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JAN 9 – 15 • ISSUE 252 • WEEKLY

Mussels From Brussels

MUSCAT’S NEW APHRODISIAC

GOLDEN SAILORS / COOL KHIMJI / RUSSIA / INTERNING POWER / HIP HANGOUT / WINNING WOMEN / WHAT’S ON

40 Red Bull Tour: BIKING WITH BITE

EARTH HOUR: Omani Celebrities Get Green SAVING FACE: Make Your Own Makeup

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MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311 • WEEKLY

YOUTH AGAINST RA C I SM

PLUS!

News

LEOPARD SPOTTING

01

NOVEMBER 24 / ISSUE 258

Fashion

10

CROPPED OUT

Outdoors

32

JEBEL ASWAD

37


THE BAROMETER

EDITOR’S

NOTE

GOING UP

BLOGGERS We have been inundated with reader recommendations for amazing blogs. Among them are: Sew Chic & Unique; Dhofari Gucci; How To Live Like An Omani Princess and Salim Al Harthy Photography. The list goes on – perhaps we should do a Bloggers Part II, III and IV?

GOING DOWN

THE ALICE BAND Grosgrain silk wrapped around ironed hair? Too much effort in Oman’s humidity, me thinks.

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

Fast forward

R WIN! Those kind people at Elevation Burger sent us a bag full of goodies, including BBQ tools, a burger making kit, voucher and lots more. But we don’t really accept freebies as a rule, so get a chance to win it by tweeting us at @ytabloid or Facebooking us with the hash tag #ELEVATIONBURGER by March 20.

acism is the refuge of the ignorant. It’s divisive and no one wants to admit to it. And this is a good thing because it means that bigotry is socially inadmissible. Or is it? In the past 24 hours how many incidences of prejudice have you witnessed based on someone’s ethnicity? It may be packaged as rudeness or professional hierarchy but if the truth be told, we are a society that’s dripping in racism. Whatever colour, country, creed or class you belong to, you won’t have escaped it. I’ve encountered it and the chances are many of you have too. And, if you’re really honest (no one’s listening here), there may have been times when you’ve judged someone based on their background as well. We are not alone in our racism, of course. Every country exhibits discrimination towards those whom they believe to be inferior: America is no exception, nor is India, nor is the rest of the world. But there’s hope and it comes in the form of a new generation. In this edition, as we prepare for International Day For The Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, Oman’s youngsters show how they’re taking a stand.

Penny Fray MANAGING EDITOR

THIS WEEK… Team Y has been bargain hunting, eating too much junk food and being a bit brattish.

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

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

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

MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311

03


contents MARCH 13 2014

This week

Your Oman 06 The Big Interview 08 The Voice Of Oman

10 News

Pankaj Khimji

Yummy Mummy

Spotted Leopard

Tackling the Sands

16 Movie Listings

The Invisible Woman

18 This Week On A Wave

Business & Career 26 Success In The City The Intern

28 Food

Mussels From Brussels

30 Food Review

20

The Muzzar

Cars and Outdoor

Food and Drink

24 Extreme Sailing Red Bull on Water

15 Oman In 43 Objects

10

20 Omani Youth Against Racism Ending Discrimination

14 Gallery

Features

Roadside Diner

37 Destination

18

Jebel Aswad

40 Outdoors

BMXcellent

42 Postcard From

St. Petersburg, Russia

44 Y-Fi

Health & Beauty

30

Audio-Visual

46 Car of the Week 32 Fashion Mitsubishi Lancer EX GLX Top Of The Crops 34 Beauty Making Your Own Makeup 35 Style Counsel Barbra Young

44

35 NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE...

MOTHER’S DAY / HAPPY MONDAYS / MINI GOURMANDS / ALL GOLD / GLADGETS


YOUR

OMAN

AT YOUR SERVICE Pa n k a j Kh im ji, director o f K himji R amdas

News Omanisation, which is the most in the private sector, not inclusive of banking and petroleum. But we’re facing a challenge; there’s a lack of skill sets that we need to fill in the gaps. Khimji’s has become a place for young Omanis to learn, train and acquire skills before jumping into government organisations. We’re happy to see that happen, but we also need to restrict it before we start losing out on trained and skilled people. Retention, more than hiring, is the challenge. What are you passionate about? 
 Hospitality and tourism because Oman has an abundance of potential in this area and it should be explored further. This gives one of the highest returns on investment in any sector across the globe. The largest employer in the world is hospitality. And yet, we don’t even have 2000 five-star rooms, so we can’t hold a tournament or globalsized meet. There has to be a little more push. The sector needs to be incentivised and more needs to be done at grassroots level. The appreciation isn’t there among young people for working in the hospitality industry and there’s a certain amount of mentoring that’s required to deal with that stigma. Yet intrinsically, the Omani is a very

Words: Penny Fray Photo: Jerzy Wierzbicki

Tell us, what’s the core of your success as a company? People. We focus on hiring the best people who exude passion, energy and skill in whatever they do and we reward them. We appreciate their efforts. People have made Khimji’s what it is today. Of course, it’s still a family owned business. And the family takes pride in helping, facilitating and mentoring top management. We have a very unique way of bonding, in that we have lunch with them every day and meet the next line of professional heads on a weekly basis. The family’s passion and belief in delivering a product or service and staying committed through its life cycle, is core. What’s your personal business philosophy? Strive to serve and serve to strive. If fate had given you a different hand, what would you do? 
 I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m in a privileged country, a privileged position and a privileged family. But I guess I like to serve. I’ve put in 25 years for Khimji Ramdas but I’m spending more and more time working with the government on policy and strategy. We have this 2040 vision mission that His Majesty has just announced and I’m already part of the task force on logistics and transport with the Ministry of Transport, which is chairing it. I enjoy doing that. I’m also part of the ILO (International Labour Organization) team. So I spend a lot of time promoting but I think there’s a lot more that needs Pankaj’s to be done for Oman to grow on the top tips to world economic map. And with all this success: infrastructure and money Oman is 01 Passion investing, it’s not just the government’s role 02 Perseverance to grow Oman, but also businesses. 03 Energy What’s your view on Omanisation? We’ve achieved more than 40 per cent

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Gallery

INTERVIEW

hospitable man. What makes you jump out of bed each morning? 
 I love to work and have the satisfaction of achieving something. There’s so much to do out there. What frustrates you? 
 Bureaucracy and procrastination. People procrastinate, and then bring about bureaucratic hurdles in a simple country like Oman where virtually everybody knows everybody. We don’t need them. We need to appreciate business needs. We don’t seem to value the essence of time. Everybody knows exactly what the solutions are. They’re about accountability and performance. What three words best describe you? 
 Relaxed. Charged. Passionate. Khimji’s Watches has just announced a tie-up with Muscat Hills Golf Club. Tell me about that? 
 As the leading name in luxury watches, Rolex has been the preeminent symbol of style, elegance, performance and prestige - values that Muscat Hills also embodies. Being the official timekeeper for tournaments is a perfect strategic partnership that we’re delighted to initiate.


The Voice of Oman

Y’s own Yummy Mummy, Karima Farid, on the baby steps that bring such joy to parents

correspondence WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH Dear Y

A

nd so it has happened. The biggest achievement so far in my little one’s life. Before she even mastered crawling, she took her first ever step at the age of 10 months and a few days. We looked at her, looked at each other and just smiled.  I can honestly say that, ever since, I don’t sit down until evening, when she’s blissfully asleep. The tiny steps have quickened and in moments, she gets exactly where she wants. We are now taking baby proofing to a whole new level!  I know it sounds like a cliché, but I can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since I had my precious Maryam.  On Mother’s Day last year, I was overwhelmed making sure mums at work and home felt special. And then Mimi arrived two days later: March 23 2.32 pm - one of the best/tiring/miraculous/lifewill-never-be-the-same days of my life. It only seems like yesterday when I didn’t know how to handle her properly and now multi-tasking is something I live by - a must for every mum.  These moments fly by so fast, I’m sure every parent will agree. Capturing these occasions is so important because it passes with a blink of an eye. For her first birthday, we are planning an intimate gathering with her immediate family on the following weekend. To mark the actual day, I ‘ve arranged a photo shoot on the beach. I can’t wait for the results. Here’s wishing my Mimi the sweetest day- may you turn out to be exactly who and how you want to be.

Next week: ALI IS BACK

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish…where does it come from? The rubbish skips are overflowing all around Muscat and beyond. It’s found in remote mountain scenic spots, and on what should be pristine beaches and wadis. Tourists do not want to see rubbish everywhere they turn. It leaves a very poor impression of the country and of its people. And this is surely not the impression we want to give. Two main complaints about Oman from tourists are the heavy traffic jams and bad driving, and the amount of rubbish thrown everywhere. Not a nice souvenir to take home. Not to mention the more severe issue of hygiene and the spread of disease. The entire waste disposal system needs to be modernised. An environmentally friendly system should be put in place and recycling introduced to Oman on a large scale. Building state-of-the-art underground refuse bins would be the ideal solution. Heavy fines should be introduced for any individual chucking litter from their car, their house, on picnics or whilst camping. The other issue is the fishermen who throw used engine oil containers, plastic bottles, fishing nets, and buoys overboard. These get washed up on the beaches. They need to know that they are destroying Oman’s environment. On a recent trip through Wahiba Sands, we camped the last night on the beach at Ras al Ruways. These photos were taken of me walking through the all too familiar sight of rubbish on Oman’s beaches. It’s a disgrace. Sue Hall, Resident Oman

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MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311


YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US

Debate of the Week We asked:

The film Oscars have been awarded in Hollywood. If you could give your own personal Oscar to someone who has done a good deed to others or helped you in some way, who would it be and why?

