Well, as most of you already know, this week we have an extra long pit stop in Fez, Morocco! For some reason, CBS decided that we needed this break so they could show the 36th annual Country Music Awards. And, as much as we're all dying to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the line-dance inspiring Achy Breaky Heart, we can hardly contain our excitement about learning if "No shoes, no shirt, no problems" wins album of the year. Say it with me Tracey, "Yee Haw!", not to be confused with Ian's "Hooyahs!"
Regardless, this extended break gives Tracey and I the opportunity to learn even more about the remaining teams in a divide and conquer strategy. Each of us will pair up with one person from the other team and spend some time with them. Because we are pretty well liked by all the teams, everyone took us up on on invitation to spend more time with them one on one during our break in the race. The producers had actually provided us with some spending money that couldn't be carried forward after this sabbatical, so everyone was in the mood to get out of the pit stop and see the sights with us. Understanding your competition is an important tactical move that is often overlooked in these types of shows. We are still part of the "brothers alliance," although all of us understand that this is an individual team competition and we won't hold it against each other if we are forced to separate on any given leg to avoid elimination. We told the brothers of our strategy and decided that to maintain the secrecy of our alliance, should include them in this day of fun. Plus Derek/Drew and Ken/Gerard are so much fun, it was nice to have a break with them. In order to remain sane, we started and ended our day with our 2 favorite teams.
Derek and Drew
Our first invitation went out to Derek and Drew. Tracey offered to let me hang out with Drew (the single one) while she took on Derek. I was very eager to take her up on her offer and spend more time with Drew.
Remembering from his bio that Drew enjoyed yoga , I asked him to join me in my hotel room for a sun salute first thing in the morning. Nothing like a good downward-facing dog with one of the hottie twins to start the day off right. It was a great way to relax for the stressful day ahead.
Tracey invited Derek to breakfast at a lovely local restaurant called Palais Tijani. There they feasted on an authentic Moroccan breakfast and shared some of the strengths and weaknesses each of our teams have observed about some of the other teams. Derek told Tracey all about his lovely wife and how he misses her, but that the race was so cool because he gets to spend time with his brother like they did when they were kids. Apparently the twins' parents forbade them from watching Saturday morning WWF wrestling anymore after Derek body-slammed Drew onto the living room sofa, breaking the arm off the sofa and Derek ended up getting cut on the exposed furniture nails. It's good to know that these two have experience in extreme living room sports.
Our scorecard on Derek/Drew
Strengths - Team cohesion, and physical strength/endurance
Weaknesses - they are a target for the other teams, cute to a fault
Andre and Damon
Next up was our "dates" with the cop and the fireman.
Tracey invited Andre, the cop on a walking tour of the city. Fez is the oldest of Morocco's four imperial cities, and is considered the heart of Morocco. As expected, Andre is in great shape and enjoyed the walk.
Tracey and Andre went to a local Bazaar looked at some items that would make neat gifts for friends and family, but didn't want to buy anything as we're all trying to avoid having to carry tons of stuff with us everywhere we go. That is, unless you're as charming as Eve and you can whine your way into getting someone else to carry some of your stuff for you. Oh that's right, Eve didn't find herself a willing Sherpa to haul around her pack, so it's a good thing Tracey was only window shopping, but she did say that she'd love to come back to Fez sometime when she can actually shop and has more time to enjoy the sights. Tracey is really enjoying traveling to the locations we've been to so far, and keeps thanking me for suggesting that we go on the show.
I was pretty hungry after the workout with Drew, and asked Damon if he would like to grab a bite to eat. We found a cute little outdoor cafe and munched heartily while chatting and learning about each other's lives. Damon a fireman who was in the Marines, was also a big fan of another reality show, Combat Missions. So we bonded over our mutual admiration of the show. Coincidentally, Jeff Byers was both of our favorites from the Combat Missions, so now Damon was definitely moving up in my personal rankings.
Our scorecard on Andrew/Damon
Strengths - Physical fit and fast
Weaknesses - can be a little spontaneously hotheaded
Flo and Zach
Because Tracey was so generous in giving me Drew, I felt it only fair that I bite the bullet and invite Flo out while she took on Zach.
Tracey felt badly that Zach never got to try out the rappelling, and she won a great deal of points with him by making plans to rappel down into the Tessaout gorges. Zach did great, and I think he's grateful for the chance to try it out. Zach kept saying to Tracey things like" "Do you hear that music. . . it's wonderful! Do you hear that exotic bird? How cool!" and it was all Tracey could do not to snicker at the thought that poor Zach hasn't been enjoying the cool sounds of the trip over the din of Flo's incessant whining.
