Be Cool, Be A Mentor
SHARING KNOWLEDGE CAMELS AND CARS / BARKA SHUWA / JET SKI SPLASHES / AUDI INTERVIEW / RIALS AND VISA / CHILLY DAYS / TOP FILMS / 2014 LINCOLN KIDNAPPED AT GUNPOINT: OMANIS FREED 2014: WHAT’S IN STORE DESTINATION: TAQAH BEACH
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JAN 02 - 08 • ISSUE 301 • WEEKLY
DHOW The Boat Builders Of Sur
START THE DETOX
NOVEMBER 24 / ISSUE 258
TREND BAROMETER GOING UP
Islamic Banking Financial affairs that are compliant with the tenets of Islam and Sharia are big business these days. With new branches of banks that specialise in providing Islamic banking opening up, those who wish to be sure that their investments respect Sharia, such as forbidding interest charges, aren’t stuck for choice. Already present in 53 countries, the number of Islamic banks is poised to increase further.
Welcome to the new look Y Magazine your indispensable guide to everything modern Oman has to offer.
New Year’s resolutions They were going up last week, but this week the number of New Year’s resolutions still being respected is almost certain to go down. How many are still going to the gym, refraining from chocolate or denying themselves a quick nicotine hit?
Team Y were figuring out how we were going to be celebrate New Year’s Eve if we ever got out of the office – and how we could get to China in order to visit the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Anyone lend us some wings?
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
his January is the International Month of Mentoring. It’s a time to share knowledge and to create prosperity together by passing on our acumen and know-how to others striving for success through their own tenacity, ambition and determination. But sometimes even the most driven of individuals need a wiser, more experienced mentor to point them in the right direction. This week we feature a number of individuals who are setting out in the world of business and who are profiting not just financially, but in terms of knowledge from their mentors. We wish these youngsters and those supporting them every success. But it is not just in the world of modern business where the passing on of knowledge is so very important. It’s also paramount to the successful continuation of traditional crafts and that’s why we’ve turned our attention to the world of dhow building. With the care and attention to detail that goes into every boat launched, it’s a profession from which our young entrepreneurs could learn a great deal. This is a sector that was once vital to trade in the region but now, given the rise of cheaper alternatives, is fast becoming a profession that risks going into decline. It’s for this reason that Y has explored this fascinating industry and, in so doing, highlights that while dhow building may no longer be pivotal in Oman’s growing economy, it will always remain integral to our culture.
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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CONTRIBUTOR Tom Robertson PHOTOGRAPHER Jerzy Wierzbicki ART DIRECTOR Matthew Herbst DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Feroz Khan
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JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
contents JANUARY 02 2014
20 Mentoring Helping Hand 23 Fast Forward A Preview of 2014 26 Making Waves Traditional Dhow Boats - Sur style
06 The Big Interview Clive Dias 08 Your Oman Ali al Balushi 1 0 News The Big Chill 14 Gallery From Camels To Cars
16 This Week Jolly Jeep 18 Movie Listings The Wolf of Wall Street
Food & Drink
Cars & Outdoors
27 Trend New Year Detox 29 Food World Street Food 30 Food Review Maidat Al Noman Restaurant
Health & Beauty
32 Fashion Cruise Collection 34 Style Counsel Barbra Young
37 Destination Taqah Beach 40 Outdoors Breaking The Waves 42 Postcard From Rome 44 Y-Fi Above And Beyond 46 Car of the Week 2014 Lincoln MKZ
34 NEXT WEEKâ€™S ISSUE...
FITNESS SPECIAL POSTCARD KURDISTAN SHEER FASHION STEPS TO 2014 SUCCESS HORSE RacING
AUTO FOCUS CLIVE DIAS, SALES & MARKETING MANAGER FOR AUDI OMAN
Words: Kate Ginn
Tell us about your career in 60 seconds or less: I have spent over a decade in the automotive industry in Oman and over the past three years, I have been part of the world’s fastest growing German premium car manufacturer, Audi. After spending my initial career in marketing, I soon found my way into this sector and worked with an established Japanese brand. In 2011, I took over as sales and marketing manager at Audi Oman and the journey has been smooth and enjoyable ever since. What’s the best part of your job? Having a job that allows one to be surrounded by fantastic cars at all times is the most attractive part! On a more serious note, the best aspect of the job is that we get to learn, engage with and educate others about the growing use of technology and safety within such a highly regarded premium brand. Car sales are a very competitive market in Oman. How does Audi stand out in the crowd? We have stood out from the crowd very well in the past few years, firstly with our products and also by our very innovative service and marketing initiatives. The Audi range of vehicles available here in Oman is simply superb – and the market growth we’ve experienced here mirrors the growth seen in the other GCC states. Buyers are drawn in the first instance to the unique Audi DNA, which stands apart from the competition. The advanced technology, passenger safety and German reliability all reinforce this loyalty to the Audi brand. At Audi Oman, we back up the customer promise with outstanding after-sales service and customer care. 06
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Which car do you drive and why? Currently I drive the Audi A6 3.0 Supercharged as it gives me the power that I enjoy along with quattro drive. Also the A6 is, in my opinion, the best executive sedan that you can enjoy as a daily driver, as it combines the perfect blend of power and road-holding capabilities. I like to go driving on the weekends to the untamed territories of Oman, and the A6 certainly doesn’t hold me back. My dream car is an Audi R8, which Y reviewed recently. If you could drive any car, anywhere in the world, what car would it be? I would like to drive the new Audi S8 at the Audi Snow Driving Experience in Spain or Finland as that would be a an extreme driving experience. However, in Oman there are many nice roads to enjoy the quattro drive and the nearest to us is the Amerat Heights, especially at night. Driving in Oman is quite a test of character sometimes. Behind the wheel, how do you keep your nerve and what are your tips for good driving? I definitely agree that driving in Oman can be quite nerve-racking at times, but I guess the key to this is always start early and never be in a hurry to get anywhere even if you might be a bit late. I love to enjoy music and also listen to FM radio as I drive in Muscat, so this helps me to keep my cool in busy traffic. Wherever possible, I always prefer taking the longer road compared to the more congested and busy roads. Oman has some spectacular scenery to discover by car. Do you manage to get out in the great outdoors and where’s your favourite location in the Sultanate? Recently I managed to drive an Audi Q3 to Jebel Akhdar. It’s a compact SUV and gave an outstanding performance both on my way up and down the steep mountain to experience the lovely weather. I love the outdoors and try to make plans almost every weekend to get out either in the wadis or in the mountains. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Ten years is a long way to go, but given the investments I see from Audi Oman in new facilities and regional development, which is very much in line with the Audi AG 2020 strategy, I am most likely to stay with the German brand. Describe your personality in three words? Ambitious, organised and approachable. When not working, how do you like to unwind? I love the outdoors, so most weekends when the weather in Oman permits, I love to get out camping with friends and family. Tiwi and Sur happen to be my favourite campsites among the many places we venture out to.
Clive’s top three tips to success in sales and marketing 1. Be curious 2. Understand the needs of customers 3. Believe in yourself
13 Jan. 2014 7.30 pm
18,19, 20 Jan. 2014 7.30 pm
23 Jan. 2014 7.30 pm
a niGht of Sufi & inShaad
Vienna State Ballet
the Silk Road enSemBle with Yo-Yo ma
musical expressions of faith from morocco, turkey, Pakistan and oman
Great ballet masterpieces presented by the prestigious Vienna State Ballet
the world-renowned cellist appears with the acclaimed ensemble’s international members for a performance that will connect cultures through the beauty of music
24 Jan. 2014 7.30 pm
28 Jan. 2014 7.30 pm
GuStaVo dudamel & Simón BolíVaR
a captivating concert by the inspirational conductor and youth orchestra of Venezuela
the young, powerful voice of the egyptian star
firstname.lastname@example.org +968 2440 3332/3333/3334 www.rohmuscat.org.om
The Voice of Oman
Take time out to celebrate your achievements, says Ali al Balushi
correspondence A THANK YOU TO YOU ALL Dear Y,
ne year ago, in December 2012, my university colleagues and I celebrated our graduation ceremony, which was a great academic achievement for us. One year has passed and so many things have happened, both in my work and personal life. I believe it is time to pause, feel good about all the magnificent moments we have spent and celebrate them. We always hope to achieve big goals and let other people celebrate and reward us for our major achievements in life. While this is great, how about our small accomplishments, which also consume our time and energy? It is important to start recognising all the work we have done as it helps us see how we have accomplished many things. By rewarding ourselves, we feel re-energised and can keep moving forward to the next challenge. There are so many ways to celebrate your efforts. Some people write down all they’ve done on a daily basis, while others treat themselves by doing things they love such as shopping, reading a book or relaxing. Another way to say well done for your own good deeds is to talk about them to family and friends, tweeting about successes, or posting a picture on Instagram. Ways to give ourselves a pat on the back will differ from one person to another, what really matters is how we make things feel special for us. So let’s welcome the New Year by celebrating our little victories in 2013.
Next week: Jane Jaffer 08
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The page ‘2013 Revisited’ (Y300) was a wonderful way to say ‘goodbye’ to the year. My family, my students, my friends and I wait eagerly every Thursday to grab our copy of Y before it is gone. It gives us a fantastic sense of colour every week. Before I open the magazine, I think of all the unknown people who are regular writers in this ‘Correspondence’ section. I have never met them but I invite them into my home every
week through the pages of Y. They feel almost like my friends now. Each week, they gift golden pearls of wisdom. Keep writing, you are the soul of society. People shine every week in ‘Your Oman’ with their unique talent and different voices. In short, Y magazine has it all. We need you Y, today and always. Thank you and kind regards Munawar Hameed, Nizwa College of Technology
VISA NOT PASSPORT TO SUCCESS Dear Y, In reference to the news article published in Y (December 26) ‘Single visa for GCC by 2014’, I would like to pen a few points. We need to check first how advantageous this proposal will really be for people in the Sultanate. In my view, most Omani nationals will not like this at all, as Oman is much more peaceful than the rest of the GCC countries thanks to the farsighted and fair-minded leader, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. I think services offered in the Sultanate – the police, investment and finance – are much smarter than their GCC counterparts. The implementation of this common visa might undermine this. Secondly, and much more important, if the visa is introduced, will women here be able to enjoy the same socioeconomic freedom as they do now? Best regards, Gautam Ghosh-Dastidar, Muscat
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YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US Debate of the Week We asked:
‘With 2014 in mind, what is your New Year’s resolution?’ Tahseen Rizwana Kareem To be a better person than I was in 2013. Mehdi Ali To go and see my mum more frequently. Ricky Cherian To not get addicted to Facebook. Benny Najeeb Read more, waste less time. Spend more time with family and friends, pray more and be online less. Spend more time enjoying nature, play more sport and watch less TV. Love more and hate less. Give more and demand less. Save more and spend less. Rakesh Naveen Pinto I’m not going to argue with my wife over anything this year. This will be my contribution to world peace.