LETTERS young Omani filmmaker who has created award-winning short films that have been screened locally and internationally. He deserves an Oscar.

Benny Najeeb

I would definitely award it to my mother for bringing my sister and me up alone. She forgot totally about herself and put all her energy into us. I gave her

Malik Al Hinai  

I would award the Oscar to the streets cleaners of Muscat who undoubtedly do an excellent job. We wake up every morning and the streets are clean. Well done!

FA C E B O O K

TWITTER

a very hard time but she never lost hope. Unfortunately, I am unable to put my feelings into words but I believe today’s world would be a better place if everyone gave just a bit more and took less. Thank you mom for your patience and sorry once again for the tears caused by me. I hope today you can be proud.

Jasmine Prajapati

To Y Magazine because it is the pulse of Oman.

This Week’s Debate:

Divorce rates are rising in the Sultanate. What do you think is the key to a long, happy marriage? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter and be in with a chance of winning dinner for two.

Raj Shenoy 

I fell in love with her at very first sight; She tries everything to make me laugh and even invites me to fight; She’s made my life as exciting as an Oscar’s night. She’s truly given new meaning and direction to my life. Ladies and Gentlemen clap your hands as my Oscar for the category of best supporting spouse goes to my lovely and ever smiling wife.

E-MAILS

I'm a reader

Joëlle Gariépy was spotted with her favourite Y Magazine at The Wave, Muscat

Meghana Anup Gosher  

I would love to give an Oscar to my five-year-old son, Tanish, who celebrates ‘Mother’s Day’ every day.

Mohammad Ali

Well she is no more in this world and neither will there be anyone born like her again. I happened to meet her during my school days, as a teenager and many times after. I felt blessed by her. My Oscar goes to Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata. She sacrificed her whole life for orphans, the homeless and people with leprosy.

Azra Aleem   I would like to present this award to my college professor, Madam Ubaida Manazir, who taught me to work hard and believe in myself in any situation in life. If you put 100 per cent effort into winning, you will be rewarded. Ali Fareed Al-Lawati

I would give it to Maitham Al Musawi, an aspiring

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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

4

MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311

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YOUR

OMAN

NEWS

Return of the Big Cat

A species of leopard teetering on the edge of extinction has been spotted in the Al Najd area of Dhofar. The sighting of the rare Arabian Leopard was made by a team of researchers from the Office for the Conservation of the Environment at the Diwan of the Royal Court. The exciting development is being seen as a victory for conservation efforts in the Sultanate and legislation, which aims to preserve the leopard’s natural environment.

Light a Candle, Save the Earth

C

lear out your calendar on Saturday, March 29 from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and stock up on some candles as the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) gears up to join countries across the world to mark Earth Hour 2014 with a special public event at The Wave, Muscat. The Earth Hour initiative was launched in Oman in 2011 to raise awareness about the detrimental impact our everyday lifestyle has on our planet. Individuals, companies, schools and the private sector are encouraged to switch off all non-essential lighting for the allotted hour which unites more than 200 million people in over 150 countries for the cause. ESO Executive Director, Lamees Abdallah Daar says that Earth Hour has become a worldwide phenomenon. “Globally it started out as a grassroots campaign and became so impactful and exciting for people to join in at the same time, just like the World Cup or the Olympics. Everybody is doing or watching it at the same time, so Earth Hour became a trend.” With this year’s global campaign entitled, ‘I

Will If You Will,’ ESO has partnered up with some notable Omani celebrities to take the pledge and endorse the earth-friendly campaign. They include Oman’s national football team goalkeeper, Ali al Habsi, Oman’s circuit racer, Ahmad al Harthy, celebrated Omani singer, Salah al Zadjali, inspirational speaker, Sheikh Khalfan al Esry and award winning female sailors from Oman Sail: Raiya al Habsi, Ibtisam al Salmi and Raja al Owaisi. As a part of the pledge, all celebrities have vowed to undertake a beneficial environmental activity if 2,500 or more people also register their support for the worldwide cause. While ESO asks an hour of energy-saving commitment from the public, it has linked up with 27 schools from across the nation that are already in partnership with UNESCO, to commit towards saving energy throughout the month of March with an energy saving competition. To join the growing millions of people for the Earth Hour 2014 initiative, you can register your pledge to support the cause at www.omanearthhour.org

Meet Your Footballing

HEROES In preparation for the upcoming Oman Legends Match between some of football’s greats from Real Madrid and Barcelona, heroes of the beautiful game will be appearing in two Muscat locations. Before the big game on March 14 (Friday), players from Real Madrid will be calling in to Muscat City Centre (East Wing) at 4pm on March 13. Meanwhile fans of Barcelona can catch a glimpse of their former Nou Camp idols, such as Deco, at Qurum City Centre (Central Galleria) at the same time.

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Gallery

YOUR

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

Aerial internet

What is it? Simply put, it’s the next big gold rush as major companies compete to provide Internet access from the sky. Who are these ‘major companies’? Those with enough clout to invest in the technology required for developing this particular means of communication. There’s two key players and no one would be surprised if I said that one was Google and the other Facebook. It seems the next war really will be fought in space. Or near to. What’s the aim of this interstratospheric competition? Both companies want to deliver Internet access to people living in remote areas that are so far unconnected. Benevolent, no? Or a cunning plan to make even more money and continue their respective quests for global domination…. You decide. How are they going to do it? Two competing approaches, of course. Betamax versus VHS. Blu-ray v HDDVD. Capitalism versus communism. Now there are drones versus balloons. Drones? Balloons? Yup. A somewhat brave approach, Google have opted for balloons with which to enter the next communications battle. Facebook, on the other hand, are taking no prisoners with solar powered multi-million dollar drones. Why are they pursuing different strategies? It’s a question of two different business models. Crash often with Google’s cheap disposable balloons that no one will miss, or fly for longer with Facebook’s expensive solar-powered drones. Haven’t drones been in the press recently? Yes, U.S drones have been criticised for being mobile execution units to kill people on their own sovereign soil without due legal process. But let’s move on. So, what are the potential benefits? At best, Internet from the sky could connect the next billion people in rural areas as they surge into the middle classes and create trillions of dollars of GDP. At worst, a man in the mountains gets to use a goat-herding App. Anything else on the horizon? Facebook has also announced that as soon as it dominates the skies, they plan to build FaceStar, a new planet. Do say: Internet from the Sky Don’t say: Skynet… wasn’t that the cause of armageddon in the Terminator films?

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Interview

NEWS

Women in the Workplace

O

man’s women are taking to the workplace in droves, according to a study recently released by the National Center for Statistics and Information. The recent figures show that the number of women working in the public sector rose rapidly from 2003 to 2012. During the decade, the figure more than doubled from 29,218 to 68,000. The study also reveals that since 2008, the number of women in senior management positions in the public sector has risen by over 50 per cent as female executives make further inroads into attaining top positions. But by far and away it’s the private sector that has seen the greatest surge in the number of female employees. In 2003 there were just 13,385 women registered for Social Insurance, an indicator of work status. That figure has now rocketed, trebling to 35,248 in 2012. The same study also revealed that while the number of women taking to the workplace increased, there was also a rise in the number of women preparing themselves for professional careers. In 2012 there were 20 per cent more women enrolled in higher education than there was four years previously.

STOP PRESS: A couple of former Bollywood superstars are tipped to attend the 2014 Muscat International Film Festival. Hema Malini and ‘Action King’ Dharmendra are among delegates from more than 60 countries expected at the event being held from March 23 to 29.

A WEEK IN PICTURES

HEADLINING STORIES FROM OMAN AND BEYOND

Mystery still surrounds missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went off radar over the sea near Vietnam with 239 people on board on March 11

Iranian President, Dr Hassan Rouhani, is due to sign several deals during a two-day visit to the Sultanate, including a 400-bed super hospital

First commuter bus solely for women launches in Pakistan to protect them from harassment from male passengers

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman’s new luxury resort, is taking bookings ready for its official opening date, to be announced next month


YOUR

OMAN

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dune bashing

Compettitors attempt to conquer the desert in Wahiba sands near Bidiyah


OMAN IN 43 OBJECTS

MUZZAR M

18.

ade from a large square piece of cotton or finely-spun woollen fabric, the Muzzar is a traditional headdress worn by Omani men. In comparison to the Kummar, the Muzzar is worn on more formal occasions such as business meetings, university graduation and weddings.

