids to enjoy. What do you do in your spare time? I like keeping healthy, so I walk a lot along the beach, swim and ride horses.


MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268

Garry’s trinity to success: 1. Be patient 2. Understand people 3. Have flexibility


To all you art-shakers, design-makers, boundary-breakers, let’s get started. The all-new A-Class. Drive yourself.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with its trademark diamond grille, lowered sport suspension engineered by AMG and a 2.0 litre Turbo, 211hp engine with a 0 -100 time of 6.6 seconds - designed for those wanting to move forward. · Take delivery before 15 May 2013 and receive an Ipad Mini 4G. · Monthly payment of RO 239.


correspondence PARENTS LEFT OUT IN THE RAIN Dear Editor,


ince being rudely awoken by the roar of last week’s thunder, I’ve been feeling a little depressed. I hate the rain. In fact, having previously lived in a wet climate, I completely loathe it. But in Oman, locals gather up in mosques and pray for showers. And this season, their prayers have been answered because it’s been pouring it down for nearly a week – a blessing indeed! In fact, word has it that it hasn’t rained this much in Oman since the early ’80s. I would say ‘Alhamdulillah’ but the actions of my fellow country folk always disappoint me. Yes, the weather is cooler - but that doesn’t mean we should act irresponsibly – swimming in the sea and exploring risky wadis. And why is it so crucial for those with sports cars to go drag racing in Bawshar under such treacherous conditions? Shouldn’t we be more careful, especially since we are a country which has witnessed first hand the havoc that unstable weather can wreak? You just have to recall the damage caused in 2007 and 2010. Of course, the local authorities issue warnings. They tell us to be responsible, to avoid flooded areas and drive with greater care. But do we ever listen? Should Omanis always be treated like wayward teenagers rebelling against their parents? Kids are kids but we adults should know better and lead by example. It’s time to take a sensible stance to rain and appreciate it for the natural blessing that it really can be.

Next week: Isobel Spaven-Donn returns


MAY 01 - MAY 07 / ISSUE 268

It was very unfortunate that some schools didn’t inform parents in advance that due to bad weather last week they were closed. With great difficulty parents came to school to drop off their children only to be told the school was closed. Many parents had already left their children and gone to work before being called and told that there were no classes.

SUMMER SAVING Dear Editor, With the onset of a long summer season and extreme heat conditions, we can all play an active role in energy conservation so as to prevent power failures and breakdowns as a result of excess power use by consumers. Electricity consumption is always on the rise as we keep adding more and more gadgets, and all these require more energy to function. Here are some simple energy-saving suggestions: Switch off lights when leaving the room, and limit the use of energy-guzzling appliances during peak hours of energy consumption (e.g. washing machines or water heaters). Adjust the thermostat upwards on our ACs to around 26-28°C so that less power is consumed. Then switch off the AC during the latter part of the night and early morning when the temperature drops.


This resulted in panic and trouble, and also created more traffic on the roads as parents rushed back to pick up their kids. With so much communication technology available, I seriously fail to understand why schools could not use it to forewarn parents. This demands an apology from the management to all the parents and assurances that it will not be repeated in future.

Best regards, Habil Bhagat, Muscat, Oman Keep the room closed so that the entry of warm air from outside is restricted. Using a ceiling fan in conjunction with an AC will also result in energy savings. The electricity authority’s website also offers great energy conservation tips. Consumers need to ask questions about the power consumed by products. Buyers should inquire if it is certified for low energy consumption and also attempt to do our own research where possible. It is unfortunate that most of us do this as an afterthought, if at all. All concerned players, especially the appliance importers/distributors, need to ensure that energy efficient appliances are sold in the market and adequate labelling is used in an easy to understand format. Such labels can really help customers make the right green choice since the premium paid for green products is likely to pay for itself over the life cycle of the appliance. Above all, consumers will be leaving a lighter carbon footprint on the environment. S. Rupchand, Muscat

Dinner For Two

SEND US YOUR letters, photos, news and views to / @ytabloid / Impress us and the winning correspondent will receive a RO20 voucher towards lunch or dinner at Park Inn. Terms and conditions apply.


Debate of the Week We asked:

What is the best thing you can do in the rain? Pragati Mehndiratta Step out in the rain with friends without an umbrella and enjoy a nice cool bath. Jomari Somontina Sagal Hide your tears in the rain. Kazy Md Mustakim Go out in your car and have fun on the road. Brij Él Chavda Play football in puddles. Shetu Sushil Stay in bed, listen to songs and eat hot food, like samosas and pakodas. Sagar Jinachandran Going for a long drive with loud music on. Poyal don Hang outside with friends and dance. sue pownall Take my puppy for a walk.



Food for thought In my view, the practice of eating food anywhere inside a hypermarket during special promotion periods or food fiestas should be discontinued immediately. The reason is this: last week I witnessed a customer being accused of wrongdoing at a hypermarket during a food fiesta. At one counter more than 100 of us were enjoying the free food samples. A girl was eating chips and was asked by the salesperson whether she had paid for them. Her father immediately said no, as the chips were given

I'm a reader



free to his daughter at the chips counter. But the salesperson insisted the store did not give away any chips and told them to go and pay for them. Her father became angry and said he had been insulted in front of all the customers and demanded compensation if it was proved that the chips were given away. Immediately, management came to apologise to him. To avoid these kind of embarrassing situations, it is better to have stalls outside the hypermarket in a food court where every one can eat freely without problems. D.Vijay, Muscat

Mohammad Suleiman Zia and Suwaeba Zia were spotted in Ibra with a copy of Y

Winner! Reply of the Week

fathima ali Don’t get out of bed. Awais khan Hangout with friends. Drive. Drink tea. karl baz Hold an umbrella and sing Mary Poppins songs. Vivek Ramaiya Nothing better than hot tea and hot pakodas – Yummy! Alpa Rupesh Sit on my balcony with my husband and enjoy a hot cup of tea. farooq ahmed Play football or go cycling. shams sayed Play cricket. Prajwal Haritsa Jump and enjoy the wonderful pearls of crystal. Mohd Ziauddin Bathe in the rain. This Week’s Debate: This week Oman’s weekend moves to Friday and Saturday. What difference will it make to you? 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:

MAY 01 - MAY 07 / ISSUE 268







ALL WASHED OUT Photo credit: @ Oman News Agency

Brace yourself as more rain and wind on the way


he unprecedented wet weather is expected to continue through the rest of the week with the three-day break likely to be a wet one. The Sultanate has not experienced such an extended period of rain in modern times. Rain and thundershowers are forecast until at least Sunday. As this dramatic picture shows, the stormy weather, which claimed the lives of four people, has been causing destruction around the country. Taxi caught in a flood in Al Suwaiq This taxi cab got into trouble in Al Suwaiq and there were similar scenes across Oman as the rains and thunderstorms lashed down. Many schools and offices were closed due to the rain. Flooded homes, overflowing wadis, stranded motorists and power cuts left emergency services stretched to breaking point. Two people lost their lives in a wadi in the wilayat of Saham, a 63-yearold man and toddler girl, while two children, aged 14 and 16, died in the wilayat of Ibri while apparently trying to cross a wadi. In Ibri, some 30 people who were trapped in vehicles and homes had to be evacuated to safety as a record 89mm of rain drenched the area The Royal Oman Police and Royal Air Force of Oman sent helicopters to some areas to rescue trapped people and deliver supplies. A record rainfall of 35.4mm was recorded in Nizwa on Friday, while police diverted traffic in several areas due to overflowing wadis, as the weather swept across the Sultanate from Muscat to Dhofar. The unseasonably bad weather has been blamed on a low-pressure build up across the Gulf region. Fierce sandstorms have also been reported in the central region of Oman.



young boy was killed and his father and younger sister are fighting for their lives after a road accident on the way to school. Abdullah al Mahmood died when the car crashed as the children were being dropped off at the bus stop on the main road in Al Hogda. He was in the car with his father, Abutaher, and younger sister, Ayman. According to the Indian School Muladha, where he was a pupil, Mr Abutaher lost control of the car and it overturned. It is not known what caused the accident on Monday. He remains in a critical condition at Khoula hospital with his daughter. Both the children have studied at the school since reception and kindergarten class.


MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268

T H E W H AT ’ S O N G U I D E



May 8 & 10

Dutch Master A man is cursed to roam the fierce seas for eternity until one woman’s true love offers him escape. So unfolds Richard Wagner’s romantic opera, ‘The Flying Dutchman’, which is performed at the Royal Opera House by the Latvian National Opera, on May 8 and 10 to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Tickets are now on sale at or call 24403300 for general enquires.

You’ve read Y’s desert survival guide in last week’s mag. Tick. You’re an experienced off-road driver. Tick. So now you should be ready for the Extreme Desert Challenge from Al Kamil to Al Gaina, organised by The Guide Oman. This is not for the faint-hearted and don’t even think about taking part unless your 4x4 is in tip-top condition. For more information email or call Abdul on 92285831.



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




2-4 012

It’s not every week that your weekend moves from Thursday to Friday. With His Majesty Sultan Qaboos announcing a threeday holiday, it’s a chance to enjoy your last Thursday lie-in before the switchover. Check these pages and for all the shows and activities to make the most of it.

MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268


May 05-08

Marayali Must

May 03


Oman’s commercial and residential property markets are still growing, and developers, estate agents and property buyers will be heading to Sohar for the Real Estate Development Exhibition organised by Maber Al Qawafil at the OIEC.



Diving for Pearl When it’s raining you can’t do better than Submerge. That’s the night of dance music, dub and live percussion taking place at Al Nahda Resort this weekend. Across two stages and over 17 hours, DJ HD, Skywalker and Chris Jones will be spinning tunes with a set from top mix mistress Pearl. For more info visit www.facebook. com/submergesaysdance or call 93290025 for tickets.

Power in Your Hands

High-level executives from the international energy industry will be attending the Oman Power and Water summit at the Al Bustan Palace this week. Three days of panel discussions, high-profile interviews and networking opportunities will focus on all aspects of energy policy in Oman, the GCC and beyond, from water and nuclear to solar and wind.

Red Letter Day The Let’s Read Oman campaign is holding its Big Book Day on Thursday at the Al Qurum Complex from 4-7pm. Come along for poetry reading and writing, spelling bee, puppet show and craft activities for children, as well as the prize giving for the poem competition ‘My Dream’. Contact Jane Jaffer at for details.



Building Oman


Help bring about a positive transformation, not just for yourself but for the world. That’s the goal of Art of Living Foundation’s yoga and meditation workshops led by Girin Govind at Bahja Hall, near Rose Garden, Qurum. Yoga sessions are from 6-7.30am, 5.30-6.30pm, and from 7.309pm, with separate sessions for women. Cost is RO15 for all workshops. Email for more details.


May Days

The Kerala Wing of Indian Social Club is hosting the 11th Keralotsavam cultural festival over three days at Maraland in Qurum. Guests of honour from India are Shabna Azmi, the renowned actorturned social worker, and Daya Bhai, the Guardian Angel of Gond tribals from Madhya Pradesh. Free entry coupons will be given away to students from KG to Class VII in various Indian schools in and around Muscat.

Heal the World


MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268



MOVIES MOVIES Welcome to the Punch London’s a battle zone as cop James McAvoy doggedly pursues sharp-suited gangster Mark Strong. When the latter’s son is arrested after a botched heist, McAvoy closes in, only to discover a corrupt conspiracy of bent cops and politicians behind the scenes. An overly complex plot, thin characterisation and the silliness of endless gunplay in London undermine this crime thriller.

I Give it a Year

Iron Man 3 It felt like only yesterday that Robert Downey Jr was teamed up with his fellow superheroes for the smash hit Avengers Assemble. Now he’s back for the third solo outing of Iron Man as genius billionaire Tony Stark. He’s still mentally scarred from the Avengers episode, haunted and hiding from the world. Few actors convey this condition better than Downey Jr. After the CGI overload that was Iron Man 2, the new sequel manages to get back to the pleasures of the first film, keeping a tongue in its cheek and its head above the clichés of comic strip adaptations. Gwyneth Paltrow is back as love interest Pepper Potts, while Guy Pearce plays an ambitious genetic engineer trying to get in with Stark Industries.

Downey Jr gives his anti-hero almost Shakespearean depth as he battles his demons, while his nemesis is an equally masterful Ben Kingsley, enjoying himself immensely as The Mandarin, a terrorist bent on killing the US President. With a cast like this you might expect a heavyweight drama – and in the hands of director Shane Black, we at least get plenty of witty, smart dialogue and one liners. After a relatively actionfree build up, the second half compensates with a series of spectacular set-pieces. Mercifully, Black makes sure that the character work is never drowned in CGI explosions, resulting in a very satisfying whole. Review by Joe Gill


THE BIG WEDDING A divorced couple (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton) have to pretend to be married for the nuptials of Amanda Seyfried and Ben Barnes. The big cast including Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl and Robin Williams have all made bad films in the past, but by some accounts this scattergun comedy is the first time they’ve done one together.


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An anti-romantic comedy in which Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne) decide to get married after dating for only seven months – ignoring the warnings of friends and family. In no time, Josh’s

eyes are turned by ex Chloe (Anna Farris), while Nat falls for a client, Guy (Simon Baker). Plenty of smut and cringe-inducing moments can’t overcome the feeling of watching an extended TV sitcom pilot.

Phantom Forget the fact they are speaking in impeccable American accents, this claustrophobic Cold War thriller is set aboard a Soviet sub on a secret mission. Ed Harris plays grizzled Captain Demi, on one last mission aboard a clanky old sub, without realising the sinister intent of KGB officer David Duchovny, who is part of a plot to start World War 3. Intriguing.

