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JAN 9 – 15 • ISSUE 252 • WEEKLY

Childhood Depression COPING WITH MOOD CONDITIONS IN KIDS

EDUCATING OMANIS / NAVIGATION TECH / Free! YUMMY YEMENI / DANCING DOLPHINS / EVERY THURSDAY AVAILABLE IN BARKA USING FRIENDS & INFLUENCING PEOPLE NOW ALL THE WAY TO SOHAR

26 No limits: FREEING YOURSELF FROM FEAR GAME OF KINGS: Chess Tournaments In Oman SKIN SENSATION: Cult Facialist Tried & Tested

PLUS!

Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week

Fashion

Food

MAKING A SPLASH

VITAMIX VOGUE

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Outdoors

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BEACH LIFE

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DURANGO BRAND-Y MAG-240x340.pdf

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Competition

EDITOR’S

NOTE

WIN

A PAIR OF FOOTY TICKETS If you fancy seeing Oman play Singapore in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on March 5, tweet or Facebook us with the hashtag #football before March 2, 2014. We have a pair of general entry tickets up for grabs. The match takes place at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex and promises a fun night out.

GOING UP

WHATSAPP WhatsApp has been one of the most talked about topics here in Oman for the past few days after Facebook bought it for a whopping $19 billion. The network problems that then occurred over the weekend sent the world into an uproar.

GOING DOWN

007 ENVY Daniel Craig, who plays the part of sexy spy James Bond, has just received a lifetime deal with Aston Martin that allows him to swing by and take any one of the steel beauties for a ride. Jealous? Us? Not much!

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

Fast forward

W

ho hasn’t dreamt of ditching the stress of office life to buy a seaside sanctuary and take in some paying guests? And with B&Bs springing up faster than I can say ‘fry-up’ in many of the world’s major capitals, the trend for home-from-home hospitality has never been hotter. So why aren’t they surviving and thriving here in Oman? Blame bureaucracy. Guesthouse owners in the Sultanate have been running scared of opening their doors to eager tourists on the basis of raids, regulations and endless red tape. Some have been told to close their beloved businesses - but the reasons remain unclear, especially since the tourism sector is about to boom. A larger airport has been purpose built for visitors and new hotels are springing up everywhere – even on mountaintops. So, the authorities’ problem with budget or independent accommodation is a baffling one considering the revenue they bring. Elsewhere, we explore the controversial issue of children with depression as well as the usual array of fashion, food and travel stories.

Penny Fray MANAGING EDITOR

THIS WEEK… The Y-team has been soaking up the beach view and the warm sun outside the office. We realise these good weather days are about to be numbered as things get scorchio!

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

editor@y-oman.com

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

follow us on:

@ytabloid

CONTRIBUTOR Tom Robertson PHOTOGRAPHER Jerzy Wierzbicki ART DIRECTOR Matthew Herbst DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Feroz Khan

facebook.com/ytabloid

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

www.y-oman.com

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

FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

03


contents FEBRUARY 27 2014

06 The Big Interview Will Blake

08 Your Oman

Sayyida Mayya Al Said

14 Gallery

Taxi Reform

Year Of The Horse

15 Oman In 43 Objects

3 Days to Kill

18 This Week

12

5 Minutes Of Fame

18

28 Food

What’s Up, Doc?

30 Food Review

Business & Career 26 Success In The City No Comfort Zone

Food and Drink

20

Dolphins

16 Movie Listings

10 News

20 Bed, Breakfast & Ban

This week

Your Oman

Features

Al Maida

Parenting Pages 24 Childhood Depression Battling With The Black Dog

Cars and Outdoor 37 Destination

Al Fazayah Beach

40 Indoors

Game Of Thrones

42 Postcard From

Beirut, Lebanon

44 Y-Fi

Health & Beauty

30

Navigation

46 Car of the Week 32 Fashion Rolls-Royce Ghost Art Attack 34 Style Council Barbra Young 35 Trends Ethical Prints

44

35 NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE...

OMAN’S BLOGERATTI / A NIGHT AT THE OPERA / BLOKES IN BLOOM / EVENTS GUIDE


www.radiomerge.fm

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

Y Mag A.indd 1

5/24/11 1:17 PM


YOUR

News

Gallery

INTERVIEW

OMAN

ONE CLICK CONCIERGE WILL BLAKE, VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FOR SEE MUSCAT How did the idea for See Muscat come about? Here in Oman, we live in a modern society that’s fully in sync with the technology that surrounds us. So as a company, we felt that it was the right time and place to deliver a robust online concierge, offering a one-stop service for everyone and anyone to be able to find what to do and where to go and giving detailed information on businesses at the push of a button. Most importantly, we wanted to showcase the country so it can be promoted internationally, regionally and locally to help stimulate the local economy as well as help businesses promote themselves. Run us through a typical working day for you… The day starts at 5am with an hour walk on the beach with the dogs and my wife. By 7.30am the kids are dropped off at school and I am then out and about for most of the day meeting and following up with clients and business partners working with us. In the evening it’s either family time or social networking and being invited to receptions to further promote what we are doing. There is a big push on SMEs at the moment – what would be your top tip for

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launching a dream project here? Be patient, dedicated and believe in your product and services. Time will prevail. What’s your favourite bit of the App? For me it is the convenience of being able to have the quick dial telephone feature for businesses and not having to scratch around for the number, wasting valuable time. If money, time and bureaucracy weren’t issues, what would you do? Own a beach bar on a paradise island and enjoy the surroundings without having to worry about time. Describe your personality in three words? Outgoing, friendly and approachable. What do you do during your downtime? When it comes to the weekend or holidays there is nothing better than relaxing in the surroundings we have here in Oman. One of my favourite hobbies is getting out and playing golf with friends and hopefully, very soon, my two children, who have just taken up the sport. What’s your life philosophy? Work hard, play hard and, most of all, enjoy what you have every day.

Three things you’d recommend to see, do or buy here in Oman? 01 Download the See Muscat App purely because it will answer everything you are potentially looking or asking for. 02 Visit and experience a night out at the Royal Opera House in Muscat as it’s truly a magnificent experience for both architecture and entertainment. 03 Camping and boating off the Omani coast. I strongly recommend Bandar Khiran for this with a group of friends.


PRESENTING

MARCH

PERFORMANCES

2 Mar 2014 7.30 pM

6 Mar 2014 7.30 pM

OPERA STAR

dOBET GNAHORÉ

OlGA BOROdINA

THE GREAT AFRICAN VOICE

MEzzO-SOPRANO IN CONCERT

The star opera singer and Grammy Award winner brings her unique velvety voice to the stage.

The charismatic Gnahoré from the Ivory Coast reinvents African music with rhythmic passion.

8 Mar 2014 7.30 pM

19, 20 & 21 Mar 2014 7.00 pM

ABdullAH Al RuWAISHId

I CAPulETI E I MONTECCHI (ROMEO & JulIET) OPERA

THE AMBASSAdOR OF KHAlIJI SONG

The “ambassador of Khaliji song” brings his powerful voice and distinguished style to Muscat.

The opera company Arena di Verona, which opened the Royal Opera House Muscat in October 2011, returns to present its beautiful new production of Vincenzo Bellini’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

28 Mar 7.30 pM 29 Mar 2.00 pM 2014

CHI OF SHAOlIN THE TAlE OF THE dRAGON

The world-famous Imperial Acrobats of China present a dazzling new show of athletic feats and kaleidoscopic theatrical effects.

BOOK NOW

boxoffice@rohmuscat.org.om +968 2440 3332/3333/3334 www.rohmuscat.org.om


The Voice of Oman

Friends who want nothing but your friendship are rarer than diamonds and worth hanging on to, says Sayyida Mayya Al Said

correspondence BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS Dear Y

S

houldn’t the people in our lives be those we respect and care about? I mean if these people could do nothing for you, you would still want to be their friend, right? Well, I have a feeling many would answer ‘no’ on that one. Naturally, I am baffled by the fact that there are actual individuals out there who only want to meet others so that they can use them in one way or another. A prime example would be in Hollywood where some people hook up with socalled celebrities to gain fame and popularity. It’s sad to think as time goes by, that we seem to be turning into a very selfish society, having no compassion for others and only thinking of one thing - our own personal gain. What happened to simply getting to know someone because you liked them? How about actually enjoying each other’s company with no hidden agendas? Some people need to realise that having these kind of friendships won’t last because the truth always comes out in the end. Yes, it might be fun at the beginning but when you are no longer popular you will find yourself alone - not so fun now right? As Jess C Scott says: ‘Friends are the family you choose’, so choose them wisely. True friends are rare commodities these days and I am glad that to this day I remain friends with those whom I grew up with. Let me know your thoughts.

Next week:

ROSIE IN THE DESERT

I found the article on the Entrepreneur’s Conclave 2014 very interesting. I feel it is great that now there is an opportunity for young businessmen and women to learn from the best in the Omani business world. There are a lot of initiatives for students but this is a first for established business newbies. The Oman Sail challenge will definitely instill the values and principles of leadership and teamwork that are very important in any business. Also, this initiative will definitely encourage young bright Omani minds to invest their creativity in businesses of their own. Good luck to the prospective participants! Veena, Muscat

SANDSCAPES

Jerzy’s answer: A 4x4 is vital. Ease your way into desert driving with somewhere like Bediah in Wahiba Sands. It’s a real desert but with tourist facilities and a campsite – perfect for families.

WRITE TO US AND WIN A VOUCHER

o Dinner for tw at Tomato

test offers at Check out our la entalMuscat in nt /InterCo

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

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Dear Y Thank you for publishing those photographs of the Empty Quarter. I’ve yet to visit and found your photographer’s journey there fascinating. I hope to go soon with my family after I get a bit more experience at desert driving. Can you recommend some locations where I can practice? Mikael P Muscat


YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US

LETTERS

E-MAILS

Abhyudit Greene

Debate of the Week

I believe that this season still has some BBQs, bonfires, camping and exploration left. I want to finish those things before I pack my stuff away until next season.

We asked:

Hina Kausar

What activities do you still want to do before the soaring temperatures send us scurrying indoors?

I would love to go trekking..

Vivian Da Boul

My jogs at the beach!

Marianna Pereira I had read once

Sadia Shams

about the Muttrah geotrek and the Zafraniya Track. It is something I have been meaning to do during the winter season.