The Muzzar can be worn in a variety of styles and in a range of colours, from the red and white loosely worn headdresses of Sohar to pure white fabric bound tightly in an almost type of turban. As well as style, the quality ranges greatly from the finest woven Kashmir to more affordable factory made imports from China. MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311

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THIS WEEK

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

The Invisible Woman brooding and ousted Mrs Dickens is played by Joanna Scanlan who manages to capture the desperation of the impossible situation as her philandering partner seeks companionship elsewhere. The film opened to widespread acclaim at the Telluride Film Festival in the U.S and it’s easy to see why; simple but effective cinematography and terrifically strong performances by the experienced cast. It’s also noteworthy that Fiennes puts such heart into his role, when originally he had sought another actor to fill the author’s Victorian shoes. Only when he failed to convince his choice of the role did he rise out of the Director’s chair to star himself. Reviewed by Tom Robertson

PREVIEW

Ralph Fiennes stars as Dickens, the 19th Century world-renowned author, in an adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens. Based on a true story, the film centres on the relationship between an emotionally-charged Dickens with the young Nelly Ternan, a theatre actress played by Felicity Jones. The older - and married - Dickens falls for the young thespian through their work together in the theatre. But given his marital status, it’s a forbidden love that both struggle to define in their complicated lives. It’s a beautifully paced drama in which Fiennes adeptly reconstructs the identity of a gifted playwright, though one in need of acclamation and adoration. Meanwhile a

Tyler Perry’s Temptation Judith, played by the fresh-faced Jurnee Smollet-Bell works at a matchmaking agency owned by Janice, portrayed by the ever youthful Vanessa Williams. Married to her childhood sweetheart Brice, a down to earth, reliable pharmacist, she has quite the ordinary life. She meets Harley, played by Robbie Jones, a wealthy and elusive entrepreneur who she feels an undeniable attraction to. Her subsequent decisions and turbulent affair alter the very course of her life, propelling her into a situation blemished with recklessness and betrayal.

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The Starving Games An attempt to send up what is becoming one of the biggest film franchises of our time, The Hunger Games, falls flat on its ugly face.

Sadly, it’s one that looks as though it was made on a budget accumulated from the young cast pooling their pocket money. There’s nothing clever or entertaining in this 83 minutes of lamentable film, the only welcome part being the arrival of the credits.

Miniscule: Valley of the Lost Ants Oh what a charmer this peculiar little movie is. Made in France, the story centres upon a little ladybird caught up in an adventure with a colony of black ants as they fight to protect their home from a rival army of intruding red ants. Animated bugs thrill in a real world setting without any dialogue, instead relying cleverly on a host of rich sound effects. Simply delightful.

Y’s Choice Patrick: Evil Awakens

We all like a bit of a horror flick every now and again, so it’s with that in mind that Patrick: Evil Awakens is Y’s film choice for the week. This remake of the 1978 classic is an intelligent evolution of the script based in an isolated psychiatric ward. Patrick, a brain dead patient, is subjected to tortuous treatment by a crazed doctor (Charles Dance). But when a young nurse attempts to protect the patient from the horrific ordeal, he uses his

psychic powers to control her and exact pain and suffering on those around him. Moody, spooky and engaging, it’s an old school horror-thriller that treats the original story with respect.


March

Star Crossed

14

Lovers MAR 19 to 21

HAPPY HORROR Obsessed with the TV series The Walking Dead? Attend the Zombie Fest at The Oman Dive Center and look like a living corpse without judgment. Entry fee is RO12.5 and free makeup will be provided at the venue. For details, visit www.axisroyal.com

March

18

THIS

WEEK

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

F E B R U A R Y

ON A WAVE With Omani Mother’s Day around the corner, Oman Sail is hosting a ladies only water sports event at The Wave, Muscat. Qualified instructors will give sessions in wakeboarding, water-skiing, sailing or power boating. No previous experience is required. RSVP to +968-24181400 or caroline@ omansail.com

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March

The world-renowned opera company, Arena di Verona, will perform Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, the story of Romeo and Juliet, at the Royal Opera House Muscat. The famous love story will include some of the original storyline but with a few variations as well. The curtains roll up at 7pm and tickets are priced from RO10 - RO78. For tickets and details, visit www.rohmuscat.org.om

EMERALD EVENT

15

SCHOOL SALE The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) is hosting the TAISM International Day 2014. If you’re interested in displaying your rich culture and heritage, grab a vendor’s table for just RO10 and showcase your wares to over 2,000 people who will be in attendance. For details, contact Beata Jirkovszky at beataj@taism.com

March

14

Get your green on and head to the St. Patrick’s Day Ball at The Grand Hyatt Muscat Hotel. For an all-inclusive price of RO45 per person, enjoy a drinks reception at 7pm, followed by Irish Dancing and music by Celtic rock band ‘The Woodbines.’ For tickets and information, contact Marina at 99445201 or visit www.omanirishsociety.com

BOB THE BUILDER Why not head over to The Big Show 2014 to experience the largest building and construction event in Oman? The info-packed fair will be taking place at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. For further details, visit www.omanexhibitions.com

MAR 17 to 20

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Oman’s Youth Take On

n o i t a n i m i r c s i D l a i c a R

March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. But In Oman It’s the youth WHO are leading the way to change, say Kate Ginn and Tom Robertson. 020

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A

t 14, Abdul seems a confident teenager, popular at school, and comfortable with his peers and his future. But behind the self-possessed persona masks a younger boy who was bullied from the age of six because of his mixed nationality – Abdul is half Indian and half Omani. While teachers and his parents intervened, the bullying at a private school for nationals in Muscat continued on-and-off for several years. “They would call me names and say that they couldn’t be friends with me or come to my house after school to play because I was Indian,” Abdul tells Y. “It was really upsetting. I would go home at the end of school and sit down and cry. “I didn’t want to go to school. I was only young, six or seven, and at that age you just want to be like all the other boys and not be different.” According to Abdul, he is not alone. Other boys in his school have suffered similar discrimination based on the colour of their skin, their origin, or how they look or speak – one of whom Abdul stepped in to help. “It’s a problem at many schools. I think in most schools nowadays people are discriminated against, bullied or racially abused for looking or sounding different,” says Abdul. Of course, it is not just within the school environment that prejudice is seen on a daily basis. In taxis, on the streets, in the office and in shops - whether subtle or more blatant - discrimination happens. But some of Oman’s youngsters and educational institutions are taking a stand to stamp it out. By educating the new generation of Oman, the hope is, racial prejudice can be eliminated. Whether it’s with individual behaviour or a united front, the young are challenging society and attitudes. Nearly 100 students from ABA, an IB World School in Muscat, are participating in Students Against Prejudice (SAP). A unique initiative in Oman – and, according to the co-founder and teacher, Marcie Frederickson, the only one of its kind – it fosters zero tolerance against racial bullying, or any other form of abuse. The group pledge to follow a mission statement fighting the act of discrimination by promoting acceptance, unity, social awareness and understanding. With approximately 95 registered students and weekly meetings that can attract a participation rate of up to 70, it’s a cause to which the students seem especially committed. While overseen by teachers, SAP is proactively pupil-led with four student officers, from 12-18 years olds, guiding the agenda. Their weekly meetings also involve sessions in which guest speakers can teach them how to deal with instances of racial discrimination. “We feel as though we’re in a safe bubble here, but we’re fully aware that it’s not going to be the same once we leave school,” says one of the student SAP members. It’s not just SAP that is active in raising awareness of the issue. The British School Muscat (BSM) is too. “We actively encourage and support all of our pupils to develop an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures, in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony,” says Kai Vacher, Principal of BSM.

“States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races”

Article 2, para 1, International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racism, to which Oman became a party on 2 January 2003.

“Racial equality is promoted through our pastoral programme and within the curriculum.” He underlined how the school takes a hardline against any problems. “We also have a robust behaviour policy in place which enables our staff to respond to potential incidents; which, at our school, are rare.” In theory, the right of all people within Oman to live in a nation free from racial prejudice is guaranteed by the Sultanate’s laws. Article 17 of the Basic Law of the State in Oman stipulates that: “All citizens are equal before the law, and they are equal in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination between them on the grounds of gender, origin, colour, language, religion, sect, domicile or social status.” It echoes Oman’s international commitments. The country became party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination back in January 2003. Speaking on behalf of the Royal Oman Police, a spokesman told Y that nobody had been arrested on the grounds of racist behaviour and there had, in fact, been no reports of racial discrimination made to the police. But anecdotal evidence would suggest that instances of racial discrimination, while perhaps not reported, do happen. As Abdul states, from his own experience: “Honestly speaking, here in Oman, a lot of people do not accept someone different, say if you come from some country or don’t have the right name at the end of your name.” On a website, a man reported one such shocking example. When a family attempted to make a booking to visit a desert camp in Oman, the response to their enquiry was: ‘We don’t take bookings from Indian nationals. Preference for Omani families and Europeans.’ While racial discrimination may be occurring between nationalities, there’s also the issue of racism within a nationality. Postings on the Internet highlight tensions between Omanis according to heritage. Last month on the popular blog ‘How To Live Like An Omani Princess’, a long post talks about ‘racial tensions in Oman’, referring to clear cultural differences between ‘Omani-Omanis, African-Omanis and Zanzibari-Omanis.’ “We should talk about it, especially those who experience it, for that is the only way things change,” said the post’s author. And with the International Day For The Elimination of Racism fast approaching, there’s no better time to start the debate.

