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What Men Really Want SURPRISING SECRETS REVEALED GREAT GURUS / GOLF CLASSIC / ON THE ROAD WITH LAND ROVER / STAYCATION SPECIAL / GO GADGET GO / ART THERAPY / SPOT BARNEY

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PILGRIM’S PROGRESS: Muscat’s NOW AVAILABLE IN BARKA ALL THE WAY TO SOHAR Muslims Go To Mecca TURKISH DELIGHT: Restaurant Gets Rave Reviews NIGHT SECRETS: Kalbooh in Moonlight

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Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week

OCT 10 - 16 • ISSUE 290 • WEEKLY

TRAVEL THE

WORLD

IN ONE EID

No passport, savings or jet setting required

PLUS!

Fashion

CODE RED

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NOVEMBER 24 / ISSUE 258

Gallery

34

FAST FERRARI

Food

33

PINK PASTRIES

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WIN

EDITOR’S

NOTE

SPOT BARNEY AND WIN TICKETS

We seek him here, we seek him there, we seek him everywhere. But can you find Barney in Y magazine? The lovable dinosaur wants to play a game of hide and seek with you. Super Dee Duper! Two Barneys are somewhere in the pages of this week’s magazine but can you spot him and claim a prize? He’s purple and green and could be lurking anywhere. When you find him, simply go to facebook.com/ ytabloid and fill in the entry form. Two lucky readers will win 4 tickets to see Barney and his friends live on stage in Muscat on October 25 or 26. Entry closes October 17. Good luck! But you can also see Barney when he makes his first appearance in Oman at three malls on October 22. 6:00pm at Muscat City Centre, 7:00pm at Muscat Grand Mall and 8:00pm at Qurum City Centre

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

Fast forward

W MORE CHANCES TO WIN

Use your camera to bag a prize to see your favourite dinosaur. The hunt is still on for the funniest photo, starring you and Barney. For a chance to win up to eight tickets for you and your friends, just take a snap of yourself next to the cardboard cutout of Barney at one the following ticket-selling locations: SABCO Commercial Centre / Oasis by the Sea / Muscat Grand Mall / Muscat City Centre / Qurum City Centre / Safeer Mall in Sohar / Lulu Hypermarket in Seeb, Darsait and Ghubra. Send the results to prize@y-oman.com by October 17. Remember – there can only be three winners.

Ways to get your Y fix Online: Visit y-oman.com for even more inspiration. Smart device: Catch up with Y on the go at y-oman.com/current-issue

hen I was little, I used to travel the world in a week. I’d make a list of all the places I wanted to visit, stock up on books from the library and then imagine I was in Paris, Peru or Portugal. I’d even persuade my Mum to cook themed foods from whichever city I happened to be exploring in my mind that day, before spending my pocket money on souvenirs from local charity shops. Twenty years on and I’m still a fan of staycations, otherwise known as holidaying at home. Why? Well, for the simple reason that it’s efficient. There’s no need to book a trip, pack a bag or get bored at the airport terminal. Thanks to Oman’s multicultural heritage you can visit virtually any country in your backyard. All you need is a little imagination and a lot of research. It’s in this spirit that we decided to find the world in one city. After all, you’ll discover everything from fancy French patisseries and bustling Indian bazaars to British fashion and Norwegian style fjords right here on your doorstep. So what are you waiting for? Use your Eid break to go explore several wonders of the Sultanate. P.S Due to Eid, Y will be taking a break too. Your next issue comes out October 24.

Penny Fray MANAGING EDITOR editor@y-oman.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eihab Abutaha MANAGING EDITOR Penny Fray SECTIONS EDITOR Kate Ginn

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

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

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contents

Features

17 Around The World In One City Your Eid Passport To The World In Muscat

OCTOBER 10 2013

Your Oman

06 The Big Interview Adnan al Alawi 08 Your Oman Rosie In The Desert 1 0 News Teachers Strike Continues

12

This Week 14 16

This Week Trick or Treat Movie Listings About Time

17

Food & Drink

30 Trend Breast Cancer Awareness Month 32 Food Review Turkish House

30

Cars & Outdoors

14 Health & Beauty

39 Destination Kalbooh at Night 42 Indoors Art Therapy 44 Y-Fi Far And Away 46 Car of the Week Land Rover

45

32 Fashion Scarlet Fever 36 Shopping A Man’s World 38 Feature Guru Meditation

36 OCTOBER 24 ISSUE...

TACKLING THE TROLLS POWER PIECES ANGER MANAGEMENT LOOKING LEANER WONDER KARTING KID


YOUR

News

Gallery

INTERVIEW

OMAN

GET CONNECTED A dnan Al A l awi, COO of F Ri EN Di M obile

Words: Penny Fray Image: Jerzy Wierzbicki

Run through your career in 60 seconds or less: I am an engineer through and through. When I was eight years old, I joined the Royal Guard of Oman Technical School (now College) where children were taught the normal curriculum as well as military discipline and specialised education. I later acquired my Bachelor Degree in Electronic, Communication and Computer Engineering from The University of Bradford in the UK, later doing my Masters in Marketing Practice. I was one of the founders of the first mobile reselling operation in the Middle East, playing an important role in setting up Connect Arabia LLC (FRiENDi mobile Oman), all the way to securing a class II licence for the company. I continued working for FRiENDi mobile Oman as a corporate affairs consultant, before becoming its chief operating officer. Before that, I held various positions within information technology and telecommunications in Oman, the UK and Denmark. Describe your typical day: I get up around 7.30am and spend a short time with my two daughters watching cartoons before my wife takes them to school. I reach the office around 8.30am. Then, it’s a full day of activity - having meetings and making site visits. I always like going to stores and kiosks to talk to staff and customers so that I can hear their views and solve their problems. What’s the favourite part of your job? I love discussing new ideas. We work in a very open environment where concepts bounce around the office and solutions to difficulties are found quickly. We even have our own WhatsApp group and leisure area with a PlayStation consul and billiards table. This isn’t a place where you just come to work but a place to enjoy and engage. We’re like family. What is your ultimate ambition? It’s not about being number one in the market but rather it’s about continuing to serve our customers better, giving them more options and great products. You serve 400,000 customers in six languages with just 26 employees – and have just won an award for being the fastest in answering consumer queries. How do you achieve that level of efficiency? First, when we design a product, we go through the whole experience and make sure that it’s so simple that the customer doesn’t need to call us. We also analyse call flow and keep on doing so. That way we understand what problems customers are facing so we can immediately solve them. Finally, by training your staff better, you can resolve issues in a concise and efficient manner. You have a high number of Omani employees – what’s your personal view of Omanisation? A country needs its own citizens. With proper education and training, both employers and employees will benefit. Many of our own staff came to us as college trainees. When they proved to be good, we hired them. It’s a two way process. There has to be commitment from staff and willingness from the employers to train them. Describe your personality in three words: I’m innovative, social and loyal. Technology moves fast in your industry. Do you find keeping up stressful? No. It’s very exciting to be in an industry that evolves so fast. Every day you discover something new, making it interesting. 06

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

Adnan’s Success Secrets

• Think deeply about what you do and always find ways to improve and innovate. • Appreciate competition. It makes you work all the harder. • Look after your employees. Treat them the way you would your family.


www.radiomerge.fm

The capital’s newest, coolest, baddest, station has just landed. The best hip-hop, R’n’B, house, rock, lounge and pop from around the world, delivered with fresh local flavour.

Y Mag A.indd 1

5/24/11 1:17 PM


The Voice of Oman

Rosie MalcolmMacEwan on what happiness is...

correspondence Long live teachers

W

hen I was growing up my parents would read me fairy tales – Rapunzel letting her long hair down for the prince to climb up and rescue her or Sleeping Beauty awoken by her handsome prince. And they all lived happily ever after. There is an essence of those ‘happy endings’ that we carry into adulthood. But are our expectations bordering on the mythical? There’s so much advice on how to be happy – but what if we’re not? Is there anything wrong with sometimes feeling down? (Of course, this isn’t the same thing as depression or acute anxiety). The important thing in life is realising and accepting ups and downs. I find contentment, regardless of daily troubles and stresses. Having a happy and loving childhood matters, but so does the unique personality you were born with. People can be affluent, have a loving family and be in good health, yet still feel miserable. Children often wish their parents would spend more time with them. Partners wish their other halves would come home at a more sensible hour, while the breadwinner’s self-esteem is built around their work. Both partners need to develop empathy and imagine how it feels to be in the other half’s shoes. A lovely Omani man said to me the other day that the best part of his life was the Quran, feeling close to Muhammed, and spending time with his family. So forget about the fairy tales – or chasing your own tale - and consider being happy for the fact that you only have small things to worry about.

Next week: Ali al Balushi returns 08

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

Conditions are never just right – people who delay action until all factors are favourable are the ones who do nothing. Like Fatima (‘Distance Learning’ Y289) many teachers like me decided to go against the wind. Last week’s cover story was a live example of the admirable courage of teachers like Fatima who deserve a great salute, not only on World Teachers Day, but every day. We teachers play our role in developing a better society and only expect respect and status in return, which is our right. I can feel the pain of Fatima, as I myself travelled daily for two years up and down the Muscat-Nizwa highway. How can I compromise on the education of my own children?

We teachers have abilities to see the bright side of the picture; so we find ways to kill the pain of travelling. I learned Arabic during my travelling time. My Omani taxi friends are my teachers. Thank you brothers! My message to Fatima and all those teachers who have to travel and make sacrifices in their own lives: look for possibilities out of problems. You should remember that you are the pride of Oman. You are developing the future of young Omanis, so a day will come when your efforts will produce bright stars all over the country. Long live teachers and long live Oman. Munawar Hameed, Oman College of Management and Technology.

scams, spams and scandal Dear Editor, Ever since mobile phones and electronic communication methods have become an inevitable part of life, it’s also equally impacting the privacy of life at home and at work. Though the hidden dangers of such facilities have been exposed to the public, many continue to rip-off individuals. Therefore, awareness of scams is very important and needs to be updated on a regular basis. I have been receiving spam marked email messages from unknown sources offering millions of rials as prize money. As I am quite clear about its motive, I don’t respond. I was scared of opening an email which popped into my inbox recently

WRITE TO US AND WIN A VOUCHER

with the subject heading ‘Good Day To You’ from someone I didn’t know, offering business opportunities. Such unsolicited messages are indeed scandalous and also disturbing. Since mobile phones are used extensively by most of us, there should be some kind of check or preventive steps taken by relevant service providers to avert the flow of spam messages in the interests of the public. Best Regards Ramachandran Nair, Ruwi

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SEND US YOUR letters, photos, news and views to info@y-oman.com / @ytabloid / /ytabloid. Impress us and the winning correspondent will receive a Grand Hyatt voucher. Guests may redeem gift vouchers from the hotel’s reception. For the rest of the terms and conditions see voucher. Contact person katrina.pulusan@hyatt.com.


YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US

LETTERS

Debate of the Week WE ASKED: ‘When

was the last time you really laughed and why?’ S.K. Rupchand

While working in an area just near the general reception, my colleague was often approached by many visitors who mistook him to be the receptionist whenever the reception desk was not staffed, which was quite often. It was quite annoying for him since he was preoccupied with his own work. Once, someone who wished to use the free ‘courtesy phone’ in the reception area inquired: ‘Does this phone go outside?’ My colleague responded instinctively: ‘Yes, if you throw it far enough!’ His humorous remark sent me into fits of long and hard laughter, and even today whenever I recollect this incident a big grin crosses my face.

Fit RS Honda

Y’s debate has set me thinking and made me realise something unusual. Frankly speaking, I cannot recall the last time I laughed heartily. There has been little to be cheerful about and circumstances have not been easy. My dear friends also complain that I hardly laugh. It seems that life’s stresses have put a brake on even a smile, let alone a laugh. I know laughing is supposed to do wonders for one’s health, since laughing releases endorphins which is beneficial to the body and contributes towards good health. I can only hope that I laugh soon.

Mayuri Sawant

I have no phrase like ‘last time I laughed’ because I always keep laughing. Even if my day is bad or if I have received an exam paper

E-MAILS

FA C E B O O K

which didn’t go well, I smile. Laughter starts my day and ends my night.

Rishikesh Chidhambaranathan

I was sitting in front of the television watching an action film. My daughter Aarahdhanaa, who was four months old, was nearby and she also started looking at the TV. Once the fighting scene started in the film, she copied it and also started shouting, and yelling ‘aaahh...ugghhh...’ with her legs and hands moving, and her big eyes staring. It was fun to see her reactions.

Jayesh Lodaria

Though I am a resident of Mumbai, the city is so sprawling that it is easy to lose one’s way. Once when stuck in a car with friends, we asked a passerby for instructions to reach our destination which was in the vicinity itself but out of sight. This pedestrian gave us detailed instructions and after crawling slowly in dense traffic conditions following the given instructions, we found we had reached the same spot where we had just asked the passerby. All of us were a bit stunned and disappointed but we dissolved into

TWITTER

helpless laughter since all four of us had not realised that we had travelled in a full circle. The laughter helped lighten an awkward situation.

Prabhat Chandrashil

In small villages back home, occasionally there is a sort of elders’ meeting, held to discuss issues. Once some serious matter was being discussed, when one member who had dozed off, suddenly yawned loudly and flexed his arms. The somber mood suddenly transformed to merriment and all participants broke into hearty laughter, with me being the most affected. I recollect that this was the time when I had laughed the most.

Next debate:

By the next issue, Eid will be over. What do you do for the Eid break? Tell us your views on Facebook.

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290 YWeekly FXD 21x15.5 E.indd 1

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8/20/13 5:13 PM


YOUR

OMAN Teachers strike schools continues Many still hit by

dispute a week after it began Words: Joe Gill

Ahmed Bin No’Oman Al Kabi boys school

The teachers’ strike that began last Tuesday has continued and expanded, with thousands of children sent home from school, according to teachers and government sources. “The strike is continuing in the majority of schools, in fact it has escalated,” said Tawfiq al Lawati, a member of the Shura council who sits on its education and research committee. “It seems the strike will continue until Eid, with some teachers saying they will even continue the strike after Eid.” Most teachers who have taken part in the action are attending school but not giving lessons. Y visited a government school in Seeb and spoke to teachers there on Monday, with several saying that they were now teaching. Walaa al Lawati, a teacher working in Muscat, said teachers at her school had been on strike for three days but were now back at work. “This week the teachers in our school decided to stop the strike because they wanted to teach.” “A lot of schools are still on strike,” she added. A physics teacher, her main grievances are a need to overhaul the curriculum, improve conditions for teachers posted far from home, and reduce the number of her classes each week. “There are a lot of mistakes in the curriculum and the students are not happy to work from it.” Starting salaries for teachers are around RO600. “There are teachers who have served more than 20 years who have still not reached RO1000. They should be paid enough to honour their status,” she said. Before working in Muscat, she was posted to Mahout, a five hour drive from her home, where she was assigned accommodation. “The government gave me a flat and I shared it with seven other teachers. But it was not fit for humans. 010

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

“I paid for the transport from my home to school and back. We have asked for allowances for this for a long time.” The Ministry of Education (MoE) last week issued a statement saying that all the demands of government school teachers involved in the strike had been discussed with education officials during previous meetings. Teams from the Ministry of Education are meeting teachers in different regions of Oman to hear their demands. According to a Ministry source who spoke to Y, the government is working on a solution to the dispute to be announced in coming weeks. The Ministry, in a statement issued through the Oman News Agency (ONA) last week, claimed that the burden on teachers has eased considerably. It revealed that the number of teachers in the last six years has increased from 37,500 in 2005 to 53,000 in 2012 – a growth of 31 per cent. According to Ministry statistics, the number of students has dropped from 568,000 to 518,000 in the same period. One of the teachers’ demands has been to reduce the number of school days for primary students. The Ministry statement echoed comments made by Education Minister HE Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed bin Nassir al Shibaniyah on Oman TV last week. “International studies and comparisons have proved that the number of school hours received by Omani students each year is 40 per cent less than the international average.” On the demand for forming a teachers’ union, the statement said the Ministry had communicated with departments concerned to consider the issue.


YOUR

OMAN

Gallery

Inspirational figure reveals fourth cancer diagnosis as breast cancer awareness month starts cancer and during treatment, cancer cells were discovered in her uterus. After setting up a meeting group with other cancer survivors, she set up the National Association for Cancer Awareness (now the OCA) in 2004. It was during an annual check up at the Royal Hospital in Muscat six months ago, that Mrs al Rawahy was told that she had Stage 1 breast cancer, which can be effectively treated. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Oman, accounting for 17.7 per cent of all diagnoses of the disease. Late detection is a huge problem in the Sultanate. Breast cancer is still a taboo topic, meaning many women are reluctant to see a doctor or self-examine. “As with all those who receive this diagnosis, it was an emotional rollercoaster,” said Mrs al Rawahy. “I had some tough choices and decisions to make. When I began the treatment, I had my emotional highs and lows. Positivity, faith, patience and a healthy attitude, all these things are easy to talk about, but the reality is, there are times when I had my lows. It was painful and it was emotional but I am thankful for my family for being there to pick me up and help me through those difficult times. “After a long day of gruelling treatments and dressing changes and healing that simply wasn’t progressing as I expected, I would weep, and my daughter would tell me it was ok to break down

Pilgrims’ Progress

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NEWS

BATTLING THE SILENT KILLER

As the global month for breast cancer awareness begins, the founder of the Oman Cancer Association has spoken of being diagnosed with the disease for the fourth time after being cancer free for nearly 15 years. Yuthar al Rawahy, who has previously fought thyroid, breast and uterus cancer, found out that she had early stage invasive breast cancer during a routine check up in April this year. After surgery, it was discovered that the cancer had been caught early enough and had not spread to the lymph nodes. “This diagnosis was just as tough for me, if not more so, than my first cancer diagnosis in 1998, it does not get any easier,” said Mrs al Rawahy, 62 (pictured). The mother-of-five was 48 years old and working in the Dean’s office in the College of Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University when she was first diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid. Six months later, she was found to have breast

Thousands of pilgrims are leaving Oman to make their way to Mecca, despite a reduction in the numbers taking the journey this year. It is estimated that up to 11,200 will head to the Holy City in Saudi Arabia by air and coach, joining up to three million people on pilgrimage. Oman’s visitor quota was reduced by 20 per cent this year as expansion projects continue at Mecca. Special flights were being laid on from the Sultanate this week. Wednesday (9) was the last date for pilgrims to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. Many travel first to Medina, the burial place of Prophet Muhammed, before undertaking a five-hour

Interview

journey to Mecca. “Due to the ongoing expansion projects at the Holy Mosque and Mecca to ensure the comfort and safety of pilgrims, the Ministry decided to abide by the request made by the Saudi Agency and reduce the number of pilgrims this year by 20 per cent,” said Oman’s Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs in a statement. Around 245 buses are expected to carry pilgrims from Oman to Mecca, the majority of passengers being Omani. Bus trips can cost up to RO1600 for 22 days and RO2400 for 12 days by air. Tour operators say prices have increased this year because of the reduced number of places.

but reminded me that I am a fighter and I have managed to fight this disease before, so I can do it again.” Every kind word of support, prayer, message, email and phone call, gave her the strength and courage to carry on, she said. After surgery, there was an agonising threeweek wait to find out the chances of recurrence were low and chemotherapy was not needed. OCA’s mobile mammography unit has provided free screening to over 7,000 women across Oman during the last three years. As part of the National Breast Cancer Awareness month of October, the Association is holding its 10th Annual Walkathon titled ‘Each Step Can Change a Life’ on October 29th in Qurum Natural Park. Mrs al Rawahy vowed to continue her personal fight to spread awareness about cancer in Oman. “This is my ongoing journey of hope and I am a testament to the importance of early diagnosis. “I ask you all to join hands with OCA to give strength to those going through this devastating illness and to donate towards research that will help save lives. “I want my grandchildren to grow up, Inshallah, in a world where cancer is no longer a death sentence, and I shall continue to play my part in seeing that through.” For details on the Walkathon go to www.oca.om. Pink afternoon tea for breast cancer p30

SPLASHING TIME FOR OMAN

will be the first of its kind in the Sultanate. It will also be the biggest indoor entertainment facility in Oman. Divided into four main areas, ‘Strange World’, ‘Excitement World’, ‘Space Station’ and ‘Neptune Water Park’, it will feature slides and live shows. There will also be diving boards, cinemas and restaurants, along with halls to hold conferences and special events. However, It’s been a long time coming but the we’ll have to wait two years for wait should be worth it when Oman’s the grand opening in early 2016. first water park opens. The park, designed by an Amid much excitement this week, the Australian company, is a joint design for the Galaxy Oman indoor project between Sayyid Fatik bin theme pleasure centre was revealed. Set Fahr Al Said companies and the to cost RO40 million, the 25,000 square Arabian Malaysian Development metre park at Al Sawadi Beach in Barka Company.


