MEET THE WINNERS OF PORTRAIT BY A NATION EXPLORING THE BEAUTY
Of Bait Al Ghesham News: NEW PROJECTS 10 ANNOUNCED AT TANFEEDH
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DEC 01 - 07 2016 / ISSUE 447 â€¢ WEEKLY
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Welcome to Y Magazine – your top guide to the best of Oman every week.
t was an emotional prize-giving ceremony this week for the winners of Y Magazine’s Portrait By A Nation competition. As 46 proud children and their even prouder parents gathered at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel in Shatti al Qurum for the announcement, there were nerves a-plenty. But with just nine winners, and one entrant who was awarded a one-year art scholarship at A’Soud Global School, it’s no wonder the children, aged between five and 17, were so nervous. This year’s Portrait By A Nation competition has been the best so far but of course that’s easy for me to say as I’ve been here for all three years of them. We had so many entrants and were very fortunate, once again, to witness such an outpouring of love and respect for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said as the children created their tributes for Oman’s 46th National Day. Turn to P26 to meet this year’s winners – we hope you like their paintings as much as they impressed the judges! Elsewhere, we look at the implications of the demonetisation of the Indian 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, check out some smart office gadgets in Y-Fi and explore beautiful Bait Al Ghesham in Destination. Have a wonderful week!
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi MANAGING EDITOR Felicity Glover
PHOTOGRAPHER Shaquel al Balushi REPORTER Alvin Thomas 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. DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
10 News New projects announced at Tanfeedh
22 Portrait By A Nation Meet the winners 26 Money for Nothing Indians struggle to change banned rupees
08 Voice Of Oman Tina Squires
16 ROHM Review Don Giovanni 18 This Week Rave of Thrones
11 Gallery 20 Movies Fantastic Beasts BSM International Day
12 Competition Win an Entertainer 2017 smartphone app
13 Gallery National Day 14 Faces of Oman 15 Hyundai â€“ Driven To Success Iman al Balushi
Food and Drink 30 Food Feature After-school fuel 33 Taste Test Taste of India
Cars and Adventures
40 Destination Bait al Ghesham
Health and Beauty
44 Y-Fi Office gadgets
34 Fashion Bold moves
46 Car Of The Week Driverless vehicles
42 Postcard From Glen Nevis, Scotland
36 Beauty Luscious locks 37 Health Clear sight
NEXT ISSUE... FEATURES / COFFEE WITH Y / NEWS / MOVIES / EVENTS / BEAUTY / DESTINATION / TRAVEL / FASHION / OUTDOORS
Alvin Thomas sits down with Abdul Sattar al Maimani an d discovers a man who is pass ionate about classic cars y first encounter with Abdul Omante
l was starting to expand its Sattar al Maimani was last semi-classic Mercedes-Benz 1998 services across the region, and we SLK were convertibles, but his focus week, at a car show that is on his a part of the taskforce taking care was hosted at the Oman Automobil of former two cars. e the maintenance of cables that serv Association (OAA). Getting through ed “I started the maintenance and to ATMs as well as telephones all over meet him and shake his hand was restoration of the car in 2015. I don quite Oman. ’t a task indeed. I had to make my way use the help of outside mechanics. Abd ul was also a par t of the through scores of youngsters who team I do everything on my own, like an had that assisted in installing mobile gathered around him and his pre auth entic classic car owner should. I cious stations across the Sultanate. He looking Pontiac Firebird Trans Am says: use plat forms such as YouTube to learn . “Mobile stations started popping And, yes! You heard the name of up in various tips and tricks. the 199 6, and we were a part of the team car right. “Many youngsters ask me why I do that maintained these towers. We In simple terms, Abdul Sattar is also this. It is true that classic car own ership started laying fibre optic cables as like a rock and roll star in the eyes early is expensive and sometimes of quit e as 199 0; mo st peo ple don’t know that,” painful. But my youngsters today. Nevertheless, I answer to them is made he jokes. sure to grab his business card, and this: I am an Omani, and we Om anis How ever, in 2012, Abdul decided to without any hesitation, I gave him are quite fond of our heritage and a han g up his coat and call it quits. call. tradition. And we were taught to “I retired as a supervisor handlin Fast-forward to this week and her g respect the culture and traditions eI of a crew. But I loved what I did and am, sitting with the man himself. I our neighbours as well. Our mis s wor king for Om ante l. As meeting point is at Oman Avenue you “By bringing in and giving life to s can expect, after retiring from wor Mall, however, it isn’t at one of the k, I these cars that are rejected in cou ntries, was bored out of my mind. And coffee outlets like always. Abdul doe that’s we are showing the world how ope sn’t when I decided to start wor n we king on seem to be a much of a fan of coff are to foreign cultures and how mu ee. ch my pas sion s and hob bies that I had set But he’s running high on energy, we respect it and perhaps even tun all the aside due to work,” he add e it s. same. in an Omani way,” he says. “Ba ck in the 80s there was a TV In any case, without further ado, Recently, a classic car show was held we show that was telecasted on OmanT settle down and begin our intervie in V , the Wilayat of Nakhal, and Abdul w. called Knight Rider (starring David Originally hailing from Muttrah, was a part of the crew that honour ed Hasselhoff). I was probably one of Abdul Sattar says he completed his the show. “Our group of cars star the ted bigg est fans of the show in Oman. education in the Sultanate at a tim from Seeb. But, surprisingly, we had e And I instantly fell in love with KIT when youngsters were opting to go members come in from all parts of T – a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The abroad for higher studies. Instead Oman. We even had one come in , car had the ability to make intelligent following his schooling, he joined his 1970 Opel GT all the way from a conversations and was indestructib training centre to become a technici Quriyat. le an during fights. Something abo ut the car at the General Telecommunication “The event at Nakhal was successf ul. appealed to me,” he recollects. Organisation (GTO), now known The cars on the streets stunned as Abd ul had alre ady pur cha sed his Omantel. everybody who attended the event. dream car in 2000, but lack of tim “I started working at the General And that’s when we saw the true e love and availability of spare parts mea Telecommunication Organisation most of the guys and girls have for nt he cou ldn’ t use it, let alone restore it. in 1990, right after my training. And classic cars. These are like member s of “I purchased a 1987 Pontiac Fire to me, Omantel is like a part of my bird a family; it’s indispensable. Tra ns Am in 2000. I bought it as a family. I retired from Omantel in “Our club is called the Oman 2012, used car,” he says. after 22 years of service,” says Abd Classic Cars, and we’re planning ul. The car is still using the same eng “But, I will always look back at ine, on making it the premier club for wiri ng as well as spare parts as the my days with Omantel because as people with a taste for the past. The a re original, meaning it is currently wor part of work, I was asked to travel are already rare cars such as a 192 th all 7 tens of tho usands of rials. Bugatti Type 35B, a Ford Model around Oman. Due to that, I now T “Unfortunately, the parts for thes [the world’s first mass produced car] know most areas in the country insi e de cars are har d to com e by, hence the and many more,” he adds. out, starting from the gullies of Bah la, demand of the car in Oman is quit to the mountains of Nizwa. If ther Abdul is also the founder of the e e low. So a Trans Am that once cost Trans Am Club Oman, which con are any areas where I haven’t visit sists ed as RO600 to buy can now fetc h anywhere of a total of 24 cars as of today. a part of work, it has to be Khasab and between RO10,000 and RO 15,000,” Musandam. he explains. Have you got a unique story to tell or do “The main reason why I was you know someone who has? Contact us to have coffe Abd ul cur ren tly own s two clas travelling so much was because e with Y sic and be featured in Y Magazine. Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams and two Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
THE VOICE OF OMAN TINA SQUIRES ON FEELING PART OF OMAN’S NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS
y family and I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing Muscat being lit up for Oman’s recent National Day. For us, with Christmas around the corner, it’s also a build up to the whole festive season. The illuminated trees near the embassy area, the garlands in the middle of Sultan Qaboos highway, the flags on the expressway. Where else in the world do they decorate motorways? The kids particularly enjoy seeing the heavily decorated cars – complete with car foils, stickers and, in one case, red, white and green plastic rosettes! All of this beautification adds character and colour to this already beautiful city. National Day in Oman manages to bring together the whole community – businesses, schools and neighbourhoods. My husband attended a National Day lunch at work, and both of my children had celebrations at school. Locals and expats are all encouraged to become involved in the festivities. But what we enjoy most is the strong sense of national pride and patriotism that we see in Oman. The loyalty and love demonstrated by Omani’s, both young and old, for their leader – who in 46 years has built a country with one of the highest living standards in the Middle East – is wonderful to witness. A UN report in 2010 credited Oman as the most improved country in the world over the past 40 years. Chatting to Omani colleagues recently, the respect and genuine affection that they hold for the Sultan is quite unlike anything I’ve come across as an expat. If and when we leave Oman, one of the sentiments that I’ll take away with me is this pride, and a sense of the happiness that this pride creates in a whole nation.
NEXT WEEK: ALVIN THOMAS
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
correspondence CLEAN UP YOUR RUBBISH Dear Editor, For some people it is an extra task, and some just can’t be bothered! Keeping our surroundings neat and tidy is the primary responsibility of every individual. Whether it is apartment buildings, parks or other public places, we conveniently ignore the basics of keeping our environment in a healthy condition. During my routine walks, I find that some apartment block entrances are packed with bin liners filled with rubbish. Very often, they are often left open. Some people carry them downstairs while on their way to work and simply dump them next to the entrance door instead of putting them in the large dumpster within the compound area. I am disappointed when
I see unhygienic scenes like these. The resulting stench makes the whole premises an uncomfortable and unhealthy environment. There should not be a second thought when it comes to waste disposal. The responsibility for safeguarding our surroundings rests with every individual, as we should be more dedicated to creating a hygienic environment.
DEBATE OF THE WEEK
This would work especially for big projects, which would nurture construction companies and create more jobs. To increase investment in the private sector, the Government needs to stimulate the economy by making it more flexible; by making the laws flexible, by encouraging foreign and local investment in the market and by creating opportunities for private companies to do so.
WE ASKED: What else can the Government do to help boost Oman’s economy?” WAFAA EL ANANY
Investment in the private sector could very well be the solution to Oman’s economic problems.
