Hello once again, fellow FORTers! It's Jack here with the latest update on the status of Team FORT in this edition of The Amazing Race. As you know, we ended the last leg in 3rd place. We were right in the middle of the pack, and we had now used our Fast Forward, so we are going to have to be really careful from here on out.
We left the Sepilok Nature Resort at about 1:05 in the morning, just a few minutes ahead of David/Jeff, and over 2½ hours behind the leaders, Team ReiChip. When we opened our clue, we saw that we had to head to the Puu Jih Syh Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Borneo. Once there, we would have to search for a Buddha figurine with our name on it, and that would lead us to our next clue. So, we hopped into a taxi, and we were off.
When we got to the temple, Jenn and I were both speechless (a concept that might be hard for many of you to fathom, I know...). Jon and Al had told us how beautiful the temple was (they were outside waiting for a van, I think, when we drove up), and they were right. The temple was gorgeous, and Jenn and I just stood there for a couple of minutes and took it all in. We did not take too long admiring everything, though. I mean, as beautiful as the temple is, we were still in a race. We weren't sure what kind of Buddha figurines to look for, then Jenn spotted a structure that looked like a pillar of light. It was hundreds upon hundreds of tiny Buddha figurines, so we figured this must be where we needed to look. We started searching among the figurines, and we came upon David's and Jeff's. "This must be the right place," Jenn said. "Keep looking." We still had not found ours when I came upon Kelly's and Jon's. I got this idea, and before I knew it, I was chuckling to myself.
"What is it, Jack?"
"Hey, Jenn. What if we took Kelly and Jon's figurine and put it in some other remote part of the temple? They'd never be able to find it, and they'd surely be eliminated!"
Jenn couldn't hide the smile that came across her face. "Oh how I love that creative, evil little mind of yours! As tempting as that sounds, Jack, you know good and well that we can't do something like that. If we did, we would be penalized at the very least, if not disqualified all together. Now, leave their figurine alone and keep looking for ours."
I knew that Jenn was right, of course, but it was a fun idea. Anyway, about 2 minutes later, Jenn came across our figurine and yelled, "I got it, Jack!" Behind the figurine, we found a key, and it opened a rattan bag nearby. Inside the bag was our next clue. We opened it and found that we would now have to fly all the way to Seoul, South Korea. We had a while to wait before the next van to the airport arrived, since they only left every 30 minutes. So, in a very short amount of time, John & Al, David & Jeff, and Jenn & I had all bunched up and were waiting for vans. The first van came, and Jon & Al were off. After that, it was time for Jenn and me to take the next van. We said our goodbyes to David & Jeff, but I felt sure that we would see them again soon at the airport.
When Jenn and I got to the airport, we discovered that the best route to take was to take a Malaysian Airlines flight to Singapore and then connect through to Seoul. We were surprised to see ReiChip there, and we were even more to learn that all the teams were on the same flight to Singapore.
"See, Jenn…if we had moved Kelly & Jon's figurine like I said, they'd probably still be at the temple looking for it!"
"Shhhh, Jack! Be quiet! People might hear you!" Apparently, I don't realize how my voice can carry sometimes, as I heard Al chuckle just a couple of rows ahead of us.
When we got to the Singapore airport, we had about three hours to kill, so Jenn and I decided to grab a bite to eat and just relax for a bit. We were looking for a place to sit down, when we saw Al motioning for us to come over to the Singapore Airlines ticket counter. He told us that he and John, as well as David and Jeff, were on standby for an earlier flight through Hong Kong, and he asked if we wanted to do the same thing. You know, I really like those clowns. He could have very easily not mentioned it to us, but, since we had a sort of very loose alliance, he did. Jenn and I thought about it for a second and finally decided, "What the hell …if nothing else it gets us away from Team JoKe" and joined the other two teams on standby. Lady Luck must have been looking down on us, because all three teams were able to get on the earlier flight and gain an instant lead over ReiChip and JoKe.
