Amazing Race update – Oman, it’s hot in Oman
There are only five teams left in part because there has not been a single non-elimination leg in the Race yet. They all start out from Greece and have to make their way to Muscat, Oman, on the tip of the Saudi peninsula. The hippies, who were way late in the last leg, miss the first bus, then the first plane to Oman. No matter: the park where they need to go next opens at 6am in the morning so all teams are bunched up. The interlude gives Ray & Yolanda an opportunity to snipe at each other.
Once the gates open, all teams run up to a giant incense burner and grab the next clue: they must drive 135 miles to the fishing village of Sur and find the ferry. Most teams find their way, but Team Volcano falls behind with some wrong turns. Once at Sur, it’s a Detour: Camel or Watchtower. Teams may either load a camel into a pickup and deliver it to a desert Bedouin, or search among three watchtowers on the water for a message box and deliver that to a goldsmith. Team Frat Boys and Mojo choose the camel while Teams Kukla and Burning Man search all along the watchtowers; Team Volcano arrives much later and packs the camel.
After the Detour, teams head to the village of Al Hawiyah and the Roadblock: one member from each team must dig among 117 mounds of sand in the desert, searching for a cache of spiced lamb that is “cooked” underground. There’s not much time difference between the first four teams, even though Eric & Jeremy got lost on the Detour (correctly referring to themselves as “idiots.”) It’s a hot, hot day in Oman to shovel sand. Monica in particular is smokin’ hot in her tight, un-Islamic “MOJO” T-shirt and she finds the lamb first. Team Mojo heads out followed by Fran & Barry then the Frat Boys. B.J. is having a Lena flashback: he’s unearthed dozens of mounds of sand but can’t find the treasure. The nearly-forgotten team of Ray & Yolanda arrives and she finds the lamb to pull ahead of a worn down B.J. Eventually he digs up the right mound of sand and Team Burning Man heads to the Pit Stop.
The Pit Stop is Jabreen Castle in the town of Nizwa. Navigation is tricky enough but the Frat Boys decide they’ll take a “short cut” to catch up with the first two teams of Mojo and Kukla. As they get more and more lost, I had a twinge of sympathy for these guys who were obviously humbled after a string of first-place finishes. (It passed.) And speaking of passing, while Team Mojo stopped for directions, Fran & Barry raced ahead to a bemused Phil who announces they are Team #1. The Frat Boys stumble in at fourth, leaving the hippies in last place. But Phil hesitates…and we’re told this is a non-elimination leg and Team Burning Man is spared for another week.
#1 – Team Kukla – Fran & Barry – Prize: Travelocity trip to Rome
#2 – Team MoJo – Monica & Joseph
#3 – Team Volcano – Ray & Yolanda
#4 – Team Frat Boys – Eric & Jeremy
#5 – Team Burning Man – B.J. & Tyler – NON-ELIMINATION LEG
Final editorial comment from a long-time Race fan: a most excellent leg tonight, and clearly the best this season. Now that Lake & Michelle are gone, there are five likable (although sometimes annoying) teams left racing. The hippies used to bother me, but I was glad to see them get a break tonight. This leg had it all: travel strategy, physical challenges, animal husbandry, a handful of luck to mix things up, and an exotic travelogue. Even Phil was funny. Thumbs up!
Next week: Way down under (as in cave) in the Down Under.
Extra – This space reserved for recaps by Kris “Hippies Saved” and Pat.