FA C E B O O K
the best shape (I might do some extreme sport). We don’t know what comes ahead of us but we welcome 2014 and we are still here. Khushboo Udeshi No resolution! Just wake up, be practical, enjoy life, eat, pray, love, forgive and forget. Moreover, thank the almighty for everything. Trusha Trivedi To meditate for at least 10 minutes a day and to do one task daily, which makes me happy so I can create positive energy. Varsha D Khona To make my family fit and healthy and to help my husband in his resolution and to make his dream come true.
I'm a reader
This Week’s Debate: If you won RO1 million, how would you spend it? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.
Musa david was spotted with a copy of Y Magazine in Al Hail North
Kavetha Prem No resolution for 2014 as I cannot stick to it for long. Poyal Don To fulfill my wishes and be a good person. I also hope I get my driving licence. Rebeka Sultana To sleep less and chase my dreams - at least cross five of the things off my bucket list. Rishikesh Chidhambaranathan To help people with generosity and show them kindness even if they irritate me. Ian Inoncillo Aquino To be wiser in spending money. Sadia Shams To become more loving and caring. Please note the word ‘more’. I’m already loving and caring and being more so will make me feel good. And yes, I also want to break my sweet tooth so that I can get into my old clothes. But let’s see what happens! Nevin Mehbuba To make a resolution. I have never made one! Khadija Lovai Find my soulmate Smokin Scars 2014 is unpredictable. But I will make sure that I can achieve my goals: finish my studies, try to stay as positive as possible, try to learn to ride a motorbike, go skydiving, contribute more social responsibility, find someone to share my life with, celebrate our upcoming national day and stay in
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JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
CHILL OUT Wrap up warm, particularly if venturing out at night. That’s the message from weather forecasters who say that the Sultanate has been in a bit of a cold dip of late. You’ve probably noticed already a crisp feeling in the air when you venture outdoors late. Cool winds and outbreaks of rain have seen temperatures plummet to as low as 9°C in Muscat on evenings this week. Last week, Jebel Shams – Oman’s highest mountain – recorded its chilliest morning of the season at -7°C, fittingly on Christmas Day.
The start to the New Year won’t be anywhere near as sharp as that, although some reports claimed New Year’s Eve would be the coldest night in Oman this year. Not ideal for those who had planned to celebrate outdoors. The good news is that that the mercury will start to rise again, albeit slowly. BBC Weather is predicting 13°C tonight (Thurs), creeping up to 16°C by Saturday.Around the rest of the country, Nizwa can expect eight degrees at night and Khasab 14°C. P.S. It’s not that bad. We could be in Siberia, where its -39°C, New York -13°C or even Amman 3°C.
A FINE APP It was surely only a matter of time before the long arm of the law caught up with smartphone technology. The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has launched a phone app allowing drivers to check whether they have committed any traffic offences – and pay the fines if they have. With the app, drivers can enter their vehicle’s registration number or their identity card details. There’s an icon to select the language – so excuses about not being able to read Arabic won’t wash. A screen will then detail any traffic violations – such as speeding – and the total amount owing. A credit card can then be used to pay the fines. The app is available for Android and iPhones. Nationals and expatriate residents can access ROP’s app ‘Traffic Fines Payment’ for commercial and private vehicles. You can download the software from the following links: Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id+pkg.rop iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rop-royal-oman-police/ id603143280?mt=8 You can send your comments and suggestions via email to Royal Oman Police at email@example.com STOP PRESS: Recall notices have been issued for several models of Mercedes by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection. Affected are the SLK and S Class (04/11-07/11) and the S Class 2013. The cars need to be checked for mechanical issues. Toll free number: 80079777 for info.
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KIDNAPPED OMANIS FREEd Two Omani citizens kidnapped at gunpoint in Lebanon are on their way back to the Sultanate after being released unharmed. The men, reported to be in their 20s and from the Al Rustaq area, were held for three days after they were snatched from a taxi last Thursday in the Bekaa Valley shortly after arriving in the country. Witnesses said five armed men driving a Grand Cherokee stopped the taxi and ordered the Omani nationals out, leaving the Syrian cab driver inside. Oman began talks with Lebanese security forces and government officials to secure their release. On Sunday, Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the two men had been set free and were ‘safe and well’ at the Sultanate’s Embassy in Beirut. Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper later said that a police squad had freed the men in a raid. A spate of kidnappings has hit the Bekaa region, near the Syrian border, with ransoms demanded.
OMAN Bite Sized Our new weekly slot takes a lighthearted look at a news issue of the week.
What are they? Farms, but for fish. Think less cow, more carp. Less goat, more grouper. Oh, and no dates. How do they work? Fish are bred and raised commercially in either a facility using fresh water tanks and enclosures (aquaculture) or in enclosed sections of the ocean (mariculture). Why do we need them? Currently, scientists agree that essentially there are too many fishing boats chasing too many fish trying to feed too many people. Fish farming can help produce more fish to help feed a growing population. Why are you telling us this? It’s currently the world’s fastest growing food production sector. Oman recognises this and our Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has recently submitted plans for a project involving 50 farms. Are consumers actually eating farmed fish? Oh yes. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that farmed species account for 50 per cent of the world’s food fish. What species are farmed? Seabass, tuna, snapper, prawn, carp, tilapia, catfish and pangasius, are just some of the common species. Who’s doing the legwork? While aquaculture is found throughout the world, Asia accounts for a whopping 88.5 per cent of current production. Pangasius is the new cod baby. Are there any problems with fish farming? Most definitely. A higher prevalence of disease in the farmed organisms and negative impacts upon the surrounding environment are just a couple on the list. But we spent years trying to move from intensive farming to extensive farming for landbased species such as beef. Why are we doing the opposite with fish? Err…… Do say: ‘The fish pen is mightier than the Swordfish.’ Don’t say: ‘Stop carping on about fish farms.’
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INTO THE FUTURE It’s still some way off but the year 2040 and how Oman will look then is already being plotted. Or at least, a team of experts has this week been tasked with the job of doing just that with project Oman Vision 2040. If it all sounds rather grand, that’s because it is. These newly appointed men (and women) have to draft the future of the Sultanate, outlining everything from services to transport and, perhaps more importantly, how to make it happen. The resulting document will be used as a blueprint for planning in the next two decades. The committee – set up on the orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said – will be headed by HH Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture. The manual will need to take into account the rising population – 3.8 million at the last count and growing – the inevitable changing demographics, and the likely
A WEEK IN PICTURES
economic outlook in the future. Back to more immediate concerns, we also found out this week what the government has in store for Oman this year. As 2014 begins, it’s up to the various ministries to set out their own visions for the coming 12 months. It looks like the focus will be on empowering Omani women, both in and out of the home, and finding alternative revenues other than oil. Tourism will remain a priority – the spectacular Alila Jebel Akhdar hotel is set to open later this year – as well as preserving Oman’s heritage, with the possible introduction of legislation to protect the country’s unique sights for generations to come. Education is also on the radar with approval for a specialised centre to give vocational training for teachers. The end of last year saw teachers in the Sultanate striking with demands for better working conditions and improved pay.
HEADLINE STORIES FROM OMAN AND BEYOND
F1 legend Michael Schumacher is in a coma fighting for his life after a skiing accident
A Chinese city made entirely of ice – built by 10,000 workers – in north eastern China opens for tourists on Jan 4
UAE to launch first Arab-made satellite, Khalifa-Sat, by 2017
Deal for Omagine, a $2.5bn beachfront development near Muscat Airport could be signed this month
Wedding wonga It’s an expensive business, getting married. No matter where you’re from. Luckily, for young Omanis planning to tie the marital knot, financial help is now available thanks to a new loan by Bank Muscat. The first of its kind, the new ‘Zaffaa’ marriage loan attempts to address the shortfall that many nationals feel as they tot up the alarming totals needed for the marriage itself and any associated costs. And with the cost of the dowry these days anywhere between RO5,000 and RO20,000, Omani young men in particular are in need of financial help. Figures from the 2010 Census indicate that there is a burgeoning youth population. Comprising 58 per cent of the Omani population, it’s this demographic that Bank Muscat is anticipating will create a strong demand for their new loan. Furthermore, the number of marriages is evidently increasing. According to the latest data from the National Center for Statistics and Information, the number of marriage certificates issued rose between 2011 and 2012 by nearly 4000. Bank Muscat has also partnered with service providers in the wedding sector so their customers can make savings on a host of other wedding necessities such as flowers, wedding invitations, catering and wedding halls. Available to Omani nationals over the age of 18, both men and women can apply for the loan up to a total of RO20,000 to be paid back over a period of five years.