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I think the first thing to do would be to open up Oman to new investors by facilitating the starting up of businesses and enterprises, especially in the IT and tourism sectors. The regulations have to
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be loosened, and small investment has to be encouraged to participate in the market. Expats should be encouraged to invest in Oman instead of sending their money home, and domestic tourism should be made more attractive to both Omanis and expats. This will only be made possible by encouraging more investment in the Omani market.
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Of course, Oman’s economy is in trouble now, and it’s not going to improve any time soon, especially after slashing investment in infrastructure and increasing tariffs. Oman’s economy is based on industries first, then the service sector and then – with minimal focus – on agriculture. Having the gift of abundant natural resources and minerals in the mountains, it’s high time to think of some diversification in industrial investment. The utilisation of available minerals for industrial production and exports should be given some consideration. Regarding the service sector, tourism and its development needs to be improved. Programmes and structures to attract tourists to our country have to be implemented. With beautiful beaches and islands, the service sector can be moulded into a lucrative sector that would help our country to prosper.
To help Oman’s economy, the two-year ban for expatriates would be one solution as it would certainly boost the economy by creating more job opportunities. Tourists’ problems in obtaining visas could also be eased, and more investment in the private sector could make a huge difference. More flexible laws would help not only Omanis but expatriates also, and would enable companies to flourish. The oil and gas sector could also benefit from a review of some of the regulations that govern it.
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As Oman’s economy is primarily dependent on oil and gas, the fall in the oil price has put tremendous constraints on the government‘s budget and has slowed down the economy. The answer to the problem is diversification. Oman needs to be more aggressive in diversifying its economy by exploring potential areas such as mining, minerals, agriculture, advanced learning centres, SMEs, tourism, manufacturing sectors, etc. The tourism sector has tremendous potential by virtue of Oman’s beautiful landscape, pristine beaches, clean cities, marvellous mountains, historically significant places, and unexplored inland areas. The development of infrastructure, a more efficient public transport system, regulated taxi services and tourist-friendly taxi drivers etc will go a long way in taking the tourism sector to greater heights.
Thinking about doing something well is wise, planning well is wiser and doing it well is wisest. As an aide to Bill Clinton once said: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Oman needs a review of policies directed at industry and a plan to jumpstart investment in our country, both from within and from abroad.
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s Oman continues to tighten its belt to boost the economy, a number of new investment opportunities – some worth RO16.3 billion – across three main sectors in Oman have been showcased at a three-day exhibition hosted at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre by Tanfeedh. Tanfeedh is Oman’s solution to raise issues surrounding a non-oil future, and discuss ways to prepare the country for a better tomorrow. The exhibition also serves as a platform to engage with the community following the intensive “labs” that were held to evaluate challenges and come up with solutions for each sector. In all, 121 projects were unveiled at the exhibition on Monday (November 28). Of this, the contribution from the private sector is expected to stand at RO14 billion, while the public sector is expected to provide between RO1.5 and 2.5 billion in contributions. These projects are to be implemented by the respective ministries and related private sector parties, with the support of the “Delivery Support and Follow-up Unit”, which was established by Royal Decree No 50/2016. According to Tanfeedh, the tourism sector should create 10,000 jobs for Omanis by 2020 in order to help develop projects and attract private investments into the country. In an interview with local media, Talal Sulaiman al Rahbi, deputy secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Planning, was quoted as saying: “The implementation of the projects will start in January 2017. Ministries and Government entities will use a new method to identify their needs while the Supreme Council of Planning will evaluate and rank projects before they are implemented. “Now it is the turn of the public to give their feedback on the proposed projects. Both the
nationals and expatriates can participate in the survey online,” said al Rahbi. According to Tanfeedh, the new proposed foreign capital law allows 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies in Oman. At the same time, it allows for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to restrict certain industries in the interests of the nation. “After feedback from the public, if need be, laws will be amended to incorporate the proposals,” Al Rahbi said. The Tanfeedh proposals also include the introduction of various labour solution packages, easy visa processes for new target markets, establishing a centralised infrastructure board and activating a tourism development fund. A temporary visa system for workers in certain sectors is also being discussed. “There is a proposal for amending labour laws and setting up a ‘one-window’ clearance for labourers,” Al Rahbi was quoted as saying.
1,200 RUNNERS FOR MUSCAT MARATHON
he number of runners competing in the sixth edition of the Muscat Marathon in January has almost doubled, with more than 1,200 competitors expected to race, the organisers said this week. The marathon will take place on January
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27 and Muscat Road Runners, the organiser of the marathon, has joined hands with Oman Sail and Al Mouj Muscat to scale up the event to a global level. About 600 runners, including 54 international participants, took part in this year’s Muscat Marathon. The 2017 race will feature three events – the 42km marathon, 21km half marathon and 10km run – and will start and finish at Al Mouj Muscat. While the final route has not yet been decided, it is expected to showcase some of the most striking locations around the capital. “In order to have a healthy lifestyle, people should take part in the Muscat Marathon,” Musct Road Runners chairman Ahmed al Malki told local press earlier this week. To register for the Muscat Marathon, go to marathon.muscatroadrunners.com.
STUDENTS AT BRITISH SCHOOL MUSCAT CELEBRATED INTERNATIONAL DAY RECENTLY IN A COLOURFUL DISPLAY THAT SHOWCASED THE MANY NATIONALITIES WHO ATTEND THE SCHOOL IN MADINAT SULTAN QABOOS.
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OMAN Bite Sized
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Did somebody find something valuable? You could say that. In fact, it was very valuable. Do tell! OK, so an unnamed Frenchman inherited a rather impressive mansion in Evreux, Normandy, from a wealthy relative and stumbled upon a haul of treasure worth an incredible RO1.4 million. Seriously? Yep, seriously! Where did he find it? He found it hidden in surprising spots dotted around the house, such as buried under piles of linen, in tin boxes taped to the underside of chairs and even tucked away in a bathroom cabinet or two. How did he find it? By accident, really. He was moving some furniture about and stumbled upon one of the tin boxes, which got him thinking if there were more hiding spots. What exactly did he find? More than 100kg of gold – 5,000 gold pieces, two bars of gold weighing 12kg and 37 ingots weighing 1kg each. That would be a dream come true. Absolutely, it would. It’s wonderful that he inherited the house, but then to find so much gold is an added bonus to his inheritance. What happened next? Well, the Frenchman called his lawyer, as one does, to make an inventory of his find, which also included certificates verifying that the gold was bought legally in the 1950s and 1960s. But according to a local newspaper, the treasure has already been sold – oh, and he faces an inheritance tax of 45 per cent. Don’t say: “Throw out the tin box.” Do say: “What a find!” 012
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s we hurtle towards the end of the year, saving money is at the top of our resolution list for 2017. And what better way to save more than RO41,000 than with the latest issue of The Entertainer. Offering more than 1,100 Buy One Get One Free offers for restaurants, cafes, nightspots, attractions, leisure activities, spas, fitness and more, The Entertainer is available as a hard copy or as a handy smartphone app for picking up great deals on the go. Entertainer members also enjoy exclusive access to “Hotels Worldwide, which includes “Buy One Night, Get One Free” offers for more than 500 hotels across the Middle East, Oman Asia and Africa – a great way to save money on family holidays even if you are “staycationing” in this beautiful country of ours. “Our 2017 products deliver incredible value at the most extensive range of outlets available, giving our customers the opportunity to save money, go out more and spend quality time with friends and loved ones,” said Donna Benton, the Australian founder and chairman of The Entertainer, which was introduced to Oman in 2010. “The newest update to our world-class app offers more benefits and value than ever before, so there is
THROUGH YOUR EYES
truly no better time to be an Entertainer member.” And the good news? Y Magazine has three Entertainer 2017 apps, usually worth RO25 each, to give away to our readers this week! All you have to do is answer the following question: when was The Entertainer introduced to Oman? Email your answer to email@example.com by Monday, December 5, 2016. The winners will be announced in our December 8 issue. Good luck! For further information about The Entertainer, visit their website at www.theentertainerme.com.
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The Frankincense Burner in Riyam Park, Muttrah, is one of Muscat’s bestknown landmarks and was built to celebrate Oman’s 20th National Day in 1990. This panoramic photo was taken by Jayesh Trivedi, a resident of the capital, who says he took it from a nearby mountain.
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PHOTO: Jayesh Trivedi
THE PAKISTAN SCHOOL IN BURAIMI RECENTLY CELEBRATED OMANâ€™S 46TH NATIONAL DAY WITH A COLOURFUL PERFORMANCE THAT INCLUDED TRADITIONAL DANCING AND SINGING, WHICH ENTERTAINED GUESTS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS ALIKE. SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDED DR MUSA ALI MUHAMMAD AL HINAI AND DR SULTAN KHAMIS AL YAHYAI FROM THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN BURAIMI.