Walking barefoot on the beach with the sun shining in the sky. It is so wonderful.Mild temperatures, blue water, blue sky, golden sands and sun. Wow! I am definitely going to miss these when the mercury is soaring.

Syed Furqan ALi

Vijayalakshmi Shetty Yoga on the beach inhaling the cool air

Sheniqua D’Anjelo

Biking at the Mutrah Corniche.

Deanne Bhamgara

I will totally miss the al fresco dining at the Shatti Beach!

Jing Li

I want to take long walks along the beach before the temperature soars!

If you were told that you had to leave Oman but could go anywhere, where would you move to and why move there in particular?

Formose Pereira

Take my family to the beach and park more often. Enjoy dining al fresco at cafés and restaurants. Join friends for football and cricket outdoors. Catch some ROHM performances. Go camping at Ras al Hadd/Jinz. Dune bashing at Wahiba Sands. The list goes on and on.

Rodney Woods

TWITTER

This Week’s Debate:

Swimming swimming & swimming.

Well the truth is I enjoy the summers more than the winters here. So all I can say is bring on the soaring temperatures.

FA C E B O O K

I'm a reader

Leen with her favourite Y Magazine at Azaiba

Agata PałyskaHanefioui

One first/last camping trip to the desert.

Syed Bokhari

Nothing unusual but to take a few copies of my ever favourite Y-Magazine to the beach and spend the hot summer from morning to evening there. Summer in Muscat is always hot when not beside the beach.

Piyush Vora Definitely Camping. Whether you’re with friends or family, it’s always a memorable experience. It’s such a great getaway! Khushboo Udeshi 

Stand on the cliff or hilltop early morning by the beach, feel the cold breeze on my face and watch the sunrise.

THIS IS YOUR PAGE!

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

FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

09


NEWS

YOUR

OMAN

C

Taxi reform starts to address critical issues

hanges to the system for granting permits to taxis have been announced by the Royal Oman Police (ROP). New guidelines issued by the ROP state that applicants who earn over RO450 per month will no longer be granted ownership permits. In addition, applicants who already have licences to carry out other economic activities will not be issued a license. The move will be seen as an effort to allocate taxi licences to those most in need of finding an avenue of income and a bid to boost employment in the Sultanate. A number of taxi licences in the past have been allocated to individuals who earn their primary income through other means but have a taxi to supplement their earnings, either by driving it themselves or renting it out to other drivers. The problems of taxis being rented out to friends and acquaintances of taxi owners has been well documented by Y magazine in the past and whose investigation in January 2013 found an absence of professional

service that resulted from part time sub-contracted drivers. The problems revealed include dangerous driving practices, an absence of professional etiquette, and a lack of knowledge about local roads and routes. The recent announcement only tackles a few of the issues involved. A study is currently underway by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in partnership with Inco, a Spanish transport consultancy. But it’s as yet unclear as to what extent the role of taxis is being assessed and what part they’ll play in a new integrated transport plan. It’s also unclear as to whether the plan will address the plethora of problems that riddle taxi services, such as racially discriminatory pricing practices and an absence of meters within vehicles.

Reduction in Expat workers not set in stone

O

manis will soon replace a large number of expats in the near future as the Sultanate makes another firm step towards Omanization. The Minister of Manpower, Sheikh Abdulla bin Nasser Al Bakri has stated that the move is aimed to redress the imbalance in the nation’s employment and to reduce the number of expatriates in the private sector. But contrary to other media reports, the minister also clarified that neither the time frame nor the actual number by which expatriates will be reduced has been set. The current number of expatriates in the Sultanate

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is 692,867. This news has come in the midst of current statistics that still show the expats outnumber Omanis six to one in the private sector, even though the Government has been striving to increase local employment. Some of Y’s readers gave their views on the recent announcement: Mohamed Al Rawahi said “The key is to replace as many as possible expatriate managerial position with Omanis. However the Omanis have to be skilled as well as loyal to their country.” Vijayalakshmi Shetty agreed: “It’s a good move but I hope they won’t then go on to leave

those jobs soon after, as we sometimes see. Oman has to become self reliant because of the large young population that currently exists in the country.” Irwin Serso Rio reflected on the matter: “The Omani Government wants to decrease the unemployment rate of its citizens. It will decrease the dependency of Omanis on expatriates and help Omanis to be more self-reliant. It’s a good thing if they want to implement full Omanization in the near future. Moreover, the move will develop the moral skills and abilities of Omanis and subsequently increase their moral responsibilities towards their work.”


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Gallery

YOUR

OMAN Bite Sized Our new weekly slot takes a lighthearted look at a news issue of the week.

Mobile

Businesses What are Mobile Businesses? The notion is that they come to you, rather than you going to them. Are they popular? We’re assuming that if Oman’s residents can’t be bothered to get out of their car to order a coffee – instead preferring to honk the horn at the immigrant waiter for car-side service – then businesses that save us having to go all the way to the other side of town are definitely on the up. Can you give me some examples of these enterprises? I certainly can; mobile hairdressers or mobile cinemas. Why are you telling us this? Because the government is planning to grant special licences to SMEs whose main business is offered on the fly. What’s the aim of such a move? The Public Authority for the Development of SMEs hopes that the licence will promote SMEs and elevate the status of growing businesses. It’s all part of a strategy to boost growth and nurture employment. But surely making a business apply for a special licence just because they drive to you is just an extra bureaucratic burden? Yes, I suppose the argument could be made that this move would actually hinder SME development by creating unnecessary red tape. Why can’t mobile businesses just register as an ordinary SME? Because this way the Directorate General of the development of SMEs gets to form a special committee. Phew! A committee! For a moment I just thought it was unnecessary bureaucratic procrastination. Far from it; they’re going to investigate whether SMEs will need to fill in more forms. I suppose form filling would create more jobs for administration staff. Yes, which would help achieve the aim of creating jobs. Do say: Of course I could bring my business to you. Don’t say: But I don’t have the right licence.

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Interview

NEWS

Teachers on the Up

S

ignificant changes have occurred in the Sultanate’s school system during the previous decade. There’s now at least one teacher for every ten children, whereas ten years before that figure was just one teacher for every 20 pupils. The latest figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information show that while student numbers declined in the period between 2002 and 2012, the number of teachers almost doubled from 30,000 to 59,000. It’s also a period which saw a vast increase in spending by the Ministry of Education, rocketing from RO279 million to RO925 million.

Vroom Frome C

hris Froome has won the Tour of Oman, crossing the finishing line on 23 February at Muttrah Corniche in 1st position overall. It’s the second consecutive Tour of Oman win for the British cyclist, clocking in with a total race time of 22 hours, 2 minutes and 26 seconds, just 26 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Tejay Van Garderen.

A WEEK IN PICTURES

HEADLINING STORIES FROM OMAN AND BEYOND

Muscat festival comes to a close.

Former Ukranian PM Yulia Tymoshenko is released from prison shortly after President Viktor Yanukovych is ousted from power.

Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has unexpectedly announced the resignation of his government.

The Royal Navy of Oman hosts joint exercise with other GCC countries.


YOUR

OMAN

YE A R O F T H E H O R S E

GALLOPS OF OMAN SHOWCASES THE best of BREED

MAKI NG SH AP E S O N TH E A RT FLOOR TAHIRA FIDA’S EXHIBITION OPENS AT BAIT AL ZUBAIR

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OMAN IN 43 OBJECTS

16.

A

Dolphins

n icon of marine life off the coasts of Oman, dolphins can be spotted the length of the country, from Dhofar to the Musandam Peninsula. Sometimes seen in pods of up to 2000 strong that churn the ocean into a foamy mass, dolphins have proved to be popular attractions for tourists and locals alike. Common varieties of the cetacean regularly seen here in Oman include Spinner (Stenella longirostris), Common (Delphinus delphis) and Bottlenose Dolphins (Turslops truncatus).

FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

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THIS WEEK

MOVIES MOVIES THIS WEEK’S MOVIES

3 Days to Kill It’s such a tiresome business being a lethal killing machine when all you want to do is retire and spend some quality time with the family. Even more so when you’re forced into one last job. In 3 Days to Kill, the irrepressible Kevin Costner plays CIA agent Ethan Renner, an operative just looking to hang up his silencer and head home. With an estranged wife and a daughter he barely knows, he’s keen to settle down in American suburbia and grab his seat on the front porch with a good book. But the agency has other plans for the world-class hit man before he retires; find and assassinate a wanted terrorist. Injected with a drug to which only the CIA has the antidote, Costner’s character is left with little choice. There’s just one

PREVIEW

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other problem; Renner is asked by his wife to babysit his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). So, with the youngster in tow, Costner sets out on a monumental and stylised killing spree. Violent action scenes are interspersed with almost comedic attempts to recreate family drama amid the Parisian scenery. It’s also far from having the finesse and intelligence of some of Costner’s earlier movies. But, when you consider his other recent role as a spy in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, ageing government operative is perhaps a type-cast role Costner is keen on pursuing to sustain him into his movie twilight years. It’s a good enough start, if that’s the track Costner’s heading down. Reviewed by Tom Robertson

Pompeii It was only a matter of time before modern Hollywood produced its account of the tragic tale of Pompeii. This particular version centres on a story of forbidden love between a slave, Milo, (Kit Harington) and Cassia, a noble’s daughter played by Emily Browning. It’s more of a love story framed against the pyroclastic chaos of that fateful day in AD79, than a sympathetic retelling of events. If you’re looking for accuracy and a realistically brutal recreation of the apocalyptic moment, you may be disappointed. What you can expect, however, is plenty of gladiatorial combat, wistful glances and explosive special affects, some of which are passable, others decidedly absurd.

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

Make Your Move For any fans of Save the Last Dance and Dirty Dancing style movies, here, unashamedly, is your next

installment. Make Your Move tells the story of Donny (Derek Hough) and Aya, played by Korean pop star BoA, as they dance their way into each other’s affections. A bitter rivalry between the dancers’ brothers threatens to keep the duo apart in this energetic and vibrant movie that’s sure to make any aspiring youngsters practice their dance moves.