GALLERY

GOLF GREATS CLASSIC TOURNAMENT AND DINNER AT MUSCAT HILLS

Evening event at Muscat Hills

Players gather for the amateur event

HH Sayyid Al Rawy Kais Al Said with tournament winner Sachin Bawa

In the swing - winner takes all

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

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THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE Oct 10

Gifts Galore 19-25

Move Fast

Oct

After Eid, you’ve got a whole week to splash the cash while enjoying the array of shopping goodies at the Gifts and Accessories Fair at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. Call 968 24512100 for more information.

Legend of Love Giuseppe Verdi’s ever-popular La Traviata, a tale of self sacrifice and redemptive love, comes to Muscat for three performances of Italy’s Macerata Opera Festival production directed by Henning Brockhaus. Starts 7pm at the Royal Opera House Muscat.

It’s the last day of the Eid sale at Muscat Duty Free head office at the Seven Seas Complex opposite Muscat Airport. Get up to 60 per cent off perfumes, cosmetics and watches while stocks last.

Monsters Ball

THIS

WEEK

What to do. What to see.

Take the little monsters down to Kargeen Caffé, Madinat Qaboos, from 4-6pm for a Halloween bash, with tricks and treats for the tiny terrors. Tickets RO5.5.

What to hear.

O C T O B E R Oct 11

Nostalgia Night Don’t miss out on a free night of Indian cinema nostalgia at the Grand Hall of the Al Falaj Hotel in Ruwi, on Friday. Talent Hunters Oman is holding its Musical Journey II event with film songs from the golden decade of 1965- 1975, including dance performances and projections to add glamour to the show. Free passes available from sdalal1955@yahoo.com.

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Oct

30


Movies October

22 + 24

+

26

Oct

10-18

Star of the Sea Tourism Oman is offering an Eid Special dhow activity cruise through alatoolmuscat.com, including kayaking, swimming and cruising along the Omani coast. Enjoy all this for RO10. For more information call 91180869 / 99599644 between 9am - 3pm Sunday to Thursday or email support@alatoolmuscat.com

The Almouj Golf Charity lunch in support of the Oman Cancer Association takes place on Sunday, including a buffet, pink bubbles, flowers and chocolates for RO10 per head. It all helps. See p30 for more events.

Swing Support

Gallery

Eid on Water

Oct 13

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THIS WEEK

MOVIES MOVIES THIS WEEK’S MOVIES

About Time On his 21st birthday, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is let into a little family secret by his dad (Bill Nighy) – the men can travel back in time. He later mees the girl of his dreams (Rachel McAdams) on a trip to London, but after zipping back in time, finds himself at a point before she knew him, and so has to reengineer their meeting. Time travel is a familiar plot device dating back to HG Wells’s The Time Machine, and its use offers up intriguing what-if scenarios. Rather than go back to the same moment where he first met her, Tim spends a large part of the film jumping back and forth trying to ensure that love runs smoothly. The scriptwriters of this romantic comedy are not too worried about the consistency of the family gift. At times, Tim returns at the same moment he left, and others he is inexplicably absent for the duration. But such are the film’s charms that it really doesn’t do to dwell on technicalities too much. Richard Curtis is the king of the British feel-good romance since his hits Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Ultimately, time travel is just a ploy for the writers to

PREVIEW

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explore love between father and son, and romance between Tim and Mary, as the pair fall in love, get married and have children. There are some laugh-out loud moments but what really hits home is the deeply touching familial relationship made all the more poignant as we discover that Tim’s dad has cancer. Of course, the elements of middle class North Londoner meets nice American girl are familiar to fans of Curtis and wisely he returns to what he does best. Gleeson shows himself to be every bit the Hugh Grant of our day. His bumbling, well-spoken loser routine is the perfect companion to Nighy’s understated father act An added bonus is the poignant soundtrack including songs by The Cure, Amy Winehouse and Nick Cave, with the latter’s ‘Into My Arms’ coming into its own in arrangements for a funeral. The film comes together in a tremendous emotional finale in which only the stonehearted will be able to resist the story’s embracing impulse to seize each day as if it’s the last. There will be tears. Review by Joe Gill

Diana The excellent Naomi Watts plays the People’s Princess in this portrait of her last two years following her separation from Prince Charles. We see her fall in love with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) and find a new lease of life as a campaigning humanitarian. Dodi al Fayed comes along late in the picture as a rebound fling while her sons and ex-husband do not get a look in. Based on the book ‘Diana: Her Last Love’ by journalist Kate Snell.

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

Escape Plan It’s back to the 80s with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – sporting a beard - in a prison break thriller. They may be well past their prime, but they can still knock the living daylights out of one another while delivering smart one liners. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a structural security expert who designs prison systems for a living. After being framed for a crime, Breslin is locked up in a supposedly escape-proof prison of his own design. But with the help of fellow inmate Arnie, he plots his escape and sets out to discover who framed him.

Badges of Fury A martial arts action comedy in the vein of Beverly Hills Cop, but without a scintilla of that film’s wit and charm.

It might have fallen into the category of so bad it’s good but instead falls into the one called ‘just plain bad’. Jet Li has blotted his copybook with this shocking misfire.

Switch Taking its lead from Bollywood rather than Hollywood, this is a Chinese crack at Bond-style action with a plot involving a gang of British smugglers plotting to steal a priceless Ming Dynasty scroll. Andy Lau plays a 007-like character attempting to juggle a high-flying wife, a creepy supervillain, a mistress and a gang of deadly female assassins in wedding dresses. In two hours of big star action, the big budget of RMB160 million (US$26 million) is on show throughout but the script makes very little sense as it rushes like a bullet train from Hangzhou to Dubai to Tokyo. It is slickly choreographed escapism that only works as long as you don’t stop to ask what on earth is happening. Most noteworthy for a car chase through Dubai’s Burj Al Arab.

Metallica: Through the Never Using 3-D and IMAX technology, Metallica strike one out of the park for die-hard fans of the Californian heavy metal band. A live rock documentary is interspersed with a dramatic story, in which a young roadie (Dane DeHaan) is sent on a mission by the band and finds himself in an apocalyptic alternative reality. For fans, the sound quality and visually thrilling live material from two concerts in Vancouver last November take the concert movie to a new level.

Y’s Film Choice Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

This sequel to the 2009 hit animation is crammed with zany ideas and oddball characters. Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) is the amateur inventor whose waterpowered food machine previously went berzerk and buried his island town in gigantic edible goods. Now he is recruited by a tech corporation and told

that his machine has gone on to create food-animal hybrids called ‘foodimals’. Flint takes along his family and pet monkey to bring the monsters to heal in this smart, inventive satire on out-of-control tech business culture.

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MUST HAVE PHRASES • Salam Alaykum (‘Peace be upon you’ - A standard greeting in Islam) • Shukran (Thank you) • Aafwan (You’re welcome) • Al Humdullah (Praise to Allah. Often said in response to 'How are you?')

SHIP OF THE DESERT

Ride a camel along the golden sands of Oman's desert

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ARABIA Overview

Exotic, mysterious, beguiling and alluring: the Arabian Peninsula is all this and more. Home to approximately 77 million people and vast reserves of oil and natural gas, spread over seven countries (although some also include Bahrain and Iraq) and an ocean, it takes in cosmopolitan cities, fertile valleys, empty deserts with mountainous dunes and sweeps across rocky ranges to turquoise seas lapping at white sandy shores. Intrigue and romance go hand-in-hand in these lands steeped in history, folklore and traditions passed down through the generations. A rift in the Red Sea between 23 and 56 million years ago formed the peninsula. In the 1930s, the discovery of oil brought great wealth to the region, with the exception of Yemen. As a member of the GCC, Oman has opened its borders and heart to residents from across the peninsula, creating the wonderfully diverse melting pot that the modern Sultanate is today. There’s no need to leave the country to take a trawl through the fascinating countries that make up this region. Each is distinct but all share a common bond. Along the way, you can also travel to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, with the essence of Cairo or Amman to be found in the streets here.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Capture the spirit of Arabia and go on a nomadic exploration by camel or by 4x4 to follow in the footsteps of the Bedouin, who criss-crossed the lands and countries in days of yore. Head to the camel track in As Seeb to see the ships of the desert in action. Camel racing is a popular traditional sport and Bedouin families, who still raise and train them, breed the beasts especially for the track. Go to Dhofar, where the camels are smaller and darker. Visit ‘Rub al Khali, otherwise known as the Empty Quarter, the largest sand desert in the world, where you can step into Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional souq, where you can bargain for the softest of pashminas or exquisite silverwork while breathing in the waft of Frankincense. Try Muttrah, where traditionally, dhows from the Far East, Africa, Ceylon and India would off load their cargo on the dock to be taken straight to the markets. Or haggle at the goat market in Nizwa and the Gold Souq in Salalah. Shisha (water pipe) or ‘hubbly bubbly’ is a national past time across Arabia, whether it be Qatar, the UAE or Oman. Choose from the menu of aromatic flavoured tobacco (from melon to orange blossom), sit back and soak up the atmosphere and listen to the sounds of Arabia, as different Arabic dialects waft all around.

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WHERE TO EAT

For an affordable taste of Lebanon, try one of the Automatic Restaurants for fast Arabic food popular with locals and expats alike. Want to go more upmarket? Drop into Al Barouk at the Beach Hotel in chic Shatti al Qurum for fancy Lebanese fare. Kargeen Caffé in Madinat Qaboos serves fantastic Yemeni bread, made in a traditional tandoor oven, and we’re told it also does a mean shuwa, a classic Omani dish of meat cooked very slowly in an underground clay oven. Shawarma, a Levantine Arab meat snack, is a must, as well as tabouleh and fattoush salads. Enjoy shisha at any of the small Egyptian pavement cafes. Savour Omani delicacies at the ultra smart Ubhar Restaurant or the newly opened Al Angham Restaurant at Opera Galleria. Arabia’s bountiful seas offer a multi-coloured harvest of fish, so trying the seafood is required eating.

