That same night we sat around the table with the director and renegotiated our fees; in the end, after 3 hours of negotiations, we got the fee doubled, not bad. Also, they promised to supply us with more food and snacks etc. during the day. It was quite fun and exciting actually to negotiate this as a group and all the dynamics that were involved in this. We did also get paid on the spot, so there can't be any confusion at the end of the deal... The first time in my life that I get payed to be a tourist!
On Friday I had the morning off and spend it hanging out in the city with Kristoffer and Ingrid. But, since Friday is prayer day, most shops were closed. I've spent less then a week in Damascus but already I can navigate the city quite well and have build up a steady portfolio of hawkers to Patronize. One of them is a little boy (maybe 9 years old?) that runs his own fruit-juice shop. He has the biggest and best smile in town and whips up an amazing fruit-juice cocktail. We can't communicate with any common language, but I always get something delicious and he is always happy with a small tip on top of the small amount of money he asks for his craft. Things like this are one of my biggest joys of traveling!
In the afternoon we had some scenes in the ancient city of Bosra. Bosra is quite important for Moslims due to the role it plays in the early life of the prophet Mohammed. Bosra has a magnificently preserved Roman theater that still hosts a music festival every year. Next to the theater the city has a load of other ruins and monumental building as well, all of them beautiful and important. Nowadays there is just a small settlement left in-between the ruins, where the city once had 80.000 inhabitants. During one of the scenes, in the Roman theater, the director thought it a good idea if I wear my the director thought it a good idea if I wear my Didashah during this set. So…. I might appear on the widescreen looking like… an Arab! The line of reasoning behind letting me wear my robe: "yes, that is something that and adventure-backpacker would do!". Love it!
At night, while wrapping up the lasts scenes (not me, I was just hanging around), we heard some music pumping in the area and decided to go for a walk. We ended up crashing a wedding party where we were welcomed by everyone. It involved drinking very black tea (that you had to chew), a lot of dancing, fire works and all sorts of crazy things. A very nice random experience! Click on the movie on the right to get an impression of the party. When back in Damascus that evening we celebrated our last evening in town in style, with some beers in the Christian quarter with a group of friends-of-friends.
After the big day of filming on Wednesday, we were off to the airport on Thursday morning to tape the arrival scenes. . All of them attracted a lot of attention from bystanders; some even wanted to have their picture taken with ‘the actors’… pretty weird! The scene at the airport got pretty boring though and we found out first-hand that waiting is a very big part of an actors life! All in all the specs of helping with movie wasn't quite what we had agreed upon and we (the actors guild :)) felt like we had to take this up with the management team. The amount of time per day, food, etc. wasn't what we had been told and since we still have 7 days to go it was important to address this now. After the airport we had a few quick scenes in central Damascus at a local coffee shop; quite entertaining with all the onlookers!