Force Of Execution Steven Seagal plays opposite Ving Rhames as two crime lords wrestling for control of a small criminal underworld. It’s exactly what you’d expect of Seagal in his twilight days; a desperate attempt to cling to what was once a respectable career. Overly violent and with excessive posturing between the main characters, it’s ultimately just a blood splattered, bullet riddled excuse of an action movie.

Y’s Choice Non-stop

I don’t think any of us will ever be able to fathom out the real reason why Liam Neeson has become Tinsel Town’s number one choice for a gruff old hard man. But whatever the reason, he’s certainly managing to pull it off. Perhaps it’s because he gives the

impression that when he says he’s going to find you - like Jack Bauer - he means it. In this outing, Neeson plays Bill Marks, a U.S Air Marshall who receives an anonymous text demanding 50 Million dollars to be transferred by the U.S government to an anonymous bank account. If Marks fails to make this happen, one of the plane’s passengers will be killed every twenty minutes. It’s tense, entertaining, and you’d better fasten your seat belt because the plot twists and turns wonderfully.


OMAN VS SINGAPORE 5 March, 2014 Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Kick Off: 5:30 pm

Tickets:

General: Ro: 2 VIP: Ro. 25 & 15

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The Famous

March

Five

06

POINTS MEAN PRIZES Join the Women’s Guild Oman for a quiz night at the The Golden Tulip Hotel (poolside) from 7 pm to 11 pm. Tickets priced RO10 include a casual dinner. There are prizes for the winners. For details, visit www.womensguildoman.com

THIS

WEEK FEB

-

Stal Gallery in Madinat Qaboos will feature ‘Mirrors’ an exhibition of new work by five contemporary artists, Enaam Ahmed, Nadia Al Balushi, Shaymaa Ashknany, Naima Al Maimani and Radhika Hamlai. Visit www.stalgallery.com for details.

Until

March 13

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

MAR

STAGE STARDOM

Fancy five minutes of fame? Here’s your chance. The Royal Opera House is looking for eight extras for the upcoming The Bavarian State Ballet production of ‘Romeo & Juliet.’ Application closes on March 1st. For details, visit www.rohmuscat.org.om

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March

01


March

02

SAVE A LIFE

GLASS SHATTERINGLY GOOD

A heart to heart talk on ‘What You Need to Know about Cancer’ by speaker Khalfan Al Esry at the Grand Mosque lecture Hall at 6:30 pm. The talk will be in English.

The Royal Opera House will host the international opera singer and Russian mezzosoprano Olga Borodina, who will entertain the audience with her famous repertoire. Accompanied by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, she’s set to mesmerise the crowds with her famous voice at a onetime show at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced from RO5 to RO48. Visit www.rohmuscat.org.om for details and tickets.

March

05

Buy or sell wonderful wares at the WGO Spring Fair at Bahja Hall from 9am to 1pm with an entrance fee of RO2. For details, visit www.womensguildoman.com

One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances. Get it on Kindle or from your nearest book store in Oman.

SHAPING UP TO ART

27

New Novel

04

FAB FÊTE

february

March

Until

March 11

Bait Al Zubair is holding an art exhibition, ‘Geometric Souls,’ a solo show by the Omani artist Tahira Fida. The gallery is open from Saturday to Thursday, from 9.30am to 6pm. For information, visit www.baitalzubairmuseum.com

FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

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What’s the reward for providing some of Muscat’s most highly rated accommodation? A potential ban, writes Tom Robertson

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significant loss of tourist revenue and closed businesses. These are just a couple of effects that are already being seen after two guesthouses providing quality accomodation in Muscat were told to shut down. It’s a development that has left fear rippling through the city’s Bed and Breakfasts. And one that may potentially scare off further investment in this once blooming sector of the tourist industry. It all started in early January this year. Two Muscat guesthouse owners were going about their daily task of looking after guests in their usual efficient and friendly manner - one that has earned them rave reviews on travel forums and earnt them reputations as some of the best places to stay when visiting Oman. But there was no way these hosts could know that they were about to receive a very nasty surprise. “About two months ago, at the beginning of January, the police came here,” recalls Chris Heywood of Nomad Guest House in Azaiba. “There were a lot of them. Six policemen and three officials from the Ministry of Tourism, I think. They were asking to see our passports, visitor book and receipts book.” It was the same story just down the road where another popular guesthouse was allegedly being raided by officials and police. “They told us that they needed to see the premises”, says the second owner of another popular sea front B & B and who wishes to remain anonymous. “I remember it was a very bizarre situation indeed. We were sat there having coffee and tea together. The Ministry staff were complementing us on how nice the place was and saying that they thought what we were doing for guests was great.” Then the bomb was dropped. “But we were told that we didn’t have a licence and without one we’d have to close immediately. We were shocked”. Back at the Nomad guesthouse Chris had been dealt the same blow. “They also told us that without a permit, we’d have to stop operating”. It’s now a bizarre situation that the two men and their Omani business partners find themselves in. They’re told that without a permit, their guest houses can’t stay open for business – but so far, they’ve been unable

to ascertain just how exactly to apply for a licence. Y contacted the Ministry of Tourism a number of times well in advance of going to publication to discover more about the licensing situation. We posed a number of simple questions to ascertain whether it was indeed possible for guesthouses to obtain a permit and how this could be done. We were finally informed by a Ministry spokesman that they could not provide any information on the matter. Given that his very livelihood is at stake, Chris Heywood has been in contact with the Ministry of Tourism, having both visited them in person and written a letter, to state his explicit wish to obtain a licence and to ask what procedure is to be followed. Yet, it’s a request to which he has so far been unable so to obtain a clear response. For his competition, things are even worse. “In light of everything that’s gone on we’ve actually had to close,” confirmed the second owner, his thriving business snuffed out overnight by that fateful knock on the door from Ministry officials. “We had to make alternative accomodation arrangements for all our guests and all our advance bookings right through to January 2015 - have had to be cancelled.” But these aren’t the kind of shabby unlicensed bed and breakfasts that are a blight on the accommodation landscape. Far from it. TripAdvisor reviews for the Nomad guesthouse are through the roof, with praise lavished on the high standard of accommodation. Of 106 reviews, 105 reviewed guests gave Nomad guesthouse an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ rating, with one guest from London stating in December 2013 that: “If there was a 5*+ category, this would be in it.” Reviews for other Bed and Breakfasts in Muscat are similarly impressive with the four top spots on TripAdvisor being taken by small bed and breakfasts, rather than purpose built hotels in the same category. “I think part of the problem is that we just don’t fit into any of the Ministry of Tourism’s categories that it applies to hotels,” says Chris. For accommodation in Oman, the Ministry of Tourism divides establishments into five different categories, from one to five stars, as well as a separate category for camps. The

hotel’s star rating is based upon a number of factors, listed with the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Classification Criteria and Standards for Hotels’. They range from the ordinary, like location and dining facilities, through to the obscure, such as the quality of wall hangings and the availability of notepads and pencils in the guest rooms. But a guesthouse typically has a small number of rooms, usually under ten and isn’t purpose built. Instead, they’re converted buildings, such as a family home. And the problem may lie in this criteria that’s used by the Ministry to classify hotels. Although Nomad offers high quality accommodation, its location prevents it from even being classified as a one star hotel. The Ministry of Tourism’s criteria for that category insists that the premises should be in a commercial, commercialresidential or tourist designated zone. In essence the guesthouses are unable to tick the administrative criteria which would enable them to be recognised as a form of accommodation. “Our guest house is in a purely residential area, and that’s why our guests like it.” Insists Chris. “Visitors don’t want to be stuck in some predetermined semi-commercial or tourist zone”. But, in light of any tangible progress and an absence of constructive help, that’s exactly an option that’s having to be considered by the second guest house owner. “We’re now even seeing if we can get this neighbourhood classed as a tourist zone.” It seems a perplexing and overly complicated situation in order to obtain a permit for a guesthouse. To add to the confusion, while Oman’s Ministry of Tourism may not have a category for this kind of accommodation, the rest of the world does. TripAdvisor, with 125 million reviews and details on 3.7 million accommodation and catering

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establishments worldwide lists Muscat as having 17 Bed and Breakfasts and guesthouses. Both owners and their Omani partners are now left struggling to try and comprehend a government who’s openly committed to increasing tourism yet a bureaucracy seemingly unwilling to adapt to the situation on the ground. The value of the sector and its largely untapped potential is well known. In 2012 tourism contributed 6.6% to national GDP and in the same year, guests staying in hotels and motels injected RO174 million into the economy. But how much affordable accomodation will feature in the future of Oman’s tourism remains to be seen. Rarely are the lower starred categories of hotels a subject of media focus. In the January bulletin of the National Centre for Statistics and Information, impressive figures are given for rising profits reaped by hotels in the four and five star categories. Yet there is no mention at all for more affordable hotels. Some believe that the focus of the country’s tourism sector is focused on catering for a different market segment: “Oman is a country with a fine-tuned vision for its tourism industry and is forging ahead with plans to build a premium destination targeted at discerning travellers,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director at Reed Travel Exhibitions. “With this in mind, the Sultanate is investing in a wide-range of top-quality hotels and resorts.” But it’s actually the more modest hotels that are bearing the weight of foreign visitors. That’s when you consider that in 2012, 553,000 visitors stayed in 4 and 5 star hotels but over 1.8 million hotel guests stayed in the country in total. But this should be no surpise to policy makers. The future needs of Oman’s hotel industry was subject to a 2008 joint Deloitte and Ministry of Tourism report that found that there would a be a greater demand for lower starred hotels, not those in the four and five star category. It recommended that in Muscat alone, 1,2 and 3 star hotels should provide an extra 3,300 beds while only another 1,700 beds should be created in the four and five star segment. It’s an analysis that may explain why Oman’s five star hotels suffered a 60 per cent occupancy rate this year, just slightly higher than the previous year’s 55.3 per cent. What is clear is that, regardless of any tourism strategies afoot, smaller guesthouses are making a valuable contribution to the economy. “We encourages tourists to come from Europe. We organise tours for them and recommend which restaurants to go to as well as where to shop” says the owner. “And it all brings money to Oman.”