Y’s Bolly Watch Eik Thi Dayan

‘There Once Was a Witch’ is a generational story of a man and the demons, both literal and figurative, he must face. Emraan Hashmi plays Bobo the Baffler, one of India’s most famous magicians. Bobo is also one of India’s most tortured souls, as his fiancée Tamara (Huma Qureshi) finds out. Her efforts to heal him by putting him through hypnotherapy unlock a decades-old mystery surrounding the death of his father and sister at the hands of a shape-shifting witch named Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma). After meeting a tourist who seems to be a reincarnation of the witch, Bobo loses his mind. Traditionally, Hindi horror films have been the province of the sleazier fringes of Bollywood, but Ek Thi Daayan has a surprisingly impressive team behind it. The film was produced, written, and scored by Vishal Bharadwaj and directed by first timer Kannan Iyer. The talent on screen definitely raises the bar several notches in comparison to most Hindi horror films. There are a few misfires, but overall it passes Stanley Kubrick’s test of raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Review by Abhudit Greene

For more information and times, go to: City Cinema: Al Bahja Cinema: Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641


The What’s On Guide



HAPPY BIRTHDAY AL WISAL 96.5 FM MINISTERS attend birthday celebration as station joins forces with monte carlo

HE Abdel Aziz Al Rawas and Sayyid Khalid bin Hamad Al Busaidi

Al Wisal cake cut by SABCO Group chairman and ministers

SABCO Group chairman Sayyid Khalid bin Hamad Al Busaidi

HE Abdel Aziz Al Rawas, the Advisor of Cultural Affairs to HM Sultan Qaboos, presents awards

Al Wisal 96.5 FM presenters and staff receive awards for service

Al Wisal station manager Nadim Attieh


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BRINGING UP BABY The Nanny Diaries It’s a full-time job raising children but more and more women are paying someone else to do the job. The result is an entire generation raised by complete strangers, writes Kate Ginn 018

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t 5.15am when the alarm goes off waking Madiha Said al Sulimani, it’s all about getting ready for work where, as the presenter of a radio breakfast show, being late is not an option. There has been no need to worry about her four children, aged between four and 12. No stressful rush to get them washed, dressed and fed before dashing out on the school run. The nanny will be taking care of all this for her. By the time Madiha is settling down to the radio microphone at 6am ready to introduce her show, the nanny back home will be attending to the first day’s chores. This scenario and similar scenes will be played out in homes across Oman, mostly in Muscat with its higher density of population and expatriate workers. Rapid development in the country over the last 30 years has given birth to an evolving society, where more women are choosing to go out to work, leaving young children in the sole care of foreign housemaids and nannies. Fast-paced lifestyles, juggling demanding children and jobs, means parents have less family time and an increasing dependence on help. Most up-to-date figures reveal there are around 100,000 housemaids working in Oman, according to the Government. On top of this, there are informal babysitters and daycare providers. “It was a hard decision to bring someone strange into your house to live in,” admits al Sulimani. “I got 55 days maternity leave and then I left my young baby at home with the nanny. “It was the hardest thing I have had to do. But I got stronger and I put a stone on my heart.” Oman is not alone in the phenomenon. Across the GCC countries, children are being raised predominantly be someone other than a parent. Indeed, an investigation published in the Journal of Childhood Research in 2005 indicated that 58 per cent of children in the region spend 30 to 70 hours a week with domestic workers. In Dubai, an astonishing 94 per cent of children in 23,851 Emirati families surveyed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in 2011 were being brought up by nannies. Concerns have been raised that foreign nannies are influencing their young charges’ lives, from behaviour to beliefs and ethics. This in turn could impact on the fundamental fabric of a country in areas such as religion. Most nannies or maids are usually from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Nepal. Jacqui O’Neill, a qualified nursery nurse and educator with years of experience working with children, agrees it’s a dilemma that is not easy to address. “A nanny is never going to bring up your children as you would. She hasn’t got the emotional investment. At the end of the day, that child is not hers,” she says. “Different morals and values to yours are being instilled in the child, views that you may not want.” O’Neill, who runs musical movement classes at Busy Bees educational play centre in Madinat Qaboos, advises on better parenting methods and childcare issues. “The nanny also needs to know enough to understand the benefits of connecting with your children,” she adds. For many parents, the reality is that nannies or maids are a necessary evil. Others, however, choose to take a different path. One Omani mother who spoke to Y Magazine, who we shall call Hadeel, refused to hire anyone to look after her children, even though all of her friends employed staff. “I wanted to take care of my own kids. I always believed since I wanted to give birth, I should take care of them,” she says. “Do I think it is good for a nanny to raise someone else’s children? No, I don’t for the simple reason they cannot be you and you just cannot trust a nanny. Not anymore anyway.” She believes strongly that it’s her job to raise her children. “My view on working mothers using nannies to take care of their babies is that it is very sad because they miss a lot. “I did not find it hard without a nanny. If fact, I found it to be very exciting because I got to see my children’s first steps and speech, and I was there whenever they needed me. “I was there when they were happy or sad. I trained them the way

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I wanted them to be: beautiful, wonderful and loving children with respect and courtesy for young and old.” Although for many working mothers having a nanny or help is unavoidable, for others it’s more of a lifestyle choice. It’s a common sight to see nannies looking after the children outside a restaurant while inside the parents are enjoying their meal. Women who don’t work also use nannies when they have children. Hadeel says that while for some it’s a necessity, others just find it easier. “They feel that if I give birth, there should be a nanny to take care of the baby, or so-and-so has one, so why not me?” In her view, some mothers “are not able to take care of the baby because they are lazy or selfish.” Some argue that more generous maternity provision would encourage women to look after their children in the early years. Wages for domestic staff can vary enormously but the average for a live-in nanny is around RO160-a-month. However, Y found one employer who claimed to be paying just RO45-a-month. New agreements brought in at the end of last year by some countries introduced minimum wages for domestic staff and stricter procedures for those who sponsor them. Accommodation, medical insurance and other perks are now required. A Sri Lankan worker must be paid RO85 while the Philippines government fixed a minimum wage of RO150. An online contract has to be completed for Indonesian workers. Al Sulimani has very strict guidelines for her household nannies and other help to ensure her children retain a sense of cultural identity and traditions. “I have rules for the nanny about respecting my culture and that I am the mother. For the first three months, I teach her my way of living and my values. When I come back from work, she has to let me have some space with the children. It must be clear who is in charge or they can become more powerful than the mother. I limit the number of years a nanny will work for me to two so that the children don’t get too attached to her.” To check on one of her nanny’s work, she secretly placed a video camera in the house and recorded what she was doing, only to find that the nanny was sleeping most of the day. Such surveillance of nannies is not unusual for parents concerned about the how their children are being cared for. Last year, al Sulimani’s family lived for a year without a nanny and found it a liberating experience, during which time the family bonded closer than ever. In the end, though, she decided to get another nanny. “I felt that I could have stayed without a nanny. I found that if you adjust yourself, you could do it. But my work is important to me. I have a lot of goals and ambitions to concentrate on. At the end of the day, my children are seeing me as a successful person.” The changing social landscape and greater mobility also means that the extended family network to help with childcare is no longer there in some cases. A study by the KHDA last year warned a lack of parental involvement in bringing up their children can have a serious impact on the development of a child, emotionally and intellectually. Many experts do not advise childcare for children in the first year of life. Others say that a secure, stable family environment by whatever means is the most important thing. Hadeel, who gave up work to care for her children, says: “I am a proud mother who through the will of Allah was given the know-how to raise my kids well all by myself. They were very good and wonderful days and sad days too. But I would not give them up for the world.” 020

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Life with Nanny Michico Rimmer, 15, lives in Dubai with her mother and father, who works in Oman and stays there during the week. A nanny, or maid, was a constant in her life growing up. She is a pupil at The English College, Dubai.