SPICE MARKET

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

One sniff from a jar of Omani or Yemeni (darker) frankincense evokes the romance of Arabia. These can be found in many places from supermarket shelves to souqs. Decorative khanjars, the short curved dagger, or Arabian coffee pots (a symbol of local hospitality will look good on any sideboard. For a touch of kitsch, it has to be a cute camel soft toy. A dishdash or abaya, reflecting the different Arabic cultures and the national dress of many countries in the region. Dates. The superfruit from the Arabian desert has a distinctive musky favour. Take your pick from those grown across the region, from Omani to Saudi Arabian and Qatari to Emirati.

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

“Oman is one of my favourite places in the world. I could describe everything I love about this place – from the nature to the people – but I’m sure you already know all that. But even in the best of countries, there’s one thing you can never take out of a Lebanese man, and that’s the love of manakeesh. This is why my first stop in Oman is always the Al Fawaris Modern Bakery. That’s the smell of home to me, thyme, olive oil and baking.” Karl Baz from Broummana

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AMERICAS Overview

Also known as the New World, the continental landmass of North America and South America takes in a vast array of varying landscapes and climates, from the arctic tundra of Alaska and Northern Canada to the tropical rain forests in Central and South America. More than 900 million people live in the Americas (about 15 per cent of the world’s population), with the most populous cities being New York City, Sao Paulo and Mexico City. This diversity is reflected in the fact the most prominent languages being spoken are Spanish, English and Portuguese. Very few places in the world have escaped the influence of the Americas and Oman is no exception. From the expansion of huge shopping malls to the sight of the big yellow M popping up all over the country (Salalah got its first McDonald's in April this year) feeding the growing liking for fast food, the North Atlantic twang is infiltrating into Omani culture. Sayyid Said bin Sultan established a political alliance with the USA in the mid 19th century, making Oman the first Arab state to forge such a link. This friendship was strengthened in 2006, when the two countries signed a free trade agreement. Political and military ties remain strong. If you want to feel closer to the Land of the Free, join The American Women’s Group in Muscat or enroll your children into The American International School of Muscat.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Head to Muscat Grand Mall, grab a box of popcorn and settle back to watch a movie at the multi screen cinema, one of North American’s favourite past times. It’s a national obsession in Canada, so go and cheer on the Oman Wadi Dogs ice hockey team in action at Qurum rink. Feel the South American rhythm by taking a salsa class. The newest dancing craze to hit Muscat has made its way across the ocean from the back streets of Cuba and Colombia. Beach football started in Brazil and has been enthusiastically embraced by Oman, which even has a national team. Head to most beaches around 4pm and settle back to watch locals in action. You may be able to see dolphins in SeaWorld, Disneyland but Oman can go one better. Book a dolphin watching tour to see the mammals in the wild.

WHERE TO EAT

If fast food gets the gastric juices flowing, take your pick from McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Hardee’s. Family favourite Chili’s can take you on a culinary journey from North America (burgers and steaks) to classic Tex-Mex fajitas. For a little slice of Mexico try Pavo Real in Madinat Qaboos for authentic food and drink. Some say Rock Bottom serves the best steaks in town. Arrive early though and leave before things get noisy.

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

Pick up some clothes at Gap, an American multinational clothing chain, to get the preppy look off to a tee. Or root out a pair of Levi’s for the ultimate American product.

MUST HAVE PHRASES

Have a nice day! (Overused Americanism to express good wishes when parting) Que tenga un buen dia! (Polite Spanish for have a nice day) Tenha um bom dia! (Portuguese for have a nice day)

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

PREPPY STYLE TEE

“The people are very friendly and hospitable just like in America. I especially find that in Muscat, where the Omani people are extremely warm and welcoming.” Trygve Sahar Harris, American expat and CEO of Enfleurage Middle East

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MUST HAVE PHRASES Wish someone a great day in Hindi, Japanese and Chinese:

LITTLE INDIA

Ruwi is a must stop for fabric, bangles, all manner of golden trinkets and amazing authentic Indian cuisine

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ASIA Overview

Wow, where to begin? From the surreal cityscapes of Tokyo to India’s ancient farming villages, Asia offers so much variety that it would take more than a lifetime to scratch even the surface of the world’s largest continent. Whilst stylish skyscrapers and malls mushroom amid the slums of Mumbai, and Shanghai dazzles with new money - ancient wonders like the Great Wall of China still manage to captivate the crowds. And that’s without even mentioning the natural marvels of snow-capped mountains, smoldering volcanoes and animal infested jungles. Sensory overload is a given, especially since the aromas and flavours of Asian cuisine are famous the world over. And thanks to a large expatriate community of mainly Indian and Filipino workers, Muscat bristles with an eclectic mélange of authentic Asian tastes, sights, smells and sounds.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

One part Bollywood glitz and five parts traffic - Ruwi offers a realistic glimpse into the mayhem and magic of somewhere like Mumbai or Delhi. Known by locals as Little India, this Muscat district swarms with people, shops, bazaars and restaurants. For your film fix, Star Cinema shows all the latest Bollywood blockbusters. Experience all the colours and heady aromas of incense and flowers in one of Muscat’s Hindu temples. There’s a Krishna one in Darsait and an old Shiva temple in Muttrah. Embracing the relaxation rituals and healing traditions of India, Bali and Tibet, the spa at The Chedi hotel is perfectly equipped to stimulate your senses and sooth your soul. Ayurvedic massages and Thai reflexology treatments are among the highlights of the spa’s diverse menu. Delivered in one of thirteen Asian style suites, you’ll soon forget that you’re even in Muscat.

TEA R IT U A L A T AL BUSTA N

WHERE TO EAT

Frying, sizzling, baking and flipping a delicious variety of dishes, feasting your way through Asia is easy in Muscat. In Ruwi, the hungry traveller can look forward to a wide variety of tasty Indian treats, ranging from the spicy goodness of masterful Biryanis from the north to the simple splendour of Idli Vada Sambhar from the steamy south. Woodlands, A Passage To India and Moti Mahal Delux are just a few options out of a seemingly endless list. If you want to spend the evening with Bollywood Stars however, try the aptly named Bollywood restaurant. For a more upmarket dining experience, you should definitely go to either Indus, Kurkum or Mumtaz Mahal. Muscat has plenty of Chinese restaurants too. According to those in the know, one of the city’s finest Asian dining experiences can be found at China Mood in the Al Bustan Palace. Expect high quality food, attentive staff and decadent décor. For great crispy duck with plum sauce it has to be The Golden Oryx in Ruwi. Lovers of Japanese fare, however, should head for Wasabi Sushi in Bareeq Al Shatti. For traditional food and ambience from the Philippines, a colleague recommends Palayok.

GOLD SHOP - RUWI SOUQ

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

"You want shawl. It’s from Kashmir...or what about a sari? This is silk. Best quality, I promise - only 70 rials. You live in Muscat? Okay, for you, half price…" Shopping in an area like Ruwi High Street can be overwhelming if you don't know what to buy. Traders will inundate you with options, prices and colours. If you don’t have a lot to spend, you’ll find some beautifully boxed incense in religious shops like Haridas Nansey. Also, visit one of the 123 shops that you’ll find all along Ruwi High Street for everything from scarves to toys – they’re just like the ones you’ll find in Chandni Chowk market in Delhi. Gold is also a good buy here and there are plenty of upmarket jewellery boutiques to choose from including Mouawad and Khimji’s Watches. Alternatively, visit the gold souq in either Salalah or Muttrah.

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

“Ruwi High Street, with its spirit of welcoming the rich and the not so blessed alike, poignantly reminds me of similar market places all across India. The gold and diamond jewellery shops stand close to more humble ones that sell everything from cheap plastic toys to inexpensive, synthetic saris. Fabrics almost brush across your nose as you pass by the street, while the heady mix of sweat, jasmine oil and fried 'pakoras' seamlessly amalgamate with the 'never say die' spirit of the man on the road, in spite of the painful trials that mar their personal lives. All this gives me a general slice of India in the heart of Muscat.” Sushmita Gupta, from Class Apart

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AFRICA Overview

An African adventure is like no other, taking you on a journey through the world’s second largest and second most populous continent. About 15 per cent (over 1 billion) of the earth’s population call Africa home. With 54 fully recognised sovereign states, nine territories and two de facto independent states, there is so much to discover, taking you from the sweeping lowland plains of Ethiopia to the mountains of Rwanda, via the Red Sea and Pacific Ocean among others. Africa’s name derives, fittingly, from an ancient area in modern day Tunisia known as Ifriqiya or ‘sunny place’, an appropriate description for a place that exudes warmth in its climate and welcome. Historically, Oman remains intrinsically intertwined with East Africa, stretching back their extensive trading and seafaring links from the 19th century. Zanzibar, the centre of the East African slave trade, was an important part of the Omani colonial empire. This closeness remains today with the essence of African countries such as Tanzania, Sudan, Zanzibar and Kenya much evident in the country, through the people and their heritage. As such, the flavour of Africa can be found throughout Oman, from spoken Swahili through to cuisine.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Follow the Frankincense trail in Dhofar and discover the unique trade that Oman shares in common with Somalia. Frankincense was once more valuable than gold due to its aromatic fragrance and scarcity. Head down the coast from Muscat to the harbour town of Sur, considered the heart of Swahili music in Oman. Here the sounds of Africa, in the beat of the drums, are alive, evoking the feel and smell of the 'Dark Continent'.

WHERE TO EAT

With such a varied continent, the range of food to sample is potentially endless. For authentic African fare and feel try: The Safari Bar at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel for a South African vibe with its themed decoration. Pop to the African Restaurant & Coffee Shop in Seeb for brunch, lunch or dinner. Zanzibar Island Restaurant in Al Ghubra. The little ones will love The Jungle, a themed restaurant for children complete with animals and a rain forest.

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

To get into the mood, pick up a tanbura, an African instrument played by beating the strings with the end of a bull’s horn, or the misundu, a tall cylindrical drum with animal skin over the conical body. Seek out old Omani wooden doors, some of which were carved in East Africa and brought to the villages by dhow and camel.

TH E JU NG LE

MUST HAVE PHRASES

Habari. Hujambo? (Swahili for Hello. How are you?) Unazungumza kiingereza? (Do you speak English?) Tucheze ngoma? Utapenda kudansi? (Would you like to dance with me?)

