What the heck is going on?
That's the question we've been receiving so much this past week that Tracey and I finally had to turn off our AOL instant messenger from the nonstop questions we've been getting from our fans...most notably about Flo and her recent um, unexplainable behavior.
Wow, so much has happened in such a short amount of time since the journal entry that Tracey posted last week. And you all deserve to know the truth behind the scenes, so I'll do my best to catch you up.
When we last left you, Tracey was on her way out for her date with David, the nice man she met at the Casablanca airport that helped us get to Paris in the last leg. After Tracey left, I decided to take a long, soaking bath as I really think I overdid it dancing around in the meadows of Neuschwanstein with Ken like Julie Andrews on speed.
As I was settling in for an evening alone, I first got online and ordered the "Idiots Guide to Changing a Tire" for Ken & Gerard from the Amazon.com link here at the FORT. Hey, we got the "Idiots Guide to Mexico" for the hottie twins in Episode 1 when they left their luggage in their cab, so it was only fair to tease the other brothers equally. I then turned on the television "when what to my wondering eyes should appear in the line is that guy I've been chasing all year." (Wait one minute here! Isn't that a verse in a one hit wonder by The Waitresses from the early 80's?) Sorry, I digress, it's been a pretty tense few days.
Anyway, I was stunned to see that the local Fussen station was airing Combat Missions, a previously shown one-time U.S. reality TV show produced by Mark Burnett... which happens to have in a starring role, Jeff Byers, my one and only true reality TV love. Now mind you, the voice over was in German, and the only German I know is how to count to 100, and say the following key phrases: "warning", "I don't speak German", and "this is the last time" (who knows how many times that could come in handy). But to me, there could be no greater prize, as even in German, this was a dream come true. The only better thing I could think of would be if Jeff were to show up at a pit stop in person rather than on TV. I had a nice bottle of Schwarzriesling that one of the bellman at the hotel brought us when we arrived...we think he believed that we were someone famous. Who knew that Elisabeth Shue and Lisa Loeb (the celebrities whom we closest resemble), were such huge stars in Deutschland. I didn't figure Tracey would mind if I opened it and had some while enjoying such a pleasant and unexpected surprise of seeing Mr. Byers once again. Ah, this was turning out to be a lovely evening.
At the first commercial break the room phone rang. Unfortunately, without the handy homeland devices like caller ID, ZapIt, or even an answering machine, I felt inclined to answer. Plus, I thought it could have been Tracey in some sort of jam, and I'd never forgive myself if something happened and I didn't answer the phone. It was Drew -- and he was whispering on the other end of the line...
"I saw Tracey leaving the hotel just a little while ago. She said she was going out for the evening...and would be gone for some time. "
"Yep, that's true. " I verified in a noncommittal tone.
"Um, would you like to go get something to eat? Or maybe I could come up to your room and we could just hang out... or do a little Vinyasa together? I've been hoping we could spend some time together...alone."
Admittedly the temptation was there, I mean we are talking about one of the hottie twins here. I'm certain he has made more than a few Top 5 lists here at the FORT. But the noticeable hesitation should not be surprising, for “To my heart I must be true”, “I’m hopelessly devoted”, “And my heart is set on you”, pick a verse…any verse, from any Olivia Newton John song. They all work here.
"I'm so sorry Drew...I just really think it would better if I spent some time by myself tonight." Hanging up the phone, I felt like such a heel. I hadn't felt that bad since I dismissed the "love note" that Ronald St. Martin left in my crayon box in 2nd grade.
Next thing I know, a loud and panicked knocking at the door awakens me. I must have dozed off after the show while I was waiting for Tracey to get home (she still wasn't back). I answered the door to find Ken looking quite upset.
"What's wrong, Ken?"
"It's Drew...I'm worried about him."
"Why, what's happened?"
Ken explained that he spotted a tipsy Drew leaving the hotel bar a short time ago as he went down for a late night snack, and that Flo was lurking nearby looking rather suspicious. While Ken waited for his order, he started chatting with the bartender, Ted. Ted told Ken he had witnessed a whiney dark-haired American woman slip something into the drink of another American -- a rather upset male who looked like a movie star, and had been down at the bar for some time.
"Oh my gosh, what do you think it was?" suddenly the sense of panic overcoming me like it had with Ken.
"I really don't know, but let's go check on him."
Ken and I raced to Derek and Drew's room where Drew was sound asleep, but fortunately breathing! We explained everything to Derek who rationalized that it couldn't have been anything really serious or deadly, as Flo would never risk getting thrown in a "ghetto jail" when she couldn't even stand to stay at a hotel that charged less than $25 a night. A worried Derek thanked us and said he would stay up to keep an eye on him. We told him to call us immediately if Drew got sick or started doing or saying anything strange.