Having first opened its doors in January 2013, Bank Nizwa is continuing its rapid expansion across the Sultanate with the opening of its seventh branch in Ghubra. Officially inaugurated on December 30 by HE Sheikh Dr Said bin Khamis bin Juma al Kaabi, Bank Nizwa hopes that this will be just one of many new branch openings. Targeting the full range of customers, Islamic banking solutions and services are being offered to individuals, small and medium enterprises, corporations and government institutions. Like
all Islamic banks, there’s also a Sharia board to validate the bank’s compliance with Islamic banking principles, such as prohibiting any form of interest or investment in activities or products against the tenets of Islam like alcohol or weapons. The popularity of modern Islamic banking has been rising steadily since a saving bank was set up in Egypt in 1963. Now, Islamic banks are present in 53 countries and by 2009, Sharia compliant assets had reached a value of $400 billion, with Iran and Saudi Arabia possessing the greatest share. JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
FROM CAMELS TO CARS
Catch the action on the track whether itâ€™s camels in Ibra or Oman Auto X cars in Muscat
storm Y S E E B F R O N T
AS RAIN AND WIND LASHED PARTS OF OMAN THIS WEEK, Y’S JERZY WIERZBICKI WENT OUT WITH HIS CAMERA TO CAPTURE THE BATTLE OF THE ELEMENTS ON THE BEACH
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THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE
Born in Kuwait to Palestinian and Syrian parents, and growing up in Jordan, artist Mohammed Abd ElHadi’s latest exhibition, Waves Against Boredom, draws inspiration from his peripatetic upbringing. It’s open to the public at the Omani French Centre in Madinat Sultan Qaboos from Jan 7 to 30 with all items up for sale. Contact 24697579 or email cfo-culture@ hotmail.fr for more information.
What to do.
There’s still time to catch the action on the water as the finest young sailors battle it out in the Laser Radial – Youth World Championship in Al Mussanah. Around 79 young people from 50 nations will be battling for the top honours in the final two days. Visit www omanlaserworlds2013.com for more information and results so far.
Jan 07 - 30
Jan 02 - 03
Art Attack Sufi Night
Discover the marvels of Sufi music with an evening exploring this diverse cultural form at the Royal Opera House Muscat. Musicians come from several nations, including Pakistan and Morocco, which are all traditionally home to Sufi. Among the performers at this one-off event will be an Omani ensemble with spiritual music from al-Malid. Starts 7.30pm. Tickets from www.rohmuscat.org.om
What to hear.
J A N U A R Y
Jan 14 - 15
Summer is some way off but it’s not too soon to plan for ways to keep the older children out of your hair. Pop along to a special event highlighting UK Boarding Schools’ summer and language programmes, being held at the Crowne Plaza, Muscat. Timings 1pm-7pm on Jan 14 and 1pm-4pm on Jan 15. For more information, contact Sue or Sara on enquiries@ andersoneducation.co.uk or visit www.andersoneducation.co.uk
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It’s going to be an epic adventure crossing the Sharqiyah Desert with a band of merry men and women. Only one requirement – you have to be a Jeep Wrangler owner. The Jeep Jamboree brings together fans of the iconic brand to tackle the dunes and sands. You’ll need to take your own tent, sleeping bags and other items of essential desert equipment. For more info call 24 584 530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What to see.
09 - 11
MOVIES MOVIES THIS WEEK’S MOVIES
For more information and times, go to: City Cinema: citycinemaoman.net Al Bahja Cinema: albahjacinema.net Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641
The Wolf of Wall Street
Women, drugs and dirty business are the bread and butter of Martin Scorsese’s great gangster movies – Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed - so it makes perfect sense that he should have turned his attention to the infamous stock swindler Jordan Belfort for his latest movie. And in The Wolf of Wall Street, it seems we have the director winding back to his glory days and finding the the kind of exciting form we haven’t seen in years. Leonardo di Caprio plays the young Belfort, who gathers a huge team of hungry young brokers to make scripted cold calls to unwary investors. The famous motto of Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gecko from Wall Street was ‘Greed is good’. In Belfort’s world, with office entertainment including dwarf throwing contests and roller-skating chimps, it might be better described as greed is stupid. Like a modern day Caligula – the Roman emperor who was legendary for his perversions and excesses – we see di Caprio and his co-conspirator Jonah Hill indulge every whim off the
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back of their suckered investors. The script does not hold back on showing all aspects of their rollercoaster lifestyle, including the girls and the drugs, which may raise eyebrows and shock moralistic audiences. Since the financial crash of 2008, the extreme antics of the bankers have increasingly found their way onto the screen, including the quickly forgotten 2010 sequel to Oliver Stone’s Wall Street and the superb documentary Inside Job (2010). None, however, have quite captured the over-the-top excess of young men enjoying quick riches as this film does. And thanks to the committed lead performances and the witty script, based on Belfort’s self-penned confession, the audience can’t help but be taken along for the ride. Of course, as in all morality stories, there must be a comeuppance and the day of reckoning eventually arrives when the FBI come knocking, but not before an awful lot of fun is had. Review by Joe Gill
Highway Alia Bhatt stars as a girl who is abducted and taken on a lifechanging road trip across India, in Imtiaz Ali’s independent drama. It certainly breaks with a lot of Bollywood conventions, being shot outdoors in the rough back roads of northern India, showing a gritty reality minus all the usual glamour and romance. Locations include a salt factory in Rajasthan and the snow-swept slopes of the Kashmir Valley.
Keanu Reeves is the big name star of this spectacular martial arts fantasy based on a Japanese legend. He is the half-blood leader of a group of warriors (Ronin) who set out to avenge the death of their master and face down Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful witch who can assume the shape of lizards, wolves and demons - as well as use her hair as chopsticks. With Japanese actors speaking the stilted English dialogue and some tremendous battle scenes, it should be more exciting than it is. Despite a wooden script, it ends on a thrilling high.
Grudge Match It seems like ageing Hollywood stars don’t know how to grow old gracefully, and a slew of recent films have been in on the joke. Here Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play over the hill boxing champs who are brought out of retirement for a computer game but end up going back in the ring for one last bout of their ancient rivalry. Of course, both actors famously played boxers in their prime (Stallone in Rocky and De Niro in Raging Bull), but unfortunately the joke of bringing them together when they are long past their prime is more distasteful than amusing. There’s good support from grouchy Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart, who plays a Don King-like wannabe, as the trainers of the two dinosaurs.
Mr Joe B Carvalho Comedy actor Arshad Warsi stars as a quirky detective who falls for a butt-kicking cop Soha Ali Khan, while the pair are caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Highlights of the slapstick affair include Ms Khan sporting a bikini and Jaaved Jaferi in various disguises, including a blonde woman and a sadhu baba. You get the picture.
Y’s Choice Sholay (3D)
When it first hit the screens nearly four decades ago, Sholay was considered by some to be the greatest Indian film of all time. In the style of a spaghetti western, it follows two criminals played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra who are hired by a retired policeman to hunt down a notorious criminal. Despite a lukewarm response when first released – the film ran for almost 200 minutes – word of mouth spread and it ran for nearly five years at Mumbai’s Minerva theatre. It’s now being shown in a remastered 3D format.
MOVIE PREVIEWS It looks like 2014 could be a good year for the big screen. A bout of Biblical epics and dramas dominate the release schedule with a new Tom Cruise film of course, writes Joe Gill Noah
Perhaps the most interesting is Darren Aronofsky’s version of the Noah story, starring Russell Crowe as the man who builds the Ark to save man and beast from the Great Flood. From the director of The Fountain and Black Swan, it promises to be a dark and intensely wrought epic.
Christopher Nolan takes a break from Batman for Interstellar, which sees a group of space explorers including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway slipping through a wormhole into another universe.
Edge of Tomorrow
After the so-so Oblivion, Tom Cruise is back and opposite Emily Blunt in another sci-fi epic, Edge of Tomorrow, in which the life – and repeated deaths – of a super soldier mimics an endlessly looping computer game. Talking of big stars, in Transcendence, Johnny Depp takes off the pirate hat to play a terminally ill scientist who downloads his body into a computer, granting him incredible powers.
Joaquim Phoenix stars in Spike Jonze’s intriguing tech romance Her, in which a shy copywriter falls in love with his emotionally intelligent operating system. Well, of course he does – it’s voiced by the lovely Scarlett Johansson. She is also the star of Jonathan Glazer’s near wordless Under the Skin, which wowed the film festival circuit, playing a predatorial alien who scours remote highways looking for lonely victims to fall for her icy charms.
The original gothic horror gets a reboot in I, Frankenstein, with Aaron Eckhart starring as the patchwork monster who comes back after 200 years to save the humans from a race of demons led by Bill Nighy. On the subject of monsters, Godzilla is back causing mayhem again as Hollywood gives the Japanese lizard another crack after the disappointing 1998 effort. A quality cast and retro-vibe trailer promise good things.
While the third in the Hunger Games series is due for release, competing for the teen audience is Divergent, another young adult adaptation set in a future dystopia riven by factions based on personality types. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) has to undergo a highly competitive initiation to join a new clique, while holding onto a dangerous secret. Familiar?
Andy and Lana Wachowski follow up Cloud Atlas with a new self-penned fantasy, in which a Ukrainian migrant to the US played by Mila Kunis is targeted by off-planet humans for being an exact genetic match for the Queen of the Universe. Channing Tatum plays her alien saviour. It sounds and looks awesome.
In a more mainstream vein, Twilight’s Kellan Lutz is cast as the Greek demigod in The Legend of Hercules, with an awful lot of muscle on display underneath his almost cherub-like face. He’s up against Dwayne Johnson, a natural for the part, in Hercules: The Thracian Wars, who badly needs to stomp the competition after a couple of flops in 2013.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
These days, three years is quite a long wait for a sequel. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows the 2011 debut of the movie reboot, which had its original controversial outing back in 1968. Andy Serkis returns as the intelligent simian Caesar leading the apes after a lethal virus has decimated humankind.