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
Welcome to Yâ€™s weekly photo series that profiles the diverse characters who call the Sultanate home Name: Ahmed al Muillahi Age: 30 From: Oman Occupation: Interior designer Passion: Art
Photo: Shaquel al Balushi
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
After completing a diploma from the College of Banking and Financial Studies in 2006, Iman al Balushi chose a career in banking while becoming a makeup artist in her free time. Today, she is both a project manager for her bank and one of Oman’s leading make-up artists Q: What drives you to success? It is my daughters who keep me going. It is the nature of Omani women to learn and adapt, as well as to become more creative after becoming a mother. When I became a mother, I was a teacher and make-up
artist for my daughters, a project manager for the house and a manager for the family. This I do not only for my happiness but also for the happiness and integrity of the family. This is what motivates me to do more. Of course, I am not yet satisfied with what I have achieved and I have a lot of plans for the future. Q: Who or what has been your inspiration? My biggest inspiration has to be His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. When he took over the throne, he made a promise to work hard to make us citizens happy. And that is the same motto that I live by. I want to work hard to make my family and the people around me happy. I may not know it right now but the satisfaction I receive from being a good mother, employee and make-up artist so far is incredible. Q: What is your biggest career success to date? Before talking about career success, I have to talk about personal success. And being blessed with five daughters is my biggest success. On a professional level, I have been part of a mobile banking application upgrade, which has completely redefined the way people use banking services. As a make-up artist, I was blessed with an opportunity to work with Lisa Morgan for her song Oman Is Home To Me. Q: What are your career goals? I have a few goals to achieve in the coming years. One of those would be to do a project
IT IS SPACIOUS FROM THE INSIDE, HAS ALL THE COMFORT AND SAFETY FEATURES TO ENSURE THAT I CAN TRUST MY FAMILY TO TRAVEL IN THIS CAR management professional course. Following that, I would like to establish my own business and would like to settle down as a businesswoman. Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? I believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. And me being a project manager is an excellent reason for me to be a good businesswoman. I have many ideas for the future, and I have to plan and execute them efficiently. Right now I am only in the planning stage and I believe it will take at least 2-3 years to attain my goals. I am currently working on a make-up application, which could redefine the way people avail themselves of beauty services in Oman. That’s one of the long-term plans I have. Q: What do you like about the Genesis, the premium series of Hyundai Motor Company? The Genesis is smooth, fast and stylish. It handles well and gives a feeling of always being in control. It is spacious from the inside, has all the comfort and safety features to ensure that I can trust my family to travel in this car. The Genesis is a car for the enthusiast who wants the best of driving performance and comfort. Great drives are assured when you are in the Genesis! DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
DON-NIEDARKO A fresh take on Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House Muscat keeps Georgina Benison interested in Mozartâ€™s classic, and then some
K edit: to cr
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ormally, I don’t like more contemporary updates of period pieces, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni was written in 1787 Vienna. But Opera De Lyon’s production, at The Royal Opera House Muscat on Sunday, was set in Al Capone’s Chicago of the 1920s – and it worked! In fact, it made the drama more immediate, and I am sure it is a whole lot easier to sing without wigs, corsets and crinolines. What made this opera exceptional is that, despite the dark themes and supernatural elements, it is a comic melodrama. It is funny, fast and furious. Blink and you’ll miss the translated words in the subtitles. During the Catalogue Song, Leporello lists the number of conquests this Libertine has made by countries, class, age and shape. Look away now, in total – more than 2,000! In the second act, Mozart quotes himself while the pathological villain is at dinner. Leporello sings how good the food is to a tune from Mozart’s own The Marriage of Figaro. The music of the first act was delightfully exquisite, and Act 2, while more serious, retained huge elements of satirical humour. It’s a tribute to Mozart’s genius, which has stood the test of time across two-and-a-half centuries – in any period costume – and will continue to do so as long as people flock to opera houses. Tom Pye’s set design of giant moveable wooden towers – suggesting, alternately, a fine town house or tenement blocks – conjured up scenes from West Side Story and was absolutely breathtaking. The shift of scene from public square to the interior of Don Giovanni’s castle at the end of Act 1 was a stroke of genius that moved the action from a dark street to a blazing ballroom of light and splendour – falsely as it turned out – as the Don, a master of disguise, invited the poor wedding guests to a better reception in his palace, with the sole sinister intention of seducing the pretty, young bride. The rake of the title role himself was played by the utterly convincing, handsome young Italian bass-baritone, Simone Alberghini. It is a long and demanding part, and he was constantly on stage and had to reflect a wide range of emotions and personae; from alluring romantic, serial seducer to blasphemous cynic. His rich, warm voice was compelling and, dare I say, seductive. Giovanni is only upstaged by his comic, long-suffering servant, Leporello, and here he was hilariously portrayed by the Belgian baritone, Lionel L’Hote. The three leading sopranos (there are only eight soloists
in the opera) were equally brilliant in their virtuoso vocal techniques and in their youthful, dramatic presentations. The versatile and understandably much sought-after Italian, Mariangela Sicilia, played a captivating Donna Anna with a voice as agile as it is confident. Her rendition of Fuggi, crudele, fuggi (Go away, cruel man) was poignant yet powerful early on in the opera. Swedish soprano Miah Perssen as Donna Elvira has a fine collaratura voice with an ability to hold an audience spellbound. She shared some beautiful moments in duets with the Italian tenor Enea Scala (in the challenging role of Don Ottavio) in their mutual pursuit of vengeance on Don Giovanni. French-Brazilian mezzo Yete Queiroz brought light and beauty to the role of Zerlina, a young peasant bride with a strong sense of justice and morality. She was delightful, with a perfectly placed voice, and shone opposite the 26-year-old German baritone Samuel Hasselhorn as the jealous but naive bridegroom, Masetto. Bringing gravity to the stage and framing proceedings was the French bass-baritone Jean Teitgen as Donna Anna’s father, the ill-fated Commendatore in the first scene, and as his ghostly statue in the penultimate scene. He has a rich, steady voice, commanding and resolute, and conveyed the supernatural element of the plot that offers the arrogant rogue one last chance to repent – or face eternal damnation. This 2009 production by the Opera de Lyon was directed by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s British director-turned-opera-director, Adrian Noble, and the movement, pace and energy were superb. Under the guidance of Italian conductor and Early Music violinist, Stefano Montanari, the Orchestra de Lyon excelled. The two shows were packed and I am just sorry there were not three performances for all those disappointed Muscateers who failed to get a ticket.
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THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE
Kids in the Kitchen
Magic of Violins
Head to the Royal Opera House Muscat for a night of mood and drama with Lebanese violinist Jihad Akl, who brings a unique experience to audiences via the exotic notes of his oriental violin. Known as “The Violin Magician”, Akl is a former child prodigy who won his first competition in 1974 at the tender age of six. Akl’s performance will also feature Omani violinist Tahra Jamal as a special guest. For bookings, go to www.rohmuscat.org.om.
WHAT TO DO. WHAT TO SEE. WHAT TO HEAR.
D E C E M B E R It’s not too late to book your tickets for The Crystal Ball – the Women’s Guild in Oman’s annual extravaganza that is themed around Viva Las Vegas this year. And for the first time in Muscat, and straight from London’s West End, the Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular will be wowing guests with its take on the sublime music of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin. Other special guests include Elvis & Friends and Thanae Pachiyannakis. The fun kicks off at 7pm at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. For more information and bookings, go to www.womensguildoman. com/the-crystal-ball/ or email support@ womensguildoman.com.
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Viva Las Vegas
Calling all budding children masterchefs! The National Hospitality Institute is hosting a four-day Junior Chef Programme that is shaping up to be a fun-filled learning experience in a professional kitchen. The first session begins on December 18, while there’s a second one that begins on January 1, 2017. For bookings and more information, call tollfree 900 900 91 or 9824 6267.
The Home Show 2016 is back, bigger and better than ever before. For homeowners, developers, decorators and builders, there’s a wealth of trend ideas and products on show for a range of rooms, from kitchens to bathrooms, bedrooms and basements. Products include fixtures and fittings, garden furniture and gadgets. There’s something for everyone looking for innovations in home renovations and new home builds. The event opens at 10am each day and is being held at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre. For details, go to www. homeshow-oman.com.
Home Sweet Home RAVE OF THRONES
He’s known as Hodor in the popular TV series Game of Thrones, but on the music scene, he’s Kristian Nairn, the wildly popular DJ and electronic music producer. Even better, Nairn is bringing his unique Rave of Thrones set to On the Rocks Restaurant and Lounge – and it’s shaping up to be an epic session. The night kicks off at 9pm. For bookings, call 9426 6796.
WINTER SOUNDS DEC
The Muscat Singers and Muscat Brass have banded together to bring music lovers an evening of Winter Sounds, which will feature music and singing focused on the festive season. Tickets are just RO3 and the singers and musicians will be performing in TAISM’s Bosch Center for Performing Arts from 6pm. Children over the age of five are also welcome.
FESTIVE FEAST Celebrate the festive season at the magical Christmas At The Marina evening that features a delicious menu. Hosted by the students at the National Hospitality Institute, the dinner is being held at Marina Bandar Al Rowdha and starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are RO26 per person. For bookings, call toll-free 900 900 91.
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MOVIES MOVIES FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TIMES, GO TO: City Cinema: citycinemaoman.net Al Bahja Cinema: albahjacinema.net VOX Cinemas: oman.voxcinemas.com Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I know we did a small preview of Fantastic Beasts last week (issue 446) but this movie is well deserving of a lead review thanks to its great storyline, impressive special effects and brilliant acting. Starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, who is on a global quest to find and rescue rare magical creatures, this is the latest offering from JK Rowling’s book of the same name (and was mentioned in the first Harry Potter movie as a textbook that the young wizard had to study). The movie begins with Scamander arriving in New York by boat in 1926, carrying what looks to be a non-descript brown suitcase. But then one of the locks pops open and what follows is an intriguing journey that plunges us into the world of wizardry and magic New York-style, where muggles (non-magical people for those of you who aren’t into Harry Potter) are known as “no-maj” and there
WIN CHANCE TO R U O Y B A R G TS EMA TICKE IN C Y IT C R FOU
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION Who plays Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts? LAST WEEK'S WINNER Deborah D’Mello
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are some strict rules for visiting wizards, who need to register themselves and their wands with the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). Of course, that pesky lock on Scamander’s suitcase pops open again – but this time, a Niffler (a treasure hunting creature with a long snout that resembles a platypus) escapes and Scamander is led into a merry dance to capture it. Unfortunately, he’s arrested by a demoted Auror (they investigate dark wizards at the MACUSA) Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and what follows is a fantastical adventure in which we discover that inside Scamander’s suitcase is another magical world full of creatures that he has rescued. Part thriller, part mystery and part romance, we don’t want to give too much away if you’ve not seen it yet but we have to say that this is one of the best movies of the year and well worth watching. Review by Felicity Glover
TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE TO WIN, just answer a question based on the week’s cinema reviews and send your answer to email@example.com, along with your name and contact information. Tickets must be collected from Y’s Seeb offices in person only. For the rest of the terms and conditions, see voucher. Contact: Movie enquiries 2460 7360
Allied has received more hype that it deserves thanks to the recent break-up of Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) but still it’s an interesting movie that transports us back to 1942 and World War II. Starring Pitt, an intelligence officer, and Marion Cotillard, a French Resistance fighter, the pair meet on a deadly mission behind enemy lines in North Africa. Both escape and they meet again in London, where they fall in love, marry
and start a family. At first glance, you are reminded of Mr and Mrs Smith but this does have a few surprises up its sleeve.