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g more than playing designer who loved nothin h her exquisite taste wit ple peo g host and wowin n as I arrived through in fine fur nishings. As soo h a pot of Earl Grey , ists tour for budget the door, I was greeted wit cookies and lots of Staying in someone’s home isn’t just Fray ny Pen s say tea, a batch of homemade to go. The grounds el, trav to way ish it’s now a styl sound advice about whereen it came to pay, the travel scene and the hit has d tren new were magnificent and wh d and refused to hot A B&Bs are t, fac In els. hot e olv inv owner simply waved her han it doesn’t ink Th r. she plu lot ole wh a take the full price. back, just such fun having welcome “It’s quiet and we’ve had xpected reply. Eg yptian cotton sheets, a favourite une the r s wa you you stay with us,” hamper stocked with pening in a hotel? ayer full of personal Can you imagine that hap cy all the fussing artisan snacks and an iPl to visit and what fan ’t don you ere if wh rse, of ns cou Of recommendatio can always opt to of an over friendly host, you to do. no , ner is away. One tips ow for the ile ing stay somewhere wh There are no porters ply screen or ankiness of sw the TV of my friends swears by pany that curates impersonal message on a nists for an early com ine onl an ptio rece tay, OneFineS wheedling around being one of the es from all over the world, check-in – just a feeling of ly maintained home. a collection of hom levels of comfort and offering the same delicious of the price. family in a rather fastidious, as they’re now n character but at a fractio The idea of the unhotel el experience with B&B and much hot “It’s much nicer than Air hotels,” she reveals. known, is to offer guests a ras. et ark upm ext st mo me cheaper than all the home-from-ho I stayed in a super upmarket website “Five of my friends and use for less than I stayed in one once via an how lovely it all nho sed swank Manhattan tow nearby boutique hotel and was pleasantly surpriand fear bed bugs RO50 each. A room in a more, plus we were was. I’m famously fussy may be expensive would have cost four times ing in restaurants. or worse. Five star hotels ce of luxury and ran ssu rea t sen pre saving on the expense of eatourselves for the y the but ded to stay had nee I ere wh a are e Th . We had the whole place to nderful.” regulation ked out luc I ly, ate tun For Bs. whole week and it was wo none – just B& ner was an interior with a far mhouse whose ow

COOL CRIB

Why I stay in Bed and Breakfasts “People assume that B&Bs are cheap alternatives to hotels, but that’s not always the case. Some of my favourite B&Bs are upmarket, and more expensive than the average hotel room. They have tons of benefits though: personalised treatment, more space and freedom, the chance to make friends quickly, and quite often better location. But above all it’s the personality. Hotels will have a hundred non-descript rooms that feel like, well, hotel rooms. Good B&Bs give you an instant home.” Charlotte Baz, Forner B & B guest, Muscat


Indexing the media landscape

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Welcome to Y’s monthly Parenting Page, where we look at issues that affect mums and dads. We’ll have topical stories, trends, fun tips and competitions, and speak to parents on the ground who know all about the ups and downs of having children.

Parentingpage

Battling With The Black Dog

Noor Hyder discovers how parents can spot and treat childhood depression

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ad, clingy and suffering from dreadful nightmares, Tom’s moods turned from light to dark almost overnight after his parents divorce. He is only five and yet he has just been diagnosed with depression. “The guilt is overwhelming,” says his mother. “I feel that my ex and I have somehow robbed him of his childhood innocence. He went from being a happy baby to a tearful toddler. Words can’t describe how terrible it’s been witnessing the transition and knowing that the best years of his life are being blighted by an affliction usually reserved for adults.” Sadness, guilt and despair are all emotions we face at some point in our lives. For those suffering with prolonged feelings of despondency and dejection, however, depression may be an issue. It’s not unusual. In fact, more than 350 million people are currently diagnosed with the condition. But does it really affect youngsters? Recent studies show a worrying rise in children with depression, with one in 30 being identified with it. Childhood depression is not simply the ‘blues’ or a ‘bad attitude.’ When sadness starts to interfere with normal social 024

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activities, it has to be dealt with, say experts. Of course, the symptoms of depression are not necessarily palpable, which is why it’s so important to be able to recognise them. Some of the main signs of childhood depression include social withdrawal, irritability, increased sensitivity to rejection, noticeable changes in appetite, sleeplessness or excessive sleeping, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, headaches and stomach aches as well as feelings of worthlessness. That’s a heavy load for such a small person, isn’t it? . The child may not have all of the symptoms in one go. In fact, some are dependent on the time and setting. For the parents facing the issue, though, their first concern is to identify the cause. As Dr. Aziz Al Nomani, specialist in Psychiatry at Sultan Qaboos University explains: “There is no single incident that triggers childhood depression.” He states that 50 per cent of occurrences are genetically predisposed and statistics show that an alarming one in 30 kids are diagnosed with some form of depression. The causes can vary from stress and loss of a loved one to major

disappointments - but it could also simply be the result of a chemical imbalance in the child’s body. Despite the increasing social acceptance of mental illnesses, there’s still some reluctance when it comes to children. One of the most common responses to hearing a diagnosis is: “But what could he or she possibly be depressed about?” It can be easy to forget that youngsters are sometimes powerless when it comes to their lives, and they often worry about peer acceptance, grades and parental expectation, as well as difficulties they are ill equipped to handle emotionally such as divorce, poverty, learning disabilities and abuse. Another factor is that depression may be a biologically based illness. As Dr. Aziz explains, childhood depression is physiologically exactly the same as adult depression - concerning neurotransmitters and the release of serotonin. Children with an inherited tendency for depression will be more susceptible to factors that may trigger depression and, unlike

adults, may have trouble labeling their feelings and vocalising their thoughts. So what can caregivers of a depressed child do? First and foremost - talk to them, says the expert. Also, don’t panic. Depression has become increasingly treatable through a host of methods including psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and if necessary, medication. Check with your family doctor to find out if there are any straightforward, physical causes for your child’s low mood and feelings of fatigue and body aches, especially since many conditions like diabetes, anemia and mononucleosis all mimic depressive symptoms. It might also be helpful to talk to your child’s teacher to find out if they have noticed any changes in their behaviour and mood. Finally, it’s important to remind your child that you’re there for support - repeated statements of love and strength are crucial because children with depression often feel unworthy of affection and attention. In Muscat, treatment can be found at many institutions including Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat Private Hospital and Al-Harub Medical Centre.


TOP FACTS

Your parenting changes with the changing needs of your children

There are many ways to parent. There is no one right way to do it

Babies DO NOT learn to self-soothe by being left alone! Babies learn to self-soothe by being comforted

mum's the word

We asked three women in Muscat: ‘Would you smack your child?’

Dahlia Riyami - Blogger and mother of five: "As a mother of five little girls’ ranging in age from one to eight-yearsold, hitting has never been an option when disciplining my children. There are times when I have thought about resorting to such methods but what I always find more effective is consistency. You don’t let yourself slack off on one thing and then allow them the same privileges you didn’t before.”

Allowing your child to cry it out damages their brain

Teenagers most like use parents to experiment their new skills on social behavioUr & abstract thought.

Megha Guru - Mother of 2: "Though like most other parents we have done this as a last option - when tempers flare up - we believe this is of no use in the long run and may be detrimental to the child’s development."

Anna Vuorinen-Hyder - Plans to have kids in the future: "I have a fairly straight forward opinion on this - no, no and no. Smacking children yields no results at all. I always wonder why parents would do that actually. It could be that they have no patience or tolerance. But the thing is, this will cause trauma for the children and possibly lead them to become potentially abusive adults. We have enough violence in this world. So yeah, I don’t believe in hitting children for discipline."

Little Feet

Go gaga for these hand printed shoes from Sophia Webster – RO96

The must have shoes in miniature…

Butter soft leather pumps in this season’s ice cream shades - from RO16 at Clarks

Tip of the Week

Sweet, sparkly and skid proof – what more could a little girl want? Prices start from RO6.5 from Monsoon Children

Be consistent - setting limits for your child and sticking to them is a proven way to inspire cooperation, kindness, good manners, and more.

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BUSINESS & CAREER

JUST DO IT!

“Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” Harvey Mackay

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Trend

Networking

Minute Mentoring

Feel THE

Fear

Do what you dread to achieve your dreams – starting today, says Penny Fray

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ou’d love to visit Beijing. And start your own business. Oh – and explore the Empty Quarter. Too bad you’re too afraid to live your dreams. Chicken. (Well, you and half of Oman.) We all know people who have aspirations but, frustratingly, never do anything about them. Do you want to be one of these people? If not, step away from your comfort zone and do something different. After all, nothing will hold you back more than doing nothing at all. So what’s stopping you? Well, psychologists conclude that there are two key factors. One is the fear of failure and the other is laziness. Imagine it’s Friday. You have loads of work to do. You could stay in bed and watch TV for most of the afternoon, or you could get up, open your laptop and start that project you’ve been putting off for weeks. We know it’s tough convincing yourself that working on the weekend is fun. After all, you do it daily and a duvet day sounds infinitely better. But if you don’t beat the deadline, the chances are your boss will be disappointed and you won’t get that promotion. The best way to overcome task aversion, according to psychologist Alison Price, is by remembering there will be more pain in the future for you if you don’t act, than there is today if you do. “The surest way to beat procrastination, and to save yourself from wasting time worrying about it, is just to get on with doing whatever you are avoiding,” she says. Then there’s the matter of fear. Maybe you’re anxious of being promoted because you don’t think you’re good enough. Apprehension is a learnt response and one that can be overcome once we accept we have to at least try in order to succeed. Think of a toddler learning to walk. When they take a couple of steps and fall over, Mum and Dad don’t shout –

they cheer. Afterall, their little darling has just walked. So what goes wrong? “Somewhere in between learning to walk and becoming an adult, instead of being encouraged to try and being rewarded for trying even though we failed, we are somehow taught that we must get it right the first time,” says Alison. “Yet the fact of the matter is that no toddler ever got up and walked perfectly on their first attempt. No teenager ever got into a car and drove faultlessly. We fall, we stall and that is the way it’s got to be in order for us to learn.” This is the underlying message of Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. It is a selfhelp book by Susan Jeffers for people who would never dream of picking one up — let alone living their lives by it. I’m a huge fan. But it’s also popular among powerful people such as Tamara Mellon, former boss of Jimmy Choo, who says the book’s title is her life motto. Its premise is that doing anything new in life is scary — and no one is immune to it. The only way to get through this is to get stuck into the things that terrify you. So, go on. Break out of your comfort zone. You can’t achieve anything by just thinking about it. You have to take action. SUSAN JEFFERS’ THREE TRUTHS ABOUT FEAR... ① Every time you take a step into the unknown, you experience fear. There is no point in saying, “When I am no longer afraid, then I will do it.” You’ll be waiting for a long time. Fear is part of the package. ② The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it! When you do it often enough, you will no longer be afraid in that particular situation. ③ Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS:

LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE “At Al Khaleej Palace we always try to add something new within our company to impact those we work with. My advice to every entrepreneur is don’t be afraid to try something new, you never know unless you try. I personally like being creative with my thoughts. Being creative at the workplace sets a different mindset and helps us get out of our comfort zone. That is what helped me expand my business with international companies in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.” — Khadija Ali Mohammed Al Toki. CEO and owner of Al Khaleej Palace Trading

BUSINESS BUY It is always wise to have a notebook at hand when inspiration strikes and Paul Smith’s hardcover version is a sophisticated choice. This bright linen-canvas pad won’t get lost among your documents so keep it in your briefcase to jot down your best ideas on the go. From RO19

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food and drink

Trend

New Restaurant

Reviews

WHAT’S UP, DOC?