hen I was a young girl, I had a variety of nannies, but at the time it didn’t feel unusual. Why? Well, all of my friends had nannies as well. Some of them still do after all these years. My mum grew up in the Philippines, where she had help in the house. Mum and Dad both worked, and from the earliest age I can remember there was a nanny, although Dad always took me to school and picked me up. I don’t feel that having a nanny changed the way I grew up in any way and I completely understood that both my parents had jobs they had to go to. I had a very close bond with my first nanny who stayed a really long time. I always thought of her as part of the family. More importantly, she was a friend. We got on extremely well and if I ever needed assistance with homework or anything, she would try and help me. Since I was only around nine years old, I would get bored easily, so my nanny would play games with me and we would go to the park too. I was very upset when she left. I don’t feel that I missed out on anything. At weekends, my parents would be at home and we would do things together. My mum and dad would always be there for important events, such as school sports days or parents’ evening. If I have children, I would have no problem employing a nanny. If my job was full-time and really busy, I think I would have to. If I had a really good job, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. If I was only working a few hours a day though, then I would be able to look after them myself. Many people in Oman and Dubai also have part-time nannies or housemaids working for them and looking after their children. For example, in Oman and Dubai there are quite a few nanny and housemaid services and all you really need to do is dial a number and simply book a nanny. Nowadays, having a nanny is just a way of life.

Over the last three weeks, Y Magazine has been uncovering the drug problem in Oman from children being drawn into the habit to the battle to clean up the streets. This was only meant to be a three-part investigation but we felt this story had to be told. In a compelling account, a mother and daughter talk in their own words about the drug addiction, which almost tore their family apart. Female drug addiction is increasing in Oman. If you don’t believe it, just read on. Words: Kate Ginn


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To look at me, you wouldn’t think that I was once a drug addict. I’m a young mum with a husband and baby daughter. I don’t look any different from anyone else. That’s the problem. You can’t tell just by looking at someone that they are using drugs but it’s happening all around. I should know. I used heroin for three years and no one knew, not even my mum. At my worst point, I was smoking 12 grams of heroin a day. That’s a lot. It was one joint after the other. It got so bad that I was using heroin just to feel normal. I couldn’t even get out of bed without first smoking a heroin joint. I stole money from my mum so many times and I sold all her jewellery to get money to buy drugs. I feel guilty about what I put her through but all I cared about was getting my next fix. Until the age of 13, I was just a normal girl. I was born and raised in Oman, my whole family is here. My parents divorced and I lived with my mum. When I was 13, I went on holiday to Africa and it was there that I started smoking weed. When I came back to Oman, I carried on smoking it. I was hanging around with an older crowd. I’ve always been older than my years, I think it’s because I had to grow up quickly. I never thought of it as an addiction, it was just something that I did. When I was around 24 or 25, I got in with some people who were doing heroin and they said ‘just try it’, so I did. Then I met someone, a boy I used to be at school with. We became close and we started using a lot. It became a routine, get up in the morning and try to look for money for our next fix. I felt like I couldn’t function without it. As a heroin addict you are always trying to get that first high again but you never can. We used to smoke it. I would sprinkle the heroin on top of tobacco and roll a joint. I was spending around RO70 or RO100 a day. There were times I would pass out for three days because I was using so much. When I was working, I would feel the withdrawal symptoms coming, a runny nose and streaming eyes, so I would need a fix. I would tell them I was going out for cigarette break but I would roll a heroin joint in the loo and go smoke it in my car. I did try to quit so many times but it’s so hard to get away from the drugs scene, especially if you are around it all the time. All my close friends were using. I’ve done things that I’m not proud of. Some of my friends were worse than me. They used to steal from their friends’ parents. My mum found out when my boyfriend got busted. My boyfriend got caught twice. The second time, the police raided our house to take him and found drugs on him. He was in jail for four months and was deported in 2011 back to Lebanon. My mum flipped when she found out. But the one thing of being an addict is that you are the biggest liar. You can lie about anything. I told my mum that I was not using any more. I wasn’t going out so my mum thought I had stopped but I was using more just sitting at home in my room. You can’t smell heroin if you smoke it, so my mum had no idea. In the end, I knew that I just had to get out of Oman. If I stayed, I would either die or end up in jail. I went to my dad abroad. I didn’t tell him anything but my step mum knew. I had withdrawal symptoms for three months. Some days were so bad that I just wished I were dead. I had cut off my emotions with drugs for so long that when I stopped, it all came pouring out. I was a relief to talk about it. I got through it. I did it all on my own and it showed me how strong a person I am. I worked really hard, met my husband, got married and had a kid. I told my husband everything and he understood, he was really supportive and not judgmental at all. I’m back in Oman now with my baby daughter, living with my mum. I haven’t used anything for two years. I cut myself off from that whole scene. Some of my old friends have gone way down to the bottom and there’s no turning back now. When you are a drug addict, no one can understand what you are going through, you are getting more and more stuck into it. My cousin, who is younger than me, has been a heroin addict for a long time. He used to shoot up and has overdosed a few times. His parents found out and didn’t want people to know, they can’t deal with it, so they sent him to rehab four times. He’s now abroad in rehab again. My other cousin overdosed and passed away when he was 24.

It got so bad that I was using heroin just to feel normal. I couldn’t get out of bed without first smoking a heroin joint.

Photo posed by model

The parents of addicts are often in denial. They’re too ashamed to admit that their son has a problem. The whole heroin/morphine scene is massive here. It’s the youth we need to worry about. They are starting from the age of nine or 10. The younger generation is just dropping like flies. Every day I hear about another young person who has died from an overdose. I just heard about another kid who overdosed. A girl was found OD, the body chucked in Ghubra. Another body was just thrown in a garbage can. It’s really bad. Selling heroin and morphine is quick money for dealers. Every dealer I have ever dealt with has been Omani. I live in Al Hail and every day I go for a walk in the neighbourhood and the other day, I found some syringes on the side of the road, that’s how bad it is. As much as people are ignoring it, the drugs scene in Oman is going to get worse unless we do something. I’m really happy that I’m clean. There are times you get frustrated or angry and think a heroin joint would be really good just now, but I don’t want to put myself, or my daughter, through that. My focus is my daughter now. Will I ever use again? I have promised myself that I will never do it again but you can never say never. Once an addict, always an addict, they say, and I still consider myself an addict. At the end of the day, anything can trigger a relapse. I hope that I never do. I finally feel like me again.”