Underworld: Blood Wars The fifth film in the vampire franchise directed by Anna Foerster, British actress Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as death dealer Selene, who finds that not only is she fending off brutal attacks from the Lycan clan but also the vampire faction that betrayed her. Her only allies are David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance) but will she be able to stop the eternal war between the Lycans and the vampires? Only time will tell, even if she is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice.
Long View THE SPACE BETWEEN US We love a good sci-fi film and are intrigued by The Space Between Us, especially with today’s focus of putting man on Mars for the first time. This time, however, we find that this theory has been flipped and man (and woman) has actually made it to the Red Planet. In fact, teenager Gardner Elliot (played by rising star Asa Butterfield) is the first human to be born on Mars and wants to come “home” after beginning an online friendship with Tulsa (Britt Robertson) in the US. His trip to Earth is full of wonder but his journey to find his father, helped by Tulsa, is fraught with danger as his organs are unable to withstand the atmosphere. Also stars Gary Oldman and Carla Guaino. Oman release date: December 29
LASTING TRIBUTES As the nation celebrated Oman’s 46th National Day, Y Magazine led the way with its Portrait By A Nation competition. Here, we reveal this year’s winners
t was a nervous wait for the 46 finalists in Y’s third annual Portrait By A Nation competition, all of whom had gathered in the Afrah Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel on Monday evening (November 28) for the announcement of the winners. As their proud parents and other family members took their seats, the sense of pride in the room was overwhelming; pride for a nation and also for some of the country’s most creative young artists. Held as part of the Sultanate’s celebrations to mark the 46th National Day, the aim of Portrait By A Nation is to give children an opportunity to create lasting tributes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said. And we have to say that their portraits were impressive, with many using a range of techniques that surprised our judges and sponsors alike. Presented by Al Mouj Muscat, powered by
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Shell Oman Marketing and with associate sponsors A’Soud Global School, Atana Khasab, Atana Musandam, Burjeel Hospital and IDdesign, as well as our venue partners Crown Plaza Salalah and the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel, this year’s event has been an unprecedented success. “It’s been an incredible journey,” says Y managing editor, Felicity Glover, who was also one of the judges in the competition. “We have seen some familiar faces from previous years, as well as hundreds of new faces. Every child who entered came away with a unique experience, as well as knowing they were a huge part of Oman’s National Day celebrations. “And while there could only be nine winners and a special art scholarship prize, all the children should be commended for their efforts and wonderful creativity.” Overall, there were 1,500 entrants in this year’s Portrait By A Nation, while we also held
the event in Salalah, Nizwa and Sohar in an effort to get as many children as possible involved in this exciting initiative. But back to the prize-giving ceremony! Congratulations to our winners, whose portraits were an incredible inspiration for all who attended. “I am so excited to be the winner for this year’s Portrait By A Nation,” says Anika Joshi, the winner of the 14 to 17 age category. “I don’t know how to put it into words, to be honest. I had attended
the competition last year, but I did not win. However, thanks to a lot of hard work, I have been successful this time. Each and every child who participated was talented and, therefore, I am humbled to take the prize. “As for the cash prize, I am planning to enrol in an art college, so I will be putting aside the money for that,” she adds. “Thank you Y Magazine for giving me and many others the opportunity to showcase our talents.”
500 WANIA KHAN
FATHIMA TAMANNA JASFAN
D RUNN UP ER-
D RUNN UP ER-
AVIGYAN BHATTACHARYA Age: 14
D RUNN UP ER-
ANIKA JOSHI Age: 16
JANNATUL MAWA Age: 16
S THE SULTAN QABOO ART SCHOLARSHIP OL) HO (A’SOUD GLOBAL SC
ANVITHA ARUNDEEBAK Age: 6
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NAIA BED 154X 180 WITH MATRESS BEFORE 240RO AFTER 188RO (-25%)
MONEY FOR NOTHING As millions of Indians struggle to change banned banknotes, Alvin Thomas reports on the crisis facing families both here and abroad
ou would have caught it on the news or you would have at least heard about it from a friend. But one thing’s for sure: news of the currency demonetisation in India is big, and won’t be going away overnight as the horrors of invalid INR500 and INR1,000 notes cripple the country, its citizens and expatriates living around the world. But who is to blame for this rapid demonetisation of currency notes in India? Is it the government? Is it money-hoarding businessmen who were stocking up piles of rupees as black currency (income illegally obtained or not declared for tax purposes)? Above all, who has this affected? Y talks to a range of people from India as well as a number of expatriates settled in Oman to find out how the ruling has affected them and what they are doing to overcome it. We also talk to agents who convert black money to white (currency that is legally accounted for), banks and money exchanges in India and Oman to get their take on the situation. Sanjana Kuriakose is a mother of three children and a housewife from the evolving city of Bengaluru, in the southern state of Karnataka, India. She was at home on the night of November 8 when the news of demonetisation spread across the country. The time was 9.20pm and for 42-year-old Sanjana, there was still some evening left to enjoy. Her husband Cijin had just come home from work, and it was their usual time (“tradition” as she calls it) to kick back and talk about how their day had been. “Nothing was unusual about our night,” she jokes. “I am a huge fan of soaps, and hence, the television was tuned into Zee TV. But as soon as Cijin 026
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came home, I switched the television off as he really doesn’t like being bombarded with television soaps after work. “But he came in and instead of our usual chit-chat over dinner, he ran into the living room to switch on the television. “It was so odd. The last time he did something like that was when the Malaysian flight went missing, and he was intrigued about its whereabouts. “He tuned right into NDTV [a local news channel] and simply sat there expressionless. I had no idea what was going on and therefore sat along with him. And after the news flash, I noticed that he had a smile on his face. He seemed happy. “It was only then that I realised what was going on. It was a re-telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on the financial future [demonetisation of currrency] of the country. But I didn’t pay any heed,” she says. What Sanjana had witnessed, and ignored, was the demonetisation of the Rs500 and Rs1000 banknotes in the country – the first of its kind in nearly 40 years. “The 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and antisocial elements will become just
The 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper worthless pieces of paper,” said Prime Minister Modi in his official statement to the nation. “The rights and the interests of honest, hard-working people will be fully protected,” he added. The announcement was followed by a flurry of instructions, which stated that citizens would be able to exchange their old notes worth up to INR4,000 daily at banks and Reserve Bank of India counters until December 30, 2016. Mr Modi also promised to review the daily limit after a period of 15 days. Following this, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee stated: “The Reserve Bank appeals to members of public to be patient and urges them to exchange their old notes at their convenience, any time before December 30, 2016.” Meanwhile, hospitals, pharmacies, railway ticket counters, public business, co-operative milk booths, crematoriums, petrol pumps, and airline ticketing counters at airports were all allowed to accept old notes for the next three days, after which they would accept only new notes. Sanjana says: “Initially, my husband was extremely happy with the news. He said that it would really help crack down on illegally obtained money [black money]. And he also asked me to take our savings, approximately INR250,000 [RO1,457] in cash down to our local Union Bank of India and deposit it. “Even I approved of what my husband had said. I thought it would be quite a good thing to have all our money deposited in the bank so that we didn’t
have to wait in the ATM queues that had been forming up at every bank. “But to my horror, that’s not what happened. Each and every bank was crowded, and people were forming lines that were more than 100 strong. People were sitting down on newspapers they had brought from their homes and some were even lying down on them. It was a sad sight, to say the least. “Waiting in the queues were people of all ages, starting from kids acting on behalf of their parents and also the elderly who were waiting to cash in their pension cheques. “It took me a total of four-and-a-half hours before I could even get to see the counter. After that, I was able to declare the currency using my PAN card [permanent account number]. I was also asked how I had procured so much money, to which I simply said that they were my savings. “But the bank manager was called in, and I had to explain the source of my income, and how I had so much money in hand. They also did a run through their systems for my tax trails, and also had to call up Cijin to enquire about his job status and salary. “In all, it took me six hours to finally get away from the deposit counter. But now we don’t have any currency at hand, and we’re forced to use the money that we have deposited in the account,” says Sanjana. “What I saw that day in the queue really opened my eyes to what’s going on. Most of the people standing in line didn’t even have debit or credit cards, let alone a bank account. “What basically started off as a ruse to track black money hoarders, has come back to sting us,” she says. Officials from banks and money exchanges in India and Oman are assessing the gravity of the situation. Sanjeev (who declined to give his surname), a bank official from the State Bank of India, from Kerala, says: “The number of people coming in to deposit their money is beyond what we could even imagine. “The reason for such confusion is because a lot of people don’t even have bank accounts. Only half of the country’s adult population have bank accounts, and most of them prefer keeping cash at hand. So they are bound to be hit quite hard. I have been dealing with numerous residents coming in with more than 10 lakh upees [RO5,602]. In such cases, we have to identify them clearly using their PAN card, and use that to determine whether they are taxpayers or not.”
