Tag Archives: Lebanese

It’s Miss Baz to you.

So, apparently my family name is very similar to a common Lebanese family name – Baz.  Don’t mind that my family name contains an extra letter!  …It always amazes me how Lebanese people are always so eager to make me Lebanese!  I’m quite flattered actually, really..

Take today for example..I met a gentleman with the family name Baz.  Even after explaining to him that I grew up in Miami..that my parents are from Trinidad..and that they are of German, Spanish, French, Irish, and English descent..he still proceed to give me a geography lesson to prove that I am, in theory and in fact, Lebanese..“Yes..yes.. but during the war, many Lebanese migrated to Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela..That explains your last name!” he said.

“Ok! If you say so,” I replied. ;)

Well, what can I say?  I guess you can call me Miss Baz!

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Filed under life in Lebanon

Lebanese, in the Caribbean Sea..

So..I’ve been telling everyone I’m from Miami..when the truth is, very few people are actually from Miami.  Take me for example, I grew up in my Miami, but my parents are from a tiny island in the Caribbean called Trinidad.

And it was Trinidad, an island known for its warm hospitality, steel pan music, and festive carnival, that I first encountered Lebanese and Syrian culture.

You see.. Trinidad is a very diverse island, and home to cultures and ethnic groups as different as East Indian, European, African, Middle Eastern, and Chinese.

Beautiful Trinidadian women

Diverse Trinidadian Beauties: former and current Miss TNT's..

All of this to say, it was in Trinidad where I first heard the word “haram,” first ate a Syrian pastry, first witnessed Middle Eastern beauty, and first learned about the seemingly innate ability of the Lebanese and Syrians to turn every business they touch into gold.

Before I continue..a few more pictures of my beautiful country..

Maracas Beach Trinidad

Maracas Bay, Trinidad. Photo Credit: National Geographic

Downtown Port of Spain Trinidad

Downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital. Photo Credit: National Geographic

Port of Spain Trinidad

Old Port of Spain port, Trinidad. photo credit: Noel P Norton

Port of Spain Trinidad

Old Time Trinidad: a coconut vendor by the Savannah. Photo Credit: Noel P Norton

Steel pan players in Trinidad

The Steel Pan, the national instrument of Trinidad photo credit: Noel P. Norton

So, I decided to do some research about the over 10,000 Syrian and Lebanese families that now call Trinidad their home.

I came across a website showcasing the contributions made by the Syrian and Lebanese community in Trinidad over the past 100 years.

This is what they had to say:

The last group of immigrants to venture to colonial Trinidad originated in the region previously known as Greater Syria, which comprises of present day Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. Many of the Lebanese hailed from the villages of Buhandoun and Amyoun while the Syrians came from villages in the ‘Valley of the Christians.’ These Arabs emigrated to the Caribbean from as early as 1904 in an attempt to escape religious persecution and economic hardship in their native countries.

Trinidad’s thriving economy, political stability and pristine environment proved to be the ideal location where these displaced Arabs could establish new lives. They brought with them vestiges of their culture and a keen business acumen which proved to be the ideal tools for success in the colony. At their arrival they were ‘virtually penniless’; however, they have ‘managed to achieve phenomenal economic success’.

It is not clear who first arrived in Trinidad. Records show that as early as 1902 there were Syrian/Lebanese Families living in Trinidad. Abdullah Gabriel and Elias Galy were among the earliest Lebanese settlers to Trinidad. There were others like the Abdullahs, Chami, Hadad and Matouk. Before World War I there were approximately 100 Syrian/Lebanese families living here and they had already established businesses in Port of Spain. Hard work and sacrifice were the keys to tile success of this community.

So here’s to you Trinidad, and to you Miami, and to you Lebanon..

Thank you for letting me be a part of you.

You’ve taught me so much.

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Filed under life in Lebanon

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!

and for my non Lebo people, this is what a Lebanese flag looks like..

Lebanese flag

Lebanese Flag

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Filed under life in Lebanon, Social Issues in Lebanon