J&T TAR Journal #9 - Flo and Ian in the Herd - the Sheep are Scared Baaaa-dly
There is so much to say, but Jenn and I are so exhausted after the last two legs of the race, we're going to write this quick so we can catch some winks and then hopefully spend some time surfing the internet for information about Singapore before our departure time in 12 hours. Thankfully there are multiple FORT members registered from Singapore and Malaysia and we're hoping to corner some in the chatroom later to get the scoop on local attractions and safe but cheap lodging alternatives. We'd rather not have to go to places like Jill and Vito went to their first night in Singapore, yikes, I'm starting to sounds like Flo, someone grab a muzzle. Or a tazer. Or earplugs. I'm no psychologist, but after talking to KylieGrant I think we've diagnosed Flo with a new disorder, manic depressive hyperactivity disorder, as she has wild mood swings at a frightening pace. Yes, I'm calling him Vito now because that's what Jill calls him and she should know. Besides, that's a cool name, better than Guido and certainly better than my Italian great-uncle who is named Peno.
**reality check** Ok, first I want to clarify for some of our fans who have joined us in the midst of the race, as we explained in the first journal entry, Jenn and Tracey are not really in the race and didn't really meet the other teams or travel to these places. These articles are pure fiction (well, except for the fact that Jenn IS hopelessly devoted to Jeff Byers and would choose him over Drew in a heartbeat...that part is completely true), and is intended to entertain our FORT fans. BravoFan and LurkingGirl have been writing the articles as Jennifer and Tracey respectively, but those aren't even BF and LG's real names and bios (even though we are 32 year old professionals that do resemble Elisabeth Shue and Lisa Loeb respectively). We're absolutely flattered that our journal entries are so convincing that people on other sites are writing about the articles and are worried that we are impacting the game and have tainted the outcome and that people are emailing our administrator to let him know that we're lying about our marital status on the show so that he can "bust us" in his phone interview of the teams, but really, it's fiction written by two fans. So, suspend your disbelief with us again and let's rejoin the race in progress. **back to the journal**
As Jenn mentioned in last week's Journal, I had a wonderful evening with David, the man I met on our flights from Casablanca to Munich, but it had to end too soon for my liking because I wasn't going to jeopardize our chances in the race by not getting enough rest at the pit stop. David was a perfect gentleman and promised to call me when the race is over and we're back in the states, but even if I don't ever hear from him again it was a fun time while it lasted. Jenn is teasing me now because I've been walking around with a stupid grin on my face and she says, so the date was that good, huh. Then Ken and Gerard pipe in some nonsense in silly voices and sound like those annoying women in the yogurt ads: "It's wind in your hair good. It's hugging the curves good. It's grinning like an idiot for days good. . . ." You get the picture. When I got back to the room Jenn was off with Oh Brother consoling Derek about the love potion issue, and the “Drew situation”. There are some projects which are too complex for even the largest and best equipped committees, such as global warming and peace in the Middle East, and solving the mystery of why anyone would talk to Flo, yet alone be interested in her is certainly in that category.
We left the pit stop and headed for the first detour and opted to bungee jump rather than chase down sheep for keys, and were in fact right behind Derek and Drew at that challenge. Jenn was terrified of the height, and actually thought her experience vacationing at her grandparent’s farm in Nebraska might be of assistance. But the thought of Flo’s shrill, shrieking voice and the potential that it would send the sheep scurrying to the hillside, made us reconsider. Plus, the last thing we wanted was to be trapped at a challenge like that with both Flo and Ian. The thought of witnessing Ian mutter the words “hump it” at a sheep farm scared us both. That gave Jenn the chance to ask Derek when Drew finally returned the night before and he shrugged and said he wasn't sure and then made some type of cuckoo clock noise directed at his brother. Jenn countered with a "he must be loco" dual finger wave circles around her ears, all while Drew was fumbling with the harnesses unaware of well, everything. Yes, Drew can be rather clueless and so we're started calling him Zoolander. It wasn't until after Jenn called him Zoolander that Derek informed us that he and Drew were actually both extras in the Ben Stiller movie Zoolander and were in the "acting class" scene that you get with the DVD special features. At least they have a sense of humor, and I never want to be in a footrace with these guys as they'd leave us in the dust before breaking a sweat. **Cue ominous foreshadowing music? We'll see, this is a reality TV show. Hey wait, why are they playing the "Jaws" theme song now? I said this was foreshadowing, not a shark attack. Oh, maybe that music is just for Flo… **
The phone call to our families was a lot tougher than it seemed compared to other challenges (and I really did think it was a challenge and not a "reward") because we wanted to get off the phone stay in the race, but we also didn't want to hurt our families feelings by being short with them. We pretty much just said "I love you I love you I love you" because we weren't supposed to say anything about the race, where we've been, how we're doing, etc., but our families knew from the timing of the call during our absence that we were still in the race and doing at least that well. I felt the most for Teri as I knew she would want to talk to her sons and figured that she wouldn't get much of a chance with Mr. Hooyah yelling at her to "Hump It!" the whole time she had the phone. I don't think Jill and Vito got a call because they took the fast forward and I'm telling you, that fast forward was made for me. Nobody can put away cheese like the folks from my home state of Wisconsin. That fast forward challenge was so cheesy that I thought I'd accidentally tuned into a Fox network reality TV. program.