We got to the Seoul airport, and, while we were waiting for a taxi, I pulled out my Wayfarers, put them on, and started dancing wildly. Jenn looked at me and said, "Jack, what in the hell are you doing?" Feigning amazement, I looked at Jenn and said, "Don't you get it, Jenn? We're in Seoul, Korea. I've got my Wayfarers on like the Blues Brothers. I'm a Seoul Man! Get it? Seoul Man!" Jenn just rolled her eyes and said, "Heaven help me if you are going to be like this for the entire leg." Oh well, I thought it was funny. Anyway, we got into a taxi, and Jenn quickly said to our driver, "Get us to Namsan Park…and fast!" I do not know if the driver understood what Jenn was saying or if he was just afraid because she said it with such authority, but he took off like a bat out of hell. We got to the Seoul Tower quickly, and that is where we found out that we would have to travel another 50 miles or so to the Han-Tam River in the Sundam Valley. Once again, Jenn commanded, "OK, now get us to the Sundam Valley as quickly as you can!", and, once again, our driver was off like lightning. We must have made up some time somewhere, because when we got to the location, we found that we had moved up to second place. Hey…where were the Clowns and the Goats? Anyway, we opened our next clue, found out it was Roadblock time, and saw that it said the person who does this should have "the colder personality". Jenn and I just looked at each other and laughed. I mean, depending on the day and the circumstances, both of us could be Cruella deVille reincarnated. However, since I had dealt with eels and fish lately, Jenn volunteered to take on this Roadblock. And, boy, let me tell you what…I'm glad she did. First, I would not want to swim under ice like that. Secondly, while she was getting ready, I could watch Chip's…um…swimming technique. Yeah, his swimming technique…that's it. Plus I got to spend sideline time with Reichen, so that’s always a bonus. Chip made it under the ice and out the other side quickly, and it was time for Jenn to do the same. She walked out and said, "Hey, Jack, I guess it's a good thing we decided not to wear the paper underwear today, isn't it? It’s a darn good thing I packed my sports bra, yes? I can’t see Victoria’s Secret wanting to use this clip in any of their advertising campaigns. I mean this IS a little unfair to us ladies." I had to laugh, because she was right about that, but then I reminded her that it was just me and ReiChip there so it was just like being semi-naked in front of her girlfriends. Anyway, Jenn did a great job and was done in record time. Her scuba diving experience and weekly lap-swimming ritual really paid off in this challenge. We got our next clue, and it said we had to go back to Seoul and look for subway station #228; that is where we would find our next clue. So, we got back in a taxi, and we were off.
As we got back into Seoul, the traffic started to really back up. Jenn and I figured that at this rate, it would be quicker for us to just go ahead and take the subway station #228 rather than a cab. So, we hopped out and got on the next train headed towards Seoul University. As we were riding along, I started laughing to myself.
"Good Lord, Jack. What now?"
I looked at her, lowered my voice about eight octaves and said, "Hey, baby, I'm Don Cornelius, and you're riding along with me on the Seouuuuuuuuuuuuuuul Train!"
"Oh, for the love of God, Jack. What do you think this is…Last Comic Standing 2?" I could detect a stifled giggle, though so maybe I could try out for that show if this race thing doesn’t work out.
I was all prepared with a witty comeback, but, before I could say anything, the train came to a stop, and it was time for Jenn and me to disembark. We found our clue rather quickly, and we discovered it was time for a Detour. We are both Survivor fanatics so there was no way we were considering the Strong Stomachs option when there was something as neat as getting to get our our racing aggression on some boards. There was no question that we were going to take the "Strong Hands" option, and We headed off for the martial arts studio. We walked in and decided that I would go first. I got ready, and, right before I went for the first set of boards, I looked at Jenn and said, "I feel like Bruce Lee!" With that, I even let out a bit of a yell, and I…did not break a single board. Jenn couldn't help but laugh and said, "You may feel like Bruce Lee, but you punch like Peggy Lee! Try visualizing Jon or Kelly’s face this time." (only after viewing the episode would we realize the irony that Jon employed that same strategy with his very own partner). That must have been the motivation I needed, because, after that, I went through the three sets of boards without any more mistakes. Jenn had very little trouble as well, and we quickly got our clue. With that, it was off to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. Oh, sorry…I guess I was channeling Phil there for a second…
We got to the palace with little trouble, but, once on the palace grounds, we had a bit of a problem finding Phil and the check-in mat. We finally did, though, and after we stepped onto the mat, Phil said, "Jenn and Jack…you're team number 2." Hey, we moved up a spot! Not too shabby, if I do say so myself…
Well, that's it for now, FORTers. We're getting down to the wire. Could Team FORT bring home the money? I wouldn't jump that far ahead just yet. Let's just wait and see how we do next week, OK?
Until next time, I wish you love…peace…and SEOUUUUUUUL!
(OK…so I had to get in one more Seoul joke…)
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