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Being bullied because of your race If you experience racist bullying, there are some things that you can do to help it stop:

Abdul’s* experience The way I dealt with it was to focus on my studies, until one day the guys who racially discriminated me were in a lower school class than me or had bad grades. “I showed them that, no matter what, I was there for the long run. “I would also say to the bullies that I was a creation of God and a Muslim, and whether I was Indian, Moroccan or Omani, I had as much right as them to be there. “I complained to the teachers about the racial bullying and so did my parents when I told them about it. The bullies would be suspended, pulled out of class or embarrassed in front of everyone the next day. “The trouble is that no matter what the school does, if the mentality of the bullies does not change, then nothing else will change. “You can put up posters in school, have a policy of no racial bullying but basically, it comes down to the way you think and if you can’t change that, then there’s no point.” Abdul recently stood up for a fellow pupil who was being racially bullied. “They were picking on him because he is from Zanzibar and has curly hair. I knew what it felt like because I had been through the same thing and had overcome it. “I told a senior teacher what was happening and it stopped. “In my view, being a Muslim is about accepting somebody who is different. If people at school do not follow this, school principals cannot help with that. “In Islamic class, we are taught that no one person

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• Accept that it's not your fault - you may feel less confident if you're having a hard time, but the thing you have to remember is that you are not the one to have caused the problem. • Tell someone what's happening to you - maybe a friend or someone at school like a teacher. Alternatively you can always confide in your parents or a relative. • Keep some evidence of what's happening - like a diary of events, for example. This might be useful to show others that you need help. • Try and keep yourself safe - for example you could walk home with someone you know rather than on your own. • Never give up! You might not be able to tackle racism by yourself. Seek out support and accept help where you can. * Source: www.childline.org.uk

should be treated differently because of where they are from, or the way they look or speak. “I always say to kids being bullied at school that you cannot let others pull you down. There will always be people like this in your life and you have to learn how to rise above it. “You need to be strong. The best way to prove it in school is to achieve, academically, with sports or awards. Then you will earn that respect. “My studies became my priority. I want to work hard and make something of myself. “Now I have friends of all nationalities. It (racial bullying) has pretty much stopped now we have all matured. It still happens but very occasionally and I now know how to handle it. I let my goals and achievements do the talking.”

* Name changed to protect his identity


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.

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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 20th, 2014. All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality.


EXTREME

TAKING IT

TO THE

From 19 to 22 March, world-class sailors will be battling it out in the Extreme Sailing Series here in Oman. Tom Robertson talks to the Skipper of the Red Bull Sailing team, Roman Hagara What do you enjoy most about competitive sailing? It’s definitely the element of competition. I like to win and to perform at the highest level. I love the tactics, technique, and teamwork, as well as the fitness and mental strength that are required. Everything needs to be perfect to win a race. You’re originally from Austria. A landlocked country and world-class sailors isn’t a combination that would readily spring to mind for many people. Can you briefly describe how you got into the sport? Austria is famous for skiing, but it’s also a great summer holiday destination with many beautiful lakes. I grew up by a lake and started watersports early as a child with surfing at the coast in other countries. After that I moved into professional sailing when I was 12 years old. We may not have the best training facilities in Austria - but we are placed in the middle of Europe, so it’s not difficult to reach the top sailing spots for training and competitions. What do you enjoy about the Extreme Sailing Series, compared to the other events that you’ve

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competed in, such as the World Championships and the Olympics? Stadium racing right in front of thousands of spectators is a real thrill. I also enjoy the challenge of racing against the best sailors, from all classes, on the planet. There is no other competition in sailing that’s happening at the moment where all the superstars of the sport participate. The ability level is incredibly high. And how do the boats used in this series compare to the Tornados you’ve raced previously? The Red Bull Extreme 40 is a catamaran that’s double the size of the Tornados I sailed before. The boats we race in the Extreme Sailing Series are also ten times heavier and are crewed by five sailors. Overall, the Extreme 40 is a lot more difficult to sail and is much faster. On the small courses we race here in Oman, it’s actually quite difficult to end a race without a crash. Throughout your years on the series, is there any one race or year that particularly stands out for you, and why? Last season in Florianopolis, Brazil, was

especially memorable. We won two races in a row in the most difficult, challenging conditions ever. The wind was reaching up to 28 knots and we really raised our level compared to the other teams. Some of them were struggling with the strong wind. In fact, the SAP Team from Denmark actually capsized. On our boat, we came to realise that we could be one of the strongest teams in windy conditions. We had a lot of fun. After the first race of the 2014 season, your team is in sixth position in the rankings. Without giving too much away, what’s your strategy for reaching the top-spot? Better communication on the boat is a must. We’re also developing our ideas on how to make the boat go faster. It’s all about speed. We’ve focused on health and fitness recently in Y Magazine - how do you physically train for the demanding Extreme Sailing Series races and do you adjust your diet in any way? I train by running, cycling, and using a rowing machine. Normally I’m to be found in the fitness centre every day. We also have a personal


trainer joining us at training camps. I guess I actually spend more time in the fitness centre than on the extreme 40! As far as my diet is concerned, I don’t eat meat, but love seafood so I don’t really follow any particular eating regime. I suppose I eat what I like but always ensure that it’s fresh and healthy. You’re also a Sport Director for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Can you tell us a little more about that and what you hope to achieve in this role? It was four times America’s Cup champion Russell Coutts, Hans Peter Steinacher and myself, who invented the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. It is the first and, we believe, only pathway for the next generation of sailors to test their skills at the highest level and to get into America’s Cup racing. We invited sailors from all over the world to participate in qualification events, choose the best young sailors out of the team and organised the main competition for right before the America´s Cup final. The competition was a great success and the feedback from today’s young guns of the sport was great. We won’t stop supporting youth sailors and will continue to work with them in many different ways. What advice do you have for any amateur sailors looking to take their sailing to the next level? Stop working and start training. It’s really important to spend as many hours as possible on the water, to set goals and sail against other highly competent crews. That will increase your skills and technique. When you’re not at the helm, what do you do in your spare time to relax? I travel a lot, hang out in my house on the lake and just enjoy being near nature. I also like photography and try to capture all my trips and adventures on camera. In 2011 I spent one extra week in Oman and did a road trip around the country. What a beautiful and peaceful place this is.

Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher

Fancy seeing the thrills and spills of the Extreme Sailing Series? Now’s your chance!

Win a pair of fabulous VIP Tickets to watch all the action as some of the world’s leading sailors thrash it out to rise up the season’s rankings. For your chance to win just tell us the answer to this simple question:

How many crew race on each boat in the Extreme Sailing Series? Send the answer, along with your name to info@y-oman.com by Monday, 17 March. MAR 13 - 19 / ISSUE 311

025


BUSINESS & CAREER

GET OUT OF A CAREER CUL-DE-SAC

Who says you have to be a student to intern? For all those in a job they hate, which is slowly eating away at their self-confidence, work experience is a real opportunity to gain the skills you need. Prove to employers that you’re willing to take a small step back to make a big leap forward.

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Trend

Networking

Minute Mentoring

JUMP ON THE

Trainee Train

Shishira Sreenivas defends the internship for providing her with the perfect opportunity - and valuable experience – to land the dream job WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS:

H

ave you applied to hundreds of jobs through online search engines, uploaded countless CVs and spent hours customising cover letters and flaunting your achievements to no avail? I have to admit that there was a phase of about three months where that’s all I did - and ended up feeling completely discouraged. This is the tough reality that recent graduates are facing in a competitive economy where the pool of entry-level jobs is shrinking by the day. But there is a solution and it’s called an internship. This means working in a company, sometimes without pay, in order to gain some experience. And it turns out this is one of the easiest ways to land a full-time job. If you’re thinking that an internship means emulating Anne Hathaway’s role in The Devil Wears Prada, think again. It’s no longer about sweating over Starbucks lattes and sucking up to undermining bosses. Those bad old days of intern slavery are all but gone. According to a survey conducted by Internships.com, companies now regard interning as the equivalent of an interview, where both job seeker and employer benefit equally. Employers get to test the interns first-hand and see if they have the right attributes, giving a more realistic appraisal of work ethic and skills than a 30-minute interview. Interns on the other hand, get an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of the employer and more than anything, get considerable experience that will set them apart from others vying for the same entry-level position. But it’s not just about landing a job. A lot of companies take on interns who are still in school or college. While there is no need to have a fixed career goal in your teens, trying different roles can help weed out interests in preparation for getting the dream job. It is important to address personal strengths, as well as weaknesses, early on so you can focus on a success strategy. Not only that, but it

can help you understand the dynamics of a real workplace. Take it from me - I’m currently on my sixth internship. I started my first placement during my second year of college, going on to work in TV, a marketing company, radio, a newspaper and now Y Magazine. I know that media jobs aren’t that easy to get and, by embracing various sectors, I have learnt several new skills, strengthened my CV, networked with the right people and collected some impressive references. All these are vital when the time comes to getting a permanent role. Of course, like most things in life, an internship comes with its obvious pros and cons. Carefree students should stay professional, make an effort to learn the office jargon and respect fellow interns, seniors, and most importantly, the boss. Any indiscretion will either get you fired or blow your chances of a possible longterm position. Secondly, don’t ever go into an internship hoping to get monetary compensation. Some companies bear basic expenses, while most hire unpaid interns. This is your opportunity to learn as much as possible and shine. You’re literally at the bottom of the totem pole, so let your work do all the talking. This might increase your chances of a paid position. All the toiling is likely to pay off eventually one way or another. Thirdly, never let your enthusiasm waiver. This will make your employer think that you either don’t care or you don’t appreciate the opportunity. Instead, be persistent and ask as many questions as possible. In fact, actively volunteer to do more work. This will definitely catch your boss’s attention. Lastly, be a do-gooder and offer to make coffee for your stressed-out boss. You don’t have to, but it might do wonders for your reputation. So what are you waiting for? Find an internship that interests you. Fill out an application and have a go. You never know, you might just land your dream job.