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

“I am originally from Tanzania and the green of Wadi Darbat during Khareef season and the mountains of Dhofar remind me of Africa. It feels a little bit like home.” Yousaf al Mahrooqi, guide and co owner of tour company Sumahram Falcon in Haffa, Salalah 024

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A F R IC

A N V IB E


MUST HAVE PHRASES Say that you love living in Oman in French, German and Spanish: • J'aime vivre en Oman • Ich liebe das leben in Oman • Me encanta vivir en Omán

FRENCH FANCIES

This Parisian gourmet food company offers the crème de la crème of tea, cakes and chocolates

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EUROPE Overview

Welcome to your European odyssey, a trip around a diverse and exciting patchwork of nations. This continent packs one hell of a cultural punch thanks to the glut of extraordinary history, sights, sounds and people. Start with the classics of Great Britain, France and Germany before adding a dash of Mediterranean drama with Italy, Spain and Greece. Then, finish off your tour with a sprinkling of the cooler areas of Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Poland as well as the Balkans. This crowded continent has everything from awesome fjords and breathtaking mountains to grand palaces and cutting edge cultures – most of which you’ll find right here in multicultural Oman. Being a prosperous seafaring nation, the Sultanate has had trading links with Europe for centuries. The Portuguese arrived on its shores in 1508 with a view to protecting supply lines to the East before eventually being driven out of Muscat by Sultan bin Saif Al-Ya’arubi in 1650. By the 19th century, Sayyid Said bin Sultan had established strong political links with France and Great Britain, a relationship that has gone from strength to strength ever since.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

If glorious vistas are your thing, then you’ll be blown away by what the Sultanate has to offer. Musandam is known as the Norway of Arabia because of its majestic fjords, while the spectacular mountain scenery of Oman is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. Finally, visit Salalah during the Khareef season and you’ll think you’re in England’s green and pleasant land thanks to emerald fields, trees and fresh water springs. Say ‘oui’ to the Omani French Museum, celebrating France’s close ties with the Sultanate. The former residence of French consuls has a wealth of antique clothes, furniture and photographs, providing a fascinating insight into the early life of French diplomats in Muscat. Bullfighting is a typical Spanish spectacle. Thankfully, the Omani version is far less gory. The fight is between two bulls - rather than man and beast - and quickly ends when the weaker of the two gives in. There are no deaths. Such events take place along the Al Batinah coastline.

MUSAN

DAM

WHERE TO EAT

Oman’s multicultural heritage and population is reflected in the variety of international cuisine. For Dutch minimalism with a range of European dishes, try More Café at the Opera Galleria. Meanwhile, Muscat’s hotels offer a surplus of amazing Italian restaurants, including the Crowne Plaza’s Come Prima, Tuscany at the Grand Hyatt and Tomato at the InterContinental. Fauchon has become an iconic landmark in French gastronomy. Now you can sample all its famous treats – from sweet macarons to savoury millefeuille – in the Opera Galleria. Other places noted for their divine, French-style patisseries, include Paul at MGM and The Chedi.

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

Marks & Spencer is one of Britain’s best-known department stores, selling everything from clothing to toiletries. The food section may be small compared to their mammoth halls back home but it’s a good place to get decent quality sweets. Talking of which, there are some pretty posh confectionary houses stocking Belgium chocolate inside the Opera Galleria. Alas, Godiva has closed at The SABCO Centre - but you will find The Body Shop, a British beauty shop, within its marble clad floors. When it comes to accessories, you can buy the finest crafted Florentine bags at Amouage but for super stylish Spanish pieces at more affordable prices try either Zara or Mango. H&M should be your stop for cool Swedish fashion.

Marks & SPENCER 's finest

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

“When I first drove over the Al Bandar Marina and looked down on the coastline towards the deep blue waters where fishing and sailing boats bobbed along, the air heavy with the aroma of sea and salt, I had a flashback to the spot I grew up in the southern part of France known as La Provence. In fact, the steep walled inlets, known as Les Calanques, found along the cliffs from Marseille to Cassis, is just like the journey from Al Bustan village up to the Shangri-La.” Bernard Viola, general manager of the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.

sco T tish hills IN D hofar

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AUSTRALASIA Overview

A very laid-back welcome to the relaxing region of Australasia, where life is not something to be rushed and ‘have fun while you can’ is the mantra. Including Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, this area seduces the senses with a diversity of landscape from endless golden sandy swathes to rugged terrain and magnificent mountains. An ecological paradise with an abundance of unique flora and fauna, it’s inevitably all about the outdoor lifestyle. Everything is done al fresco if possible. While neither Australia nor New Zealand have embassies in the Sultanate, plenty of antipodeans have migrated this way. There’s even a group, ANZO (Australians and New Zealanders in Oman), set up to help new arrivals in the country. With the familiarity of sunshine and beaches, and carefree Omani vibe, it’s easy to feel right at home. Such high profile figures as Wayne Pearce, the CEO of Oman Air, originally from New South Wales, have flown in and never left. There’s plenty of ways to get your Australasia fix here too. Choice, bro!

THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Life in both Australia and New Zealand revolves around the sea and Oman, with its 1,500km of coastline, can give you a taste of the beach lifestyle. Start off by catching the waves with a surfboard. While the surf might not rival the world-class beaches of Australasia, Oman does attract enthusiasts from other Gulf countries who head to the eastern side of Masirah Island, said to be among the better surfing spots. Adrenalin junkies can also get their fix with kite surfing, one of the fastest growing extreme sports in Oman. If being on a board is not your thing, try paragliding or fishing. Or go diving and snorkelling for a close up view of the Sultanate’s awesome marine life. ‘Tramping’ or hiking is the best way to see New Zealand’s spectacular landscape, so do the same with Oman’s equally stunning scenery. Take a hiking tour in Salalah, with its mountainous backdrop, or climb above Riyam Park for a view across Muscat’s Muttrah. Ostrich ranches are big in Australia but these curious birds can be seen here too. Yes, Oman has its own Ostrich farm in Barka, a one-and-a-half hour drive from Muscat, which opened in 1993 when Ostrich eggs were imported from South Africa.

WHERE TO EAT

Meat is big in Australia and New Zealand, which is not a surprise really when you think of the acres of open spaces in both to graze cattle and sheep. To recreate that taste try: Kiwi Café roadside diner in Muscat, where the burgers are 100 per cent New Zealand beef chuck. You can also try ostrich meat when it’s in stock. Chain Elevation Burger, which recently opened its first store in Muscat Grand Mall, only uses grass-fed organic Australian beef. DIY. Chuck some lamb on ‘the barbie’, invite some friends over and do it Australian or New Zealand style in your garden. There’s nothing quite like homemade kebabs.

SHOPPING & SOUVENIRS

Get yourself a jar of vegemite, a dark brown Australian food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract, for a true antipodean taste. Similar to British marmite, it’s sold in some Al Fair stores in Muscat.

MUST HAVE PHRASES

DREAM L IV E T H E

G’day cobber! (Greeting of hello to a friend) Kia Ora! (Hello in Maori)

OMAN REMINDS ME OF HOME BECAUSE

“We love the outdoor life and we can have that here. We water ski, wake board and are big into boating. Every weekend, we head off early in our boat to one of the lovely little coves near Muscat and have a barbecue. It’s exactly what we would do back home in Australia.” Carol Wagner, membership & event coordinator for the Australian Business Group Oman. 028

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food and drink

Trend

New Restaurant

A SWEET SYMBOL OF HOPE

Reviews

Introducing the pink delicacies dedicated to help women fighting breast cancer. The Grand Hyatt Muscat, in association with Y Magazine, will be creating an afternoon tea with a charitable twist on October 30. Read on for more details‌ Photo: Grand Hyatt Muscat

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TREND New Restaurant

News

THE FOODIE

FILES

Jörgen Sodemann, Executive Chef, Al Bustan Palace Muscat

In what way do your dishes reflect your personality? I always try to do to things perfectly.

What is your favourite cookbook and why?

EAT, DRINK & BE FAIRY

Have cake and be kind with the perfect pink afternoon tea, says Penny Fray

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ood and charity are our two favourite things here at Y Towers, and so too are they the current preoccupation of hotel pâtissier Ashish Thalakkat. To mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Grand Hyatt chef has created a collection of couture cakes in this season’s hottest and most benevolent hue – pink. A decadent dessert buffet featuring everything from raspberry balsamic macarons and wild berry éclairs to pomegranate profiteroles and red currant millefeuille, will appear at the five star hotel’s Sirj Tea Lounge. The super chic afternoon tea will come with a glass of pink bubbles, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Oman Cancer Association. The local charity suffered a devastating loss last month after their office was set alight in an arson attack, destroying equipment and records. Funds raised from the tea will help them continue with their vital work. “It is a stark truth that breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Oman,” says pastry chef Ashish. “Sadly, not many of us can say we don’t know someone affected by it. Which is why we wanted to do something special to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and we thought a pink afternoon tea in our lounge would be perfect.” The exclusive event will take place from 3pm to 8pm on October 30 and cost RO8.8 per person. “This is a fantastic and philanthropic way to catch up with friends and family,” concludes Garry Friend, the Grand Hyatt’s general manager. “As well as having lots of fun, it’ll be satisfying to know that some of the money spent on these sweet treats will go towards important work to help those with breast cancer.” To book your table, email muscat.dining@hyatt.com or call 24641234.

JW by the three-starred chef Joachim Wissler. It took him years to become one of the world’s most renowned German chefs. He never stopped innovating and refining his signature dishes, instead of just changing according to the trends of the day.

What’s always in your fridge? Evian water, cans of Red Bull and chili.

Are you a sweet or savoury person? I think that I am both.

What’s your ultimate comfort food and why? Freshly cooked soups are usually very hearty and uplifting. Plus, I love soups.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests – dead or alive?

My family, Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode or Bono from U2.

Top Trend

Imitate the world’s most celebrated chefs by growing unusual ingredients in your window box. Our favourite? Pineapple sage. This low maintenance evergreen has fruity overtones and is a beloved feature of celebrity chef Tom Aikens’ roast fish dishes. You can also use it in tea or sprinkled in salad.