I see a good future in this move by Narendra Modi. I already see a huge drop in real estate prices in India, and bank interest has also gone down drastically. So definitely we are on the right track However, Jacob Palamootil, a training manager at the Oman UAE Exchange in Muscat, seems to support the cause. He says: “I see a good future in this move by Narendra Modi. “I already see a huge drop in real estate prices in India, and bank interest has also gone down drastically. So definitely we are on the right track. “There are currently four printing presses for currency in India, and they are working at full strength to ensure that the citizens do not lose out. Nobody here in Oman has come to me and complained that they have had any issues or their families have had any serious issues back home. “To an extent, a lot of the confusion and the stories about how the demonetisation has been affecting normal people’s lives have been exaggerated.” DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
Addressing the negative comments about the currency demonetisation, Jacob says: “The truth is that, there are a lot of people stocked up with money [black money]. “If people have stacks of money stuck in their hands, they would definitely be frustrated and that [frustration] can be expressed in many ways. And I believe all the hype and the confusion has to be cthe ause of the frustration being expressed by these people. “For instance, my wife and mother were standing in queues for a couple of days. But for a good cause and a good future. “There’s no need to complain about standing in a queue for a while. Even they realise that so they’re not complaining much. Meanwhile, talking about the stockpile of rupees at foreign exchanges in Oman, Jacob adds: “We are holding some Indian currency. It is not a huge amount but the RBI will come up with a solution and I would suggest that the RBI set up a single point of contact at every GCC country to avoid any misunderstanding among Indian expatriates in Oman. “For instance, there was hoax news that the Oman UAE Exchange was authorised to buy and exchange old currency notes. That caused a lot of confusion among the public so we had to
rectify that news immediately.” Meanwhile, another branch manager from a money exchange in the Sultanate, who declined to be named says: “Sure, this sudden demonetisation did come as a surprise to us. But since we do not hold a lot of Indian rupees as stockpile, we aren’t very worried. “Moreover, the reports that Indian expatriates are putting off their plans to travel home for Christmas and New Year citing the lack of Indian currency are also not true. He explains: “The INR500 and INR1000 notes constitute 86 per cent of the total currency that was in circulation. So in such an eventuality many people did get affected. But the RBI is issuing notes at quite a pace. Moreover, people
“A lot of people, however, are using the currencies to purchase gold, and a lot of these dealers are using this as an opportunity to make some extra money.” According to the manager, local jewellery showrooms in India have been selling gold at 20 per cent of the original value of the metal. “If you were purchasing gold at INR100,000 [RO560], you would essentially be paying INR120,000 [RO672]. “These sellers would then have them exchanged at the banks via agents. And a lot of NRIs (non-resident Indians) are opting for this method if they have stockpiles of unaccounted money in India,” he explains A person who buys jewellery has to give his PAN number. We are issuing instructions to the field authorities to check with all jewellers to ensure that this requirement is not compromised. “Action will be taken against those jewellers who fail to take PAN numbers from such buyers. When the cash deposits of the jewellers are scrutinised against the sales made, we will check whether they have taken the PAN number of the buyer or not. Meanwhile, tipped off by an anonymous source, Y also got in touch with a trader who claimed to “exchange black money to white
These sellers would then have them exchanged at the banks via agents. And a lot of NRIs [Nonresident Indians] are opting for this method if they have stockpiles of unaccounted money in India
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travelling back home can actually receive the new notes in currency exchange stalls in the airports. “But I did have a couple of people come up to me and ask me if I could exchange huge amounts of money or if I had someone in India who could do that for them. I had to raise my voice against them,” says the manager.
money”. We approached the trader, a 23-year-old youngster, through the online chat service WhatsApp. We posed as an NRI with INR1 crore (RO56,032) in unaccounted and defunct bills. The trader followed up with us, stating that he would charge an extra fee of 25 per cent. Stated below is our conversation: Y: Dear Mr. Sree (name changed), I have 1 crore rupees in black and would like to convert it for the new currency. Sree: Hi Y, that’s ok. I will need to know where the money is. I can only help u (sic) if the money is in Guntur (Hyderabad). Y: No issues! Sree: Processng (sic) fee is 25 per cent Y: So how will this work? Sree: I have somebody who works with a bank here. That’s all you need to know. I’m not going to ask u (sic) any questins (sic). So I xpect (sic) the same from u (sic). Y: Ok! So can I get it in new notes? Sree: Tht (sic) all depends on my friend. It’s not my first time, ok? Y: Sure, I’ll get back to you as soon as I get the money in Guntur. (Sree doesn’t respond to the message.) According to a recent statement issued by the RBI, the old notes can now “only be deposited in bank accounts” and not exchanged. Therefore, the trader’s services would most likely have been shut down following the announcement. The government had earlier said that old notes worth up to INR4,000 could be exchanged at banks and RBI counters till December 30. However, now only foreigners are allowed to exchange notes up to INR5,000 per week. And back to our question: who is really affected by the demonetisation? We may still be too early into our investigation, but according to the results procured from a recent online survey promoted by the Prime Minister himself, 92 per cent of the 500,000 people who responded said that the decision to demonetise the currency was “very good” or “good”. Backing up his statement was RBI chairman, Urjit Patel, who says: “People have asked why the new currency introduced was different in size and thickness from the old. This is because the new currency has been designed to make it hard to counterfeit. When you are going to make a change of this magnitude, you need to get the best standards in place. But, following the demonetisation, India’s post offices have recorded a total collection of about INR32,631 crore in deposits – a huge increase in comparison to collections from previous years.
Date Nov 8
Nov 10 Nov 12 Nov 13 Nov 15 Nov 16
What happened Modi declares the INR500 and INR1,000 notes invalid. Exchange of currency up to INR4,000 allowed at banks, ATM withdrawals limited to INR2,000. Banks reopen after a day. Massive queues ensue as millions line up to deposit or exchange old currency. Deaths attributed to waiting in the queues begin to be reported. The Sensex registers the biggest single-day fall in nine months. Currency exchange limit raised to INR4,500 and ATM withdrawals to INR2,500. Banks asked to use indelible ink marks on those exchanging money; the election commission raises concerns. Parliament session begins; opposition parties up the ante against the government over the suffering of the poor.
Currency exchange limit lowered to INR2,000.
India’s Supreme Court says many are “frantic” over demonetisation.
RBI says banks have received INR5.3 lakh crore in deposits since November 8.
Nov 24 Nov 27
Old notes can now only be deposited at banks and not exchanged. RBI governor Urjit Patel justifies demonetisation, says the new notes are difficult to counterfeit. DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
FOOD AND DRINK
Quick, easy and healthy, these afterschool snack ideas are a nutritious alternative to junk food.
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Try these healthy snack ideas for hungry kids bored with the usual offerings
eading, writing, arithmetic and so much more – school days are busy for kids. The lunch period provides a welcome break but some schools schedule lunch quite early and by the end of the day, kids are famished. When your star students arrive home asking for a snack, you don’t have to reach for junk food. Here are some quick, simple and fun ideas for afterschool snacks that are tasty and your kids will love.
Savoury popcorn bar
Popped corn is 100 per cent wholegrain with plenty of fibre to help keep kids satisfied until dinner. Skip the processed microwave varieties and opt to pop on the stove or in an air popper. Then create a popcorn buffet by setting out small bowls and a variety of savoury toppings, such as finely shredded Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Kids can serve themselves and customise to their taste.
When the kids want ice cream but you want them to have a healthier snack, nice cream comes to the rescue. This simple ice cream alternative can be made by freezing sliced ripe bananas. When kids come home from school, blend these banana pieces until smooth for a cool, creamy treat. You can experiment with different flavours by adding a dab of peanut butter or a few strawberries to the blender.
Apple and brie mini bagel appetisers Sweet and simple, this cheesy Method: appetiser is the perfect snack § Split and toast two Thomas’ Mini Bagels until golden after a long day of school. brown. Spread butter on each Creamy brie is the perfect bagel half then slice in half complement to a few juicy apples. Even Mum and Dad will again to create quarters. § Slice the wedge of Brie cheese want to snag a few of these. into eight equal portions Ingredients: and place one on each bagel § 2 Thomas’ Plain Mini Bagels, quarter. toasted § Cut the apple into eight slices § 1 tbsp of butter and place one slice on top § 1 wedge Brie cheese of the cheese. Sprinkle with § 1 Granny Smith apple cinnamon to taste. § 1 tsp cinnamon
Quick and easy pizza bagels
Pizza bagels are a quick, cheesy fix that ease after-school hunger pangs. Start by turning the oven to the grill setting. Then on a baking tray, place a split Thomas’ Plain Mini Bagel with the cut sides facing up. Spread tomato sauce on each bagel half and sprinkle each half with cheese. Add pepperoni halves and cherry tomato quarters. Place under the grill until the cheese is melted.
Ants on a pond
Parents grew up munching ants on a log, the snack that takes a celery spear smeared with peanut butter and lines raisins on top to look like ants. Give this classic a modern twist by slicing a Thomas’ Plain Mini Bagel in half, adding peanut butter and topping with chopped celery and raisins. This sweet or salty delight is guaranteed to be devoured. For more simple after-school snack ideas featuring mini bagels and more, visit thomasbreads.com/recipes. – BPT DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
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TASTE OF INDIA
Al Marafah Street, Muscat 113 Tel: 2449 0034 Opening hours: Daily from 6am to 11:30pm Lunch for four: RO22.5
TASTE OF INDIA
Verdict : 9/10 SERVICE 8/10 FOOD 8/10 AMBIENCE Excellent service and homely meals. Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
EATING LATE WITH THE FAMILY IN TOW CAN BE FUN, AS ALVIN THOMAS SAMPLES SOME HOMELY FARE EVEN HIS MUM WOULD APPROVE OF
ave you ever lived in an area and been completely oblivious to something that has been going on around you for years? Well, that’s what happened to me when I was asked to visit the Taste of India restaurant in Baushar. Not only was I completely clueless about this establishment but had continually denied its existence to my father – until he actually took me there. The location of the Taste of India restaurant came as quite a shock to me initially, considering I actually pass it by every evening. Heck, I even recognised a few of the staff, including some of the waiters. So it was quite shameful that I had never heard of it. In any case, accompanying me (for the first time since my time at Y), were my parents and little sister. They had never been to the restaurant either but claimed they had always wanted to give it a try. The restaurant can be found close to the Sultan Qaboos highway, just a few metres opposite Oman Avenues Mall. However, it was virtually empty when we walked in. Granted, we did enter at 10.30pm, a time at which many people head for bed. Still, the nocturnal ambience was pleasing, and the emptiness of the restaurant was actually quite enchanting. There is also an open area for diners who want to sit outside. However, this means that there is inadequate parking space for customers. It doesn’t present a problem, though, as there’s plenty of space to put your car in a parking lot serving the
which concurred with mine, thankfully. Because we had gorged on the generous portions of starters, we were stuffed for the main course. Despite this we decided to stay and have it. The vegetable fried rice was really well prepared but a tad flavourless. My dad seemed to avoid the rice, and opt for the Indian rotis. However, it was the chilli chicken and the chicken ghosht that stole the show. Both the curries were very well prepared, with adequate amounts of spice and flavour, thereby making up for the insipid fried rice, and also offering us a great experience of authentic North Indian and Chinese food. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of leftovers, which the waiter amenably offered to pack up for us. We even opted for some Gulab Jamun (milksolids-based sweet) for dessert. It was scrumptious too, although you can never really mess up Gulab Jamun, can you? In all, Taste of India managed to surprise us in every single way, starting from the tranquil ambience all the way to the delightful service and the lip-smacking food. Being an expatriate from India, it is incredibly odd that I prefer having Arabic or Italian dishes to traditional Indian food. But I guess places like this give me a feeling of going back home for a freshly prepared “homely” dinner. Taste of India has been bookmarked as one of my go-to places for dinner, and I’ll be heading back there soon.