IT’S A WIN-WIN SITUATION! “An internship is a very beneficial and creative development programme, which gives students the opportunity to be exposed to the working environment and the ability to put their acquired knowledge into practice. Moreover, an internship plays a role in skill enhancement. On the other hand, it gives employers access to fresh, open-minded talent that can provide new creative ideas and possibly increase the productivity of the organisation. During an internship, employers might even find potential candidates who could occupy open vacancies in the future.” Faiz al Rawahi from AIESEC’s Global Oman

BUSINESS BUY

Interning usually means hot-desking and completing assignments from home. Make flexible working a whole lot easier (and more fashionable) with this cute cat USB keyring from Marc Jacobs - from RO30.

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food and drink

Want some AMORE?

When it comes to foods that inspire love, we’ve heard of all the usual suspects – oysters, chocolate and even melons. But did you know that mussels are also regarded as an aphrodisiac? New research indicates the shellfish contain compounds that encourage the body to release hormones connected with physical attraction. They’re also rich in zinc, a mineral known to keep the flames of passion alive (if you get our meaning!).

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Trend

New Restaurant

Reviews


TREND New Restaurant

News

MUSSELS FROM BRUSSELS Muscat is about to go mad for mussels, a seafood bursting with protein and passion, says Noor Hyder

F

leshy, smooth bodies encased in a sleek black shell - mussels are making their mark on Muscat’s culinary scene. And no wonder. They’re good for your health, being particularly rich in protein and minerals whilst low in fat and cholesterol. They also come with a scorecard of healthy attributes. Hailed as the new super food, they have more iron and vitamin B12 than beef and the blue variety are also gluten free. Besides their impressive nutritional profile, Mussels can also be trusted to bring full-bodied flavour and are a super satisfying culinary experience for seafood lovers. Although they are not frequent guests in Muscat’s gastro scene, mussels will be the highlight of the ‘Mad for Mussels’ promotion at the InterContinental Muscat’s Al Ghazal Pub until April 6. Executive Chef Pascal Etienne is confident that the Sultanate’s ‘foodies’ will respond well to the promotion. When I met up with him in the busy kitchens, it was clear that the Belgian understood exactly what people appreciate, and are willing to experiment with. He’s already introduced mussel soup at the hotel’s buffet dinner and was pleased to see that it went fast, encouraging him to introduce the seafood in a variety of other ways. For those who want to try making mussels at home, Pascal has shared his classic recipe as a starting point. The only problem is, it can be hard to find mussels locally. The chef suggests checking Oman’s supermarkets like Al Fair for already cooked and frozen mussels in a vacuum pack, or asking a hotel to order fresh ones in for you. An easy way to tell if they are fresh is to use your nose – they should smell like the ocean, fresh and salty, says the expert. Before you start cooking, always give the shellfish a quick rinse. Most store-bought mussels are pre-cleaned, so that’s all you need to do. To avoid a bad tummy (or worse) tap any open mussels. If they’re alive they’ll close. Fresh water should do the same. If they don’t stay shut, discard them. And for those that prefer their seafood to be prepared by an established chef- make your way to the Al Ghazal Pub for a touch of Belgium.

CHEF PASCAL’S

RECIPE

Ingredients: l 25g Butter l 50g Chopped celery sticks l 75g Onions sliced l 1 Slice Lemon l 5g Parsley l 1 Piece Bay leaf l 1 Sprig Thyme l 1kg Mussels l Salt and Pepper Method: Sauté the onions and celery with butter. Then add the thyme, bay leaf and lemon slice. Mix in the mussels and season. Cover and cook for five minutes, shaking the pan before cooking for two more minutes. Serve with french fries.

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food and drink

Trend

New Restaurant

Shake Shack

If you like the idea of slurping milkshakes with your burger in a retro-style diner, B+F may very well become your favourite new hangout, says Penny Fray

C

ool times are guaranteed at B+F Roadside Diner, a well-established hip hangout in Bareeq Al Shatti mall. The vibe is partrestaurant, part-teen lair, with neon signs, a heaving crowd and retro designer details such as a 1950s car. This place is seriously popular with those in the know, and those in the know seem to be mostly trendy young things in jeans and expensive trainers. You could be in America – except for the posse of gorgeous girls in black abayas giving the game away. In theory, I love this Kuwaiti franchise for its fashionable feel. The industrial styling is everywhere, including the very snazzy looking menus and kitchen area. It’s an upmarket McDonald's by any other name. Plus, as a committed carnivore who isn’t bothered about greasy fingers or furred-up arteries, I’m quite partial to a patty or two. The only problem with this place is that it makes you feel old – like mutton dining down as lamb. I ought to have gone to Slider Station, its grown-up sister restaurant, as

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B+F is clearly reserved for young Omanis, not 30-something expats – a point clearly illustrated by the irritated glares of those around me. The smiling staff, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more welcoming, efficiently handing over menus while also wiping tables. The choice of drinks and dishes available on the funkily designed menu verged on the overwhelming – and while few phrases strike fear into a foodie’s heart like a gourmet burger – the list was impressive by virtue of its creativity and VERDICT: quality ingredients. Most of 10 the more expensive joints Cool Americana came from Australia, and joint with great value whilst not necessarily to be fair, the waitress food and friendly service – just a pity organic, the provenance had asked whether they ran out of the looked good. we wanted everything desserts we My friend, a milkshake together and assumed wanted connoisseur, loved the fact that our nods meant that they had everything from drinks too. When Kate’s shake Malteser to Oreo flavoured froth. eventually arrived, she cooed over After a lot of ‘ooing’ and ‘aahing’ its deliciousness, rubbing in the fact she eventually went for the white that I was yet to receive my fruity chocolate and peanut butter concoction. Despite the constant milkshake, while I had the berry reminders, it arrived almost 15 and banana smoothie. Parched, we minutes after I had ordered it. weren’t impressed by the wait. But Thankfully, there were no such

7.5

Info Box

B+F Roadside Diner 61 Bareeq Al Shatti Mall Shatti Al Qurum Tel: 24698836 Price: RO21 for two people (including drinks)

tedious delays over the mains, which included a rib-eye steak and chicken club sandwich. A fractured wrist meant that I had to play nurse and carve-up my companion’s meat. Thankfully, despite being well done, it sliced beautifully with minimum fat, gristle or effort. The potatoes were more smashed than mashed but tasted good nonetheless, while I was well satisfied with my poultry sandwich. My only complaint is that it may have been a little paltry in size because I was still hungry afterwards. No such issue with the fries though, which generously filled the whole bowl. Our only real mistake of the evening was foregoing starters in favour of what looked like a super special dessert menu. But alas! Everything we asked for was unavailable, forcing us to sample the apple pie and chocolate moonsliders instead. And oh, how I wished I hadn’t been lured in by my sweet tooth because the pie was clearly a defrosted number. It looked and tasted manufactured. Kate thought the same about her tasteless crêpe – although the combination of chocolate and fresh strawberries gave it a bit of much needed oomph. If I hadn’t inherited her extra scoop of vanilla, I probably wouldn’t have been able to eat my pie’s extra dry pastry. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise good meal.


We want to give something back to you, our readers. So, we’re giving you the whole magazine. We’d like you to write, style and illustrate our pages for Issue 314. For this unique and interactive project, we’re on the hunt for budding writers to pen features, reviews and columns for publication on April 3, 2014. We also need wannabe artists and amazingamateur photographers to illustrate the pages of the magazine. There are no barriers. We just want brilliance. Interested? Just look at Y’s weekly sections and pitch your ideas to the editor by March 21 at editor@y-oman.com If you’re chosen for this very special project, you have until March 27 to complete your work and be part of the edition. Watch out for our daily tutorials on Facebook and Twitter #WEMADEY


HEALTH& BEAUTY

Health

Beauty

fashion

A more elegant and slightly less scary way to wear the crop top is to team it with wide tailored pants à la Richard Chai’s latest collection.

TOP OF THE CROPS

Sorry ladies, it’s crunch time because crop tops have cropped up again. The stomach-baring tops dominated Spring’s catwalk - from Rodarte, which showed several, to Diane von Fűrstenberg. It seems that abs of steel are the season’s accessory du jour.

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GRIN AND BARE IT Cropped tops are back in vogue. Penny Fray guides you through this season’s midriff minefield

Y

ou’ve been living on a diet of burgers and avoiding the gym as though it was a party bore with halitosis. And the results are far from pretty. So can there be a crueller thing to ask of us at this particular time of year than full-scale stomach exposure? In one word – no! But designers can be an unkind lot. Why else would they bring back the crop top from the 1990s? Not even when I was a size-eight law student who looked like a character from the 1995 film ‘Clueless’ did I try the carb-hating trend. Now my heart plunges at the thought of it - and yet, midriffs were seen on virtually every catwalk – from Chanel to McQueen. Panic not though. You don’t need to call a plastic surgeon to suck the fat from your stomach yet, because this time around, there’s a silver lining to all the fashion gloom. The idea is to elongate the body by showing just a sliver of flesh above a high-waisted skirt – not the squishy belly bit but higher up to the firmer part of a woman’s body. Calvin Klein did it best by offering a crisply cut tailored top over a high-waisted pencil skirt. On the high street, Marks & Spencer takes the prize for the most wearable of cropped ensembles. If however, you feel a little queasy at the thought of showing even a smidgeon of skin, you can always cheat with either this season’s sheer panelling or a wide cummerbund belt such as Alexander Wang’s. Who knew that bits of your husband’s tuxedo would become so useful?