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food and drink

Trend

New Restaurant

Reviews Info Box

Turkish House Restaurant Dohat Al Adab, Al Khuwair Tel: 2448 8071 Dinner for two, including soft drinks and taxes: RO20

MEZZE MAX

Tanushka Marah found a taste of Mediterranean magic at the Turkish House Restaurant

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e were looking forward to a dining experience of fresh fish and tasty Mediterranean mezzes at the Turkish House restaurant – if only we could actually find it. After driving around Al Khuwair for a while, we saw the big blue neon sign, parked, and looked inside – only to discover it was shut. We were about to get back in our car, with me blaming my husband since everything in the world is his fault when I’m hungry – then I noticed the same neon lights on a sign in Arabic above a takeaway style eatery next door. I went in and asked if this was also the Turkish House. Yes, said the waiter - here, upstairs and around the corner. That’s right – there are three restaurants. We looked around at the four slightly unbecoming – and occupied – tables at the takeaway and our hearts sank. That was before the waiter pointed us around the corner to the third Turkish House venue – tucked away back from the road and easily missed. This one looked much more promising. It had the bustling atmosphere of exactly my favourite type of eating place. Live fish in the tank, buzzing with conversation but no music, waiters flying past and a warm Mediterranean welcome. Lights up, wallpaper on, kitsch sea paraphernalia, big canteen-style tables. Oh yeah, this all meant good food to me. I felt happy – I was home. Without much time to look at the menu, the waiter was there and I knew immediately that this was no place to stammer. Having hardly any time to choose, I ordered the mixed appetiser and a Turkish house salad, while my husband ordered Red Snapper – what, just fish?

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VERDICT

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Delic food aious, fres atmo nd greath spher e

I was annoyed as I wanted him to get something fattening that I could try but not order. But with no time to spare, I ordered my daughter a lamb pizza and pointed gormlessly at a picture of some chickpeas and aubergines in a clay pot. “That is just a picture,” said the waiter. “We do the same dish in gravy with shrimp, prawn, chicken, fish and lamb.” The menu just said ‘Turkish House Oven Cuisine.’ He spoke quickly so I just answered, “Er, okay – prawn.” Then he was gone. I always wonder what the super skinny, super rich, superstars order when they go out to restaurants. Well, they would be happy here, I thought, as I saw the fast-moving waiters carrying trays of colourful salads and platters of amazing looking fish and seafood. But I challenge any skinny minny carbo-phobe to refuse the bread. These Turks know how to do bread – no wonder the Ottoman Empire lasted so long. I wouldn’t complain if I had bread like that every day. The salad arrived looking beautiful, crispy, glistening, piled high, coated in deep magenta cabbage and perfectly seasoned with lime, olive oil – not too much – and pepper. Now the mixed appetizer: so pretty, all the usual suspects, all the things I can make anyway. But wow, the hummus, so creamy, the baba ganoush, so smokey. I’m coming back for lunch and getting these two beauties again, mopped up with the bread. As we were eating the mains arrived. Husband got his huge plate of fish. I laughed. He ordered chips to go with it. It was delicious, so fresh and barbecued to perfection. Confident in its nakedness, the Snapper just lay there with nothing but a lemon for modesty. Daughter got her pizza – not what I think of

as Turkish pizza. I should have ordered fatayer It was underwhelming, but hey, why order pizza here unless you are under five? She seemed happy enough. And then, I got the dish that caused heads to turn as it arrived. Sizzling noisily in a black clay pot came my prawns, coated in stretchy white cheese. They were so big they looked like bouncers. When have I ever eaten prawns with a knife and fork before? What they called ‘the gravy’ was the most inelaborate, but sublimely delicious fire-toasted sauce of slow-cooked tomatoes, onions and green peppers, one of those simple dishes that only a few can make. I should say at this point that the fruit cocktails are lovely, served in crushed ice. I had the lemon and mint as always, and it was properly done with lots of mint. My daughter had the strawberry, which was okay, but she didn’t like it because it wasn’t 60 per cent sugar. Husband had a straw in a whole sweet melon – delicious. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen started playing in my head. I realised it was my heart singing to my gut. I was full but I didn’t want to stop. Not ever. I was determined not to be conquered, because I heard that this joint serves kunafe, yes, freshly prepared on the premises. By way of explanation, let me tell you a quick story. My Jordanian mother brought me up in London and swore she would never visit Jordan again. I begged her to and when I was 32 years old, as I took my first step on Arab soil, my mother whispered to me: ‘Do you know why I came? The kunafe!’ I too would cross continents for this suicidally rich dish of stretchy cheese, noodle threads and syrup. It was beautiful, fresh and crispy, but – and this is a big but – it couldn’t kill me. Some people love a dessert that’s not too sweet, but what’s the point? I want kunafe in syrup as God intended. I felt a little sad, betrayed, even. Anyway, I love this place. We met other families from all over the world. The waiters were rushed but not too rushed to play with my daughter. A truly lovely atmosphere and great food. My favourite restaurant so far in Muscat.


Trend

New Restaurant

GALLERY Images: Jerzy Wierzbicki

FERRARI

NEW SHOWROOM FOR ICONIC SPORTS CAR

Omar Alfardan, president of Alfardan Motors

HH Sayyid Taimur bin Assad Al Said does the official opening

Giulio Zauner, general manager of Ferarri ME and Africa

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HEALTH& BEAUTY

Health

Beauty

CODE RED

fashion

Not since Valentino made it his signature colour has red been given such star power. From scarlet shades to deep burgundy and beyond, this is one hue that’ll help you stand out during the party season. For extra fashion points, try this lacy number from M&S.

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LADY IN RED

Hedi Slimane’s masterful rendition of the biker jacket is the style to sport. In line with the designer’s slick new vision for Saint Laurent, this piece is precision-cut from supple leather and finished with just the right amount of details. Available from Net-a-Porter for RO1500.

A shock of virtuous vermillion punctuated the hottest fashion shows this season, says Penny Fray

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aring or demure – which would you rather be? Thankfully, you don’t have to choose because seductive scarlet has had a modest make over for fall with high necklines and low hemlines. Several designers channeled Chris de Burgh and offered up ladies in red, including Stella McCartney, Preen and Dolce & Gabbana. Mad Men style pencil dresses in lace and sequins with oversized coats ruled the catwalk, eventually filtering down to the high street. But despite the conservative silhouette, be warned - if you want to be truly fashion forward, you need to wear red from head-to-toe. This is not a look for minimalists but if you’re bored of that little black dress, you should definitely consider va-va-va-voom vermillion. Wallflowers need not apply because you’ll stand out from the crowd. But isn’t that the idea? Colour psychologists say that red boosts confidence and helps you feel more in control, making it the ideal business wear hue. An alternative way to wear red this autumn is to punk it up with plaid, leather or leopard skin. For easy urban chic, try softening the strong structured cut of a biker jacket with a lady-like chiffon blouse. Wear with playful patterned jeans and high-heeled pumps.

Cat eye sunnies are seriously hot this season. That’s why we love these sassy red pair from Thierry Lasry. RO180. You can get similar style shades for less at Splash.

Flatteringly draped through the body, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania’s lightweight crepe dress skims the silhouette just so. RO147.

Animal prints are totally wild this season. Get these red leopard print leggings from Splash for less than RO5.

This hamsa woven bracelet from Astley Clarke offers not only protection but loads of style too. RO90. Muttrah Souq sells cheap versions.

On a scale of one to ten, how cute is this bijou satchel from Zara? We say 10, especially since it costs less than RO12.

SCARLET FEVER:

Penny’s tips on how to look flaming hot for fall:

This red plaid stiletto is bang on trend and available from Mango for RO24.95.

1 Go with spicier orange-reds if you’re darker skinned. Bluer reds flatter a fairer complexion. 2 Keep hair sleek and lips neutral. You don’t want to look like an 80s throw back, do you? Resist the urge to stop at just a pop of colour – after all, a long line of colour is often more slimming.

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Health

Fashion

BEAUTY

THE CLASSIC

COLLECTION

The everyday items no man should be without, says Penny Fray

GUY GIFTS WHY ARE MEN SO DIFFICULT TO BUY FOR, PONDERS PENNY FRAY

Keeping pace with fashions ever-changing trends can be stressful if you have any sort of life. Which is why I’ve trawled SABCO Centre’s stores to discover the six essential items every dapper man should own. THE BESPOKE SUIT: With so many affordable tailors in and around Muscat, there’s no excuse for baggy trousers and jacket sleeves that graze your elbow. Failing that, visit Armani for their latest collection of off the peg suits. THE BROGUE: This season, the trend towards comfort-conscious footwear has inspired a range of smart Oxford lace-ups and stylish looking brogues. Fancy something a bit different? We love Prada’s lace-ups featuring the kind of rope soles normally reserved for deckside espadrilles. THE PERFECT FIT JEANS: Denim brands feature many styles and silhouettes but you’ll rarely go wrong with a pair that’s a regular fit – unless of course you iron a pleat down the centre. THE HOLD ALL: Ever wished Céline did men’s bags? No? OK. Well, let me be frank here, a plastic carrier is never an appropriate way to carry your travel essentials. You need a holdall, preferably a classic one in chestnut leather. I personally love Bill Amberg’s new ‘Explorer’ bag collection, created by the same designer who worked for Phoebe Philo at the ‘It bag’ emporium. Classy! A PAIR OF RAY-BANS: Apart from looking perennially cool, these classic aviator shades will give you enough tint to hide any bags whilst also shielding your retinas from the strong Omani sun. PERFUME: You need to smell expensive, so try Fate by Amouage. 036

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What makes a man happy? Trust me, it’s more complicated than you think if you’re keeping things clean. I know my dad, boyfriend and male friends well enough to be able to chuck an appropriate gift their way on major occasions like birthdays and Christmas. But there’s a point when they’ll inevitably get bored of golf breaks, socks and silk ties. Labels, lotions and leather goods don’t impress them. But give a woman something from Chanel’s beauty or bag counter and I’ll guarantee satisfaction. Not men though. Oh no, they’ll sneer if you give them ‘smellies’ or satchels – even ones with significant price tags. Of course, all blokes say they like gadgets but they’ve usually got them all. And if they don’t, it’s only because they’re too expensive for mere mortals to buy. A personal shopper once told me that blokes don’t dabble, they pick a pastime and hobby the hell out of it. But unless you’re an expert in their chosen field, chances are you’re never going to get it quite right (– check the garage and the whole heap of unopened gizmos languishing there.) With Eid holidays on the horizon, and Christmas just around the corner (two months is nothing when you have more than 100 people to buy for), male readers – please, for the sanity of your partner, what do you want? Otherwise, you’ll be all looking at a lifetime supply of novelty cufflinks and chocolates. You’ve been warned. Next time: Fashion Secrets Sponsored by