Try Y’s favourite health juice – the carrot crush. All you need to blend are three large carrots, two apples, half a lemon and an inch of root ginger.

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Trends

JUICE REBOOT Renew your resolution to get healthy with drinks that aid digestion, boost energy levels and leave you feeling fabulous, says Noor Hyder

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ropicana, Almarai, and Al Rawabi are probably the brands you consider when thinking of juice, right? Think again. 2013’s biggest health trend, which has spilled over like a tidal wave into 2014, is juicing. The phenomenon of liquidising your fruit and veg has taken Oman by storm, with thousands of people investing in blenders and juicers and gulping down pounds of preservative-free produce by the glassful. Like most fashionable fads, you can blame celebrity endorsements for its rising popularity in our mere mortal sphere. Both Salma Hayek and the super slender Megan Fox are juice fiends thanks to its endless benefits. Add a cult new machine into the mix and you have a health revolution on your hands. The Vitamix 5200 is a high performance blender, with a twohorsepower engine loud enough to resemble a leaf blower and strong enough to pulverise a brick. Unlike other machines, the Vitamix does not simply chop, slice or blend like most do; instead the precisely engineered blades, which travel at speeds up to 385 kilometres per hour, simply annihilate whatever you chuck into its glass bucket. Sounds threatening, doesn’t it? Now imagine the joy as you stuff a handful of kale leaves, a beetroot, two stalks of celery, a whole cucumber and half a root of ginger into this monstrous creature and let it whir and pivot the contents into a beautiful, smooth concoction ready for you to slip a straw into and sip. Besides being renowned for its detoxing abilities, juicing is supposedly a successful method to help you shed the pounds - and do

it fast. The theory of weight-loss is beautifully simple; you must burn more calories than you consume. But to receive maximum nutrients with minimum fat, it pays to liquidise your fruit and vegetables. It’s also a smart way to help achieve healthy, glowing skin. After all, an over worked digestive system and kidneys results in sluggish looking, blemished complexions as the toxins in our body come out through our skin. Juicing helps to keep your body hydrated and assists in detoxifying your cells. While the preceding benefits could be filed under ‘vanity’, juicing is also beneficial for those who are in it for the heart. Juicing vegetables like beetroots can enhance blood flow throughout the body while tomatoes and watermelons can help lower blood pressure. Don’t get too excited though. Like most things in life, the juicing revolution comes with both pros and cons. The benefits of juicing are palpable - fresh juice is both healthy and energising with the added bonus of tasting delicious. Having said that, the latest trend does come with some risks. Many people who have been quick to jump on the bandwagon have assumed that juice is a handy replacement for solid fruit and vegetables. What they don’t know is that there are certain nutrients, such as fiber, that only solid produce can give you. It can also be a concentrated source of calories - especially when you juice more fruit than vegetables. Plus, these liquid calories are not as fulfilling as solid food and since our stomachs are programmed to feel fuller when they contain more volume, juices don’t actually give your appetite much bang for your rial.

Y’s top tips for juicing: l Research your recipes: Try to make sure you are getting more vegetables than fruits. For even healthier juices, add chia or flax seeds, nuts or protein powder. If you have a specific issue such as acne or digestive problems, look up recipes to help clean out the toxins that cause them. l Don’t use it as your sole weight loss plan: If you do try juicing, use it as a method of cleansing every now and then, and skip the full on liquid-diet.

l Be creative: Don’t

just stick to the usual combination of carrots, apples and oranges. Add some lemon for an immune boosting shot of Vitamin C and ginger for amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

l Make sure you clean your fruit and vegetables: Thoroughly wash your produce before juicing to ensure that they’re free from harmful bacteria.

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food and drink

Trend

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

Info Box

Al Maida Restaurant Next to Shell garage, Mawaleh Tel: 98244144 Starter, salad, main and soft drinks for two: RO7

Middling Al Maida Tom Robertson heads into Mawaleh in search of traditional Yemeni dishes with Y photographer Jerzy Wierzbicki

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VERDICT:

et’s get one thing out the way from the off. This is a budget affair. The décor, the food, the ingredients. But that doesn’t mean to say that if you eat cheap, you eat badly. And so upon a budget recommendation from Jerzy, Y magazine’s roving photographer, we headed for an affordable Yemeni restaurant in Mawaleh. From the moment you walk into a buzz of colloquial Arabic, you know that the food you’re going to be served is going to be genuine fare, based on traditional recipes and not cobbled together by a chef who has never been to the birthplace of the very dishes he or she has been instructed to make. We arrived just in time for a lunch sitting during the week. From the handful of customers sprinkled throughout the sizeable dining area, one could immediately recognise that this was a place for doing the necessary refuelling, not stretching out a leisurely soirée with friends. Not at this time of day anyway. So in we walked to a no frills but clean dining area. Three sad looking snappers gawked back at us from a fridge as we looked around the

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place. Aside from our scaly friends in the chiller, we were met by a pleasing mix of both friendliness and charm. A warm smile was soon succeeded by a waiter showing us to a table where we took our seats. No sooner had we sat than we were asked what we’d like without seeing the menu. There would obviously be no time wasting here. Put on the spot, and thinking back to similar restaurants, I bleated ‘goat’, while Jerzy opted for the traditional choice of chicken. While the food was being prepared and without being asked, a glorious bowl of steaming hot broth appeared, beckoning us with its aromatic meaty smells that had apparently been prepared using goat meat, bones and whatever else you can hack off. Upon tasting it though, my mouth glowed red, not from the temperature but from the absurdly spicy taste of the soup. At what point did they start to raise this little four legged friend on chilli peppers? Nevertheless, if you could take the heat, the broth was a pleasant entrée if you’re not looking for a three courser and are in the market for an appetiser.

7

10

No complaints but nothing out of the ordinary.

Before we had finished our first course, the mains were loaded onto our table for us to wade into when ready. And wading is exactly what we did; huge portions of delightfully fluffy rice glowing with saffron were topped by our respective choices. The chicken was, well, chicken

and, without too much fuss being made of it in terms of additional flavouring, was fairly plain. But in a real budget eatery, if it’s cooked properly and tastes fresh, then the rest is just a bonus. It’s a shame really though, as chicken is such an easy palette with which to inject a little creativity. It’s like an open goal on the field of cookery matches. The chap who had bleated his way to the pot and was now steaming away on my plate and quite the inverse to the chicken. Tasty on the outside with a lovely bit of extra flavouring, the depths of the joint were perhaps a little undercooked for me. I’m not one who easily baulks at bits of cartilage, bone and all the other bits and pieces that can make a goat spring up a hillside as though his tail’s on fire. But the general ‘sliminess’ that prevailed within the centre of the meat was perhaps a little distracting. It’s a shame really as it took away from the overall appeal of a succulent and tasty feast. Still, if we got bored with our mains, there was always the mountain of salad that had appeared before us. Served on one plate between the two of us, Jerzy and I took it in turns to hack away a cliff of greenery from our respective sides. Feta cheese topped fresh tomatoes, olives, and bouncy lettuce, with not one sorry looking limp leaf to be seen. This salad was as fresh as it gets. We didn’t opt for a dessert. That simply wouldn’t have been in the spirit of things. This was an opportunity, just as it was for the cars in the adjacent petrol station, to refuel. It’s a place of blazingly efficient and friendly service that just seems to make food appear as soon as you’ve picked up the spoon for a starter. A jaunt to this little corner of Mawaleh isn’t going to have the bells and whistles of a whizzbang experience on the sandy beaches of a five star hotel, but if you’re expecting that, quite frankly, you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. This is where you eat standard traditional food and leave with no few complaints, if any.


GET SET. READY. GO! SABCO Media is a unique cross-platform of media channels in Radio, Outdoor and Publishing, with aggressive growth initiatives to ensure we offer strategic and cost effective media choices to all our partners. Our portfolio of products today includes Al Wisal 96.5, Merge 104.8, Outdoor Media, Y, Koooora Wa Bas, and Mediate. SABCO Media is growing. Enjoy generous compensation, strong benefits, and the excitement that comes with achieving professional success. If you are looking for a career move with no ceiling above you and lots of support around you, then look no further. We are looking for:

Advertising Manager (CODE - AM) Description: You will lead your team by example, ensuring that aggressive targets of each individual in your team are consistently achieved. You will be responsible for business development, determine client marketing strategies, budget cycles and meet key decision makers. Plan and service the communication needs of clients, client business development and retention. Requirements: 3+ years of demonstrated management or team leadership skills. 6+ years of direct selling and prospecting experience in media sales. Well developed administrative skills: time management and sales reporting

Asst. Advertising Managers (CODE - AAM) Description: With a professional mind and the right attitude to deliver results - utilising strong communication skills and a strategic understanding of media vehicles, you will be required to enhance business levels. Requirements: 4 to 6 years of relevant work experience in the media sales industry, highly motivated and able to set priorities, lead and motivate in a highly competitive environment.