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G N I P L D E H HAN
th new o k in Jan h W y th Mon share u j to
t first glance, the gathering of people in a room might not look like anything revolutionary is unfolding. Yet something extraordinary is happening – Oman’s future is being built. Or rather fledgling young entrepreneurs and potential businesses are being nurtured with the help of a team of mentors. Here knowledge is the currency that exchanges hands. Information is power and sharing what you know with others is the new cool business tool. While financial help is welcome by any budding businessman (or woman), the chance to tap into someone else’s experience is priceless. That’s what mentoring is all about. And whether you’re the mentor or the mentee, the process can be invaluable, beneficial and a surprisingly mutually satisfying experience. Word is spreading about how good it can be and with International Mentoring Month happening now throughout January, there couldn’t be a better time to join the mentoring bandwagon. “We love the experience of helping people, whether it’s start-ups, young entrepreneurs with an idea or established SMEs,” says Sharifa al Barami, entrepreneurship development consultant and a specialist coach. Sharifa, who is co-founder and CEO at AlJazeera Technical Solutions & Training, has laid the foundation for mentoring in the Sultanate with an innovative approach to helping young businesses get on track. Together with William Crew, founder of Inspired Solutions in Muscat, she set up the CELL entrepreneur program, one of the pillars of which is mentoring. They offer practical help and advice on everything from coming up with an idea for a business, to manufacturing products and promoting them in the marketplace, both home and abroad. It even includes a place to work and do business at the BizHub Entrepreneurs Co-Working space in Muscat, where mentors and their mentees can meet and young businesses can work side-by-side to learn from each other. “We get a batch of between 14-15 business owners on our Accelerator programme, of which mentoring is a part,” says Sharifa. “It lasts for about a year. During this time, the mentor and businesses will meet up to discuss their progress. It’s a very intensive mentoring session.” One of those who has benefitted from the scheme is Eng. Zahir al Naamani, who took a sabbatical from his job with the Ministry of Transport and Communications to launch his own graphic design company, Vertex Reality. During an eight-week course, he was taught the basics, from how to start up a business to marketing it. Eight months ago, he took the plunge. Without the support of the mentoring scheme, he believes it would never have happened. “To be honest, if I hadn’t done the CELL course, I think that my business would have failed,” says Eng. al Naamani. “The wide knowledge that has been given to me has been so important. I’ve already started making contacts and got business worth thousands of rials.” Now, he’s passing on his new-found skills by acting as a mentor to his brother and sister, who both own companies too. “They don’t know how to run their businesses. They need help with things like cash flow.” The idea of mentoring is gathering pace in Oman, particularly with the strong government support to help SMEs and entrepreneurs get off the ground, with funding and free advice.
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oring t Men ’s time l a on , so it than i t rna ou do more e t y In e as ow d giv inn n w G it an hat ry? Welldge s Kate y nua knowle , sa ime r you your t ust
Sharifa’s business partner William Crew is also a board member of the Oman American Business Council (OABC). “I drive the SME mentoring initiative (for the Council), which we recently launched,” says William. “I also do additional pro bono work in this area.” Under the scheme, executive mentors from leading Omani and American companies volunteer their expertise and time to mentor and coach Omani entrepreneurs. Top industry captains and entrepreneurs around the world have already caught on to the idea of sharing their hints on how to make it big in business. James Caan, a British-Pakistani entrepreneur, has long made it his business to share the secret of his success. “During the course of my career in business, as I have become more successful, I have always believed in the importance of lending a helping hand to others looking to make a success of their lives,” he says. “Running a business, especially in the early years can be a stressful and demanding experience, particularly when times are tough and everything is not going to plan. “Having a good mentor who has experience can be invaluable and you will find that most entrepreneurs are more than happy to give their time and advice to people starting out.” It can be a two-way process too. Sharifa Al Barami admits that even seasoned business leaders can learn from the novice entrepreneurs under their wing. And she enjoys giving the type of support that wasn’t out there when she first started out on the path to having her own business. “Most of the mentors do it because they really want to give back,” she says. “I never had that help when I was starting out, I was pretty much on my own. “I wanted to make sure that people learnt from the mistakes that I did. It’s also about those who are established giving back to their community.” Which is where the mentoring process is really smart. Those who learn can then go on to mentor someone else, and so the cycle starts again. People like Eng. Zahir al Naamani. “This year, I am aiming to become a licensed trainer in entrepreneurship so that I can train and mentor others,” he says. “I want to help in the same way that someone helped me.” * What’s your advice for others? Tweet us at #YMentoring
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Mohammed Reda -
Owner of Wow Design in Al Khuwair, Muscat
Sitting in the offices of his thriving branding and design business, Mohammed Reda gives every appearance of being the successful young entrepreneur. Indeed work is going so well that expansion is a possibility in the coming year. But while Mohammed, 24, agrees that hard work has played a part in his achievement over the last two years, he is the first to acknowledge that it would not have been possible without the support of the CELL mentoring programme. “I received so much help from them, they showed me basically how to manage a company,” says Mohammed. “It’s not just about the work. They have shown me about branding and design, administration, financial, time management and human resources, covering any problems or challenges that may arise.
Muna al Shukery -
“They have guided us and shown us the right way. The support has been invaluable for me and the business.” While it wasn’t Mohammed’s first attempt at setting up a business – his first foray into entrepreneurship was in 2006 – this time has been markedly different with a mentor onboard. “CELL has helped me with a business model, detailing everything from what customers to have and the suppliers to use. It’s a like a masterplan that I can follow.” Also beneficial has been the opportunity to brainstorm and swap ideas with fellow young entrepreneurs, both male and female, in Oman and network for future business contacts. Advice from CELL mentors has also already proved fruitful. “We have just got three more projects from their ideas,” says Mohammed, who has a staff of seven. “With my first business, we had so many ideas but the problem was that we didn’t know how to control it. We needed direction. “It’s very easy to start a new business but you need help to keep it going. “I still have help from CELL. I can go to them for anything. “Business is good and we are going in the right direction.”
Founder and owner of a perfume business
“Having their help has changed my life and the life of my business.” That’s the unequivocal message from Muna al Shukery, who launched her home-based perfumery company two years ago. She cheerfully admits to not knowing the first thing about business. All she had was an idea, a big dream and only a vague idea how to make it a reality. With the help of the CELL programme, Muna was shown how to turn her aspirations into a tangible working business model. “I was shown how to promote and sell the products and how to run the business itself,’ says Muna. “I got so many ideas from them. It was very, very helpful for me. “I also liked having people from outside Oman coming to give us lectures how things like how to expand.” With assistance and mentoring, Muna has had the confidence to expand beyond the confines of her home – she has just signed a deal to have some retail space at the new Panorama Mall complex in Al Khuwair. “We are doing very well,” smiles Muna. “But I have no doubt that a big part of why we were here now is because of the help from the programme and mentors.”
James Caan, serial entrepreneur and investor in people with passion, gives his top tips to being a great mentor:
problems and issues facing a business. Running a business can become very personal and a key part of mentoring is to remove emotion from the process. Often an outsider coming to a business with an open mind can spot a fault or a problem easier than those closest to the issue. The key is to be honest and up front rather than taking the route of avoiding difficult and sensitive issues.
Mentoring somebody who is new to business is not always straightforward - there can be many challenges, both with the business and the mentee themselves. Here are some key skills needed to become a good mentor.
Positivity Although you may have to deliver some tough and difficult messages it is vital to remain positive throughout the process. Even when businesses are struggling there are usually common sense reasons why there are problems. The role of a mentor is to offer help and support without being negative. You should always accentuate the positive and offer practical solutions to difficult situations. Encourage the entrepreneur on the course of action they are taking and never allow their heads to drop.
Patience To fully understand the issues that affect the person you are helping you need to understand their business and what stage it is at in its development. The first stage in the mentoring process is the ability to sit and listen to the person and talk about their business. All the best mentors are the people who actually have the ability to listen and take on board what is being said to them. Remember communication is always a two way process.
Honesty Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and that is why it is vital to be as honest and frank as possible throughout the mentoring process. Owner managers, especially those who run small family outfits, are often the last people to fully grasp the 022
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Focus The focus of any mentoring session should always be the person who comes for help and advice. As well as being able to listen, a mentor should focus on the problems and issues at hand. In a situation where you are giving advice and help, the temptation is to talk about your own experiences and career. Shifting the focus onto the mentor is simply a waste of time and effort for everyone involved. After all, the whole point of the exercise is to offer support, advice and expertise to those who are at the beginning of the business journey.