building next door. The waiters were very affable, if a tad too persistent with the specials. Still, seated, with the menu in our hands, we quickly made our selections. We opted for the breaded fish fillets and a tandoori platter for starters and two plates of vegetable fried rice, some Indianstyle rotis, a chicken ghosht (a special), and finally a plate of chilli chicken. We did have to wait a little while for the starters to arrive – 15 minutes to be precise – because we opted for the tandoori platter. Surprisingly – when Do you have a favourite restaurant that you’d like to see reviewed? Let Y know at firstname.lastname@example.org it finally came – it looked delicious and the fresh meat and fish sizzled on a hot plate placed in front of us. There was a mixture of chicken, king mackerel (fish) as well as mutton on the platter. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long on our plates. The breaded fish fillet was scrummy too. It didn’t taste like the average ready-to-fry frozen fish fillets found in shops so I assumed it was freshly cut. The batter was crunchy without being overly so, and the fish was melt-in-the-mouth tasty. Overall, they were the best fillets that I have ever had. My parents weighed in with their opinion, DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
Block stripes are shaping up to be one of the hippest patterns on the catwalk for the cooler months. From knit dresses to scarves, sweaters, bags and shoes, itâ€™s a bold move to keep up with this trend, such as this outfit from Long Tall Sally.
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
k o o L e h
, reet look t s igh t the h e th to ge o t end ps you h g l i e h ver he h t Glo From y t i c Feli
T t Ge
It’s almost time for the festive season so splashing out on this classic Monsoon “Sadie” stripe dress is a great long-term investment. From RO52.3
There’s nothing quite like a bright block stripe combination, such as this fine-gauge tunic from Matalan, to stand out from the crowd. From RO6.7
This red, white and blue striped midi-dress by Very is a soft knit that is easy to wear during the cooler months in Oman. From RO15.3
Add a splash of colour to any outfit with a striped scarf from Accessorize. From RO9.1
This cute mini bag from House of Fraser might be a classic design but the stripes give it that essential, modern touch. From RO15.3
The striped look continues for our hands, such as this subtle ring featuring stripes in the semi-precious stone from Top Shop. From RO6
These classic striped heels from Dune will put you bang on trend this season, not to mention having you step out in style. From RO40.8
Level up your outfit in these white teardrop shape earrings from New Look. From RO2.4
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
LUSCIOUS LOCKS To ensure better hair growth and prevent hair loss this winter, follow Asgar Saboo’s expert advice on vitamin intake
he cooler months are well and truly here! Now that colder days are upon us, so are some of the damaging elements that can take the sheen away from your hair and also cause it to fall out. But fear not. There is a healthy, natural way to prevent hair loss this winter. Through including more vitamins in your diet, you can maintain healthy hair all year round, says celebrity hairstylist Asgar Saboo.
Vitamin A is vital for proper cell growth. It helps in producing oil on the scalp, which keeps the hair from drying out and breaking. Food sources: cod liver oil, peaches, carrots, spinach, etc.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that repairs and builds tissue, and is essential for healthy hair growth. When you apply vitamin E to your scalp, it reduces inflammation, increases blood circulation, boosts oxygen supply, and repairs damaged hair follicles. Because of its blood thinning properties. Food sources: almonds, seeds, avocado, broccoli.
Vitamin C helps boost our immunity and protects us against frequent colds and other infections. What most people are unaware of is that vitamin C also has hair-strengthening qualities. It helps the body create and produce collagen, a vital protein for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Food sources: oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit and kiwi fruit. 036
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
The obvious approach to boost your vitamin D levels is to spend some time out in the sun and around 15-20 minutes every day is enough to get your dose. To increase your vitamin D levels with food sources, eat vitamin D-rich foods. Food sources: halibut, mackerel, salmon, egg yolk, maitake and portabella mushrooms etc.
If you want longer, healthier hair then biotin is a must. It is one of the most widely-used supplements for faster hair growth. Biotin is a B vitamin and it plays a key role in keeping the hair healthy. While most people get a good dose of biotin from the food they eat every day, it is a water-soluble vitamin. That means your body cannot retain it and flushes out what it doesn’t use. So you need to get enough of it every day. Food sources: dairy products, peanut butter, soy bean, legumes etc.
OUT OF SIGHT
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness, and spotting its signs early will help to prevent loss of vision, say experts at Burjeel Hospital
he eye is one of the body’s most complicated pieces of equipment. Changes occur with age, and short-sightedness is common. With regular check-ups and easy maintenance, coupled with good fortune, your eyes should last a lifetime. We take it for granted that our vision will deteriorate, especially in middle age. However, some people aren’t so lucky. Some of us might develop cataract, which is the biggest cause of blindness in the world today. A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. It is one of the medical emergencies to affect the eye that will permanently damage your eyesight if you don’t get immediate help. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, nearly 20 million people are blinded by cataract – which constitutes 45 per cent of those around the world who are blind. Unfortunately, this number is expected to grow by one million every year. In the Sultanate, cataract has been found to be the main cause of 35 per cent of cases of blindness. The national cataract surgery rate stands at 2,120 per million. Meanwhile, the number of cases of blindness due to un-operated cataracts has risen from 1.8 per cent to 2.3 per cent over the past year, according to studies. Sufferers are often slow to spot the signs and get help to tackle the disease. In Muscat, Burjeel Hospital’s Dr Mansour Abdulkhalek Mabrouk Abukhelewa says: “There are still barriers that prevent people from seeking surgical solutions. “These can be divided into patient-related such as motivation, mobility, and money; and provider-related factors such as the availability of
expertise, materials, management, and marketing.” With a cataract, the lens at the front of your eye will become cloudy. Colours may look faded and look tinged with yellow. You might see bright haloes around bright lights or find them too dazzling, and your vision may become misty or blurred. However, removing a cataract is a relatively simple operation. The cataract is removed under local anaesthetic and replaced with an artificial, plastic lens. The procedure is usually performed on an out-patient basis and shouldn’t require an overnight stay in hospital. In Oman, Burjeel Hospital in Muscat is committed to providing comprehensive treatment for the surgery. Burjeel Hospital’s Dr Mansour says: “We offer multidisciplinary ophthalmology care for men, women and children, and cataract surgery does figure prominently in our eye-care programme. “We offer a wide range of comprehensive eye care services to treat diseases and conditions that include: cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, low vision, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.” The quality of surgery and overall patient care is crucial in ensuring successful outcomes as is using the latest developments in eye-care, including new lens technology,” says Dr Mansoor. Ultimately, it all comes down to a patient’s desire or need for better vision. “The presence of cataract in one eye directly influences driving performance, for example. When a patient has bilateral visually significant cataracts, surgery is performed first in the eye with the more advanced cataract,” says Dr Mansoor. So if your vision is poor, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment to see an opthalmologist. DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
GRAB IT BEFORE IT’S GONE GET YOUR FREE COPY OF Y AT THE FOLLOWING DISTRIBUTION POINTS… Capital Region Azaiba • Amara Dermatology Clinic • Audi showroom • Bentley showroom • Costa Coffee • Al Fair • Jaguar Showroom • Jeep Showroom • Al Maha Petrol Station • Mazda showroom • McDonald’s • Mitsubishi Showroom • Oman Arab Bank • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Peugeot Showroom • Range Rover Showroom • Sayarti Auto Care • Shell Select • Skoda Showroom • The Sultan Center • Volkswagen showroom • Volvo Showroom • Yamaha Showroom Bawshar • College of Banking and Financial Studies • Dolphin Village • Modern College of Business and Science • Muscat College • Muscat Private Hospital (Emergency and Outpatients) • Oman Medical College CBD • Al Maya Hypermarket • Alizz Islamic Bank • Bahwan Travel Agencies • Bank Sohar • Copper Chimney Restaurant • Costa Coffee • HSBC • Lama Polyclinic • NBO • Oman Arab Bank • Standard Chartered Bank • Woodlands Restaurant Darsait • Indian Social Club • Khimji’s Mart
KIMS Oman Hospital • LuLu Hypermarket • Muscat Bakery • Shell Petrol Station Al Falaj/Rex Road • Al Falaj Hotel • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Golden Oryx Restaurant • Kamat Restaurant • Toshiba Showroom Ghala • National Mineral Water Ghubra • Al Hayat International Hospital • Al Maya Hypermarket • Bank of Beirut • Costa Coffee • Crêpe Café • GMC Showroom • LuLu Hypermarket • Moka & More • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Park Inn • Porsche Showroom • Al Raffah Hospital • Stationery Hut • The Chedi Muscat Al Hail • Burger King • Caledonian College of Engineering • Markaz Al Bahja Mall • McDonald’s • Omantel • Starcare Hospital Al Khoudh • Al Fair • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Pizza Hut Al Khuwair • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Bait Al Reem Mall • Caffè Vergnano • Centrepoint (Splash) • Diplomatic Club • Grand Hyatt Muscat • Harley-Davidson Showroom • HSBC • KFC • Khimji’s Mart • Khimji’s Watches • KM Trading • Landmark Group
• • •
McDonald’s Muscat Bakery Oman Bowling Center • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Oman United Insurance • Omran • Pizza Hut • Radisson Blu • Shell Petrol Station • TGI Friday’s • The Great Kabab Factory • The Tikka Place • Zahara Travel • Zakher Mall Mabela • Gulf College Oman Mawalah • Chili’s Restaurant • Costa Coffee • Al Makan Café • The Noodle House • Starbucks • Tim Hortons • VLCC Wellness MBD • Bank Dhofar • Centrepoint (Splash) • Khimji’s Mart • NBO • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Pizza Hut • Pizza Muscat • Shell Petrol Station MGM • Caribou Coffee • Gloria Jean’s Coffees • Just Falafel • Ooredoo • Paul • Tim Hortons Al Mina • Bait Al Baranda • Bait Al Zubair MQ • Al Fair • Arab Open University • British Council • Costa Coffee • D’Arcy’s Kitchen • Hana’s Slimming & Skincare Centre • Kargeen Caffe • KFC • MacKenzies Café & Deli • Mood Café • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Papa John’s Pizza