Media Sales Executives (CODE - MSE) Description: As a self-motivated and confident team player, with a genuine interest in media, you will manage and maintain accounts, and generate new sales leads and opportunities. You will identify and prioritise a list of prospective clients, promote our products and ensure weekly and monthly targets are met. Handling logistics and meeting deadlines is a part of the job. Requirements: 3 to 4 years of sales experience, multi-tasking, making sales calls, setting and meeting goals, time management, negotiating, problem solving and decision-making.

Think you’re the right person for the job? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your resume to hireme@sabcomedia.com, with the code mentioned in the subject column, by March 13th, 2014. All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality.


HEALTH& BEAUTY

Health

Beauty

fashion

We totally dig this painterly print by Michelle Smith for Milly. The primary brushstrokes work well with the bold black accessories.

DIFFERENT STROKES

Unquestionably original. A total masterpiece. And so startlingly fresh... Of course we’re talking about your clothes rather than your art collection, as designers such as Céline and Chanel take an artistic approach to colour this season.

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ART ATTACK

Make an exhibition of yourself in paint box inspired prints, says Penny Fray

W

hat is art? Just kidding. Rather than quibble over such philosophical questions, why not just find stuff you like and wear it? Fashion may not be art, but art is certainly in fashion this spring. Dresses, shirts and even tights are flaunting patterns inspired by Pop Art, Op Art and Abstract Expressionism. There are even hints of Matisse doing the rounds. From Prada’s Diego Rivera inspirations to Jil Sander’s Pollock-esque prints, the patterns showcased on this season’s runways looked more suitable on gallery walls than waif-like models. But let’s be honest here, wearable art isn’t exactly wearable for those of us who aren’t stylists-cumbloggers eager to be photographed by the fashion press. So step away from Céline’s paint box raid dresses and tone down designer masterpieces with muted separates. Prabal Gurung and Aquilano Rimondi did it best by neutralising painted fabrics with plain shirts and fuss-free accessories. If you do prefer a pop of colour à la Chanel or Kenzo, for heaven sake, keep the bags and shoes neutral – otherwise, you’re in danger of looking like a children’s TV presenter. Alternatively, sport an arty clutch with a plain outfit. Online retailer Asos has a fantastic collection. But if funds stretch to designer fodder, Chanel’s painted bag is an obvious choice.

Shoe fiends will fall in love with these fun heels from Vestry. They look far more expensive than their RO25 price tag

This paint splattered, asymmetrical skirt from Zara has already become a firm favourite with Muscat’s fashionistas. Wear yours with a simple, white shirt. RO25.9

Take a day outfit into night with these statement coral drop earrings from Martine Webster. RO23

Tops don’t get much more versatile than this bright tank from Gap. RO9.6 How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Chanel’s latest bag oozes gallery chic. From RO898

Embrace the distressed denim trend with Paige’s bleach-spattered style. This skinny pair is stretchy enough to ensure a comfortable and flattering fit. We’ll be wearing ours with a plain tee and heels. RO160 from Net-A-Porter

PICTURE THIS Penny’s tips

on wearing your art on your sleeve

1. Let the print shine by pairing it with a neutral or monochrome piece. 2. Like real art, why not invest in a hand painted silk material? 3. Update current wardrobe staples such as jeans by splattering them with paint.

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HEALTH& BEAUTY

SAVING

FACE Have stress, sun and spots taken their toll on your skin, but your wallet can’t support a fancy facial? Noor Hyder meets Muscat’s cult facialist for a deep cleanse with a difference

T

he journey to flawless skin comes with a whole host of guidelines: a balanced diet, exercise, plenty of water and a suitable skincare routine. Celebrities swear by weekly facials. For us common folk however, a beautician on speed dial is somewhat of an indulgence. If you follow facial trends then you’ll know that last year was all about natural resources - and we don’t mean clay and sea salt. Costly ingredients like gold, copper and silver were the highlight of any spa worth visiting. This year though, there’s no need to break open the piggy bank because 2014 is all about the deep cleansing facial. Sure, you can do a decent DIY facial at home, but expert help leads to a well-hydrated complexion that almost sparkles. After months of neglect, my face was in

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desperate need of a pick me up, so I decided to visit skin guru Sakina at Muscat’s Simia Medi Spa. She’s amazing. And I say this with complete independence. (There were no journalistic freebies here!) Using products from the June Jacobs line, a mixture of cutting-edge science and nature, she worked miracles. Her heavenly hands were gentle on my tired skin. The combination of the quiet tinkling music and the delicious smell of the spicy pumpkin facemask soothed my frazzled mind. So what should you expect from your facial? Well don’t expect anything express. The leisurely procedure takes an hour and starts off with a consultation that allows the aesthetician to understand your skin type and make note of any allergies you might have. Following that is a light surface cleanse to get rid of any make

up or dirt before using a brightly lit magnifying lamp. This is one close up most of us could do without before being blasted with a steam machine. Once the pores are open, exfoliation scrubs away the dead skin cells, followed by a blackhead or whitehead extraction. Okay, I may as well be honest here - extractions can vary between uncomfortable to down right painful – but no pain, no gain as they say, especially when it comes to maintaining a blemish free profile. The treatment ends with a luxurious application of face mask chosen by the expert to suit your skin’s needs, and is usually accompanied by a relaxing scalp or shoulder massage. And oh my, I defy you to stay awake during such premium pampering. A couple of days after my treatment, my skin looks amazing. So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and glow. You’re worth it.


Health

STYLE COUNSEL

BARBRA YOUNG ANSWERS YOUR FASHION QUESTIONS

ETHICAL

TREND

Barbra Young, a former designer and retailer

Beauty

Fashion

Q.

I am a Y reader who really admires your work and would like some tips and advice on sketching and design. I currently work as a sales lady. Liezel Remollo, Oman.

A.

Thank you for sending me your illustrations, you are very good – but you have not made it clear whether you see yourself as a fashion designer or illustrator. Many people can draw – it shows you are creative – but that doesn’t always translate into design. You also need an appreciation of fabrics and how each textile can become a garment. That means studying how fabric drapes and has its own voice. You must learn too how to cut a pattern to not only suit your piece but also your fabric. Every design begins with fabric – and even the most fabulously designed garment can be let down by the wrong choice of material. Go to fashion stores and look at what’s on offer; study what’s right or wrong and what you could do better. Buy inexpensive fabric and practice making clothes, always having in mind who your end customer will be. Write up a brief if need be of that person’s biography and what they need to wear. Additionally, study fashion magazines and watch fashion TV channels for inspiration. Remember the three golden rules of design - fit, fabric and fashion, in that order. Start by offering your designs to friends and colleagues. When you have made and sold your designs for a year, do a small sample collection before offering it to a store. That will allow you to keep your full time job and start your own business. Good luck! If you have any fashion questions for Barbra, email info@y-oman.com or tweet #style @ ytabloid

Heal the world and help your closet – sounds like the perfect compromise to us. The latest collection by Asos Africa (far left), produced by Kenyan and Nigerian communities using local craftsmen, is the best yet. But we also love this cute print dress (right) from Orla Kiely. African print jackets from RO29. Print dress RO71 from The People Tree

FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

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GRAB IT BEFORE IT’S GONE GET YOUR FREE COPY OF Y AT THE FOLLOWING DISTRIBUTION POINTS… Al Mina’a • Bait al Baranda • Bait al Zubair Muttrah • Shell Select Qantab • Al Bustan Palace Hotel • Marina Bander AL Rowdha • Oman Dive Club • Shangri La Sifa • Sifawi Beach Hotel Wadi Kabir • Al Maya Hypermarket • Lulu Hypermarket • Muscat Pharmacy • National Hospitality Institute • Pizza Hut • Shell Select MBD • Bank Dhofar • Centre pointSplash • Khimji Mart • NBO • Oman Oil Ahlain • Pizza Hut • Pizza Muscat • Shell Select CBD • Al Maya Hypermarket • Alizz Islamic Bank • Bahwan Travel Agencies • Bank Sohar • Copper Chimney • Costa Coffee • HSBC • Lama Polyclinic • NBO • Oman Arab Bank • Standard Chartered Bank • Woodlands Darsait • Indian Social Club • Khimji Mart • KIMS Hospital • Lulu Hypermarket • Muscat Bakery • Shell Select AL Falaj/Rex Road • Al Falaj Hotel • Badar Al Sama • Golden Oryx Restaurant • Kamat Restaurant • Toshiba Showroom

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• • • • •

Ras Al Hamra Club SABCO Centre Second Cup Starbucks Sultan Centre Qurum • Tché Tché coffee shop Shatti Al Qurum • Bareeq Al Shatti Complex • Carribou Coffee • Darcy’s Kitchen • German Eye Laser Center • Indus Restaurant, ROHM • Intercontinental Hotel • Jawaharat Al Shatti Complex • Kaya Skin Clinic • More Café, ROHM • Muscat Eye Laser Center • Oasis By The Sea • Second Cup • Starbucks Sarooj • Al Fair • Al Masa Mall • Al Shatti Cinema (Dunkin Donuts) • AYANA Spa • COSMECLINIC • Emirates Medical Center • McDonald’s • Shell Select • VLCC MQ • Al Fair • Arab Open University • British Council • Costa Coffee • Darcy’s Kitchen • Hana Slimming Centre • Kargeen Café • KFC • Mackenzies • Mood Café • Oman Oil Ahlain • Papa John’s • Pizza Hut • Saharz Beauty Saloon • Starbucks Al Khuwair • Badar Al Sama • Bait Al Reem • Bait Al Reem - Coffee Shop

• •

Café Vergnano Centre pointSplash • Diplomatic Club • Grand Hyatt Muscat • Gulf College • Harley Davidson • HSBC • KFC • Khimji Mart • Khimji’s Watches - Showroom • KM Trading • Landmark Group • McDonald’s • Muscat Bakery • Oman Bowling Center • Oman Oil Ahlain • Oman United Insurance • OMRAN • Pizza Hut • Radison BLU • Shell Select • TGI fridays • The Kebab Factory • The Tikka Place • Zahara Travel • Zakher Shopping Mall MGM • Carribou Coffee • Gloria Jean’s Coffee • Just Falafel • Nawras • Paul Patisserie • Tim Hortons Bousher • College for Banking & Financial Studies • Dolphin Village • Modern College Of Business Studies • Muscat College • Muscat Private Hospital - Emergency • Muscat Private Hospital - Outpatient • Oman Medical College Ghubra • Al Hayat Polyclinic • Al Maya Hypermarket • Aster Hospital • Bank of Beirut • Coasta Coffee • Crepe Café

