Bomb-Buddy – A mirror on an end of a stick, sometimes with wheels, used for checking underneath automobiles for bombs. They’re pretty common at most parking lots and fancy hotels in Beirut.
Hallas – Arabic for “enough”. Proper usage: (when the university students in your neighborhood are shrieking and hollering from their balconies at 3am) “HALLAS!” Amy once got an ovation in her English class when she said this because the students were acting up.
“Lollapalooza is that way, dude” – I don’t even really know what this means, but I say it a lot. It started in Cyprus. There was this dreadlocked guy with an iguana. The first time we saw him he was riding a scooter down the sidewalk with the iguana on his shoulder. The next time we saw him, he was mugging for photos with tourists with the iguana on his shoulder. The following time we saw him he was riding a jet-ski with the iguana on his shoulder. Like, Lollapalooza is that way, dude.
Pint – 0.5 liters…no more, no less. An imperial (aka UK) pint is 0.5682612 liters. A US pint is 0.4731765 liters. A Lebanon pint is 0.5000000 liters. It’s as if God moved the earth a tiny bit closer to the sun and consequently made the acceleration of gravity exactly 10 m/s2.
Post-Tourist – Also, Neo-Tourist. A person who visits a country for an extended period of time, staying long enough to rent an apartment and receive mail. Though not strictly limited by the length of the visit, the informal parameters are generally considered to be a month or longer. It’s like, “Well you’re not really a tourist, but you don’t really live here…exactly what are you doing here?” It is up for debate in some sectors whether or not freelance journalists with a temporary dateline in a foreign country are actually considered post-tourists.
Smalls – Small denominations of money, generally but not always 1000 and 5000 LL notes. Also loosely applies to 250 and 500 LL coins. The expression is frequently used due to the fact that ATMs in Lebanon typically dispense large-denomination bills (either 100,000 LL or $100 USD) that are essentially unuseable in most common transactions. Usage: “Do you have any smalls? I need to take a taxi.” Also an apt expression because of the diminutive size of the new 5000 LL note (see below).
Tottenism – The act of imbuing an ordinary occurence with an inordinate sense of danger or drama. For instance, one might normally say, “Today I rode the A train to my first day at my new job.” However, were one to express this using a tottenism, one would say, “Today I rode the notoriously dangerous NYC subway system and managed to make to my first day on the job without getting mugged, murdered, or raped.” This is so named after the style of journalist Michael J. Totten. It is sometimes thought that tottenism also refers to stating an assertion based on a single experience or testimonial as an unassailable and universal fact. While this is another element of Mr. Totten’s style, we don’t have an expression for it yet.