Pizza Hut Saharz Beauty Salon • Starbucks Al Murtafa’a • Bank Muscat • KFC • Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club Muscat International Airport • Caribou Coffee • Majan Lounge • Plaza Premium Lounge Mussanah • Millennium Resort Muttrah • Shell Petrol Station Qantab • Al Bustan Palace • Marina Bandar Al Rowdha • Oman Dive Center • Shangri-La Qurum • Al Araimi Complex • Balance Health & Fitness • Bank Nizwa • BMW showroom • Burger King • Chili’s Restaurant • Crowne Plaza • Finland Eye Center • Fun Zone • Gloria Jean’s Coffees • The Jungle Restaurant • Left Bank • McDonald’s • Mercedes-Benz Showroom • Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant • Nandos • Nissan Showroom • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Pizza Hut • Qurum Commercial Complex • Ras Al Hamra Club • SABCO Centre • Second Cup • Starbucks • The Sultan Center • Tche Tche Café Rusayl • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -1 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -2 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -3
Knowledge Oasis Muscat -4 (ITA) • Middle East College • Omantel • Waljat College of Applied Sciences Ruwi • Apollo Medical Centre • Kamat Restaurant • KFC • Khimji’s Mega Store – Swarovski Showroom • Khimji’s Watches • KM Trading • Oman Air • Oman UAE Exchange • Oman Trading Establishment • Saravana Bhavan Sarooj • Al Fair • Al Masa Mall • City Cinema • Ayana Spa • Cosmeclic • Emirates Medical Center • McDonald’s • Shell Petrol Station • VLCC Wellness Sawadi • Al Sawadi Beach Resort Seeb • Golden Tulip Hotel • McDonald’s Shatti Al Qurum • Bareeq Al Shatti Complex • Caribou Coffee • D’Arcy’s Kitchen • German Eye Centre • The Indus Restaurant • InterContinental Hotel Muscat • Jawharat Al Shatti Complex • Kaya Skin Clinic • Muscat Eye Laser Center • Oasis By The Sea • Second Cup • Starbucks • VLCC Wellness Sifah • Sifawy Boutique Hotel SQU • Diplomatic Club • College of Economics and
Political Science Students Banking Area • Reception/ Canteen Wadi Kabir • Al Maya Hypermarket • LuLu Hypermarket • Muscat Pharmacy • National Hospitality Institute • Pizza Hut • Shell Petrol Station Wattayah • Ahli Bank • Best cars • BLS International Services • Chevorlet/GM showroom • Ford Showroom • Hatat House • Honda Showroom • Hyundai showroom • Kia Showroom • Lexus Showroom • National Travel & Tourism • Passage To India Restaurant • Shell Petrol Station • Subaru showroom • Suzuki Showroom • Toyota Showroom The Wave • Almouj Golf • Costa Coffee • Oman Sail • Shakespeare & Co. • The Wave Head Office •
Other Regions Barka • Al Nahda Spa and Resort • LuLu Hypermarket Nizwa • University of Nizwa Sohar • Centrepoint (Splash) • Crowne Plaza • National Gift Markets • Ooredoo • Pizza Hut • Safeer Mall • Sohar Beach Hotel • Sohar Port and Freezone • Sohar University
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Y- F i
CARS AND ADVENTURES
BACK IN TIME
Bait Al Ghesham is the latest museum to open in the Sultanate and well worth visiting.
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
D E S T I N AT I O N P o s t c a r d s f r o m
Y- F i
BAIT AL GHESHAM SHAQUEL AL BALUSHI DIGS DEEP INTO THE MEMORY BANK IN A MOSQUE THAT REMINDS HIM OF HOME
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
here’s a saying that goes like this: “The best trips happen when they are unplanned”, and that’s one proverb that I always go by. Why? Because, if I had a baisa for every time somebody cancelled a trip on me, let’s just say that I would be quite wealthy by now. So when I took the wheel of my trusty Jeep at the crack of dawn (5am), I had no idea where I would be heading or whom I would be heading with. But graciously, my buddy Imran offered to join me in my endeavour for the day. It had been a while since he accompanied me for a Destination and I was quite relieved not to be travelling alone. In any case, we decided to head towards the Rustaq side and perhaps do a bit of exploring around the Barka region beforehand. But, because both of us were aware of the consequences of not being prepared beforehand, we decided to enquire with a few friends and contacts about interesting places to visit in the region. Soon, Imran and I had a location, and with the right CD in the music player, and the GPS preloaded with our destination, we were on our way. The drive was the usual: plenty of banter, mirth and a lot of changing CDs in the car. Things always get heated when Imran is in the car but I’m not complaining. Travelling with him is incredibly fun and once again it set the tone straight for the day that lay ahead. The best part about starting off this early, especially in winter, is the fact that you get to experience the cool weather and also catch the sun rising from behind the hills to paint the sky in an almost orangey hue. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Our point of interest for the day was Bait Al Ghesham, which translates to “The House of Ghesham”. And after about an hour-and-a-half or so of driving, we saw the house stretching across the horizon. It was quite a massive structure and seemed to be in very good shape. You really cannot miss this building. Getting closer to the edifice, however, we realised that it was not a house any longer but actually a museum. We also noticed that it was still under renovation, which is why some parts of the building looked newer than others. And just as we were getting ready to take a few pictures, a guard approached us and explained to us that the museum was due to be opening only on November 28, the day before this issue of Y went to press. Kindly enough, the guard let us explore the interior. But we were still left mesmerised by the tall, traditional-looking exterior. The structure radiates true Omani architecture, something that we were extremely proud to behold. However, we soon realised that the inside hadn’t been completed yet, and that it would not have been fair to have shot the interior of a museum that wasn’t yet functional. Next, we headed out to capture some of the surrounding areas. Not so long after, we stumbled upon a beautiful mosque. Call it love at first sight, but something about the mosque called out to me. Surprisingly, it is also one of the few mosques in Oman that still has a running falaj system underneath for us to wash our hands and feet, just like in the olden days. I felt like I was back in my early days as a young boy. In all, it was a day well spent. By the time we finished, it was already afternoon, and it was time for us to head out for a spot of lunch. So we packed up our gear to head back home. There are some areas in the Sultanate that do not seem to have a lot of historical importance but a lot of them are still unique, and Bait Al Ghesham and its mosque is one of them.
HOW TO GET THERE Take the Muscat Expressway and when you reach Route 13, take the exit to the Nakhal Road. Then head towards Barka and turn when you see the sign for Bait Al Ghesham.
GPS coordinates: N23°27’26.6” E57°48’28.2”
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
CARS AND ADVENTURES
TOP FIVE THINGS TO DO: 1. Climb Ben Nevis and visit the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre for tips 2. Take one of the many magnificent walking trails 3. Ride in a Nevis Range gondola cable car 4. Book a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train 5. Take in the scenery, take selfies, take your time
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
The Scottish town of Glen Nevis is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful Highlands.
Kevin McIndoe recommends
GLEN NEVIS, SCOTLAND F
ilmmakers love the Scottish Highlands. If they can’t afford Austria or Switzerland, they send their location scouts here to some of the most spectacular scenery the UK’s northernmost country has to offer. Much of Mel Gibson’s Oscarwinning movie Braveheart was filmed here, as were parts of Highlander and Rob Roy. Glen Nevis also formed the backdrop for the Quiddich matches in three Harry Potter films. I travelled by car and took the same route James Bond and M took in Skyfall in his classic, silver-grey Aston Martin DB5. Admittedly, I was in my modest but trusty silver-grey VW Jetta but still got a knot in my stomach as I climbed higher and took in Rannoch Moor and Glen Etive while trying to keep my eyes on the road. These mountains, all 900m high or more - craggy, copper-hued and peppered in purple heather - are transcendent titans that were formed out of the Ice Age some two million years ago and now draw walkers, mountain bikers and skiers from all over the world. It’s easy to get to Glen Nevis, which forms the base of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. From Glasgow, just find the A82 either from the West End, the Clyde Tunnel or Erskine Bridge; point your car north, and go. From the resplendent Rannoch Moor, the A82 takes you through the pass of Glencoe and the famous Three Sisters. The road lurches downward through a steep-sided valley and suddenly three majestic mountains glower down at you as you pass them on your left en route to Fort William, the nearest town to Glen Nevis. Emirates operates direct flights from Dubai to Glasgow, but you can fly from Muscat to London Heathrow and then catch a connecting flight to Glasgow.
L FALL S
My favourite place The amazing and accessible Steall Falls walk at the foot of Glen Nevis. A clear path winds past some stunning ridges through Nevis Gorge to the waterfall, which is just a delight in all its scintillating, shimmering splendour. It cascades through a range of craggy rocks and peaty bogs and is shrouded by glistening trees; the leaves of which are resplendent in the last throes of autumn. The array of colours on offer here is very easy on the eye, too. Highlights
Glen Nevis is the base for some of the best walking trails to be had in the world. It is, of course, at the bottom of Ben Nevis, which is 1,345 metres high. And you can simply take the mountain path to the top. It isn’t difficult but it will be strenuous if you’re not reasonably fit. The top section can be rough and stony and only experienced (and well-equipped) walkers should go that far up. If covered in snow, it will be hard to follow and you could find yourself, quite literally, on dangerous ground. Take care, and turn back if you have any doubts. Alternatively, if you fancy reaching some high ground without too much effort, take a Nevis Range gondola cable car. It will take you up 650m on the northern slopes of Aonach Mor and to some well-worn paths and biking trails that offer commanding views overlooking the glen and Fort William. The foot of the gondola cable car is 10km north of Fort William and is open all year. Glen Nevis is also one of the most rewarding points on the West Highland Way, which is arguably Scotland’s most well-known walking route. Stretching from outside Glasgow to Fort William, it offers a wonderful way to witness some of the best views Scotland has to offer. One of the area’s most ancient landmarks is the ruin of old Inverlochy Castle, which can be found a few hundred metres off the A82. In summer months, book a trip on the enchanting Jacobite Steam Train. It leaves Fort William on its joyous way to Mallaig (on the west coast) most mornings at 10.20am, and returns around 4pm. And yes, it does cross the wondrous Glenfinnan Viaduct (the one you saw in the Harry Potter films).