When I got back to the room Tracey was in bed asleep with a smile on her face. I had scribbled a vague note that I was out, and left in the room in case she came back and wondered where I was. I decided not to wake her and worry her too. One of us was going to need to be fresh in the morning, and I was haunted by feelings of guilt over Drew, thinking I could have done something to prevent this. At this point we had no idea what Flo had done...and that was a frightening thing.
I woke Tracey in the morning after a lousy night of rest. I didn't even get the chance to find out about her date with David as I launched into the details of the previous evening.
"I know what it is..." Tracey said solemnly.
"What, what is it?" I asked.
"A love potion. I just know that's what it is. I saw Flo at one of the local vendor stands at Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech (Check it out for yourself folks...we can't make up stuff THIS good). And I also heard her asking one of the locals about love potions and the validity of them. I really thought this was why Zach has been putting up with her this entire time..."
We weren't very well versed on love potions. I had millions of questions: how effective are they, how do they work, how long does it take to take effect, how long does it last? We decided to tell Derek, Ken, and Gerard what we learned, and all of us together made the decision to keep this from Drew. At least we knew it wasn't deadly. Gerard asked aloud what was worse...a lifetime with Flo or a death sentence. Sadly, none of us could decide.
It didn’t take long for the first bit of weirdness to raise it’s ugly head. At our first meal, we all watched in horror as Drew sat next to Flo and she began flirting with him. Derek, Ken, Gerard, Tracey and I all shot each other nervous glances.
In fact, when you heard Ken & Gerard state “the alliance with the Wonder Twins is ‘kaput’”, that was actually us speculating with them and expressing that the love potion was going to spell the end of our alliance. Derek himself even conceded that he didn’t want to drag our teams down trying to figure out how to deal with Drew and the poison running through his veins.
We arrived at the haystack with John Vito, Jill and The hottie Twins and all got our clues at about the same time. Teri and Ian didn’t ask us if we found the clue, so we didn’t have to face the moral dilemna of telling them we didn’t find ours. Unfortunately, after the quick train ride we missed the taxis along with John Vito and Jill to the Falls, but who knew this would work out so beautifully?! We took the boat over with J&J and when Jill suggested she stay with the boat while we all got the clue, we were reminded that this team was probably our biggest competition!
We were shocked that all the other teams left their bags on their boat. After the incident in Mexico we couldn’t believe that the Twins could have fallen to this trap again!
We all ended up on the same train traveling to Zurich and were bunched up with all the teams at the detour. Ken and Gerard gave it the old college try trying to distract Flo from Drew by saying he wanted to date her when the got back to the U.S. They even almost got her to admit it about the love potion out loud, but she stopped just short of confessing.
At the detour, Tracey and I immediately decided to “run the numbers” because of my vast experience with clues and challenges like this in the annual Washington DC Make-A-Wish foundation scavenger hunt. We had to go back once to recount the trees, but were the first team to get our clue. Unfortunately, like J&J, we missed the train to Grindenwald by seconds and ended up with all the teams on the train together again. But Tracey and I sat by ourselves to work through our strategy to find the next route marker.
At the roadblock in Gridenwald we had to relive William Tell. Tracey took on this task and easily knocked that apple off 3rd right after Ken /Gerard and right before Teri/Ian. We were on to Chalet Artika – the next pit stop. All of the teams were really close so we knew we had to go quickly.
We kept up pretty well with the Twins, but they were definitely faster runners than we were. I think we were actually propelled forward by running as fast as we could away from Flo’s incessant yelling at Zach. There were a lot of ugly things happening in this part of the race…some we would rather forget. Ian yelling at Teri about her pants, Flo yelling at Zach about her bag being too heavy and at Switzerland for the air being too heavy. It was almost too much.
We arrived second to the pit stop just behind the hottie twins, and ahead of Zach and Whiney.
Later on after all the teams were settled in, Derek, Ken, Gerard, Tracey and I convened to share notes on the “Drew situation.” Ken had done some great reconnaissance with Flo earlier on the train and learned that she thought Drew was hot. So we were definitely able to determine that her flirtation with Derek the previous week was a case of mistaken identity, and she must have thought she was flirting with Drew instead. Derek confessed that Drew mentioned their new alliance with Flo and Zach a couple of times throughout this leg. He’s torn at how to handle the situation.
We don’t know what’s going to happen next, but at this point we have bigger fish to fry. The competition is getting tight now, and the Drew situation is just one thing we’ll have to keep an eye on. We have no idea what the days ahead will bring or how it will impact our alliance with the brothers in the quest for our teams to comprise the Final 3. But after this leg…we are prepared for just about anything.
Until next week,
Jenn and Tracey
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