t s a F d r a w r o F
great ld a e b o or ng t It's goi We've got a W nd year - new iPhone a look Cup, a olympics to rites winter d to in 2014 w forwarbertson Tom Ro
ith the release of new technology and the arrival of hotly anticipated global sports tournaments, as well as crucial political elections, it’s certain to be an event-packed year ahead. Significantly, some 40 per cent of the world’s population will be going to the polls to decide the political future of their nations in both national elections and regional elections. India, the second most populated planet on earth, will be holding a general election for a new Parliament following the completion of the Lok Sabha’s 15th five-year term on May 31. General elections are also taking place in Bangladesh and Indonesia, while Brazil and Colombia will see presidential polls. Regional elections will also be underway as Europe goes to the polls in May to elect a new European Parliament. Eurosceptic parties are set to make a strong challenge, potentially altering the direction of the political union. Closer to home, talk of a closer economic union has resurfaced with speculation arising that Gulf States may finalise plans for a common currency, though Oman has recently reaffirmed that it won’t be participating. Meanwhile, NATO troops will be coming home after more than a decade of engagement in Afghanistan, with the hope that the longsuffering country will not slip back into civil war. There will also be hope that the other long-running conflicts besetting the region, especially Syria, will move toward resolution and an end to bloodshed. Yet, in among all the serious political bargaining and peace efforts, will be the important issue of sport. The first of these, the 22nd Winter Olympics will be held in the Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi, Russia, where the host nation will be keen to show its prowess in the 98 events when the flame is lit on February 6. But this $50 billion showcase for skiiers, slalom and bobsleigh champs will be dwarfed by the biggest sporting spectacle of the year in Brazil, a football tournament sure to fill headlines and keep audiences glued to their
TV this summer. The FIFA World Cup will unfold in a kaleidoscope of colour in Rio de Janeiro and other major Brazilian cities from June 12 to July 13. Sadly, Oman won’t be present following their unfortunate exit from the qualifiers early this year. Favourites Germany, Spain and the host nation will all fancy their chances of lifting the trophy. From sports stars to sports stars’ babies, we know already some of the new arrivals that we’ll be welcoming into the world. Roger Federer and his wife, Mirka, are among the famous parents expecting this year. They’ll be accompanied in their parental efforts by other stars including Drew Barrymore and also Bruce Willis, who’s expecting his fifth child. As it’s the Chinese Year of the Horse, we can apparently expect new arrivals this year to be kind, intelligent and energetic, if not a little stubborn at times. From horses to horsepower, we turn our attentions to new arrivals of the four-wheeled variety: 2014 will see the welcome return of an iconic marque in the world of motoring. Not seen since 1976, the Corvette will label their seventh generation sports car the Stingray. Already receiving great reviews in the motoring press, it's outfitted with an abundance of carbon fibre inside and out and, with 450 horsepower delivered over seven gears, it’s expected to do 0-100 km/h in around four seconds. Meanwhile, Chevrolet will be continuing their impressive showing in Oman’s automobile market when they present an updated package for one of the Sultanate’s favourite cars; the Chevrolet Camaro receives an overhaul to give it a wider, lower and altogether more aggressive stance with which to join battle with its popular rival, the Ford Mustang. From car tech to phone tech, we’re all set to continue our love affair with the mobile phone. One of the year’s most anticipated offerings will come from the Cupertino behemoth, Apple. Following a largely predictable annual cycle of releases, experts are predicting the launch of the iPhone 6 later this year. It’s expected to arrive with a larger screen and a new camera, upgraded from the current 8MP to a more industry-wide 12MP. Don't forget we've also got the 44th National day to celebrate and, ahead of that, Muscat Festival and Muscat Fashion Week. JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
MAKING WA A
pproaching the shipyard at Sur, the sounds of hammering and sawing can be heard above the screech of seagulls floating on air currents in the sky above. Here, in this open-air workshop, the past is coming alive again. Dhow boats, the traditional trading vessel of Oman, are being made to once again sail the seas. The shipyard at Sur builds and repairs dhows. Where once, Omanis would travel to India to build dhows – making use of the good timber in the forests of Kerala and the master carpenters specialising in boat building – workers from India and Bangladesh now come to the Sultanate to continue their craft. All boats are handmade, although some of the builders have become adept at using their feet too, employing their toes to help hold bits of wood in place or manoeuvre a tool. It requires a steady hand – or foot – and skills honed over many years. With nimble fingers, they cut and shape the wood as though it’s a piece of art. Their craftsmanship is such that the shipyard in Sur, which has a long and proud history of building dhows, is now a popular tourist destination. Working outside allows visitors a unique perspective of the work that goes into producing a dhow, which used to ply its trade along the Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan, East Africa and beyond, carrying a cargo of items
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such as fruit, water or merchandise. While a dhow's appearance can vary depending on its country of origin, the basic look is the same – a long, thick hull with one or more masts supporting triangular sails. Constructed from wood, the timber used nowadays is teak, primarily from Malaysia, although the ribs (the structural planks) are made from acacia wood sourced locally or from Yemen. Once the hull is constructed, it's placed on a wooden scaffold. In past times, the dhow’s hull would be held together with coconut rope. In modern times, of course, nails are used instead. It is labour intensive and hard work. A large dhow (200 tons) can take more than a year to complete, depending on the size of the team. Only one or two are now built a year. Compare this to the 19th century when around eight dhows a year were launched from the shipyard. Prices reflect the solid wood construction and man-hours that have gone into the boat – a 400-ton dhow can cost up to RO320,000. The dhows in our photographs are being made to order for a Qatari client. All the vessels are equipped with a diesel engine and will be used for offshore fishing in the Arabian Gulf. Others made here in Sur are also bound for Gulf countries, or parts of Oman, to be used as tourist boats. Dhows are also still used for commercial trading between the Gulf and
A dhow awaiting repair
Dhows come in all sizes
East Africa, going under sail to carry dates, fish and mangrove timber. Large dhows and smaller ones â€“ used for fishing â€“ are produced in the yard, along with miniature models to sell to tourists. Bobbing on the water in the harbour are half a dozen dhow fishing vessels, showing off the finished product. A replica of the specially commissioned dhow boat, the Sohar, which was built in Sur, now sits on the Al Bustan roundabout in Muscat. Unfortunately this ancient art is a dying one with only a handful of dhow builders left in Sur, trying to keep their dwindling business alive under the threat of cheaper fibreglass alternatives and fewer customers. For a seafaring nation such as Oman, it would be a shame to lose such an important part of its heritage. Hopefully, the dhow builders of Sur will continue their unique craft for many years to come.
The hull of a dhow on a wooden scaffold
Traditional dhow boats are still being built by hand in Sur shipyard, where master craftsmen lovingly recreate the past Photos: Jerzy Wierzbicki Words: Kate Ginn
It's physical work for the men
The hull's curved design is visible
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OMAN IN 43 OBJECTS
7. THE RIAL
We handle it dozens of times on a daily basis and rely on it for our most basic needs. But how many of us really give much thought to the money in our pockets and exchanging hands around us? The Oman rial (RO or OR) is the official currency of the Sultanate but where does it come from? Well, the Central Bank of Oman issues it, with the highest denomination being 50 and the lowest being 100 baisa. The rial as we know it was introduced in 1973. Before then, the country had been using the rial Saidi (equal to the British pound). Before 1940, the Indian rupee and Maria Theresa Thaler (known locally as the rial) were the main currencies circulating in Muscat and Oman. Notes come in a range of colours from green to pink, all featuring an image of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
8. ENTRY VISA Without it, you wonâ€™t be allowed into the country so the entry visa (also known as a tourist or visit visa) is a must. Your first stop on arriving at Muscat International Airport will be the Travelex counter, where you can buy the visa (provided your home country is on the permitted visa visit list). It costs RO20, which allows you to stay in Oman for up to 30 days. It can be extended for a similar period for RO20. A short stay visa for visits of up to ten days costs RO5, although for visitors from the GCC this visa is valid for up to four weeks and can be extended for a week. Visitors stopping in Oman on a cruise ship enjoy a 48-hour free visa. Outstay your visa, however, and youâ€™ll be hit with a RO10 fine for each day you remain over the expired date. 026
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food and drink
GET YOUR GREENS
Toxic overload? It's time to give the body a rest with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
food and drink
TIME TO DETOX
After the excesses of the holiday season, give your body a break with some healthy nourishing food, says Kate Ginn
o the festivities are well and truly over but the aftermath of the customary blowout is just beginning. Admit it, you overindulged just like the rest of us did too. Trouble is all that rich food, non-stop eating and huge portions can leave the body overloaded and in need of a serious cleanse. We’ve eaten enough sugar to fell a toddler, stuffed ourselves silly with carbs and calorific treats (well I have) and have forgone that exercise regime (if you ever had one) for another piece of cake. Even if you were relatively well behaved with healthy eating choices, you probably ate more than usual over the last few weeks. We all know the correlation between what you put into your mouth and how you feel. Food can have a dramatic effect on your energy levels, ability to concentrate and general well being. So it goes without saying that our clogged digestive system would welcome a good detox. Healthy nutritious foods that are kind to our bodies can get our sluggish minds and limbs moving, as well as help to kick start a new regime for the new year. “January is a great time to give your body a clean and rest,” says Ilona Wesle, nutritionist and co-founder of MyDetoxDiet. “Psychologically, it’s the start of a fresh new year, and physically it follows a period of over-indulgence. “Detoxing has many benefits. It can enhance your energy levels, aid weight loss, clear the skin and improve digestion.” There’s no need to undertake a hardcore detox or diet. Just taking simple steps for a few weeks, or even a few days, can give the body a chance to get its equilibrium back after the festive feasting. “Fruits and vegetables are the basis of any healthy eating regime, so get creative,” says Lowri Turner, nutritionist and hypnotherapist specialising in weight loss. “Instead of eating an apple on its own, why not chop it into thin slices and add to a goat’s cheese salad? Or, you could take the core out, fill it with dried fruits and nuts, plus a little honey and bake it in the oven for a delicious healthy dessert.” Turner, who is the author of ‘The S Factor Diet’, advises substituting your pudding fix with a sweet apple, which will satisfy your sugar cravings but do less damage to your waistline. Here are some easy tips to give your overfed and overworked body a badly need break after the recent overload:
Rehydrate. Water is a miraculous little drink, helping the body cleanse and wash away those nasty toxins. Start the day with a cup of warm pre-boiled water with the juice of a fresh lemon added. It’s a fantastic detoxifier. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Cut out or cut down your caffeine intake. Green tea, stuffed full of antioxidants, is better for you. Try to avoid red meats, dairy products and processed foods for a few weeks at least. Instead, go for lots of fruit and vegetables and whole grain foods. Swap your sugar for a sweetener or try a teaspoon of honey instead. Ditch the sugary snacks. It clogs up the body and plays havoc with your blood sugar levels. Hold the junk food or at least cut down. Your body will thank you for it. Eat protein with every meal if you can. It will help you feel fuller for longer. Try eggs for breakfast, chicken at lunchtime and fish or meat with rice or vegetables for dinner. Smoothies or homemade soups are a great meal alternative. Dig out that blender that you got as a gift but stuck in the back of the cupboard. Do this: Get the body moving. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day will get those endorphins flooding the body and help get rid of those excess pounds amassed over the holiday. If you can’t manage that, try to get some walking or cycling into your daily routine. Not a gym bunny? Give yoga a go. As little as 10 minutes in the morning and evening will promote relaxation and focus to deal with those food cravings. Read this: ‘Clean, The Revolutionary Program to Restore The Body’s Natural Ability To Heal Itself ’ by Dr Alejandro Junger. A bit of a mouthful but this best-seller gives you the lowdown on how to detox the body with a nutritional cleanse. Basically, a guide to giving sluggish bodies a jumpstart. Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan so it can’t be bad. 028
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Try this: Recipe
High-fibre root vegetables and fruit are good for digestion, while ginger calms your stomach.
