Author Archives: Danielle Baiz

Pollution in Lebanon

I held by breath as I drove into Beirut today..well, as long as I could at least.

Somedays, as I look down at the city from Hazmieh, I cringe at the thought of spending the entire day breathing in the polluted air!  This is serious!  More serious that gastric acid inducing honking I should think!

I would really like to see the government do something to regulate emissions in the city..it would be such a shame to see such a beautiful city go to ruin over something like pollution.

That will be the day.

Honking in Beirut..oh, and planting trees in Hamra..

Correct me if I’m wrong,,as I’ve only lived here for a couple of months now..but does it ever get easier to deal with the honking in Beirut?  It always seems to be especially bad when I’m in Hamra..likely because the street is lined with apartment buildings and commercial complexes trapping in the deafening noise..

A recent article in the Daily Star addresses the issue of “noise pollution” in Beirut..while they’re at it, why don’t they address pollution as well?  Apparently, a Fullbright scholar and professor at American University in Beirut is proposing that people who engage in habitual or unnecessary honking be fined. GOOD LUCK.

Does she not realize that honking is a Lebanese national past time?

The professor is suggesting that the fine money be used to plant trees in Hamra to serve as noise absorbers.  Trees, in Hamra?  Ummm where are they going to plant them?  In the concrete?  For my Miami people, saying your going to plant trees in Hamra, is like saying you are going plant trees in Brickell.

According to the Daily Star,

“Loud and persistent noise causes the vibration of eardrums and signals the brain to produce harmful chemicals; annoying noise leading to increased stress, irritability and rage can be harmful to health by increasing gastric acid, desire to smoke and drink coffee and restless sleep.  Adults under stress manifest socially unacceptable behavior in the presence of children by honking horns and speaking foul language.”

Stress, irritability, INCREASED GASTRIC ACID?

Something must be done, and QUICK!

I found this brilliant graphic on a Lebanese blog, by a designer named Joe..its time like these that I wish I was a graphic designer too!

for my Miamians..this is the Lebanese flag below..

Vanity plates in Lebanon..

I’ve been driving around Lebanon a lot recently, and I noticed a strange trend.. License plates here have anywhere between 1 and 7 numbers…

Curious, I asked one of my friends to explain this phenomenon.

The response: “In this region, the lower your license plate number is, the more connected and powerful you are..People pay A LOT of money to get their hands on low number license plates..its a status symbol..”

“No wayyy,” I thought..”This can’t be true!”

So, I did some research, and lo and behold,,I found an article from 2008 where a businessman from a wealthy Abu Dhabi family paid $14 million dollars for his “vanity plate” with a number “1” on it..

aaaannnndd…here he is..

see the article if you don’t believe me..

so, this dude..holding the #1 license plate,… MAJOR PIMP STATUS.

This guy, below….ehh not soo pimp…

I wonder what these people think of our license plates in the states?

Do we at least get honorable mention for originality?

Tupac in Lebanon

Went for a walk to Costa Coffee in Downtown Solidere today from work..Guess who I met? Tupac.

No, really…I did.

I went to place my order, and looked down at the server’s name tag,,and was taken back when I saw in big bold letters..

TUPAC.

“Tupac? Is that an Arab name?” I thought..

This Tupac couldn’t be any more Lebanese.

He quickly figured out I was American, and proudly pointed to his name tag and said, “I love Tupac, see my name tag?”

If only Tupac knew he has a Facebook fan page in Lebanon, I think he too would have a laugh.

🙂

TIL – This is Lebanon.

For two months now, I have been traveling in a country whose name is synonymous with war, yet I myself, have never been more at peace.  A country where people speak three different languages (Arabic, French, and English) in one sentence, where family values still exist, and where eating is not something you do – its a way of life.  A country where there are six women for every one man, where little girls ride their bicycles past armed men without a flinch, and where making $1,200 a month is considered a decent living.  A country where you can drive from the beach to the mountains in the space of an hour, where mosques stand right next to churches, and where honking your horn is a national past time.

A country where people who come, never want to leave.

This. is. Lebanon.

Moi.

I’m a 23 year old from Miami living and working in Beirut, Lebanon.

I’ve climbed The Great Wall of China, volunteered at an orphanage in Bangkok, seen a bull fight in Madrid, and been to a coffee shop in Amsterdam.  I’ve had high tea at the Burj al Arab in Dubai, paid 4 euros for a waffle in Belgium, and eaten jerk chicken in Jamaica.  I’ve been to the rain forest in Costa Rica, Ground Zero in New York, and The Opera House in Sydney.  I’ve experienced Chicago in January, Trinidad during carnival, and the nightlife in Beirut.  I’ve seen the Alps of Switzerland, used an outhouse in Kentucky, and had a margarita in Key West.

These are my stories.

Well, hello there..

This blog was created to account for the sad fact that not even my friends and family could stomach reading my last blog. Gone are the days of lengthy, insightful entries (oh, the horror!)..and here are the days of pictures, videos, and one-liners. Hope you’re happy!

So now, no one has any excuse.

Be proud. I’ve grown.