This Zara cropped tee has a lightweight and flexible fit. The asymmetric hem gives this minimalist piece the perfect feminine touch. RO19.90

Inspired by landscapes, Mary Katrantzou’s ‘Kathmandu’ skirt features an abstract photographic print. Cut from soft satin-twill, large, structured pleats give this A-line design a silhouette that is sharp but still flattering with a cropped top. Okay, so it’s an investment piece at RO467 but justify it as wearable art.

Proenza Schouler’s cropped stretch-cotton poplin style is a modern twist on the classic white shirt. It doesn’t have to be too revealing - wear it with high-waisted pants or shorts to transition it from day to dark. RO208 from Net-A-Porter

Balance the cropped fit of this quilted piece with high-waisted tailoring. Available online from Mint Velvet. RO38 Comfortable, with a pool slider vibe, we love these uber trendy flats from H&M –from RO13.5

CRUNCH TIME

Penny’s tips on wearing this season’s most terrifying trend:

If you dare to bare - try these cropped shorts from Matalan. They have a relaxed fit that’s perfect for off-duty days on the beach. Wear with a pair of pool sliders. From RO8

1. If you’re older than 16 and want to look age appropriate, gravitate towards a matching set that features a skirt with a longer hemline. The small hint of skin at your midriff will give you a fashion edge without looking ridiculous. 2. If you are a real scaredy cat, try a cropped sweater with a shirt underneath. There may be a multitude of sins under there, but it must not look that way.

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033


HEALTH& BEAUTY

Do It Yourself.’ The concept usually evokes the image of a burly-looking bloke armed with a vicious looking drill and a utility belt hanging round his waist as he heads off to the garage to make his own foosball table. Now replace that vision with one of an economically conscious, kitchen savvy goddess, who makes her own makeup. Homemade cosmetics are now all the rage with Omani youngsters who want to pick and choose which ingredients go into their beautifying routine. Blame the rising interest on the Internet, in particular, beauty blogs and YouTube videos showcasing endless tutorials, tips and tricks on how to create your own lipstick. As we all know, the quest for perfection often puts a strain on our purses, and the cost of cosmetics is no exception. It’s a Catch-22, as really cheap makeup can be dangerous to use, while chemical-free products are pricier than ever. No wonder DIY makeup has stepped into the breech as the perfect alternative – it’s both cheap and chic. With a variety of recipes including lip balms made with jojoba oil, to eyeliner whipped up with cocoa powder and coconut oil, homemade makeup is one DIY women won’t mind spending hours on. Take your time experimenting with colours and ingredients to mix something that becomes the key to your signature glow. In fact, find the right packaging and you have the perfect prettifying gift for your posse.

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MAKE IT YOURSELF

MAKEUP Trade the mall for the kitchen and stir up cosmetic concoctions that are good enough to gift, says Noor Hyder

Beet Red Lip Gloss

Ingredients: ¼ cup beeswax ¼ cup castor oil 2 tablespoons sesame oil Beetroot juice Instructions: Carefully melt the beeswax. Once removed from the heat, add the oils and as much beetroot juice as desired for colour. Let it cool and store it in a jar. Apply on your lips for a soft, red pout.

Homemade Bronzing Powder

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder 3 teaspoons cornstarch 3 drops lavender oil Instructions: Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl, adjusting the levels as you’d like. Add three drops of lavender oil (you can also use rose oil). Mix well. For a bit more of a glam glow, add some fine grains of hazel-coloured glitter. Place in a clean, empty jar. Apply very lightly over your forehead, apples of your cheeks and nose for an all-natural glow.


Health

STYLE COUNSEL

BARBRA YOUNG ANSWERS YOUR FASHION QUESTIONS

The Denim Shirt

Cool on the catwalk and a front row favourite —the denim shirt is back and fast garnering cult status with Muscat’s yummy mummies as the new cashmere. If you’re on a budget, try this cute cactus print version from H&M, RO12.

Fashion

Q.

I really love fashion and I am seeing a lot of pleated skirts in magazines and some of Muscat’s stores at the moment. I would really love to wear them but I don’t know how. I don’t have the perfect model figure and I am not tall either. Can you advise me? Sheila, MQ

A.

You have come to the right place, as I am mad about pleats. No, not the horrid boxy skirts we wore as our school uniform back in the dark ages, but the soft sunray pleats, that are super popular this season. Start with a skirt, below the knee and with an asymmetric hem. This line draws the eye away from any imperfections around our hip or tummy area - even better if the hemline is in a contrasting colour. Choose a top that is slightly flared and lighter than the skirt. Wear with pointy-toed shoes for an elongated look. No ankle straps though, as they’ll make you look squat. Shop around because there are plenty of stunning pieces in Zara, H&M and Splash. Finally, don’t forget If you have any to have fun with fashion questions fashion, try on as for Barbra, email many different styles info@y-oman.com as you can find. You will or tweet #style @ discover that the perfect ytabloid outfit created by a great pleated skirt never goes out of fashion.

TREND

Barbra Young, a former designer and retailer

Beauty

Crafted from mid-weight denim, this pleated piece by J.W. Anderson’s sits at the narrowest part of your waist, hits just below the knee and works equally well with bright heels or pointy-toe flats. Team with this fitted shirt from Mango, RO12.

STREET STYLE Eeva Vuorinen Spotted At: Al Fair, MQ Wearing: A knitted sweater from Garage, leggings from Stradivarius, shoes from Spring and a Longchamp bag.

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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

RUWI • Apollo Medical Centre • Kamat Restaurant • KFC • Khimji Megastore – Swarovski Showroom • Khimji’s Watches - Showroom • KM Trading • Oman Air • Oman UAE Exchange, OCC • OTE • Sarwana Bhawan Wattayah • Ahli Bank • Best cars • BLS • Ford Showroom • Hatat House • Honda Showroom • Kia • Lexus • National Travel & Tourism • OTE - Chevorlet/ GM showroom • OTE - Hyundai showroom • OTE - Subaru showroom • Passage to India • Shell Select • Suzuki - Moosa Abdul Rahman Showroom • Toyota Qurum • Al Araimi Complex • Balance Gym • Bank Nizwa • BMW showroom • Burger King • Chili’s • Crowne Plaza • Finland Eye Center • Fun Zone • Gloria Jean’s Coffee • Jungle Restaurant • Left Bank • McDonald’s • Mercedes Showroom • Mumtaz Mahal • Nandoos • Nissan Showroom • Oman Oil Ahlain • Pizza Hut • Qurum Commercial Complex

• • • • •

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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CARS AND inDOORS BLACK ROCK

Basalt rocks form jagged outcrops that rise above a sea of sand in Al Wusta.

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Postcards from

Cars

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Destination

Jebel Aswad Head for Al Wusta with Jerzy Wierzbicki, where dark black mounds contrast against large sandy expanses and hidden oases Words and Images: Jerzy Wierzbicki

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to be mentioned only in the publications of oil engineers and a handful of travellers’ blogs. But looking on Google Earth – which I’ve come to rely on as a useful reconnaissance tool - I could make out a little more about the area. Large dark rocks seemed to form a circular pattern, like a volcano’s crater. Could it be a volcanic remnant of a bygone geological period? I couldn’t wait to get back there for another trip to really find out what was there. But before I did, a friend of mine dashed all hopes of such an amazing discovery when I spoke to him briefly beforehand. A geologist here in Oman, he informed me that the rocks I had seen certainly weren’t those of a volcanic crater rim. But still, they were an interesting feature, a mass of black basalt seemingly out of place in this part of Al Wusta, where sandstone and limestone usually dominate. I prepared for the trip meticulously, mindful that the sands there are soft and sometimes prone to flooding during the rainy season. I went alone. Being faced with natural environments and silence is a quintessential part of my desert trips, allowing me to admire Mother Nature at her best. I moved from Muscat slowly in a southerly direction to Sinaw and Mahout. In Mahout, I stopped to grab a simple biryani in a small hotel before continuing my trip in the afternoon to the Dark Hills. Around 50km from Mahout, I turned off the road and headed into the desert, having partially deflated my tyres. It’s a strange and unique location; the desert landscape actually appeared a little haunting. Lonely, bizarrely shaped rocks, weathered and fragile were dotted throughout soft sands. Desert shrubs spread out between wide wadis, carved by

huge torrents of water, creating the unique and symbolic landscape so distinctive of Al Wusta. The last stage of the trip was only 6km to Jebel Aswad. But this time I planned to check what I could find behind the black hills that give Jebel Aswad its name. My little dog, Trop, went crazy when we started driving on the sandy surface. He was sitting on the front seat and watching everything around him with great interest. The sand in the area was soft and flat but in the distance ahead of me, I saw the huge complex of black hills. I parked near the highest outcrop, grabbed my camera and moved up to the top. The view from there, over the wide-open space, was magnificent. Pure sandy desert was divided by the rocky landscape on which small trees appeared like little dark dots. But there was another tiny blotch that I saw through my camera lens, a small dark green patch in the distance. So I ventured over, to find that it was an oasis of palm trees located at the end on a small wadi. The source of life for the trees was a spring gently trickling from the limestone rock. Behind the oasis was the perfect campsite; a little gap to the side of the wadi revealed a small ravine, filled with yellow sand and trees. It looked like heaven and I stayed there for the night. The next day I woke up early and headed back along the long sandy plateau to the north of the black hills. The two contrasting vistas was a perfect example of the diversity of the area. As the sun neared its zenith, the decision was made not to return the way I had come, but to travel all the way back to the road via the plateau. It added another 25km to the journey but helped to complete that true experience of desert travel.