Ginger, beetroot, carrots and apple
Calories: 155 • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger (15g) • 1 medium beetroot (225g), scrubbed and coarsely chopped • 4 medium carrots (225g), scrubbed and sliced • 1 medium apple (225g), cored and cubed • 1 cup water
In a blender, combine ginger, beet, carrots, apple, and water; blend, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth. Strain juice and, if desired, thin with additional water. Refrigerate up to 2 days (shake before serving). * Source: www.health.com
TREND New Restaurant
FOOD ON THE GO
izzling away on a griddle, the smoke from the searing pieces of meat drifts up into the air. Every so often, the man tending this makeshift grill flips over the lamb skewered on a stick and begins to brown the other side. Mishkak, meat grilled on charcoal, is a popular traditional Omani snack and stalls can be found on street corners and open spaces around Muscat. You’ve probably come across these impromptu barbecues at night. As the sun goes down, you can see cars or vans arriving with the cooking equipment and bags of meat ready to set up, start cooking and sell. The Sultanate’s answer to kebabs has different variations from the meat – chicken, lamb or beef – to the marinade. Most of the meat is marinated in spices and grilled to order. They’re
Czech Republic -
Buchty Sweet yeast dumplings filled with a plum sauce, a sickly red centre.
Philippines - Kinilaw (or kilawin)
A raw fish salad, traditionally marinated in vinegar with ginger, garlic, onion, black pepper and chili peppers. The fish (often tuna) is not cooked on a fire but the acetic acid in vinegar and the citric acid from the lemon or lime gives it a texture of having been cooked.
There’s some great street food to try in Oman, a trend reflected round the world. Kate Ginn tucks in delicious, cheap – around 500 baisa for three sticks – and convenient too. Buy some fresh Arabic bread and simply wrap up the mishkak for a great, on-the-go meal. My favourite mishkak spots are along the beachfront at Seeb (on my way home) and near The Wave, Muscat, but there are plenty around for you to discover your own. Of course, Oman is not the only country to offer its own version of street food. From Europe to Asia, the delicious delights available from a stall are a veritable feast. Here, Y takes you on a little culinary journey around the world’s streets and markets.
Bangladesh - Churmuri and
You’ll find street vendors in front of every school, university and office. Churmuri, a light snack of puffed rice, is typical, along with chotpoti (boiled diced potatoes and chickpeas), a roadside dish popular in urban areas.
Jordan - Ka’ek
Breads filled with anything from falafel, cream cheese and za’atar or simply plain. Best eaten with a cup of sweet tea.
China - Bing
Street food is dwindling after a government clampdown but bing, a flatbread made of flour and fried in oil, served plain or stuffed with meat or eggs, is still a big hit.
India - Panipuri US - Hotdog
Find a street corner in the US and you will find the obligatory hotdog stand touting its wares. For those that don’t know, this snack is a cooked sausage served in a bun as a sandwich.
South Africa - Boerewors
A type of curled pure beef sausage cooked on a barbecue (braai) and served up in a roll with All Gold tomato sauce and Mrs Ball’s chutney, or a tomato/ onion relish.
Each region has its own speciality. This is a round, hollow, deep fried Indian bread filled with a mixture of flavoured water, chutney, chilli, potato, masala and chickpeas. Generally small enough to fit whole into the mouth.
Belgium - Frites and Waffles
Chips double fried and served in a cone with mayonnaise or warm waffles are sold by street vendors.
Hong Kong - Dim Sum
Hong Kong’s outdoor food vendors, or dai pai dongs, are struggling with changes in eating habits but there is still a place for wonderful dim sum such as har gow and shumai (both forms of dumplings).
Cambodia - Insects
Packed full of protein, dried insects sold in paper cones can be found in the markets of Phnom Penh. Common delicacies are spiders and crickets. Ugh! JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
food and drink
Reviews Info Box
Maidat Al Noman Restaurant Barka (ask a local for the route) Price for two, including drinks: RO5
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
Let’s get to the meat of it – beef’s the best – especially when it’s prepared the traditional Omani way, says Penny Fray
f you’re indecisive (and a bit of a cheapskate) when it comes to choosing your next meal, we’ve found the perfect place for you. Maidat Al Noman Restaurant in Barka has a minimalist menu with just a handful of well-priced shuwa options and a couple of meat-free alternatives. But oh my, what the list lacks in variety, the dishes more than make up for in flavour. The slow-cooked beef and chicken were melt-in-the-mouth succulent and sang with a complex arrangement of spices and seasoning. Had they been served in a five-star establishment with furniture, cutlery and designer crockery, I would have been composing odes to these Omani dishes. As it was, I nearly did a runner. Perhaps the experience was a little too authentic for a luxe lover like me – but more on that later. The first hurdle was finding this most elusive of joints (excuse the pun). It came highly recommended by several foodie friends, and seeing that we were already in town to watch the bullfighting, we made the effort to hunt it down. However, if ancient Greek heroes still existed, unearthing the Golden Fleece or slaying maiden-munching dragons would have been easier. So, after 30 minutes of driving in circles with a confused GPS system, we prevailed on the knowledge of a local colleague, who kindly came to our rescue. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I found. The magnificent wooden front door was locked, so we were shown the back way instead. Walking through a mist of flies before slipping through a bijou side entrance, we were squished in a shoe-strewn passageway. Needless to say, I felt a little queasy when we were given a number and escorted towards the toilets. ‘Are you kidding me? I’m not eating beef in a bog,” I screeched. A look of utter alarm distorted my face before the waiter (if you could call him that) finally unlocked a nearby door and showed my friend and I into a stark-looking room with a dusty wooden table for company. It looked like a police interview room thanks to its bland walls and mismatched furniture. After Azza insisted on another chamber, I followed the waiter down
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the passageway as though I was a Fendi-toting Alice VERDICT : in Wonderland in pursuit of a hurrying white rabbit. Women in burkas stared at me with incredulity as I Grea 10 shuffled into a cell-like space with floor cushions and an au t if you w food-strewn floor. Private rooms it seems are de rigueur of ca thentic t ant aste sual with families – although I would have preferred the c dinin ountry g. main dining area, which for some inexplicable reason, was closed. “I can’t eat on that!” I yelped, pointing to the sauce-splattered carpet. Arabic words were exchanged; someone with a brush swept through the room and a large plastic sheet was presented alongside a laminated menu. “It’s very traditional,” laughed my Omani friend, who laughed even harder when I asked for a Diet Coke and some Evian water. I got neither, settling for a can of Fanta and a budget bottle of water before the padded room was slammed shut on us both (luckily, I’m not claustrophobic). Our colleague had chivalrously ordered and paid for our beef shuwa, roast chicken, rice and some salad before taking his leave. The feast came quickly and sans cutlery. Thankfully, the initial culture shock and thoughts of food poisoning had been replaced by something closer to a sense of adventure, leaving me to tuck into the mounds of meat with my bare hands. My beef dish was little short of amazing. The meat had been marinated in turmeric, cumin, cardamom, garlic and other stuff before being thrown into a smouldering pit, covered with a lid and sealed so that no smoke escaped. In some places, the dish is cooked for 24 hours while in others it is believed that meat tastes better after 48 hours. Scoffing in solitude, there was no one on hand to ask what the policy was here. Suffice to say, it was good. My Omani companion was equally impressed. Despite its rustic serving style, her chicken dish was cooked to perfection. A lack of pudding and other dining indulgences aside, if you want to experience a real Omani spread for less than RO5 before watching a ring full of bulls locking horns in Barka, then Maidat Al Noman Restaurant is certainly worth a visit.
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ITâ€™S ALL WHITE NOW
Top-to-toe white is a seasonal style pick-me-up, in that itâ€™s refreshing, eternally elegant and universally flattering (but not exactly cost effective when you consider all those trips to the dry cleaners). If lace shifts and strapless cocktail frocks are a little too feminine or faux fifties for your liking, try a simple shirt or coat dress like this one from Michael Kors. Teamed with nude accessories, it looks more grown up than girly.
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Statement earrings continue to rock during the day. We love the ice cream shades of this pair from Accessorize. RO9
CRUISE COLLECTION Bookmark today, wear tomorrow (or rather, in a few months’ time) with Penny’s guide to spring’s biggest trend – pretty pastel pieces
s we bid adieu to warmer wares and layered looks, we realise once again, that, yes, the grass is always greener come spring. Cruise’s paler palette is the perfect herald for the new season. Think a confection of candy colours such as mint, powder blue and pink, served in sleek feminine silhouettes and fluid lines. For daytime, go for the pretty prom dress, or for added edge, a leather panelled cashmere sweater with pencil skirt á la Reed Krakoff. Of course, the pastel coat remains a hero piece for those going from one season to the next, and it looks even more alluring when cut in petal-pink satin. Stella McCartney’s iridescent version looks stunning when styled with cigarette pants, a silk camisole and slingbacks. Zara, per usual, does the high street version best if your budget doesn’t extend to designer wear. Are macaron shades too sweet for your taste? Don’t worry; fashion still favours white. For cruise, highlights include Givenchy’s strapless cocktail style layered over lace pants and Giambattista Valli’s button-up shirtdress with flat black sandals.
The retro shape and bling bits of these ‘sunnies’ from H&M look super sweet. From RO5
Girly chic starts with this silk square scarf from Accessorize. RO16
SWEETER THAN CANDY Penny helps you swan through the new season early with these three tips:
RED Valentino’s fresh mint coat is cut with a retroinspired boxy fit and cropped sleeves. We love the feminine flared hem, styled with cigarette pants and flats. RO364 from Net-A-Porter
This Mango jacket is versatile enough to embrace two major spring trends – sailor chic and retro lady. From RO25
Expect this mini city bag from Zara, in either powder blue or pink, to become a cult buy. From RO25
1 White lace isn’t just for the bride. Wear day or night with fashion attitude. 2 Mix and match textures to add modernity to the new season’s retro inspired looks. 3 Buttercup yellow is this spring’s hottest hue – wear with taupe.