GMC - Moosa Abdul Rahman Showroom • Lulu Hypermarket • Mocha & More café • Oman Oil Ahlain • Park INN • Porsche • Stationery Hut • The Chedi Azaiba • Al Fair • Al Maha • Amara Dermetology • Costa Coffee • Golden Tulip • Jaguar - MHD • Jeep Showroom • McDonald’s • Mitsubishi Showroom • Oman Arab Bank • Oman Oil Ahlain • Peugeot Showroom • Range Rover - MHD • Sayarati • Shell Select • Skoda Showroom • Sultan Centre Azaiba • Towell Auto Centre - Mazda showroom • Volvo - MHD • Wattayah Motors - AUDI showroom • Wattayah Motors - BENTLEY showroom • Wattayah Motors - VW showroom • Yamaha Airport • Carribou Coffee • Majan Lounge • Plaza Premium Lounge Al Murtafaa • Bank Muscat • KFC • Muscat Hills Mawaleh • Chili’s • Costa Coffee • Makkan Café • Noodle House • Starbucks • Tim Hortons The Wave • Al Mouj Golf Club • Costa Coffee

• Oman Sail • Shakespere & Co. • The Wave HO Hail • Burger King • Caledonian College • Markaz Al Bahja • McDonald’s • Omantel • Starcare Hospital • VLCC Rusayl • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -1 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -2 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -3 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -4 (ITA) • Middle East College • Omantel • Waljat College SQU • SQU - Diplomatic Club • SQU - College of Commerce • SQU - Students Banking Area • SQUH - Rception/ Canteen Al Khoud • AL Fair • Badar Al Sama • Pizza Hut Seeb • McDonald’s Barka • Al Nahda Spa and Resort • Lulu Hypermarket Sawadi • Sawadi Beach Resort Massnaah • Millennium Hotel Sohar • Centre pointSplash • Crowne Plaza • National Gift Market, Falaj Al Qabail • Nawras • Pizza Hut • Safeer Mall • Sohar Beach Hotel • Sohar Port • Sohar university Nizwa • Nizwa University

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Indoors

CARS AND inDOORS LIFE’S A BEACH

Framed by magnificent mountains, golden sands embrace the pristine turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea at Al Fazayah Beach.

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Postcards from

Cars

Y- F i

Indoors

Destination

Al Fazayah Beach Smear on the sunscreen and dig out the bucket and spade. It’s time for a sandy getaway with some picturesque perks, says Jerzy Wierzbicki Words and Images: Jerzy Wierzbicki

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I

first heard of Al Fazayah Beach many years ago when I first came to Oman. At that time, Dhofar seemed very far away and almost impossible to get to by car. But every year, my friends who made the trip down there always told me how amazed they were by the region’s beauty - especially when confronted by the mystical 5km of Al Fazayah Beach. Of course, I did eventually make it (otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this piece). But like most people, I went during the Khareef season and never really got the chance to visit Al Fazayah because the waves were so wild. In winter, however, the conditions are better, making it the ideal time to explore the rocky shoreline and the white beaches. So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make my fifth trip to the region with my German friends, Ute and Andreas, who were visiting Oman to specifically explore the deserts of Dhofar. We made the slow two-day journey to Salalah through the interiors of Oman and spent one night near the Muqshin oasis. When we finally reached the main city, we made a quick stop at a local restaurant and enjoyed some

delicious biryani. It was a great way to fuel up, especially after the long, tiring journey from Muscat. Since the weather was great and the beaches looked calm, we decided to visit the magical Al Fazayah on our first night in Salalah. The beach wasn’t as near as we expected. It was another hour-long drive until we hit a gravel track leading to this almost mythical place. But boy, the first glimpse of Al Fazayah made a fantastic impression, especially with the sunset in the background. Many mushroom shaped rocks littered the shallow waters so we couldn’t resist the urge to get snap happy with our cameras. We moved up the gravel track to a small, white sandy beach. Both the weather and location were perfect for a night’s camping – but not before soaking in the cool, salty water. After the day to night journey through sandy desert, it felt amazing. The dusky sky just before sunset was perfect so the photographer in me took over; I grabbed my wide-angle lens and climbed onto the rocks to capture some amazing photos. As the sun went down, the sky turned an exquisite turquoise blue giving me another opportunity to experience the beauty of Oman

as I sat on the rocks, my trusty dog by my side. I was there for about fifteen minutes before heading back to start a campfire for dinner. We woke early in the morning. While Ute and Andreas decided to jump into the sea. I made some much-needed breakfast with strong coffee, bread and tahini after which we set off to explore other parts of the coastline. As we advanced into a valley, it was impossible not be mesmerised by this natural phenomenon. When we reached the end of the track, we were on high cliffs that towered over the sea. It made for one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever encountered in Oman. The rocks were quite unique. And an attentive observer could see that the shape and size of the rocks differ from those seen in the northern regions. They were smoother, a result of increased erosion during the Khareef when water pours over the landscape as a result of the rains. All in all, Al Fazayah Beach is one of the ‘must-see’ places in the Sultanate. It’s best visited during the mild, winter months when you can seize the opportunity to camp in pleasant temperatures and explore the white sandy beaches at leisure.

travel guide

HOW TO GET THERE The total distance to Al Fazayah from Muscat is 1100 kms. Head to Salalah through the interior. Take Road 47, which will direct you towards the Yemeni Border. When you reach a place called Mughsayl you can refuel at the small service station there. From Mughsayl, head west. A small sign marks the exit to Al Fazayah Beach.

The last 4 kms are the most difficult as the roads wind and descend steeply to the sea. It’s advisable to put the car into a low gear and go slowly. Normally a 4x4 is not necessary to reach the beach but the last few kilometres might require a sturdy vehicle to avoid any issues associated with the rougher terrain.

The GPS location for Al Fazayah Beach: 16°51’7.79”N 53°43’3.10”E

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A Game Of Thrones

Castles, knights, kings and queens. No it’s not medieval warfare, but the equally strategic game of chess. Shishira Sreenivas meets Muscat’s chess-playing community 040

FEB 27 - MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

I

t had been going so well. But you knew one day he’d ask the dreaded question. “Do you play chess?” Your stomach drops and despite your best efforts to squeak a “No thanks,” all that surfaces is “Sure! Sounds fun.” About as fun as a bleeding ulcer, that is. Luckily, there are loads of free lessons online and the boffin’s board game has recently had a hip makeover with everyone from Madonna to Will Smith professing to play. Chess, or Shatranj as it’s known in Arabic, is one of Oman’s favourite indoor games. And while most of us are content with channel surfing for mind numbing soap operas, it’s time to switch your attention from the flat

screen to the checkered board in the hope of stimulating those little grey cells. There’s ample opportunity to do so in Muscat. Markaz Al Bahja may be best known for, well, shopping, but did you know that the mall also holds an open chess tournament every last Friday of the month? Curious, I decided to go have a look for myself and to my surprise found more than fifty people from various nationalities lining up to register for the ultimate mind combat. Shanmugavel Jayadev, or Shan as he likes to call himself, has been exclusively managing the platform at the Muscat based shopping center for more than two years, crediting


Postcards from

his son’s chess mentor Dilip Ashar, for the opportunity. “Mr. Dilip Ashar loved teaching chess and had tied in with Markaz Al Bahja for a very long time conducting these tournaments,” he explains. “After he left Oman, they approached me to take over.” Markaz Al Bahja has been sponsoring and organising the event while Shan carves out time on the weekends to conduct the contest along with his wife and a few other volunteers. It’s a labour of love for all involved. The game isn’t restricted by age or gender. Markaz Al Bahja holds tournaments for the under 8s, 10s, 12s, and 14s and has an adult open category to boot. Several kids around the age of ten had turned for up the event with their parents either hovering around them in support or pulling up tables for a game of chess themselves. Shan says that chess is an intricate sport that increases the power of the brain. There are no barriers of language, race or ethnicity when opponents are looking to conquer the opposing king. In other words, it’s a real community sport. The tournament charges a small entry fee of RO2.5 per person and

encourages participants to bring their own set but also keeps a stock of limited chess boards for those who don’t own one. The games are timed at thirty minutes per person making it an hour-long battle. However, the kids are usually exempt from the time restriction as most race to the finish line way ahead of time. Markaz Al Bahja gives vouchers of RO25, RO15, RO10 for the top three winners in each category. The monthly competition is an ideal battleground for both fervent chess aficionados and those with just a bit of knowledge. On the other hand, if like me, the game means little more to you than a monochrome board, why not swing by and learn from the Sultanate’s best? Besides having numerous health benefits, a game like chess teaches you the art of patience, strategy and competitiveness, traits that all of us need and can use in our daily lives. And while Shan is more than happy to conduct tournaments for a few hours on a weekend, he does aspire to promote the game on a larger scale and hold a nation-wide chess tournament some day. Here’s hoping he succeeds.

Y- F i

Cars

INDOORS

Top Chess Benefits: 01 Can raise your IQ 02 Helps prevent Alzheimer’s 03 Exercises both sides of the brain 04 Increases creativit y 05 Improves memory 06 Increases problem solving skills 07 Improves reading skills 08 Improves concentration 09 Teaches planning and foresight FEB 27 - MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

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INDOORS

BAALBEK RUINS

The remaining six columns of Jupiter’s Temple are a massive and magnificent reminder of the size and majesty of the original structure. Adjacent is the second of Baalbek’s great shrines, the Temple of Bacchus. Completed around AD 150, it’s amazingly well preserved and still stunningly ornate, displaying stone carvings of the ancient gods.

Top 5 Places To Visit: 1. Baalbek Ruins 2. Gemmayzeh Street 3. National Museum of Beirut 4. The Corniche 5. Jeita Grotto

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Cars

Y-Fi

I n d o o r s postcards from

Karl Baz, publisher, recommends

BEIRUT, LEBANON B

eirut has always been a woman to me; she’s rude and cheap, but also steeped in culture and fluent in three languages. She’s conservative and spiritual, but dances on tables all night long. She is a contradiction, a city that gives you whatever you’re looking for and a lot that you aren’t. Fancy an eighty-rial steak? Done. Keep walking down that alley though and you’ll find a 500 Baisa meal fit for a king. Don’t mind the bullet-ridden building on the way, behind that you’ll find a perfectly intact two thousand year-old Roman bath. Beirut is ugly, and so very beautiful at the same time. And if you haven’t been there for a weekend, I suggest you pack your bags now. Fair warning however, you should check travel advisories before heading to Lebanon, as conflicts sometimes arise. Although the dangers are often exaggerated, conventional wisdom dictates that you can never be too careful with travel.