I invited Flo to tour the outside of Dar El Makhzen, Fez'a royal palace. It's really a lovely sight, but touring it with Flo turned into an absolute disaster. I never knew someone could complain so much. "My feet hurt," "I'm hungry," "How much further." Luckily Drew had given me some meditation pointers that I employed to block her out, and fortunately I don't remember much from the excursion.
Our scorecard on Flo/Zach
Strengths - Zach
John Vito and Jill
We haven't spent too much time with these 2, but are so impressed by how they treat each other and were looking forward to spending time with them at the pit stop.
Tracey invited John Vito, and I invited Jill to lunch. Funny thing is, we ended up at the same restaurant and we all sat together! They are such a cute couple, and fun to be around. We felt a little tang of guilt that they are not in our "alliance," but you do what you have to when $500,000 is on the line. They're pretty sharp and I think they may have figured out that we're allied with Gerard and Ken (due to the amount of time we spent with them at every pitstop) and maybe even the Twins, as Arianne and Aaron have drawn the connection that "The Brothers" are working together, but they were really sweet and let us off the hook with "we're not really interested in being in an alliance, we just don't want some group trying to sabotage us" and we assured them that we had no intention of doing that and want the best team to win, which of course we hope is us.
Our scorecard on John Vito/Jill
Strengths - energetic and organized
Weaknesses - maybe too nice!
Aaron and Arianne
Boy, this team was a lose-lose for both of us, so we ended up tossing a coin.
I ended up with Aaron and after about 10 minutes, suggested taking in a movie. I just couldn't stand listening to him speak. I know that sort of defeated the purpose, but a girl can only take so much. I did learn that he and Arianne plan to have a child together -- my condolences to that child!
Tracey and Arianne visited Dar Batha museum and from what I hear, Arianne did ALL of the talking. She spent the entire time bashing the hottie twins (surprise, surprise), and trying to get Tracey to commit to an alliance with her and Aaron. Tracey was as noncommital as a politician while still avoiding to tick off Arianne, so kudos to her for that feat of smooth talking. Arianne gave Tracey the scoop about Eve and Heather's elimination, as Aaron and Arianne had been right there while Phil explained the penalty time assessed and that it moved them from first to last, sparing Arianne and Aaron from elimination. Arianne said that Eve interrupted Phil before he finished his explanation, thinking that the decision was not yet final, and said in the whiniest of tones "you can't do that, we followed the directions" and that Phil shut her down. Arianne couldn't surpress her smile any longer, Heather noticed and hissed: "wipe that smirk off your face, you're next!"
Our scorecard on Aaron/Arianne
Strengths - youth
Weaknesses - unfocused and easily frustrated
Teri and Ian
To determine who had to hang out with Ian for the afternoon, we used the good ole "rock, paper, scissors" technique. I lost.
Tracey ended up going back to Dar Batha museum with Teri as it is a lovely place to go and it was nearly ruined by Arianne. After a couple reminders about littering etiquette, the day went pretty smoothly. Teri told Tracey about her kids and waxed nostalgic about her days as a single young woman, and said that Tracey shouldn't be "in a hurry to get married" which we thought was very sweet.
Ian. Where to start. What do you do with a retired cop that can't stop yelling "hooyah"? Yep, you guessed it. I located a local brewery and let him drink to his heart's content. And nope, slurred bullshit is no better than when it's crystal clear.
Our scorecard on Teri and Ian
Strengths - they know how to manage each other
Weaknesses - hard time in physical challenges and unlikely to get local assistance
Ken and Gerard
Boy did we feel like we had been hit by a car a few times by the time we got to the end of the day. Fortunately we saved Ken and Gerard for last as they are just a ton of fun.
We decided to make this a foursome and headed out for dinner and dancing. These two are quite good dancers and even know the Achy Breaky Heart as well as The Macarena, but those tired old dances were never as much fun before we went clubbing with these guys!
Our scorecard on Ken and Gerard
Strengths - funny, organized and assertive
Weaknesses - none that we can see yet!
So that's it for now. We wanted to make sure you knew what was happening with all of us on this "off" week. Stay tuned for next week when the race begins again!
Read the next journal entry (Episode 6): Faster Than a Snail's Pace
Jenn and Tracey
To contact the author of this article (BravoFan, aka Jenn), please send an e-mail to BravoFan@fansofrealitytv.com