G L E N N E V IS
Lowlights Well, obviously, the weather. In Scotland, you can get four seasons in one day no matter the time of year it is. Whatever your outdoor pursuit, respect the elements and take adequate layers of clothing with you. If you’re walking, ensure you wear sturdy footwear with adequate ankle support. Also in summer, beware of midges (a mosquito-like insect), which can be very irritating if you don’t buy a repellent. Souvenirs You can find them at the splendid Glen Nevis Visitor Centre that sells many handicrafts (some locally produced), clothing, millinery, tartan clothing and products, and shells. Fort William has shops offering the same.
Where to stay If coming in summer, you can camp or hire a caravan in the park right in the heart of Glen Nevis. Otherwise, head to Fort William, which is 10km away and styles itself as the “gateway to the Highlands” and Scotland’s “outdoor capital”. Here you will find hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs to suit all budgets. I stayed in a three-star hotel in the town and it was perfectly cosy. But if you want to travel farther afield, there are places to stay in Highland lodges or self-catering cottages in the villages of Glen Coe, Kinlochleven or Corpach. You will find plenty to choose from on the usual portals such as Booking.com, Hotels.com or Trivago.co.uk
IT E S T EAM
T R A IN
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
-FI THE TECH IN YOU
D e s t i n at i o n
GO WITH THE FLOW We spend a lot of time working these days so it makes sense to ramp up our office space with some smart gadgets to make life a little easier, says Felicity Glover OLD SCHOOL
WORK IT First things first: it’s important to stay active even while stuck at your desk for hours on end. How do you do that? How about giving the Officiser a try – it’s an active footrest that will keep your legs moving while you meet that deadline. The push and pull movement of the device helps blood circulation, stimulates the calves and even helps you to burn more calories. What more can you ask for in this age of sedentary living? Pre-order at www.officiser.com from RO38
For those of you who still remember the oldfashioned typewriter with its clickety-clacky keyboard, the Qwerkywriter Bluetooth Keyboard could be just for you. Weighing in at just under 1.3kg, the vintage-style keyboard comes with its own builtin tablet stand, which means typing on your iPad becomes so much easier. It is rechargeable and the battery life lasts for up to three months while you also get that familiar clickety sound to remind you of the days of yesteryear when typewriters ruled the world. At www.qwerkywriter.com from RO153
FREE AT LAST Hands up those of you who find you are easily distracted in this world of connectivity? While you might be writing an important presentation or filing a report for your boss, the distractions are numerous, from a quick check on what your friends are doing on Facebook to seeing what’s trending on Twitter or WhatsApping your mates, there’s a lot of timewasting going on in the office. That’s where Freewrite comes in. According to its creators, it’s the world’s first smart typewriter. And we have to say that it is pretty cool as it strips a computer down to its very basics and lets you get on with the job. At www.getfreewrite.com from RO192
MYCESTRO WEARABLE MOUSE
WEARABLE TECH JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT BETTER WITH THE MYCESTRO WEARABLE MOUSE. LIGHTWEIGHT AND ERGONOMIC, IT CUTS THE RISK OF TENDONITIS BUT ALLOWS YOU TO CONTROL YOUR COMPUTER’S CURSOR WITH GESTURES. YOU WEAR THE WIRELESS 3D MOUSE ON YOUR FINGER AND OPERATE IT BY USING THUMB ACTIONS WHILE IT ALSO GIVES YOU A NINE-METRE RANGE, MAKING IT GREAT FOR PRESENTATIONS. IT’S ALSO A HANDY DEVICE FOR AREAS IN WHICH YOU DON’T HAVE A HORIZONTAL SURFACE TO USE A REGULAR MOUSE WITH EASE, SUCH AS ON PLANES, AT CONFERENCES OR SLUMPED ON THE SOFA SURFING THE NET ON EITHER YOUR LAPTOP, TABLET OR OTHER DEVICE. AT WWW.MYCESTRO.COM FROM RO49.
JULY DEC 0103- -0709/ /ISSUE ISSUE447 327
WATCH DOGS 2
s the world progresses towards a more cyber-centred future, we’re becoming more prone to hacking than ever before. While you and I may think we’re safe at the moment, there’s still a world out there plotting to gain access to your personal space, and perhaps even more. And that’s exactly what Watch Dogs 2 shines light on except you are actually the hacker here but, oddly enough, not the bad guy. Think Info Box of Watch Dogs 2 as a cyber-drama that’s based on the Genre: ACTION ADVENTURE, real-life hacker group Anonymous more than anything THIRD PERSON SHOOTER else. Platform (s): For the sequel, developer Ubisoft introduces PC, PLAYSTATION 4, protagonist Marcus Holloway – quite a likeable XBOXONE character with a lot of flair and charisma – who leaves Developer: behind the drab, rain-slicked streets of grey Chicago, UBISOFT for a beautiful and almost life-like rendition of San Rating: MATURE 18+ Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. The game’s greatest strength, however, is its writing. Of late, Ubisoft games have often lacked good scripts but Watch Dogs 2 rectifies that with a splendid storyline. For the first time ever, the game is also also quite humorous, thanks in part to Marcus’s cheeky cockiness, as well as the varied personalities of his hacker mates, who are collectively known as the DedSec. The hacktivist group’s main aim is to target San Francisco’s largest corporations for all kinds of cyber attacks and corporate espionage. You also have to use your skills as a hacker to uncover various supervillains, including a Martin Shkreli-esque pharma-boy, an occult group known as New Dawn, a stark allegory to the Church of Scientology and many more. Much of the game revolves around keeping yourself undercover, much like a spy. However, should the need arise, you can also go up in arms and simply fire away. But this feels entirely at odds with the game’s tone. And that’s where Watch Dogs 2 falters initially. Being stealthy can be extremely difficult, thanks to its almost unpredictable AI (Artificial Intelligence). But when things go as planned, there’s very little out there that offers the satisfaction that Watch Dogs 2 does. This really is a great game! Review by Alvin Thomas
App of the Week
CAMCARD Free up your pockets and wallet with CamCard, a business card scanner that can read 17 languages and helps you to organise all your contacts in one place. And if you’ve run out of physical business cards (which happens all the time to Team Y), you can even exchange e-cards with new contacts. The CamCard app also gives you contact information across multiple devices, gives you updates on what your contacts are doing and you can access company addresses in its map section – essential if you are new to a city. Free at
JULY DEC 03 01 - 09 07 / ISSUE 447 327
CARS AND ADVENTURES
Y- F i C A R S
Driverless cars are a boon for the backseat driver, says Alvin Thomas, who reviews two models marking the motoring revolution around the world
magine this: you’ve had a late night and you’re running late for work. Your boss is probably right up your collar early morning, and you’ve received 10 text messages from him/her to get to work and set the ball rolling for the week. But you can barely lift your head from your bed let alone drive to work today. So, what would you do in such a scenario? You’re probably going to call in sick, aren’t you? However, simply think of how amazing it would be if your car drove you while you snoozed your way to work. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But what if we told you that there are already cars on the market that will take full control of the wheel and let you kick back and relax? That’s right, folks. Today, we take a look at two of the most renowned autonomous and semiautonomous cars that can drive you from A to B without you laying your hands on the wheel. We’re looking at the future of driving – a future where one needn’t actually drive.
Tesla Model 3
Let’s kick things off with the masters of selfdriving vehicles, Tesla. Named after the inventor of alternative current, Nikola Tesla; Elon Musk’s dream to serve the masses with clean-energy vehicles through his electrical vehicles project came to life with his brand, which was founded in 2003. Of course, after the early stumbles, Tesla has
DEC 01 - 07 / ISSUE 447
now become the second-largest global plug-in car manufacturer, only after Nissan. However, the American manufacturer hopes to topple the Japanese giants with its Model 3. The Model 3 will be the cheapest Tesla in the lineup, with a starting price of roughly RO14,000, and will slot in between the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover. The car will run entirely on electricity and will have Tesla’s legendary autopilot system installed on board, meaning that it can drive itself. The autopilot system is extremely clever, safe and intuitive. All the driver (or passenger) has to do is select the destination and mark the route on the large infotainment screen upfront. After this, the car’s onboard camera system will work in tandem with the GPS, radar, odometry and the sensors to drive itself to its destination. The car is also equipped to keep track of road variations, weather conditions as well as traffic ahead to alter its speed and route. However, the driver can take control at any moment should he sense impending danger. But just so you know, all Tesla models are equipped with the company’s Autopilot hardware and safety systems. The Model 3 has also scored 5 out of 5 in the every category of crash tests given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even the slowest Model 3 will clock a 0-100kph time of merely six seconds, which is faster than most German saloons featuring in this price bracket, and the range will stand at an astounding 344km. Tesla says that it has also managed to gather 115,000 pre-orders even before its debut. Unfortunately, Oman isn’t on the list of countries eligible for pre-order of the car but those interested can place and order online and mark “United Arab Emirates” as the destination.
The all-new S90 was revealed in Oman a weeks ago and we’re due to be taking it out for a review soon. But why are we so excited to feature it in our section this week? For starters, it fits into our category of self-driving cars and secondly, it is currently available for purchase in the Sultanate. The new S90 has created waves for its avantgarde looks and its supreme driving dynamics but more so for upping the ante in the luxury saloon segment due to its ability to drive itself on certain roads. The “Pilot Assist” (second generation) system will be featured as a part of standard equipment of the S90. The complex system will use a set of cameras as well as radar guidance to track lane-markings on the road, and accelerate, brake and steer at speeds up to 128kph. Other brands have had such features as an option but the S90 is the first car in the world to come standard with these semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Earlier this year, we tested the new XC90, which was fitted with an earlier version of this system, and instantly fell in love with it so we cannot even begin to imagine how advanced the new system will be. Anyways, more on that in the coming weeks.
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