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With drugs there are only two ways to end up - you die or you will go to jail. I am lucky because I have got my daughter back

Photo posed by model


MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268

I was in tears every single day of my life for two years. My daughter, my only child, stole every piece of jewellery that I had and sold it to buy drugs. She stole money from me. Police surrounded my house and drugs were found in our home. My daughter would lie to me. She became someone that I didn’t recognise. I had no idea at all. You don’t see the signs; you don’t know the signs that you should look for. To be honest, I never thought about drugs, I never thought Oman had a big drug problem. As a parent it isn’t something that you really think about. I only found out when my daughter’s boyfriend got busted, she told me ‘mum, I’m also doing drugs.’ I was in shock. I used to get very upset and think why is she doing this to me? It was painful. I used to be always standing at the window waiting for her to come back. We would fight constantly. I was the enemy as far as she was concerned. Then I changed tact. I ignored her. I just decided if I saw her, I wouldn’t ask what she was doing or where she had been. I wouldn’t knock on her room or ask about her. Some people might think it was harsh but I had to do it to survive. You bring your child up well; I didn’t bring my child up to steal and lie. I had a watch which cost RO800 and my daughter sold it for RO50. There was a diamond ring of similar value that she also sold for almost nothing to buy drugs. I looked at her and thought screaming or shouting isn’t going to help. I can’t get the jewellery back now; it’s just material things. I wouldn’t allow it to hurt me. I was out once and she started calling me and sending messages demanding that I come home. When I arrived, she flew out of the house screaming abuse. I didn’t recognise this creature. She was going through withdrawal and wanted money to buy drugs. I sat in my car crying. When she wanted money, she was the most loving human being ever. As soon as she got what she wanted, she changed again. You can’t take it personally because it’s just the drug making them do it. You are dealing with somebody who is sick. It isn’t because they don’t love you. My friends would say ‘what’s wrong with your daughter? Why has she lost so much weight?’ but I wouldn’t tell them. I didn’t want her to be the topic of conversation. At the end of the day, you are the parent and you have to stand by your child, even if it’s a struggle. I never blamed somebody else’s child for getting my daughter into drugs and I never blamed myself because I knew it had nothing to do with me. It’s getting so bad, there’s someone in every household in Oman whose on drugs, and it could be your brother, or your nephew or your cousin. She’s turned her life around. She’s the daughter that I raised again. She’s at home most of the time. I trust her. Her daughter is her inspiration, her pride and joy and the focus of her life. She has not apologised to me for what she has done, although she has said that she’s never appreciated her family more than when she went away to get better. With a drug problem, it’s a lifetime battle. She said to me ‘mummy, there’s something you have to understand; I will always be a drug addict. I will not go out and look for it but I will have to battle this for the rest of my life.’ With drugs there are only two ways to end up, you die or you will go to jail. I am lucky because I have got my daughter back.”




Minute Mentoring

Looking for some fresh ideas to help you attract free publicity? Try giving editors what they want. Journalists and broadcasters are bombarded every day with stories that they have to read, review and consider for their readership – but only a fraction make the grade. To be media worthy, your topic needs to be cool, controversial, topical or tied to a human interest tale. Creativity is the only thing that stands between you and getting noticed.

Recommended Read: In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for people who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.


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PR Power

Minute Mentoring

It’s hard to beat the impact of publicity. Penny Fray shows you to how to boost your credibility, visibility and profitability fast and free.


eeved that you have an amazing business but don’t know how to make people aware of it? Maybe you’re fed up of your competitors doing better than you despite having an inferior product or service? If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get PR savvy. After all, positive media coverage can help enhance the reputation of your business, build its credibility and win new customers. But there’s a lot more to PR than the Ab Fab stereotype of blowing kisses, drinking bubbly and calling everyone ‘sweetie’. You have to be different. After all, conventional publicity strategies get lost in the noise. Find a creative way to stand out by identifying interesting stories within your company and issuing an effective press release to target publications, websites, bloggers and broadcasters. You don’t have to be a specialist to do this. Brainstorm ideas that may interest people. Are you about to launch a new product or service? Are you expanding and creating new jobs? Have you made any kind of breakthrough that separates you from your competitors? These are all questions you need to ask. Then identify the most interesting, unusual, unexpected or different story from your list. Now consider who would want to know about your piece. Build a profile of your ideal customer and consider which publications, websites or programmes they’re likely to read, hear or watch. You can find out who’s who in your target media list by looking at brochures, websites, twitter feeds and even calling their offices. Send them your article with an attention-grabbing title. Keep copy short and snappy, making sure you’ve covered the five Ws of Who, What, Where, When and Why. If you can, add photographs, videos and quotes – and never forget to tell the journalist or researcher how to get in touch with you. Remember – the media are your customers. Meet their needs of keeping an audience engaged and you’ll get valuable coverage for free. If you’re going to dictate, demand, bore or be late with material – best take the paid-for route of advertising.

Connected desk with Y’s r u o y m o fr rk Netwo ofile. new weekly pr

k Name: Glenn Mee Manager, Better Homes Oman al er en G : e in Position d the best place to liv e a fin s ay w al an C : to provid Benefits tation of being able town and has a repu tion in less than a minute. neighbourhood evaluaerful, honest and approachable Character: Che Meet: Anyone who needs a Would Like To an. ‘better home’ in Om : Contact me on

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: BUILD MEDIA RELATIONSHIPS “You must respect the press. Engage them, listen to their views and build relationships that are not based on editorial coverage. Remember that relationships are an investment and a two-way street. Always maintain honest and transparent communication to ensure that the interests of all parties are served to the fullest extent.” Hassan Al-Saleh, managing partner, TRACCS Oman

BE STRATEGIC “Getting publicity can be fun but you have to be strategic. It’s a waste of time, energy and money if it doesn’t help you achieve your marketing objective. Never lose sight of the fact that you eventually need to make more money, strengthen your brand and increase your market share.” Rebecca Jones, business development manager, Zeenah PR

THINK CONSUMER “The most important three words to remember are ‘focus on customer’.” Julie Amann, head of external public relations, Nawras


Com is ke municat io y the t , so prot n ool ect trade s of your in th lusci is iPad ous Lanv case in RO 3 . From 00.

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food and drink


New Restaurant



It may have a funny walk and occasionally compose catchy songs for cartoon mermaids – but the crab is now cool to consume. Wild, abundant and delicate enough to rival the lobster when cooked properly, this cute little critter is low in calories and full of antioxidants. No wonder chefs across the country have caught on to its culinary potential, tossing it with pasta and piling it on to grilled toast for a quick yet tasty snack.

Earlier this year, a research team collected more than 1,800 crab specimens in the Sultanate and found that 32 were new to Oman. Wow!


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rECIPE New Restaurant


GET CRACKING Crack, crunch and suck out some of the most mouthwatering meat in Muscat. Penny Fray discovers the joy of the crab shack at the Al Bustan Palace.

Move over lobster and shrimp – the crab now rules the culinary kingdom. Scuttling their way into woks and salads from here to Barka, these succulent sea critters feature in the cooking of every territory they occupy. But if you’re a little freaked out by the idea of killing and cooking them yourself, then head over to the crab shack at the Al Bustan Palace. Of course, this isn’t some rustic, run-down fisherman’s hovel but rather, a super-swish specialty restaurant serving fresh seafood on the beach. Dine beneath the stars in one of Oman’s oldest boats and watch the waves roll in as you tuck into a feast worthy of Poseidon’s table. Of course for many, myself included, the

prospect of wrestling with an armour-plated crustacean can be daunting. But according to Erika Anggreini, from the Al Bustan Palace, shelling crabs is pretty easy. Use the right instruments and you’ll be rewarded with sweet, white claw flesh that knocks spots off the lobster. “To eat crab when it’s still in the shell, we recommend using crackers or fish forks. Finger bowls are a must afterwards to keep hands sanitised and clean.” But it’s not just your taste buds that benefit from this fruit de mer – it’s good for your wellbeing too. Crab, along with other types of seafood, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is known to help keep your heart healthy, plus it’s high in antioxidants, reducing the risk of cancer.