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BARBRA YOUNG ANSWERS YOUR FASHION QUESTIONS
Dear Barbra, After New Year, I have several glamorous evening events to attend, including a ball and my sister’s wedding. I need a knockout dress that’s versatile enough to wear from now until summer. I’m tall and a slim size ten. Any suggestions? Eva, Muscat
As soon as the frantic festive season ends, there’s bound to be a wedding or posh party to attend, so it makes sense to buy something that can be worn season after season. Whether you are in search of a highimpact cocktail dress or a show-stopping gown, white is the new black – trust me. Always dramatic and so much fresher than ebony, just add colourful pieces or sparkles, and some metallic shoes and you will be the diva you always wanted to be. Be bold with your make-up – smoky eyes and red lips are a must – but remember, no white accessories or you could be mistaken for a misplaced bridesmaid (no matter what those way-out fashion editors say). If money’s no option, try this amazing draped jersey gown from Vionnet, now on sale for RO475. It will perfectly suit your slim, statuesque physique. I particularly love how the cascading sleeve is punctuated by contrasting black silk trims. Alternatively, what about this maxi dress from the online company Misguided for RO22? Stripes are about to become big news so accessorise with this Brett Heyman Art Deco-inspired clutch. The ‘Jean’ box evokes the glamour of mid-century America. Striped with marbled white and silver, this acrylic style has an internal mirrored lid so you can freshen up your makeup on the go.
Barbra Young, a former designer and retailer
CATWALK TO CLOSET
This season’s eyes scream retro glamour with elongated cat-eye liner and luscious lashes. We love Pucci’s feline flicks as well as Dolce & Gabbana’s Bardot-style finish, although Anna Sui’s dotted lower lashes give a more modern edge to the look. For longevity, apply eye primer first, paired with an intense Kohl crayon in true black. If you prefer a brush, Nars Eye Paint gives a lasting liquid finish. For a more natural look, forgo the faux lashes for volumising mascara.
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If Jimmy Choo’s lattice boots at RO440 (above) are beyond your budget, try these cool cut outs from Steve Madden - a snip at RO65.
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CARS AND OUTDOORS
A sweeping stretch of sand with an oasis backdrop makes Taqah something special
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CARS AND OUTDOORS
Taqah Beach CAPTIVATING AND WILD AT THE SAME TIME, THE BEACH AT TAQAH and its birds WIN over JERZY WIERZBICKI
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visit. There was a gentle breeze, sun and the ocean was calm. My chance had finally come. I pulled my car over on the harder sand and, equipped with just one camera and a long lens, I set off in search of the birds. My aim was to approach as close as I could to get a good shot. The silence was broken only by the sound of waves arriving on the shore. Birds in this part of Dhofar seem less concerned about a human presence. Sitting next to some reeds, I recognised about three species of birds and some particularly striking Black Ibis. My first attempt to approach them wasn’t a great success. Rustling through the grass, my footsteps warned them and they took flight before I could even raise my camera. I decided to give them some time to settle and drove back to Taqah town to check the beach there. In among the palm trees and banana plantations, I installed the camera on a tripod and swapped the long lens for a 500mm lens. Taken from a distance, the trees bending slightly in the soft wind looked much more monumental. After several shots I got back on the beach, where I spotted lots of seagulls. The gulls’ distinctive screeching combined with the noise of the waves is one of my
photographer needs to have attributes other than just being skilled behind the lens. Patience is one of these. Sometimes, you have to wait to capture that perfect shot, to get the right composition or conditions. It could be a matter of minutes or hours, or even days. I waited six months to get the images that I wanted from Taqah Beach. I first visited this spot in Dhofar more than six months ago, when the Khareef had placed a shroud of fog and rain clouds over the area. Wind-whipped waves had turned the sea into a turbulent froth. It was fine exploring the high ground and Wadi Darbat but anything near the beach was off limits. Which was a shame because the beaches around the coastline here are impressive. My favourite was a strip of pale white sand broken up by dark brown cliffs between Salalah and Taqah, where groups of herons battled to fly against the strong gusts. I vowed to return when the weather was more conducive for wildlife photography. I had a plan but needed time. My moment came at the end of December. Conditions were totally different from my last
favourite sounds of nature. I was in luck. The light was perfect for photography. Far away was a large sandstone cliff, a significant landmark in Taqah, and behind it the well-known Khor Rori lagoon with the ancient ruins of Sumhuram. Suddenly from a distance, around 1km away, I spotted silhouettes of two people. I took a few shots. Later when I enlarged the photographs, I saw the couple was a pregnant woman with her husband’s hands wrapped around her swollen belly posing for a picture. Late that afternoon, when the sun dipped lower in the sky, I decided to approach my black birds again but this time I moved slowly through the reeds without making a sound. I found a gap in the reeds to install my camera. Although the birds didn’t hear me, I had only a short time to prepare before they saw me and took flight. When one of the glossy Ibis spotted me and gave the ‘signal’ to the rest to fly, I was ready and managed to get six shots. Because I was using an old manual lens, only three shots were sharp and the best one is in the magazine. However, I was happy that my mission had been a success. It had been well worth the wait.
The road is easy but it’s a long drive from Muscat. Head to Salalah on Route 31 and go towards Taqah and Mirbat. 40km from Salalah you will reach Taqah town. Turn right into the town and park your car on the corniche between the massive palm trees and the beach. A 4x4 is not needed.
GPS location of the beach: 17° 2’0.11”N 54°22’48.63”E
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CARS AND OUTDOORS outDOORS
O U T doors
Breaking the waves Jet skis are finding a foothold in Oman thanks to its ideal coastline and climate, writes Tom Robertson. Additional research by Melanie Marian Crasta
sit with my legs astride the seat which nestles over the 900cc engine and grip the handlebars tightly. It’s time for take off. When the throttle is opened, take off is exactly what I do. The engine roars and with an alarming acceleration I’m thrown savagely into the wind at such speed my knuckles turn white. With my hair blowing wildly in the wind, I cannot help but grin as the sun shines on a young man tasting the freedom of the open waves. That’s right - I’m not off-roading and I’m not even on a motorbike. I’m on a jet ski
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hurtling around the inlets of Oman’s coastline south east of Muscat, feeling like a child whose speed dreams have just been gifted to him in one sunny, fuel-fed package. Moments of such unadulterated enjoyment are rare – but they needn’t be. If you’re willing to part with a few hardearned rials, it’s a rush that’s available to anyone. Just take yourself down to one of the jet ski hire centres that are becoming increasingly popular in the Sultanate. It’s a sport well suited to the ample coastline and ideal weather conditions that Oman enjoys for
most of the year. With its warm waters, miles of beaches and a host of coves waiting to be discovered, Oman is a veritable paradise for this growing leisure pursuit. And it’s not hard to get to grips with. Jet skis, at least of the sit-down variety, are surprisingly easy to master. Nearly all models available today use handlebars to steer and a handlebarmounted finger throttle that allows the rider to accelerate by simply pulling back the throttle. As well as some optional water brakes on some models and an emergency cut out for when the rider falls off, there’s nothing else to do but
O U T doors
point and shoot. And hang on. The easily controlled sit-down versions of today are, however, a distant cry from their early forebears. Stability issues made the wild stallions of old the preserve of the dedicated few. Originating from the workshop of an Arizona motorsports enthusiast, Clayton Jacobsen, in 1973, these early models required the rider to stand up. It was then that Kawasaki first brought the product to the mass market with their brand ‘Jet Ski’, a name that has since entered into common usage as the generic name for personal watercraft (PWCs). With tweaks to hull design and the development of sit-down models, jet skis became more and more widespread throughout the ’80s and ’90s. These nifty one, two and three-seaters started to corner a market segment burgeoning with those wishing to experience the thrill of careering over water yet without the greater expense of owning a boat. For those looking to own one, there are significant financial advantages to a jet ski. They require a smaller initial investment compared to a boat. Especially with the likes of Sea-Doo’s new entry level Spark now available, which aims to cater for first time owners. Jet skiiers also avoid the money pit of costs associated with keeping a larger water craft. For a start, jet skis cannot incur berthing or mooring fees in expensive marinas. Instead, they be kept at home and taken out on a small
£ While Personal Water Craft (PWC) were developed in Europe from the 1950s onwards, it was in 1973 that the first modern jet-driven models were developed by Clayton Jacobsen in Arizona. £ Water jet drives operate by taking water into the intake in the hull where the water pressure is increased by a pump and then ejected through a nozzle at the rear in order to provide propulsion. £ Jet skis can either be sit-down or stand up models. £ Early stand-up PWCs were built using a 400cc engine while their modern counterparts on average house an engine double that size. £ Modern jet skis can reach speeds of up to 112kph.
trailer hitched to a car, which can be towed to a suitable launching site. Furthermore, with the smaller engines found in jet skis, fuel costs are a fraction of those on the larger fuel-thirsty boats. There’s another attraction to jet skiing; in places such as Europe and North America, it’s become a fully fledged sport; well-funded, well organised, highly competitive and highly physical. Forget pootling around Bandar Khayran as the revs gently tick over and instead experience the ear-splitting roar as athletes vie to win the honours at world championship events in a variety of disciplines, including slalom, freestyle and endurance. Meanwhile jet skis have also become vital tools for water authorities the world over. The lifeguards of Bondi Beach in Australia are currently using powerful and agile jet skis with extended platforms at the rear to haul swimmers in trouble back to shore. Elsewhere, the police in the Netherlands have employed jet skis to help patrol their network of canals, as have Venetian police in Italy. But if you’re not interested in chasing crooks down Dutch waterways or dragging Japanese tourists from Bondi’s rip currents, there are a number of places in Muscat where you can enjoy the jet ski in a more leisurely manner. Head to one of the rental locations along Qurum Beach, Al Sawadi Beach Resort & Spa and the Oman Dive Centre, among others. Expect to pay around RO20 per hour. JAN 02 - 08 / ISSUE 301
OUTDOORS ANCIENT WONDER
The Colosseum once witnessed savage gladitorial battles and fights to the death. But now it's the landmark itself that the crowds flock to see
Top 5 Places To Visit: 1. The Colosseum 2. Trastevere 3. The Vatican Museum 4. The Appian Way 5. Museo e Galleria Borghese
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O u t d o o r s postcards from
journalism student in Muscat, recommends
‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Sound familiar? Bear it in mind when visiting Italy's capital city. When you think about Rome, the first things that pop into your head are amazing architecture, the Vatican, great food and, of course, the Colosseum. Rome is the oldest continuously occupied city in Europe. It was founded around 753 BC. But Rome - nicknamed The Eternal City - is not only about the cuisine or the Colosseum, it is much more than that. Little wonder that it's one of the most popular places to visit in Italy, It doesn’t matter how long you stay in Rome, all that does matter is be prepared to step into the world’s biggest open air museum.
