I still can't give you too many specific details about the last part of the task - did we succeed or fail? I can't tell you that I am afraid. All I will say is that it is much harder to spend £8000 in 24 hours than you might imagine. Especially if you win $15,000 at the casino (bluff or double bluff?) but we got to see more of Yerevan today, including the Cascades, a huge facade of stone steps that houses a massive collection of art. David B and I had to lead the crew member with the unusual phobia of over-sized items up the internal escalators, past displays of massive feet and lipsticks and other oversized items, whilst instructing them to look left of right at the appropriate time to avoid seeing the objects and passing out. It was like a very strange edition of Knightmare. We've had a few tasks arranged for us by the production company, whilst others we have had more change to improvise on, but one of the former items led to us dressing in silly costumes and dancing on the monument in the hot sunshine overlooking this city. As men hurtling towards our fifties it is both reassuring and tragic that we make our living this way. Later we met a caricaturist who drew a cartoon of us in the street.An old lady approached us trying to sell pads and calculators and DVDs. Normally when people try to peddle stuff like this in the street it can be irritating, but now we could buy up her stock with impunity. We could give Dave (the channel)'s money to someone who clearly really needed it. She came back three times with other items, with a mixture of incredulity and I think the belief that we really loved what she had to offer or that she had tricked us into buying it with her wiles. We couldn't keep the items (much as I coveted the calculator with its swanky plastic lid) so gave them to the artist, Agnes, to keep to remember us by.
Most of the people in this city have been wonderfully welcoming and friendly (but we have been handing out money so we might be about to experience a shift in attitude not seen since the prodigal son used up his inheritance), but we did come across a couple of hilariously unfriendly people. We booked the Presidential Suite at a hotel for four hours (we only found out too late that President Assad of Syria had once stayed in there, which made me laugh as well as sending a chill up my spine). We tried to order caviar from room service to be greeted by the most impatient and grumpy hotel employee I've ever heard. He seemed to be acting like we were putting him out and actually sighed when we were ordering. It seems the richer you are the worse you get treated. He rang back to let us know we didn't have any caviar. Fair enough he probably thought we were pricks (which we are, but we're no President Assad) but surely he has to pretend to be happy to have us spending money in his hotel. I loved his attitude though. It made me laugh more than almost anything else that had happened.
Also after filming was over and we'd been out for dinner a young man goosed our female director who ran away from him, but he hung around in the road for ages as if this had been the best seduction technique ever and Lizzie was hiding in the van because she was so taken with his prowess. He was little more than a boy and maybe a little drunk, but it was bizarre the way he wouldn't go away. Perhaps in Armenia if you touch a woman's bottom then she belongs to you. We mustn't question other people's cultures. That would be racist.
It wasn't all caviar and jumping around on beds that had been slept in by heinous chemical weapon owning mass murderers though. We did head out of the city to a run down area near the airport to get our fortune told by another tiny old lady. This one used wax dripped into water over our heads to tell us about ourselves, although much of her comments seemed to be about candles. I was chastised for being the kind of person who doesn't light candles in church. I would have thought wax would love me because I refused to burn up its cousins, but maybe wax wants to be burned. I was told I had a saint looking after me, but that I was refusing his help and existing adrift in an ocean without spirituality. Though to be honest I think I mainly got this reading because all the stuff she'd said about me wasn't true (and I really wanted it to be). She did a bit better with David. And I couldn't resent her for her assessment of me (as it was correct- though I hope the saint doesn't fight with the Red Indian spirit guide that I also apparently have) and again felt better after injecting some money into her household.
The crew and our Armenian friends went out for dinner after the filming was finally over. It was great to see the team relax after all their hard work this week. We laughed and got a little drunk and then headed back to the hotel. We have to leave at 6am for our flights tomorrow and there's been little enough time to sleep as it is.
I think we've made a funny and thought-provoking show, but it very much depends on what bits get used. We laughed a lot making it and I am very glad I have had an opportunity to visit this country.