Crab Risotto With Chili & Lime Ingredients:  500ml hot fish stock  two small onions
  1 tbsp olive oil
  500g pack risotto rice
  2 cloves garlic, crushed
  2 tbsp chopped ginger
  2 dressed crabs  1 red chilli, finely chopped
  juice and zest of 3 limes

R Add the onion on a low heat (lid on) for 3–4 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the rice, crushed garlic and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then add half the liquid (stock and water) and cook for eight minutes, stirring occasionally. R Scoop out all of the crabmeat from the shell, reserving the nicest pieces to garnish, and stir in the rest with the remaining stock. Method R Cook for a further 8–10 minutes, adding a R In a large saucepan, bring the fish little boiling water if needed, until the rice stock mixed with 750ml of water to is tender. 

 the boil. R Finely chop the onions and heat 1 tbsp R Stir in the chili, lime juice and half the zest. olive oil in a large, deep, lidded non-stick Season to taste and serve garnished with the reserved crab and lime zest. frying pan. 

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



If music be the food of love, this hits all the right notes but the service lets down an otherwise near perfect score, says Kate Ginn


irst, let us set the scene. Despite being named her Tortilla Wrap, sautéed chicken and mushrooms with after the famous English bard, the surroundings bell pepper and turmeric, a side of sour cream and an of Shakespeare and Co are actually more excellent homemade guacamole with a serving of crunchy reminiscent of 18th Century France, with French fries faux antiques and opulent décor. It’s an We had a similar outcome with our drinks. My eclectic mix of mismatched chairs and Nutty smoothie, with mango and pineapple, tables, feathered chandeliers and mock banana and Brazil nuts, was nicely blended panelled walls. Marie Antoinette but I struggled to taste much nut. would love it. However, my friend was rhapsodising The characters in this little play, about her Love Potion (banana, peach, however, are my friend and I. strawberry and mango), as if it were Act 1. We are at a table, the the most beautiful of sonnets. restaurant is busy as ever, though As the service had resumed normal a more subdued atmosphere business up to a point (the manager than usual. On the outside tables, joined in), we risked dessert. diners are relaxing with a shisha Act 4. Since it opened in December, and watching the lights of the yachts Shakespeare and Co had been promising twinkling away in Almouj Marina across the pudding menu would be activated. Up the road. until two weeks before this meal, it never had. The scene is set for a good meal. We are greeted Review night and miraculously desserts are offered. by a friendly waitress, as ever, and handed menus. Then My pudding had a lot to live up to (my mum made things start to go a little awry. the absolute king of bread and butter puddings) but it Act 2. Almost 20 minutes later, we are sitting at the made a valiant effort with a gorgeous sticky, caramelized table with the menus still in our hands. The waitress has sauce. The apple tart was dispatched quickly and enjoyed not returned to take our order and is nowhere to but pronounced a bit dry with covetous eyes being be seen. Two women at the table next door have made towards my sauce. VERDICT: been waiting even longer. Final Act. Coffee came quickly when It’s a little unfair for this to happen on the ordered, as did the bill. On any other night, 10 very night the restaurant is being reviewed. Shakespeare and Co would easily receive an Still good food but lost Usually, the service is impeccable, timed to 8.5 or 9. It would be poetic justice to review it point for slow perfection, neither rushing you nor leaving you again. But we can’t. Still, the evening did end service too long. on a good note and, to quote the great man, ‘All’s This time, however, it’s clearly understaffed. well, that ends well.’ Act 3. Food has arrived. Before my eyes is a plate of the chef ’s signature dish, the Shakespeare Classic Chicken, a Info Box Address: The Wave, Muscat grilled breast with mushroom sauce and mashed potato. Opening for: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, I’ve eaten it many times and have never been disappointed 7am-12-am daily (All-day breakfast available) with the woody mushrooms and moist meat. Unbelievably Tel: 24181363 on review night, it didn’t move me in the same sweet way. Price (for two): RO28 Oh woe is me! My friend, on the other hand, was waxing lyrical about



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If you can afford to get a bespoke suit, get one made. It’s worth the investment. Otherwise, enlist the services of a recommended tailor to nip, tuck and alter an off-the-peg two piece. Muscat’s side streets are full of savvy sewers who can work wonders without denting your wallet.


Tailored, timeless and ever adaptable – the suit is the basic building block of looking sharp. This season is all about colour – which is fine if you work in the creative sector. Otherwise, embrace blue as the hue du jour. This dapper twopiece is from Debenhams.


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RAINBOW ROCKER The penchant for colour and print in menswear is prevalent this season, says Penny Fray.


he soft pastel palette we’ve come to associate with spring has been usurped this season by neon. So, if you want to make a splash in the office, try a lime or orange spring-coloured suit. After all, bold, bright tailoring was seen on several catwalks – from Hermes and Michael Kors to Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo. The fit needs to be fantastic, as the new silhouette is figure hugging. Paul Smith, one of the biggest designer advocates of this new look, embraced a 1960s cut with shorter length trousers and skinny lapels. But if you want to stay on the classic side of fashionable, make sure your suit contours the body and shoulders with the sleeves ending just above the hinges of your wrists. Another big trend in tailoring at the moment is print. On the runway, Viktor & Rolf favoured zigzags, while Roberto Cavalli went dotty for polka dots. On the high street, H&M, Massimo Dutti and Topman, all featured statement suits in their current campaigns. But be warned – this look can be difficult to master – so keep things wearable with a simple white shirt. Alternatively, modernise a conventional two-piece with distinctive accessories like a colour-popping belt or bag.

This bright red wool suit from Paul Smith is a sartorial triumph: softly structured and smartly fitted, it embodies contemporary verve. Available from Mr Porter from RO600

A bright yellow satchel, like this one from Zara, gives a preppy vibe to your usual work wear. RO60

Scared of this season’s primary colours? Dip your toe in the fashion pool with this Ralph Lauren blue polo shirt from RO47.

This bright green suit from Gucci is sure to get you noticed. Avoid looking like a children’s TV presenter with neutral accessories though! From RO1000

H&M gets top fashion points for this suit thanks to its thoroughly modern colour, cut and eco credentials.

Join The Smart Set. Penny’s guide to wearing a suit. 1 Statement tailoring may be slick but if you want it to last more than a season, keep it simple, streamlined and perfectly crafted. 2 When temperatures soar it’s time to go lightweight. Designers are currently working with a range of materials including seersucker, whipcord and linen – the coolest of them all. Just make sure the crease factor isn’t too high. 3 The double-breasted suit is back thanks to The Great Gatsby – just keep things modern with a short, trim silhouette. MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268




THE MAY EDIT NUDE NAILS There may be colour overload on the catwalks but fingers and toes are going back to basics this month. Not sure which shade of nude to go for? Peach should be worn on fair skin and taupe shades on those with darker colouring.

JAPANESE KITSCH Here at Y Towers we love kitsch as much as we love fashion. Show us a Hello Kitty bag or a pair of bunny ears and you’ll be deafened by our squeals of delight. That’s why we dig Daiso. The new Japanese store based in Muscat Grand Mall has a legion of fans that love all things cheap and cute. Everything is just 700 baisa.

B eauty


Penny Fray and Michico Rimmer run through the top trends, styling ideas and beauty updates popping up this month.