Archa eology in B e ir u t

My favourite place

Gemmayzeh, without a doubt. This is a small street straight out of ‘Moulin Rouge’ that accurately reflects everything I love about this city. By day it’s a quiet stretch where you can pick up everything from high-end cuisine to street food (try both) and by night it transforms into a party zone with a wide variety of places to waste the night away. Typical Lebanese nights out will often include visiting many of these ever-changing places; so if you’re ever in doubt, just follow the crowds. Not in the mood for nightlife? A very close second favourite is the Beirut Corniche, a beautiful stretch that follows the coastline. It’s littered with cafés and street carts, and wherever you decide to stop you’re guaranteed a fantastic view. This is also where you should try the local coffee, if you’re a caffeine drinker, and watch the sun set.

Highlights

If you do make it to Lebanon, you are explicitly forbidden to leave without taking in the archaeology. The country has some of the most underrated, most breath-taking archaeology the modern world has to offer – more than 150 sites in fact. Most are not even officially listed. Towns you should spend a day in include Baalbek, Byblos and Sidon. If you’re staying in Beirut, make time for the National Museum, and the open-air ruins in Beirut Central District.

t ir ut b y ni g h D ow nt ow n B e

Lowlights

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Beirut is not the safest place in the world; as someone who spent the best years of their life there, this of course breaks my heart. Sadly, it’s more and more true these days with regional tensions trickling into the city. Reports indicate that petty crime is on the rise, and of course there is always the risk of conflict. Having said that, exercising proper caution and sound judgement will keep you safe: avoid travelling alone and unnecessary confrontations and your experience will be a very positive one.

Souvenirs

Don’t bother with souvenirs; Beirut is not that kind of place. In the past, I would have suggested you pick up a Hard Rock Café Beirut t-shirt because their chicken wings were second-to-none, but sadly the iconic diner closed down late last year. Instead, try to eat, drink, dance and laugh as much as you can. Meet strangers, strike up conversations, and come back home tired and with a headache. Beirut is an experience.

Where to stay

This will vary depending on your budget - the city has more hotels than you’ll know what to do with. I’m a Bed & Breakfast kind of guy myself, and for my money it doesn’t get any better than Villa Clara. It’s charming, beautiful and reasonably priced; it’s also walking distance from Gemmayzeh street! If you’re a big spender however, then allow me to recommend Le Gray. Le Gray does luxury very well, but the reason I recommend it over the many other luxury hotels in Beirut is its ability to maintain a certain cosiness. This is the place you want to go if you’re celebrating something romantic.

Beirut Cornic he at sunse t

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-FI

Postcards from

Cars

Indoors

Y-FI

Track-Tech

Tom Robertson looks at the most innovative devices for tracing your location - no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going

THE TECH IN YOU

The shape of things to come It’s anticipated that pretty soon most new cars and trucks will come with a Head-Up Display (HUD) but the clever folks over at Garmin have decided that they’re not going to wait around for this to happen. Instead, they’ve created an HUD display that can be installed in any vehicle by taking a small unit and having it project the image on to the car windscreen. The bad news? You’ll need a separate Garmin GPs unit for it to link up to and be the brains behind the operation. Garmin.com RO58

Look behind for forward thinking The Classic

EDITOR’S PICK

The beauty of the TomTom GO LIVE 1005 Worlds SatNav is that it does the basics well, and in a sleekly designed and user friendly unit. Featuring world-wide maps, it’s sure to cover everywhere you could dream of going, be it adventuring off to Africa or pootling down to Salalah. A generously sized 5inch multi touch screen ensures that you’ll never miss that essential turn on your journey. RO192 from tomtom.com

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Not all cars come equipped with reversing cameras that are proving ever popular with motorists trying to squeeze their cars in to Muscat’s tight parking spots. And that’s where Garmin comes in with it’s latest Nüvi 2798LMT package. It features a tiny camera that will slot into your rear brake light. You can then switch the GPS screen between directions for the road ahead or a camera view of that wall behind you. RO154 from Garmin.com

Crash cam As we showed in Issue 304, there are some awful drivers out there on the roads of Oman and whose careless driving can cause all manner of accidents. Garmin may have spelt the end for insurance squabbles over who caused the crash. The Dash Cam 20 features a wide angle HD camera that will record your journey and all those idiotic manouevres by others that may land you in a spot of trouble. The internal accelerometer detects G-forces resulting from braking or collision and can – don’t ask me how – cleverly provide recorded footage from just before the incident occurs. Garmin, on behalf of sensible motorist everywhere, we thank you. Expected price RO96. Release date TBC


FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS

Fit for exploration

If you’re going to buy jeans, buy from an original denim outfit. If you’re going to buy watches, buy swiss. By that logic, if you’re going to buy a GPS watch, buy from the originals: Suunto. The Ambit 2 GPS watch is capable of keeping track of location, distance covered, altitude, time and a whole host of other features that make this an indispensable companion for the great outdoors, no matter how active you are. RO197 from Amazon.com

App of the week

CoPilot Premium Mid East When CoPilot launched their navigation App a few years ago, they were widely regarded as having produced a fantastic GPS navigation App that rivaled TomToms similar effort for just half the money. Their 2014 version of CoPilot Premium Mid East features turn by turn directions for Oman, as well as Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. More importantly, maps are stored on the phone so it doesn’t need a data connection to work. Brilliant.

NEW! Polar v650 After the Tour of Oman, you may be interested in this great new bike gadget. Soon to be released is the sharp looking Polar 650, the world’s smallest cycling computer with fully integrated GPS. But don’t let size fool you this is one clever piece of kit. Deliveries start May 2014. Register interest at polarv650.com, Price TBC.

Features a 2.8 inch touch screen to navigate a multitude of functions and keep a constant track of your journey so far, including time, speed data, distance covered, trip logs, Comes with an integrated barometer to keep track of vertical distance covered, perfect for long rides through the Hajar Mountains. Can also sync with your training apps on your smartphone using built-in Bluetooth. Use Polar’s webs service ‘Polar Flow’ to plan and analyse details of the journey and analyse past routes. FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

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Postcards from

Y- F i

Indoors

C ars

Rolls-Royce Ghost V Specification

Engine: 6.6L V12 Horsepower: 563 Transmission: ZF Eight speed automatic 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds Top Speed: 250km/h Price: RO96,000

car of the week It may be an entry level Roller – but sit behind the wheel of the Ghost V-Specification and you’ll soon feel very special indeed, says Shishira Sreenivas

F

orget about a classic yacht, Saville Row suit or oak panelled gentlemen’s club – there are few items that can conjure up the same sense of insulated refinement than the Rolls Royce Ghost. Just the name sends shivers down your spine, let alone the fact that it can go from around 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds. Now the new version of pedigree car - the Ghost V-Specification - is available in Muscat, but only for a limited period. Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, the exclusive dealer for Rolls Royce in Oman, recently announced the launch of the Ghost V-Specification only extending the limited series to local customers until the end of June 2014. It may be less costly than the Phantom, its palatial older sister, but the spectral Ghost still comes in with a whopping price tag that starts around RO100,000 (Sorry, I forgot, talking money is frightfully vulgar.) An entry level Roller it may be but its more than opulent enough for me. Just like the Phantom, the Ghost is the ideal amalgamation of British artisanship and modern German engineering. Its brand and specifications have earned

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FEB 27 – MAR 05 / ISSUE 309

its adulation from critics and customers alike. Now while this bit bores me, I know you car fiends will be interested in knowing that the Ghost V boasts a 6.6 litre V12 engine that delivers an exceptional ride. Some design aspects may look a little more delicate than the Phantom but boy-oh-boy, touch the throttle and this great lady hoists her skirts to reveal a muscular pair of legs. Press the pedal and the sudden arrival of power is head spinning. Of course it’s not as fast as some top models - mind you, we’re talking about a 2360Kg leviathan here, so a sub-5 sec dash to 100Kmh is no slouch. The top speed will remain limited to 250Kmh, dashing the hopes of chauffeurs expecting to send speed cameras popping on the Sultan Qaboos highway. But the staggering specifications don’t stop there. For a top-notch car like the Ghost, you can expect a beautifully designed exterior and an even more impressive interior. V-Specification motif coach lines finish the exterior paint-scheme whilst customers can choose from five specially selected colours including Graphite, Black Sapphire, Black Kirsch, Arctic White and Infinity Black. If the range of colours

seems a little limiting, buyers also have the option of choosing from Rolls-Royces 40,000 hue palette. Optional visible chrome exhausts and 21” part-polished wheels add further expression to the car’s dynamic poise. The interior offers up handcrafted engraving to the tread plates, embroidery to the rear armrest and handapplied steel inlays to the front multimedia screen lid. To add to this already bespoke vehicle, an analog clock, exclusively designed for the Ghost, is located on the right side of the dash with a unique logo. Sigh! Technologically it is a masterpiece with wireless hotspot, touchpad multimedia, and voiceactivated controls. It even boasts Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses GPS to scan your route. There’s no doubt about it, driving a Roller is like engaging with history. After a century as the world’s most famous brand, it attracts attention and you can’t help but feel important just standing next to it. With its sleek and svelte exterior and interior along with trademark engineering, this car is perfect for anyone who has been dreaming of parking a Rolls Royce next to other lavish cars in their garage.

They say: ‘Remarkable driving dynamics’ We say: ‘Supreme luxury’

Check this out

Head-Up Display Choice of 44,000 paint hues Advanced air suspension system Hand stitched leather interior Infrared camera for night vision driving Remote entry system 18 Speaker audio system Rear coolbox Cashmere blend roof lining 1075mm rear leg room Optional Panoramic Moonroof Wool carpets


BIGShow2014-Ymag_240x340mm.pdf

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Y Magazine #309, February 27, 2014  

Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week.

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