POWER OF

OM-AN It seems that each week another important spiritual figure is visiting the Sultanate. Joe Gill meets Villy Doctor, a healer, meditation teacher and awardwinning social worker

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ecently, Muscat appears to have become something of a magnet for the world’s spiritual healers and thinkers. A week ago both Villy Doctor, founder of the Satyavati Spiritual Foundation in Mumbai, and Sister Jayanti, a representative to the United Nations of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, were in town. On October 2, International Day of Non-Violence, HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said introduced Sister Jayanti for her talk on peaceful co-existence at the Ministry of Education in Darsait. The evening before, the Indian Social Club in Darsait was crowded with expectant people as Villy Doctor led a Satya Yoga group meditation. There are many images that one might have of a spiritual healer, but only when you meet Villy, as Y did last week, can you understand why those who know

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her call her ‘Mother’. There is something in her calm, reassuring demeanour that emanates a maternal aura. “I am a person of low profile. I don’t believe in the whole fame game,” she says. As well as teaching across India, she regularly travels to the UK, US and Dubai. This is her first visit to Muscat, at the invitation of the Khimji family, owners of the Khimji Ramdas Group of companies. “Sheikh (Kanak) Khimji invited me. I have met his family from time to time,” she says. “My schedules are very tight but anyone can come to me, from a road sweeper to a king.” Villy Doctor has spent a lifetime teaching meditation, helping the needy and using the special gift of healing that she claims to have to assist the ailing from all walks of life. “I am a mother of 9,000 children. People who are 90 years old also call me mother,” she explains. “I have been healing people while I am here.” In 2002, she founded the Light of Life Trust, which in a few short years has managed to help thousands of children from rural India into education and work. “The vision and mission of the trust is to reach out to underprivileged children who do not have anyone, and to reach out to those who have no clothes, nothing to eat and who literally sleep on the streets,” she says. The trust is the culmination of a life spent helping others – one that started at the age of three. It was then that she discovered her ‘gift’. “Someone would get a stomach ache, and I would place my hands on their tummy. The person would start feeling good again.”

Through the gift of healing she claims to have helped thousands over the years, offering examples of miracle-type cures. She was a child prodigy, a talented musician who finished all her music exams by the eighth grade. ”I started to play the piano at age four. I had a very competitive streak. I had to come first. I was a brilliant student. “After I finished school, I received an instruction from God that I should do psychology. At the time I didn’t know what it was.” She went on to take a Masters in Psychology at St Xaviers College, Mumbai. “For my doctorate, I was interested in meditation and I wanted to see how it brings about this inner transformation, this psycho-biological change that takes place during meditation.” While pursuing her doctorate, Villy was made the head of the psychology department at Sophia College for Women in Mumbai. She was only 21. She remained head of department for 10 years. ‘Ten years of teaching was enough. I started a market research company with my husband. At the same time I was teaching meditation and travelling a lot for research, and teaching wherever I went. “One day an instruction came to me from God to leave everything commercial, to have nothing to do with money. You have to live a life where you give to people. “I was doing 70 per cent of the work in the company. My husband was shocked, but he said if it is an instruction from God, you must do it. “I just did meditation and healing. I never charged anyone for this. When I went to the U.S they would not believe that I would not take money.” Over the years she has been invited to conduct stress management and meditation workshops at Google Inc, California, Princeton Center of Yoga and Health, the University of Connecticut, India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Vodafone India, Nokia and Reliance Industries. Villy adopted a spiritual name, Satyavati Ma and also founded the Satyavati Spiritual Foundation to spread teaching of Satya Meditation. “The whole understanding of meditation has been a little bit distorted,” she says. “Meditation, scientifically, is a state of consciousness where there are zero thoughts. “Satya Meditation awakens the unique powers we are born with – the primordial energy. It is extremely scientific again. This energy resides in the sacral bone and it is dormant in most people. This energy has to move through seven nerve centres – shakras – they have to be opened up. “They get dimmer with life’s stresses and they get blocked. Organs that they nourish are affected and damaged. “This is the way disease begins. I heal the nerve centres first.” She says for her to heal someone, she does not necessarily have to meet them. “I need to put your individual plug into the mains.” The ‘gift’ has never left her and she offers examples of people with life-threatening conditions who came to her and who she claims to have cured, including sufferers of cancer and brain tumours. Asked how she deals with people who don’t believe her, she replies. ‘There is nothing to believe – it’s like science. The doctors also believe. In fact, the doctors also come to me. It’s not a question of belief, it’s a question of experiencing it.” In Oman, she hopes to persuade members of the Indian community to help tackle poverty and hopelessness in India. “Oman has developed so much. We would like to take back the energy and light of Oman to India. We would love to spread this light in our country – we would like you to join hands with us to make this happen.”


My Hood

CARS AND inDOORS

Cars

Wi-Fi

Indoors

kalbo0h

Sillence and a strange magical atmosphere envelope you when visiting the Muttrah area at night

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CARS AND OUTDOORS INDOORS

My Hood

Cars

Wi-Fi

Indoors

Destination

Kalbooh At Night Bathed in artificial light, this pretty location near the MuttraH CorniCHE offers poetiC scenery, says Y photographer Jerzy Wierzbicki 040

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seconds but on a few of the photographs, I managed to record the evening’s movements. The long straight lights of passing cars created a blurry effect on treetops, while the street lamps made an an eerie halo around the area. In the middle of Kalbooh is a really nice mosque with a blue dome and golden embellishments, which shone all the more brightly when bathed in artificial light. I had to use a longer lens, which unfortunately shook with the wind’s ferocity. I needed stillness otherwise the picture would be spoiled. During five separate exposures, only three of the shots were absolutely sharp. I was lucky that the exposure time was exactly between the blowing gusts. From the mosque, I moved silently between the private villas and apartments. A couple of them have typical Omani entrances that are saturated in colour when subjected to light. I was content because I instinctively knew that the final set would be very attractive. Under a canopy of black, Kalbooh seems to have its own specific colour. In one street, I met a big local cat that sat on a small narrow street veiled in blue. After an hour absorbing the poetic life of this suburban area, I returned to the parking lot and decided to take some more photographs from the pier next to the park. The overview on the main street to Muttrah, with dark hills looming behind like some malevolent monsters, produced some excellent pictures. Flicking through the images captured from my night’s adventure made me realise you don’t always have to go far to discover some photographic gems. They can be found right here on your doorstep.

travel guide

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n desert countries like Oman, it’s easy to get excited about a bit of greenery. Like most of Muscat’s residents I escaped the heat of the desert and visited Salalah during the Khareef season. The journey through Dhofar offered some spectacular images, which I have shared with you over the last month or so. But after travelling more than 12,000km around Oman, my dog, Trop, and I became a bit travel weary and decided to eschew the long, lonely trips into the Omani Interior and find somewhere closer to home. My chosen location was Kalbooh. Situated along the coast between Muttrah and Old Muscat, this village offers amazing vistas of the sea to one side and sheer, rocky hills to the other. In the daytime, you can see some spectacular coastal scenes. At night though, the place is equally beautiful. I’m sure you’ve all experienced it en route home from the Al Bustan Palace. As the sun went down, I grabbed my equipment and went to Kalbooh park. Wideangle lenses with high aperture parameters are crucial for taking photographs in such low light conditions. It was 9.30pm and even though there were still a few families milling around after their afternoon picnics, the rest of the area was enveloped in silence and a strange magical atmosphere that simply screamed to be photographed. Quietly and quickly, I installed my camera on the tripod and moved between the old houses. Thanks to the nightlights and intense coastal winds, I managed to capture some interesting images. The average exposure time was around 30

It is very easy. Just head for Muttrah’s Corniche. Pass the bazaar entrance and keep going straight for the next 2 km and you will see the road sign to Kalbooh. Turn there and enjoy a variety of vistas.

GPS location of the parking in Kalbooh. 23°37’19.00”N 58°35’5.61”E

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My Hood

Cars

Wi-Fi

Indoors

HEART ART Creativity retreats get cool in Oman, discovers Denise Friesl

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ure, there’s meditation, herbal tea and a friend’s shoulder. But sometimes what you really need is to release all that pent up creativity. So grab a brush, a set of paints and get into art therapy. I know, I know. It’s a bit retro to fuse recreation with psychology but that shouldn’t negate its benefits or fun factor. A couple of weeks ago, I went on a Fusionart retreat – an artistic movement bringing together different cultures and creative wannabes. It’s a global phenomenon with people practicing how to free their minds and live their lives to the fullest all over the world. It’s now in Oman and claims to help individuals develop their confidence to create and express themselves. I knew it would be challenging and I wasn’t mistaken. The participants arrived at the Muscat studio from all different backgrounds – some were accomplished artists with many years of experience, others were just enthusiastic to explore their hidden depths on canvas. Despite having painted before, I was nervous.

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Somehow I had a feeling that the rest of the group knew something that I didn’t. Also, I was a bit anxious about the self-exploration bit and opening a psychological Pandora’s box. After a warm welcome, Ibrahim Gailani, a Muscat-based artist and managing director of Fusionart Middle East, introduced the theme of what the heart desires. At that moment my own heart desired to be out of there. Why? Well, I believe in the supremacy of mind over heart. Why this beating organ has long been associated with love and emotion has always been a mystery to me. In the end, you can lose your mind but not your heart, right? A quirk of fate meant that I had been asked to take an inner journey reflecting my heart on canvas. A tough assignment and one I wasn’t really thrilled to undertake. Once the introduction was over, Gailani arranged us in rows and we did a kind of meditation before the session. Actually the whole thing was a form of meditation. The concept was to get rid of our confusion and chaos on canvas.

So, we closed our eyes and concentrated on the vibrant music to start our journey. Some of the participants used unconventional methods like hands, rags and cloths to aid their creation. I used a comb. There was no artistic reason behind it. It was the only object I had on me that day. But it worked and I loved the pathways that appeared on paper. With support and guidance, the participants let their creativity paint itself free of judgment. No teaching. No criticism. Everyone just connected to the canvas and experienced a personal transformation. Each painting demonstrated the power of imagination and moments of profound inspiration. Personal narratives were conveyed through images. And at the end of the session people discovered that they were more than they ever thought possible. I enjoyed the retreat and found it truly joyous sharing art in an open, friendly environment with people on the same wavelength.