Arch of Dru su to the A p p ia n s , c l o s e Way
My Favourite Place: One of the most epic sites in Rome is the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, or in other words, St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs. This 16th century church was built by renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo. This church was constructed in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian (the largest ancient baths complex that could hold up to 3000 people at one time). One thing you will notice immediately in the church is the Meridian Line built into its floor and ceiling. This was used to measure the passage of the stars. Highlights: Listed as the World heritage site by UNESCO since 1980, the Colosseum or the Flavian Amphitheatre is located in the centre of Rome. It was used for gladiatorial contests, animal or beast fights, executions and so on, in other words to entertain the crowds of ancient Rome. Now the Colosseum is a famously picturesque ruin due to earthquakes and stone robbers but it remains an iconic symbol of imperial Rome. Other must-sees include the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps (135 of them) and the Vatican City, where you can marvel at the Sistine Chapel, part of the Apostolic Palace, the Pope's official residence.
Even though Rome is such a beautiful place, a unique experience packed with culture and history, the weather in the summer is hot, humid and horrible. Sightseeing means being on your feet all day, so sweat is likely to be your very, very close companion. In other words, don’t come in the summer.
Souvenirs: Scarves and ties made from Italy’s famous silk are a must have, and make perfect gifts for family and friends. Figurines of the Colosseum and St Peter's Basilica are nice, or try cute little Gladiator Bobbleheads. Bags and jewellery are also good buys.
Where to stay: One of the most charming places to stay is the Centro Storico, or the historic centre that lies between Piazza Navona, Quirinal Hill and the lively Trastevere. Soak up the colourful atmosphere at the Campo de'Fiore market and explore the major sights, all within walking distance. Cobbled streets lead you to beautiful Baroque fountains, where you see Geraniums covering the walls, and explore tiny, shady alleys that shield you from the rays of the Mediterranean sun. There are some wonderful boutique hotels occupying ancient buildings, such as the Gran Melia in Via Del Gianicolo. Watch the world go by with an espresso at one of the pavement cafes and try the world's best and most authentic pizza at a local trattoria. I am pretty sure you’ll find it difficult to leave Rome once you have truly lived like a Roman.
ria Bo rgh
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-FI THE TECH IN YOU
Above and Beyond
2014 is shaping up to be another revolutionary tech year. Expect the new stuff to be sharper, faster and cooler, says Matthew Herbst i-CANDY
Apple’s iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display are still two of the most desirable tablets around. But with Samsung snapping at its heels and Google plotting more new slates in 2014, the Californian company needs something to give it an edge. Step forward the iPad Pro. www.apple.com Price yet to be confirmed
SCRATCH ’N’ BEND
Nikon is working on a new mirrorless camera, so it’s no surprise that Canon is likely to offer the same. The EOS M2 will apparently be the successor to the super sharp EOS M (above) with impressive features and a compact design. The 20 megapixel sensor will be backed up by improved autofocus skills. This will be a pricey but smart solution for hardcore camera fanatics. www.canon.com. Price TBC
Anticipated features of the new Samsung device include a Super AMOLED 5” display, a 16-megapixel camera and 3GB of RAM. The new Samsung S5 is expected to be launched around March in metal and plastic versions. The firm released the world’s first curved screen smartphone in October, dubbed Galaxy Round. The S5 is rumoured to be another step up. It’s bendable and can be scratched and stretched. Sure to be a mega hit. www.samsung.com. Price yet to be confirmed
EDITOR’S PICK FULL STEAM AHEAD
Once UPON A TIME, there was a world where PC gaming was at YOUR desk, console gaming was in YOUR living room and never THE TWO SHALL meet. BUT That’s all CHANGING. Valve is preparing to bring the ACTION to your HDTV thanks to the Steam Box. If you’re unfamiliar with Steam, think of it as iTunes for video games. now the company is hoping to take on the might of the newly released Xbox One and PS4 with its Steam Machines. www.valvesoftware.com. Expect to pay around ro607 for TOP-end specs. 044
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FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS
LG is among many electronic companies aiming to show that bigger is better, and to prove it, it’s set to unveil a new 105-inch curved Ultra HD TV. Goggle at the largest curved TV in the world. www.lg.com Price TBC
NEW! APPLE iWATCH Apple is rumoured to be using flexible, organic LED displays for its iWatch prototypes. The iWatch won’t just be an extension of your iPhone and iPad, according to new supply chain reports. No, it will act as a central control hub for your entire home. Look out for an autumn 2014 release. Price TBC at www.apple.com Runs on iOS, Apple’s software for mobiles, allowing calls, messaging and of course apps. A curved glass screen is rumoured, possibly to be made of “Willow Glass”, an ultra-thin, strong but flexible material that is only 100 microns thick. Voice control - using Apple’s personal assistant called Siri Likely to come with a built-in camera, Bluetooth, home button and much more.
APP OF THE WEEK
It’s the new year and we’re anticipating a new generation of awesome apps to bring richness to our on-screen lives. By all accounts, there is much to look forward to as upcoming app games are expected to be bigger and better than ever. According to app enthusiasts, the following must-play releases will be available in early 2014: Boom Beach, Frontline Commando 2, Jet Car Stunts 2, Final Fantasy VI and many more. Price depends on premuim or free option when downloading at www.itunes.com
THE GIRLY GADGET
This Veho VPP-03 Pebble Folio Case comes with a built-in battery, especially for iPad/ iPad2 and iPad3. Not only is this a beautiful looking case, but it has a 6600mAh battery extender to top up your tablet with 65 per cent more power. Brilliant and handy. Comes in black and tan colours and is now on offer. Was RO63 but now only RO12. www.amazon.com
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CARS AND OUTDOORS
2014 Lincoln MKZ
Engine: 3.7 litre Ti-VCT V6 Transmission: Six-speed SelectShift Automatic Drive: FWD or AWD Horsepower: 300hp Starting Price: From RO15, 995 (Base) RO21,595 (Preferred)
Car of the Week
Everything looks and feels high end in the new Lincoln MKZ and the drive is pretty special too, says Kate Ginn
he first thing that I noticed about the Lincoln MKZ was the smell. As soon as I slipped into the driver’s seat, the aroma of luxury assaulted my senses. It wasn’t just the whiff of opulant seats – the leather was apparently carefully chosen for its softness and scent – or the wood trim but that general ‘new car’ essence. Once settled, I was able to take a good look around the new Lincoln MKZ. I liked what I saw. It feels expensive and exclusive. It also seems very roomy – thanks largely to the design feature of moving the gear stick from the centre console to the instrument panel. To change gears, you simply push a button near the central touch screen. No need to move through all the gears any more. This car is pitched at the executive end of the market, the CEO or young professional on the up, and it shows. Mind you, I am neither of those things but I felt almost immediately at home in the white Lincoln MKZ that I was given. This was the top model, the Preferred package, which comes fully loaded with just about every comfort, frill and gadget that you 046
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could wish for, from cooled driver and front-passenger seats to 19inch polished aluminum wheels. But, what about the actual drive? Let me put your mind at rest – it’s as good as the other stuff. There’s a beautiful response to your every request – from the handling to the throaty roar of that 3.7 litre engine, which leaps to attention at even the lightest of touches on the accelerator. Oh my goodness, it’s super quick. The MKZ is smart too, and comes fitted with a nifty voiceactivated command function that makes you feel like Knight Rider. Simply speak and the computer responds and confirms with a female voice. She can be quite stern sounding and demanding at times (particularly when you’ve done something wrong, as I discovered), so I named her Penny, in honour of Y’s Editor. She was not happy when I went too fast and kept barking at me ‘You are over the speed limit’ but was much nicer when being asked to switch the AC on or off. It’s also possible to switch on the car remotely (very handy for Oman’s melting summer months) and set a timer so it’s nicely chilled by the time you get in. The touchscreen centre console gives full driver connectivity, from
your phone to navigation. I was told that the 14-speaker stereo system on my trim was top of the range. The aerial wasn’t working so we couldn’t tune in the radio but my friend managed to connect his iPhone, so we can vouch that the sound quality is indeed stupendous. I also loved the retractable panoramic roof, which smoothly slides back at the touch of a button, flooding the cabin with light. That 15.2-square foot glass panel is the largest roof opening among sedans, I’m told. All I know is that driving down the Sultan Qaboos Highway with the roof back and the wind whipping in my hair was an exhilarating, near-convertible experience. A windscreen automatically rises when the roof is retracted to minimise noise. One of the USPs of the Lincoln is how quiet it is. I wasn’t sure half the time when stationary whether the engine was actually on. It’s also fuel efficient and packed with safety features, such as the Electronic Safety Control (ESC), which reduces the risk of skidding during cornering. I was trying to think of a final adjective to sum up the Lincoln MKZ. ‘Sumptuous’ just about does it.
They say: ‘Elegant Simplicity.’ We say: ‘Hugely impressive ride.’
Check this out
Led tail lamps Retractable panoramic moonroof 10.1-inch LCD instrument cluster Inflatable rear seatbelt 14 speaker stereo system SYNC MyLincoln touch with 8-inch touch screen Nine airbags Ford MyKey technology Remote engine start Full leather upholstery (Preferred) Push Button Start 18” alloy wheels (Base)