HOW TO GET THERE

travel guide

O

man’s interior is full of natural features that, due to their location off the beaten track, are largely hidden from view. It’s testament to the extremely diverse geography of the country. In the central part of Oman, is Al Wusta governate, an area that I have explored for many years. Majestic and with a character all of its own, there are many great locations within the region to be discovered. One of them is a small area of dark hills, which was the focus of my last adventure. It’s one that cements the view that deserts are simply not uniform. Their diversity is difficult to describe and, for those who haven’t experienced the many facets of this kind of wilderness, hard to imagine. Whenever I’m on my solitary trips into the desert, I take note of all the different features that make up these unique landscapes; new geology, the way rocks are shaped and the nature of the dunes. A few years ago, while travelling from Mahout to Duqm, and being inquisitive about the surrounding landscape, I turned off the road into the desert based on a hunch. It was this spontaneous decision that led me to discover a quite unusual location, so different from those that I’ve normally explored in Al Wusta. On that occasion it was just a recce. But that first flying visit did convince me that this was a place to return to at a time when I could explore it properly. When I returned to Muscat, it was a case of carrying out some research to see what information I could dig up on the area. But unfortunately there seemed to be very little out there. The deserts of Al Wusta appeared

Go to Mahout via road 32, where there is a petrol station. After Mahout, travel in the direction of Duqm. After around 50km you will see a mobile phone antenna. Turn right into the desert approximately 500m after. From this point

you should see the capabilities of most dark rocks of Jebel 4x4s. Aswad ahead. It’s best to drive cautiously GPS location of and remember to Jebel Aswad: lower the pressure 20°32’11.33”N in your tyres. The route is manageable 57°53’51.52”E but a 4x4 is required. GPS location of The sands there are the plateau: soft but the whole 20°34’15.26”N area is within the 57°53’53.06”E

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ga n i ur d o n t fi n s o ’ ers hat t d i t r r o s s le sp orld-cla c y c rs a some w e v o c dis s to n k o n s t a r obe Oman th R m To g in n i w follo

WIN!

ts -shir y T d e e n 2 sig nny Bela k o e o K by s Faceb ’ r Y on d Twitte an s page 040

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Make sure you know a few basic tricks with our quick guide to some of the most well know BMX flatlanding moves. Endo: The staple trick. Applying the brake harshly sends the rear wheel up in the air to leave the rider balancing on just the front wheel. Fork Glide: The rider stands on the front peg and, while doing so, spins the bike a full 180 degrees. Surfer: One foot is placed on the seat while the other is put on the handlebars. Barride: The rider stands upright while balanced just on the handlebars. No, really. Bar Hop: The rider springs up and over the handlebars, landing with their feet on the front pegs and the rider sat on the handlebars. Megaspin: The rider stands at the back of the bike, with one foot on a rear peg and the other spinning the rear tyre to send the bike pirouetting in a circular motion.

F

ire-Hydrants, Decades, Cherry Pickers and Boomerangs. Have you got any idea what such an eclectic mix could have in common? No, this isn’t a trick question. These are tricks. More specifically they’re just a few of the incredible moves in BMX flatlanding. You might have seen youngsters in the car park some time pulling a wheelie, but for professional BMX flatlanders, that’s kid’s play. For the pros, it’s an entirely different story: in a blur of absurd balance and coordination, BMXs are twizzled underfoot as the rider hops around his bike pulling a variety of moves and stunning manoeuvres you wouldn’t think were even possible. Best described as ‘breakdancing on a bike’ by one of the discipline’s most famous sons, Terry Adams, this form of BMX freestyle is a sport at once graceful and exciting. But the levels of skill involved can leave the mind boggling. It’s no wonder that Adams admits to practicing for up to 40 hours a week. And even then, it can take up to 18 months to perfect some of the advanced tricks. It’s for that reason that the world’s top professional riders have to be 100 per cent committed to the sport and lifestyle. But driven by passion, it’s one they relish. “Nothing’s difficult if you really love it”, says the World’s current number one flatland rider Viki Gomez. “Practice becomes a joy. You can do it almost anyplace, anytime and anywhere. All you need is a BMX.”

Viki Gomez

And there lies the point of why flatlanding can prove so popular. Unlike some BMX disciplines, there are no ramps or specific courses involved. You can pretty much do it anywhere. All you need is a BMX and some flat ground. That’s not to say that the bike is your usual run-of-the-mill boxer we all remember from our childhoods. The BMXs themselves tend to be more specialised, with adaptations to help the rider perform tricks. Special ‘detanglers’ are used to allow the handlebars to rotate endlessly without the brake cables becoming entangled around the handlebar stem. There’s also a set of pegs at both the front and back of the bike on which the rider can stand during the displays. Some riders also use extremely high-pressure tyres to help decrease friction with the ground and make the bike feel more responsive. It’s a sport that’s been around as long as the BMX, with the discipline starting in earnest in the 1970s. Having blossomed into a popular spectator sport, it wasn’t unusual to see demonstrations during the half-time break of huge sporting events. It was also even a key event in the X Games, a leading competition for sports such as motocross, skateboarding and BMX. But when the sport was dropped from the tournament in 2004, the sport’s proponents and leading lights fought to propel it back to the front of the public’s sporting conscience. And now some of the world’s top riders are here in the Sultanate to showcase some of

Terry Adams

their BMX skills. The former Flatland World Champion and current World number 1, Gomez, is presently on a week long tour until March 18 that will include appearences at Muscat, Salalah, Nizwa and Sohar. He’ll also be accompanied by nine-time world champion trial biker Kenny Belaey, who’ll be wowing the crowds with his dazzling array of biking moves. Check Red Bull’s twitter @RedBullOman and Y’s Facebook for exact event times and locations. You’ll be able to keep an eye out for a variety of elements that judges look for when professionals and amateurs compete. In trialing, for instance, the number of times the riders place their foot on the ground is crucial and each rider will aim to avoid doing so altogether. But then there are the other more technical elements that flatlanders are judged on, such as the difficulty of tricks performed and the originality. It’s when you get to the top-tier competitions that the style and flow of various moves being strung together in combinations are judged. But can the tricks run out? Can the sport become bogged down with the same old moves? Absolutely not, says Adams: “The crazy thing about riding flatland is that there’s always something new to do. There’s always something new to experience. There’s always a new trick or move to try. And that’s what really keeps me riding every day - knowing that what I do is infinite.”

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FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE Unlike Moscow’s red bricks

and onion domes, St. Petersburg has a cityscape of neoclassical architecture, gorgeous gardens and scenic canals, giving it a more European flavour than the capital.

Top 5 Places To Visit: 1. Hermitage Museum 2. Catherine Palace & Park 3. Mariinsky Theatre 4. Yelagin Island 5. Winter Palace of Peter I

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Cars

Y-Fi

I n d o o r s postcards from

Samiksha Nair recommends

St. Petersburg, Russia T

he city may have been built on a swamp, but St. Petersburg is j u s t i f i a b l y r a t e d a s o n e o f t h e m o s t b e a u t i fu l c i t i e s i n E u r o p e . T h e c e n t r e , w i t h i t s w o n d e r fu l n e o c l a s s i c a l a r c h i t e c t u r e , m a g n i f i c e n t palaces, eye-catching cathedrals and modern shopping malls, can literally take your breath away. This ideological place pulsates with ideas, f r e e d o m a n d c u l t u r e a n d , d u r i n g t h e t w o w e e k s m y fa m i l y a n d I s p e n t t h e r e , w e d i s c o v e r e d t h a t i t s n i g h t l i f e c o u l d g i v e N e w O r l e a n s a r u n fo r i t s m o n e y . O f c o u r s e , S t . P e t e r s b u r g i s a c o m p l e t e l y d i ff e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e d e p e n d i n g o n t h e s e a s o n y o u v i s i t . I n t h e s u m m e r t i m e , i t ’ s a l u s h g r e e n p l a c e w i t h b e a u t i fu l g a r d e n s a n d b u s y s t r e e t s . I n fa c t , i t s ‘ W h i t e N i g h t s ’ - t h o s e l o n g d a y s w h e n t h e s u n barely dips below the horizon - are legendary. Then, come winter, the city is t r a n s fo r m e d i n t o a s n o w c o v e r e d w o n d e r l a n d . B y t h e e n d o f o u r t r i p , I r e a l i s e d t h a t I h a d fa l l e n c o m p l e t e l y i n l o v e w i t h o n e o f R u s s i a ’ s m o s t e l e g a n t c i t i e s . A n d i n r e t r o s p e c t , t w o w e e k s w a s fa r t o o s h o r t a t i m e t o e x p e r i e n c e i t a l l . T h e n again, all good things must come to an end.

C at h erine

P a l ace

My favourite place

Being an art lover, I adored the Hermitage Museum, located in the central district of the city. The architecture is breathtaking, and the art pieces inside are well restored. A walk through this huge building provides a true sense of history. Every room holds a surprise, and it’s easy to spend a whole day marvelling at the large and never ending array of sculptures and paintings. Planning the visit is crucial however, as it can take as much as eight hours to appreciate the experience fully. The queues can be long too.