Gailani with a student

Meditation before work begins The artists display their work

Curious about my journey? Well, art wise, it was a disaster. I wasted three canvases desperately trying to find a sign of heart. The theme knocked me. But after a while I slowly freed myself from inner conflict. I overcame my resistance. As Gailani said: “It inspires you to bring the best in the self and to make it as beautiful as possible. It offers the freedom of loosening the chains that have kept us stifled and unable to create in the past. “It develops a passion for learning new ways to use the paint, to show feeling and to share what is mounting, building and expanding within.” Okay, I know it sounds a little intense and bohemian. But don’t let that put you off. Anyone who fancies stepping out of his or her comfort zone should

try one of these retreats. Although primarily meant for artists, many people who have never painted before are also encouraged to join in. Apart from artists, other participants included doctors, lawyers, musicians and photographers. “It is in this retreat that the playful environment of exploration awakens and comes to life,” concludes Gailani. “The focus of Fusionart is to free the imagination and allow artists to delve deep within their souls and release those hidden wellsprings of creativity.” In other words, this is therapy but without the couch. I opened the door to a new artistic chapter in my life and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in unlocking their intuitive creativity.

INFO Fusionart retreats happen once a month, on a Saturday from 9am to 5pm in a large hall at a local hotel and costs RO15 per person. The term ‘Fusionart’ was initially used by the founder and creator of the movement, an acclaimed Iranian-American master artist called Rassouli who describes his painting style as combining the mysticism of the East with artistic techniques of the West. OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

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-FI THE TECH IN YOU

Postcards from

Cars

Indoors

WI-FI

FAR AND AWAY

Dreaming about going to far off lands this Eid? Matt Herbst finds you the perfect getaway gadgets to make your travels more fun DREAMER

Imagine resting your head, getting a massage and listening to your favourite songs - all enroute to your holiday destination. With BodiSpa, The Traveler Massaging Pillow, that dream becomes a reality. With integral stereo speakers for an MP3 player or smartphone, headphone jack (included), a three-speed massager and pocket for MP3 player, this nifty pillow is a U-Shape design with a super stretchy polar fleece cover and polystyrene bead filling. Heavenly. RO11 www.amazon.com

WALK-A-BOUT

JACK OF ALL TRADES

The Victorinox Presentation Master may seem like any old Swiss Army Knife, but look closer and this is far from the traditional version. Its tech-driven design is much more versatile. Along with a standard blade, scissors, nail file, and screwdriver, it now also includes a 32-gigabyte USB stick, self-destructing data-encryption technology, a biometric fingerprint sensor, a Bluetooth remote control and a laser pointer. A perfect partner for the office, desert or James Bond wannabes. RO116 from victorinox.com.

If you’re planning on spending Eid exploring every inch of Muscat for a staycation, then you need this. With Trackstick Mini in your pocket, you can step out with confidence. This clever little device continuously records its exact route, stop times, speed, direction, altitude, and other valuable information, which can be quickly downloaded and viewed on your computer or smartphone. Getting lost isn’t an option anymore. Go to www.trackstick.com RO122

EDITOR’S PICK PARLEZ VOUS FRANCAIS?

This Sleek and lightweight, self-contained – 17 language translator deciphers what you want, when you want AND anywhere you want. WITH A custom phrases feature, IT acts as a hub TO STRENGTHEN your communication, BREAKING LANGUAGE BARRIERs INSTANTLY ON THE GO. WHETHER MEETING NEW FRIENDS IN PARIS OR STRIKING A BUSINESS DEAL IN CHINA, it COULDN’T BE EASIER WITH this BY YOUR SIDE. Translate over 2.5 Million unique words to and from 17 languages, AS WELL AS More than 3,000 conversational phrases with a specific category FUNCTION. CHARTER NEW HORIZONS AND HAVE THE WORLD IN YOUR POCKET AT www.franklin.com FOR A MERE RO69

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FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS

GET A GRIP

Being an avid photographer has its downfalls with camera shakes and group pics without you in them. Now you can wrap your smartphone or camera around anything and be in the picture with the GripTight GorillaPod Stand. The adjustable grip fits all iPhones and most Android & Windows smartphones, with or without a case. Also available - GripTight GorillaPod Magnetic (Strong magnetic feet that cling to metal sides and surfaces) joby.com RO11

NEW! Æ+Y cellPHONE Ditch the iPhone and opt for the Æ+Y cell, made by Danish company Æsir. It tells the time, and you can call and text with it too. Hand–crafted in collaboration with the San Francisco–based designer Yves Béhar and available in stainless-steel and 18 carat gold versions. RO20,714.08 for the gold version and RO3,580.72 for the steel. www.aesir-copenhagen.com. Gold version: 18 carat solid yellow gold 3N keypad, rear plate, end cap and knurled side plates. Stainless steel version: 316L stainless steel keypad, rear plate, end cap and knurled side plates

APP OF THE WEEK

Coordinating your needs for both short and extended trips is often an exhaustive exercise in memory and very stressful. Luckily, this Packing Pro app eases the strain by allowing users to create packing lists and check off items as they pack. Not exactly sure what you should take? Well, Packing Pro allows you to view recreated sample packing lists or templates built for a variety of common trip types. RO1.5 at www.itunes.com. Simple!

Bespoke icons and typeface (English and Cyrillic), designed by the acclaimed Tom Hingston Studio Applications include world clock, alarm, notes, to-do list, calendar, calculator and converter. Call functions include speed dial, call screening, forwarding and waiting, as well as conference calls. It can also hold up to 1,000 names in contacts, up to 200 calendar entries and up to 200 note entries. Comes with a Bluetooth headset profile. Sony battery cell provides up to 5.2 hours talk time and up to 220 hours on standby

THE GIRLY GADGET

The Devin - Connect2Mobile Bracelet is like a woman, not only is she beautiful but she’s also a brilliant multi-tasker. She alerts you when there’s a call, if you have a text message or appointment set in your calendar. So put your feet up and let Devin do the work for you. Oh, and if your phone is out of range, she’ll let you know too. She works with iOS & Android devices. Find out more at www.franklin.com or just buy her for RO30.

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CARS AND INDOORS

Postcards from

Wi-Fi

Indoors

C ars

Land Rover LR4 HSE Horsepower: 375 Engine: V8 5.0 litres Transmission: six-speed automatic Max speed: 195km/h Price from: RO24,500

Car of the Week A great British icon that brings a whole lot of luxury and mountaineering prowess, writes Joe Gill Where is our big car, daddy?” asked my three-year-old daughter a couple of days after we had taken the Land Rover LR4 for a weekend test drive. It was the first time she had expressed any real interest in the vehicle we were driving. I had to explain it wasn’t mine. I was a little short of the RO24,500 price tag of the LR4 HSE. It’s a lot of money, but then the Land Rover is a whole lot of car. There is an undeniable frisson when you first set eyes on this world-renowned marvel of engineering elegance. It came in gleaming white, its pedigree unmistakable, and that’s before you step inside the cabin. The Land Rover does not look like other 4x4s. For a start, there is the distinctive tall build, reminding you of its jeep design origins and giving it a slender and compact appearance. Rather than squat on the road, barging other cars aside through sheer bulk like some of its rivals, the Land Rover is like a dart in the world of SUVs. If it were on water, it would be a sleek keelboat in an ocean of bulky super yachts. The walnut finish interior, wide leather seats and business classstyle armrests all add up to a sense of exclusive comfort. There is a lot of technology to play with, including the touchscreen control panel, rearview camera for parking, front and rear sun-roofs, and electric back-folding door mirrors. 046

OCT 10 - 16 / ISSUE 290

Plane-style eight-inch DVD screens are embedded in the rear seats to keep the family entertained on long drives. The handy drink box keeps your cans cool too. The Land Rover has everything you would expect from an upscale utility vehicle, but it’s also supposed to be for serious off-roading. A dial just in front of the gear stick includes settings for all onand off-road conditions including mountain, desert and snow. The off-road setting increases clearance by about 2.5 inches, although you don’t feel a thing when you switch it on. We were not able to give it the full rough ride or desert test but I can vouch for the fact that the V8 engine copes confidently with highway, steep mountain ascents and moderately rough terrain. On gravel and stony tracks it benefits from high ground clearance and cushioned suspension that consistently soaks up the bumps. At five litres, the engine has a big appetite for fuel, which is something you become acutely aware of when the gauge drops towards zero on Jebel Akhdar with no petrol station in sight. At least you have the benefit of it telling you how many kilometres of drive you have left. Still, when I filled her up I was happily surprised to get change from a RO10 note. Steering is a pleasure and road handling good once you get used to the high position, which does give you a commanding view of

the road. The LR4 is equipped with a range of stability and brake assists to enhance road safety. It took a while to get used to the electric parking brake switch, as I couldn’t tell whether it was in brake mode until I moved or rolled. Give me an old-fashioned handbrake any time. If there was a gripe, it was trying to work out how to get the extra row of seats down at the back to make use of the luggage space. Opening the tailgate was beyond us too. We may be dumb, but we ended up cramming our bags in the gap between the seats and the tailgate. Hardly ideal. While driving on roads dominated by the Land Cruiser, I wondered about who this beautiful machine was made for. My answer came when we arrived at our retreat for the night at the top of Jebel Akhdar. Here, Land Rovers and Range Rovers were lined up neatly in front of the hotel. Driven here by families out for a weekend of high altitude luxury motoring, perhaps throwing in some low-risk off-roading, they could cruise the peaks with the certain knowledge that a magnificent view by the pool awaited them at their final destination. These are the customers of Land Rover who we joined for a day and a night before heading home with the auto low light-sensing headlights to guide our way, feeling just a little bit proud to be driving this great British icon.

They say: ‘Adventurous, versatile and capable’ We say: ‘Thrilling luxury ride’

Check this out

Permanent 4 Wheel Drive with High / Low Gear Electric adjustable eight-way driver seat All Terrain Anti lock brakes Hill Descent Control Front and rear AC Three sunroofs – one movable, two fixed. Electric adjustable door mirrors Six airbags Auto low light-sensing headlights


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Y Magazine #290, October 10, 2013  

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