Kids toys go high fashion this month as Karl Lagerfeld launches a selection of Legoinspired clutches for Chanel. If you’re wondering about May’s new ‘it’ bags – look no further than these bijou blocks of joy.


Don’t be a wallflower this month – petal prints are currently making a statement on bags, sunglasses, dresses, shoes and even belts. Add an extra dose of designer style with highsheen material. Marks & Spencer does it best with this fashion forward outfit.



It’s a time to go blue and bold with your eye make-up. The catwalks were awash with this season’s shade de rigueur, so try a saturated smear of sapphire on the base of lids like at Versace, or a colour-blocked etching of royal blue a la Fendi. For extra glamour – dot a few Gucci-esque sparkles around your eyes. Just keep the look modern and fresh by keeping the rest of the face nude. The idea is to have a pop of colour in just one place – not look like a retro reject.


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It’s the ‘must have’ sports accessory in celebsville. We are of course, talking about the stacked sneaker. Everyone from Alicia Keys to Beyoncé has been spotted wearing these trendy trainers with threeinch wedges. French fashion designer Isabel Marant and Marc Jacobs (left) led the way with the new silhouette, inspiring high-street brands such as Aldo and La Redoute to create their own unique twist on the popular shoe.


B-BOY BATTLE Abdullah Suleiman Al Rawahi AKA ‘engine’ wins the Red Bull BC One Cypher at bait al zubair

BC One winner Abdullah Suleiman al Rawahi


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My Hood






Nizwa’s Friday bazaar is the place for buying beautiful tropical birds – or picking up an antique rifle if guns are your thing.

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Friday Bazaar

The traditions of Oman’s interior are alive and well at Nizwa’s market. It’s a feast for all the senses. Words and photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki


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A favourite place for men is under the shade of a big tree near the market. Here, old folk sell antique rifles and ammunition. Expect to find a variety of old bolt-action rifles that still work perfectly, like the legendary Russian Mosin-Nagant 7.62mm, a German Mauser 7.92mm and various other rifles from the Czech Republic, Austria and the UK – mostly small calibre 5.6mm weapons. I spoke with the sellers about their wares and all of them displayed a deep knowledge of how to use them and how to take care of these oldfashioned arms. The Friday bazaar spreads beyond the city walls to the wadi located just behind the gates of the old town. Here you can buy whatever you want, mostly casual day-to-day items and odd knick-knacks. At one of the small stands covered by orange tarpaulin, I met an Omani Bedouin who was selling locally made perfumes in very colourful bottles and boxes. Some of them have special importance in Omani culture, particularly for people from the interior. I really recommend that anyone interested in discovering traditional Omani customs or culture should visit Nizwa early on a Friday morning. Unforgettable sights, sounds and smells are guaranteed.

travel guide


love to walk in Nizwa alone at night. The evening air is filled with the heady aroma of exotic spices and frankincense. Old narrow streets beckon you towards mud-built houses, oozing both history and character. It’s an amazing place. Aside from its magnificent fort and souk, traditional customs and habits are alive and well in Nizwa. It’s a hub for people from the interior and this is especially visible at the Friday bazaar. From my first visit to this fair in 2010, I knew it would be a fantastic place for photography. The thing that drew me in this time was a narrow alley where the local goat sellers were doing a brisk trade. This spot can get very crowded and full of noise, as the goat sellers scream, buyers whisper and the animals sound off. After taking a few shots, I moved into a quieter part of the market where a group of Omanis trade in birds. I saw a young boy with a small white pigeon in his hand and right next to him another young man proudly showing off his small cage full of small, brightly coloured parrots. The bazaar is well known as a place where you can buy traditional Omani ceramics. There are many stalls and shops offering pots and jars made in nearby Ad Dakhiliyah.

Just take the Nizwa highway from Muscat. When you reach the centre of Nizwa old town, park your car and go deep into the bazaar. MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268


MMyy HHoooodd



With towering mountains and deep canyons, Oman is a climber’s dream for those with a taste for daredevil feats and no fear of the unknown, writes Kate Ginn


Discover a new world under the waves where you could come face to face with sea turtles and clown fish, just as Heather Duncan did. Photos: Heather Duncan


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t came gliding out of the depths towards me, the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. My first meeting with a sea turtle in the wild was a magical experience, as unexpected as it was unforgettable. Oman is home to five different species of sea turtle but I was glad to even see one. The only turtle I’d ever seen before then was in an aquarium. I found myself following the marine creature for a long time, not wanting to let it go. The seas around Oman are a goldmine of exotic underwater life in all shapes and sizes just waiting to be explored. With 1,700 kilometres of amazing coastline to choose from, it’s not necessary to go too far to find what you are looking for. If you don’t dive, then snorkelling can still give you a wonderful glimpse of the treasures hidden below the surface. It’s also a great way to cool down from the intense temperatures as the mercury rises. The first snorkels were used in ancient times with hollow reeds for breathing, and the basic idea has not changed much in thousands of years. Many different boat trips for snorkelling and dolphin watching * Most hotels or dive centres rent out depart from Marina snorkelling equipment. Bandar Rowdha every day – just take your * Costs vary greatly so shop around. pick of which one suits * If you are heading out on a boat my presence. It all felt so serene. you best. remember to bring adequate sun With more than 200 species Our destination protection and drink plenty of water. of fish in Oman’s waters, it for the afternoon was The cooler sea breeze is deceiving was a fantastic sight. I even Bandar Khayran, and you can forget just how hot the spotted a couple of fish that I known as BK. It’s Arabian sunshine can be. recognised from the Finding Nemo a well-known and films, which brought a smile well-loved bay 25km to my face. The bright orange south east of Muscat and white striped Clown Fish were just as cute off for snorkelling, diving and relaxing on boats. Bandar screen. Khayran is a secluded bay protected from the sea Those of a nervous disposition needn’t worry. by steep rocky hills and cliffs, all of which add to the The chances of coming nose-to-nose with a shark beauty of the area. is virtually zero as the big boys prefer to stay out Once inside the bay and on the calm flat waters in open sea where their prey, including tuna, are – away from the jet skis and large powerboats, we found. Secluded bays are of no interest to them, so found our preferred snorkelling spot, quiet and put your mind at rest. undisturbed. With snorkel and fins on, I slipped Once my fingertips resembled prunes, it was into the cool water, a welcome change from the 35 time to head back into shore again. My underwater degrees temperature on the boat. adventure was over, for now at least. It’s amazing to discover the extensive marine life I don’t think I will ever get bored of what Oman so close to you as you dip below the surface. So many has to offer, above and below the surface. Every different types of coloured reef fish were whizzing time there is something new and exciting to see. past me and didn’t seem to be particularly fazed by

Fact Box

MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268



Living There


Mabela The Lowdown

The northern edge of the Muscat conurbation pretty much ends with Mabela. Beyond there is Barka and Sohar. It does have something of the frontier feel about it – desolate, flat and featureless. To be kind, one can say it is close to the sea and to the highway for an easy getaway. Omanis and expats rub along here and perhaps, as it grows, services and the environment will improve. Inshallah.