Highlights St. Petersburg is a busy city and there’s a lot to do. It offers a variety of activities from opera and historical museums to nightclubs and bars. On our first day we walked through the street of Nevsky Prospekt and visited a lot of Russian shops before meandering through the Summer Garden to marvel at the Summer Palace of Peter the Great. An unusual aspect of life in St. Petersburg is the ease with which you can ‘thumb a ride’. Nearly every car on the road is a potential taxi, and this made our entire travel experience very convenient and enjoyable. Even so, I highly recommend just taking a simple stroll around the city, taking in the sights and sounds. It’s not just the architecture of the palaces and cathedrals that you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over, but even a basic lamppost is a work of art. During our winter stay, the snow-filled parks and freezing cold were an experience in themselves.

h urc h ‘S pas Ort h od ox C na K ro v i’

Lowlights

The only real deterrent to enjoying this great city and its people was our lack of Russian. Although the conversational tactic of saying ‘Nyet’ and ‘Da’ in different combinations was used, the confused expressions worn by listeners were not encouraging. I recommend taking guided tours wherever possible in order to truly appreciate the attractions of St. Petersburg, without the language barrier.

Souvenirs

Beautiful amber bracelets exclusive to St. Petersburg are the perfect gift. A variety of other cultural souvenirs like Russian dolls and faux Fabergé eggs can be found in any of the shopping malls and markets in the city.

Where to stay

If you are not staying on Nevsky Prospekt, then you are missing the very heartbeat of St. Petersburg. Hotels on Nevsky Prospekt Street retain their charm through their beautiful architecture, and are in a prime location as they’re close to Anichkov Palace, Catherine’s Palace and Park, Kazan Cathedral and other major attractions. Many restaurants and cafés are available in and around Nevsky Prospekt too, which are generally cheap and provide a variety of local and European cuisines.

Mariinsk

y Theatre

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-FI THE TECH IN YOU

Postcards from

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Indoors

Y-FI

Visualise This

If you’re serious about capturing sights and sounds, then you’ll need some of this amazing audio-visual tech, says Tom Robertson

Calling budding Spielbergs Back in issue 306, Y-Fi introduced readers to the latest ultra high resolution 4K TVs. Now imagine being able to capture such super-high resolution imagery yourself. Soon you’ll be able to, with the Sony 4K Camcorder FDRAX100. Employing a one inch sensor and Carl Zeiss lens, it’s the first walletfriendly 4K camera and is set to become the indispensible tool for budding cameramen and women to enter the resolution revolution. RO770. Pre-order from sony.com

Sound bytes Go-Pro-fessional

The Philips Voice Tracer 5000 is an incredibly useful tool for bloggers, journalists, PAs, secretaries or indeed anyone wanting to keep an audio record of all those important meetings. Unlike your phone, this pocket marvel will do it with three high-fidelity microphones and a voice volume indicator that helps to monitor recording levels. Has a staggering 30 hour battery life. From RO32 on amazon. com

EDITOR’S PICK

Go-Pro are back with their latest version of the highly successful Hero models. The Hero 3+ black edition is 20 per cent smaller and lighter than previous models making it more feasible for clipping onto your helmet as you sandboard down Oman’s dunes. Waterproof at up to 40 metres, it’s also the perfect companion for capturing your scuba adventures. The WiFi enabled adrenalinefuelled camera also comes with a remote that can control the Hero 3+ from an impressive 180m away. R0237 from gopro.com

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Rock the mic Potentially the go-to name in microphone technology, Samson has come up with a beautifully created home studio mic perfect for recording podcasts and other audio clips. With their Meteor Mic’s capability to connect directly to your home PC via USB, it’s a fantastically easy way to get around the need for expensive mixing equipment. 50s styling echoes throughout the chrome which encapsulates the recording tech within. Adjustable legs can be used to angle the mic for the perfect sound recording position and, when not in use, can be folded up to protect the Meteor. RO29 from musciciansfriend.com


FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS

App of the week Magisto

Live stream

This may be verging on the slightly creepy, but potentially the Liquid Image 800 would allow you to walk around capturing your entire day and stream it live over the Internet by connecting to a 4G network. This little cam is small enough to clip to your lapel so we can all watch the wearer munching on their breakfast in 1080p at 30 frames per second. Hmmmmm. Price TBC. Available June 2014.

If you do insist on using your smartphone for recording then why not be one of the 15 million people currently using Magisto? The clever App analyses your photos and videos and then crafts them together into an edited movie ready to share with your friends and family. Free on iOS and Android.

NEW! JVC Everio – GZ-R70 JVC have decided that they’re not to be outdone by the ubiquitous Go-Pros and have introduced a new line of rugged Everio Handycams with some cunning features that neither camera phones nor action-cams can match, such as 40x optical zoom. It also features a 3.0 inch full-screen touch panel for some on-thego editing and playback - as well as a built in zoom mic for delivering sound that matches the quality of the image. Available April 2014 for RO192.

The Everio’s ‘Quad-Proof structure’ ensures that the camera is waterproof up to 5m, dust-proof, and can withstand temperatures down to -100C, as well as a drop from 1.5m. Includes a 32GB internal memory as well as SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot to store high quality images and video. Capable of shooting up to 4.5 hours of video on one charge of the internal battery, but is also compatable with third party batteries. Konica Minolta HD lens offers great picture quality for both video and photo stills, while an Advanced Image Stabiliser avoids a case of the dreaded camera shakes.

GIRLY GADGET

Every child likes to hear their mother’s soothing tones as they drift off to sleep. But for those mums who can’t be there in person, there’s always the Cuddletunes. Simply record your message and lullabies via their website and then download them to the bear’s inbuilt MP3 player. RO24 from cuddletunes.com FEB 27MAR – MAR 13 -0519/ /ISSUE ISSUE309 311

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CARS AND INDOORS

Postcards from

Y- F i

Indoors

C ars

Mitsubishi Lancer EX GLX Specification

Engine: 1.6 litre Transmission: Four-speed automatic Horsepower: 117 0-100kph: 13.6 seconds Price: Starting from RO5,650

car of the week It’s the latest addition to the Lancer family and the combination of sporty looks and great price might just win you over, says Kate Ginn

I

f you’re in the market for a decent economy sedan for the family or a second household car, keep reading. Even if you’re not on the lookout for a new vehicle, keep reading (it will keep my Editor happy and me in her good books, for the time being at least). I’m here to tell you about the new arrival to bless the little Lancer family. The bouncing bundle of joy weighs in at a very healthy 1,140kg with four doors and alloy wheels. It’s quite an attractive looking car with a sparkle of sportiness, helped by a new radiator grill giving it a more edgy look. While confirmed Lancer lovers might not notice many differences compared to previous models, the secret to this new one lies under the bonnet. You’ll find a 1.6 litre engine instead of the usual 2.0 litres that has driven the brand for so long (although that is still available). It’s been four years since the EX debuted. The boffins at Mitsubishi obviously felt the market was there for a less powerful version, retaining all the Lancer features but with a more restrained motor running the show. So does it work? Yes, I think so. I’ve been partial to a Lancer, ever since my elder brother 046

MAR 13 – 19 / ISSUE 311

acquired an aged bright yellow model, then known as a Colt Lancer, which had long seen better days. I inherited it when he returned to Tokyo and drove it until it pretty much disintegrated and had to be towed off to the scrapyard. So I was curious as to whether an economy engine would cut the mustard. In fact, it loses none of its throaty roar but actually feels lighter thanks to the smaller engine. Those clever Lancer fellas have also apparently made the gear changes shorter on the automatic transmission, which essentially means the dynamic drive the car is known for, is retained. It’s responsive and the slightest touch on the accelerator or turn of the steering wheel, produces an immediate result. Thankfully, it also hasn’t lost that quintessential sports saloon spirit. Of course, a smaller engine also means significantly improved fuel economy, always a draw for budget-conscious families. Inside, the Lancer is not exactly going to blow you away but it has all the basics, along with a stylish black-accented interior. What it does have is strong driver awareness. By that I mean that everything is designed with the person behind the wheel

in mind. Everything has been ergonomically laid out to put every control exactly where it should be. I especially like the pedal shifts and audio controls on the steering wheel, giving you the control you want without ever needing to take your eyes off the road ahead. At speed, zipping down the highway, the insulated doors keep out unwanted noise. One pleasantly surprising aspect is the amount of space inside. It’s spacious and roomy enough to accommodate a growing family, a young couple with their friends, or an executive looking for an office on the move. The boot space is massive too, able to swallow up prams, bags of shopping, suitcases or boxes - always a winner with parents. Safety, as you would expect, is excellent too. Reinforced bodywork helps to absorb collision damage and direct it away from the interior, and there’s stability control and other features. If the price (which starts from RO5,650) wasn’t enough to tempt you, there are all sorts of launch offers in Oman at the moment including 30,000km free servicing, free registration and insurance, and a six-year unlimited mileage warranty. I am intrigued. Wonder if it comes in bright yellow?

They say: ‘Performance that inspires.’ We say: ‘Value for money with a bit of bite.’

Check this out

Four-wheel Anti-Lock Braking System Brake Assist Dual-stage airbags for driver and front passenger as standard 16/18” alloy wheels Premium cloth One-touch power windows Trip computer Colour liquid crystal 3.5” Multi- Information Display



Y Magazine #311, March 13, 2014