Good, Bad and the Ugly The area occasionally makes the headlines for the wrong reasons, such as police arresting drug dealers, or power outages. If aesthetic appeal matters to you, Mabela could leave you cold. It is, on the surface, depressing. Haphazard construction of new blocks next to villas suggests loose interpretation of planning rules. The junk yards, wide patches of scrub, endless car workshops and a smattering of petrol stations gives it an end of the world feel. Just don’t get stuck here without a car. 042

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What can one say about Mabela? It’s cheap. There are lots of villas – a few of them defiantly grand - and new apartments are popping up all over. The Indian School Mabela serves the local expat population. In fact, it’s something of a satellite town for Indian and Bangladeshi workers, while also hosting a large Omani community. A lot of construction in recent years suggests it will grow and grow.

It’s the last stop on the highway before the end of Muscat – and feels like it. Welcome to the featureless frontier.




My Hood

Why I live here: The area is fine and peaceful. It’s good for expenses. Room rents are low, the quality of the villas is good. For movies or theatre you have to go outside. I don’t shop here. There are small markets but you have to go to Seeb or Markaz Al Bahja for most things. Suresh Sunitha, registrar at tyre workshop.

HANGOUTS One can count the number of restaurants – excluding basic coffee shops – on one hand. There is a KFC, an Iranian restaurant and a few Pakistani joints. Excitement is not a familiar concept, but the beach is not far off and there’s always a drive to the petrol station if you really need to get out of the house.

Places of Interest A very elegant new mosque has risen up and gives the area an attractive focal point. Otherwise, there really isn’t much to write home about.

Shopping It’s all about the car. Aside from the Alain Gift Markets, the area has a Nissan and Toyota showroom and a huge number of car repair shops, breaker yards, steel workshops, building merchants and service garages. But for useful things residents must head to Seeb or further down the road for their consumables. LuLu is just down the highway. MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 268



My Hood





Let the battle of the consoles continue. Michico Rimmer and Penny Fray explore what’s currently cool in the gaming market. (And just in case you’re wondering – we’ve already covered Wii U and PlayStation Vita in previous issues of Y.) Xbox Kinect Imagine a game console that didn’t need any controllers? Well stop supposing. The new Xbox Kinect responds to how you move. No more slouching on the couch, no more remotes and no more sore fingers - with Kinect, you can play, pause and rewind, all with the sound of your own voice. How cool is that? The Xbox Kinect was rated a 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon and was the winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award. From RO105 this hands-free entertainment console can be bought at Geekay Games.

Nintendo Wii Wheel The Wii Wheel gives you a more realistic experience in driving and racing games. It’s designed to increase accuracy and control with compatible games but in our view, it’s an enjoyable and easy way to liven up your Wii remote. Available online at

Nintendo 3DS The Nintendo 3DS was the first handheld console to allow gamers to play in 3D without needing to wear those geeky glasses. But what we love is the fact that the 3D effect can also be switched off so gamers can enjoy their games in 2D as well. With two widescreen display screens and two cameras that take superrealistic images, it’s easy to see why so many people rave about the creativity of this console. It’s available in a wide range of colours.

EDITOR’S CRYSTAL BALL Wow! If gaming technology continues to advance at this rapid rate, the future looks like something straight out of a sci-fi film. Predictions currently doing the rounds among gaming geeks include higher res graphics, 3D helmets, brain control, cloud computing and smartphones turning into consoles.


MAY 01 – 07 / ISSUE 268

JAN 16 – 22 / ISSUE 253


SEA SONGS Remember the days when a Walkman looked like a cassettecarrying brick? We’ve come a long way since then. Sony’s portable music device has just undergone a hi-tech makeover, making it smaller, smarter and sportier than ever before. The earpiece contains both player and battery. Waterproof, the Walkman Sports MP3 Player, plays for eight hours at depths of up to 6.5 feet – ideal for swimmers. Available from RO40. For more information, go to

Jordan Tan /

F I N D O U T W H A T ’ S H I P & H A PP E N I N G I N G A D G E T S


NEW! Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Adding fuel to the Kindle fire by way of an 8.9-inch tablet upgrade, Amazon is now almost matching the big boys for screen size choices and resolution. Amazon’s hefty media catalogue continues to be the main reasons to buy, with 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books and mags to plunder. Expect Custom Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers for crisp, rich sound. Ultra-fast web browsing and streaming with built-in dual-band, dual-antenna wi-fi.

CALLING ALL MAZDA MOTOR HEADS The Towell Auto Centre (TAC) has just launched the new Mazda Oman Mobile application. As well as giving information about new vehicle launches and promotions, this hyper local app allows customers to book their service appointments for free. The application can be downloaded from or by searching ‘Mazda Oman’ on the Google Play and Apple app worlds.

Front-facing HD camera for taking photos or making video calls. Easy-to-use e-mail, calendar, and contacts for work or home, including Gmail, Hotmail, Exchange, and lots, lots more.


Here’s the way to work out all your kinks – Origins’ Jacknobber. Each of the four handles creates deep pressure to the muscle trigger points in your back – leaving you feeling like you’ve just been to the best masseuse in the world.

MAY JAN 01 16 – 07 22 / ISSUE 268 253



My Hood




Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Engine: 2.4L/2.0T 16 valve Horse power: 190/264 Transmission: Six-speed Shiftronic From: RO10,500

Check this out

Car of the week

Taking the scenic route is a pleasure to be savoured in the Hyundai Santa Fe and it looks good too, says Kate Ginn


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he Gulf ’s love affair with Hyundai may have been been a bit of a slow burner but it is certainly hotting up. Sales since the beginning of the year have risen by almost six per cent across the GCC with 67,533 vehicles sold between January and March. The Santa Fe has gone a long way to help fuel this burgeoning romance. Sales of the new 2013 model, launched at the end of the year, have seen a tremendous surge across the region, almost doubling in 12 months. Stain-resistant cloth seats There’s no doubt that the Tilt and telescopic steering wheel Korean carmaker is making Illuminated vanity mirrors inroads into the mid-size Multifunction trip computer crossover SUV market with Navigation system a mix of style and substance. Blue Link telematics system Dual-zone automatic The Santa Fe Sport not only looks the part with a robust temperature control appearance – this car seems like Panoramic sunroof available it can really handle off-road. MAY 01 – 07 / ISSUE 268

It has also garnered awards for safety and rave reviews for comfort. With seven air bags as standard, including a driver’s knee airbag and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors, it promises a reassuringly safe drive for families. The Hillstart Assist Control, to minimise backward roll, and Downhill Brake Control are also standard. For those who need more assistance, an Active Cornering Control is available. The ‘Sport’ offers fivepassenger seating, while those with a bigger brood to accommodate can choose from two versions: the GLS with seating for seven and the luxurious Limited that seats six. Hyundai has raised the bar with this latest, third-generation Santa Fe in terms of styling and impressive performance. It’s

keenly priced too, starting at RO10,500. Inside, the standards are equally high. A high-quality cabin and generous space mean it can rival and even out-class some of its competitors. Standard touches include 17-inch alloy wheels, sixspeaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and touch-screen computer. The Sport 2.0T adds a turbocharged engine, keyless ignition and entry, 19-inch alloys, and heated front seats. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line while four-wheel drive is optional. The ride is quiet, compliant, though some say the steering has a tendency to wander a bit on the highway. Transmissions can also sometimes be a bit slow to downshift. But these are minor gripes at best. All in all, the Santa Fe adds up to an awful lot of car for your rial.

Y Magazine #268, 1 May 2013  

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