The bike assembly challenge was tough, but not as tough as Zach made it seem. We got to the location at the same time that Derek and Drew were leaving with their clue. Jenn did the assembly, I overheard Drew say the name of the location so while Jenn was trying over and over again to get the brakes tight enough but not too tight so they are "safe!" according to our cute Swiss bike safety inspector, I started digging through our map to try to locate the harbor where the ship was moored. I'm going to give Ian credit for his effort here because they showed up after we were mostly done and we barely finished before Ian and we heard that he totally lapped Zach with the bike assembly. Who knew having kids would give him such an edge, probably all the parents in the audience. Now I know that Mom and Dad really did know more than we gave them credit for, sorry Mom and Dad. I'll eat all my lima beans from now on.
A big cruise ship like that, I knew we'd have to take some type of boat to get out there, and figured that Ken and Gerard would have trouble, given their history with boats during the race. Unfortunately, we were the team with boat troubles on this leg as Jenn and I got a bum paddleboat. We started paddling after Ken and Gerard and Drew and Derek were already on the boat, but before Teri and Ian and Flo and Zach were even at the pier, and would have come in fourth place for the leg easily but for the blasted paddle mechanism. The gears were totally stripped in our boat for some reason and after the first couple turns of the peddles we were set adrift in the harbor with no method of navigation. With no method of steering or propelling the boat we were really in dire straits (and this ain't no trumpet playing band, for the Knoppler fans out there). At this point Ken and Gerard had spotted us and saw that we were drifting away from the boat and yelled to Phil that we needed a replacement boat. Phil said that if we needed staff assistance that we'd have at least a 30 minute penalty, so we struggled on, hoping a change in the winds would get us close to the boat before the other two teams arrived. We tried reaching over the side to paddle with our hands but couldn't get the angle needed to propel the boat without an oar (yes, we were up that creek without a paddle) and we ended up capsizing our boat in our attempt to get our arms in deep enough to propel the bulky but not heaving boat. At that point everyone on the boat was yelling to Phil that we needed help so they sent out a boat with divers (unfortunately no Navy SEALS) to rescue our stuff and get the boat back to shore. I'm strangely proud that Jenn and I both swam to the boat, so we didn't need rescuing, unlike a number of unlucky contestants on the last season of Dog Eat Dog. That is one ruthless reality show, but Phil was looking a little smug when explaining our penalty time. Phil was probably still thinking about Jill's lip gloss. We got on board before Teri and Ian and before the Flocanic eruption temper tantrum, so because we were on board they didn't know that we were getting penalty points for the staff assist in helping us get our soaked bags from the bottom of the bay. We borrowed dry clothes from Derek and Drew, and made many jokes about not being able to tell each other apart with our matching outfits, which everyone has nicknamed Guidowear. It's quite the fashion statement, but the statement is a short question that is either "why?" or "huh?" So, while Flo and Zach were surprised and relieved that they were not eliminated, they didn't know that with our penalty time we were in last place but fortunately saved by the non-elimination round status. Never give up, even when every last pair of your undies are soaked and the coast guard is rounding up your toothbrush for you. Hmmm, seems like Teri and Ian might be on to some sort of new trend with their disposables….
The next leg had to go better, right? Well, we're still here, so yes, it wasn't a complete disaster. We were in the worst possible starting position with a time penalty to boot, so Jenn and I decided to try for the fast forward, as Jill and Vito had managed to move from last place to first place following the prior non-elimination round, and heck, we like cheese. We were the only team left in the race who hadn't used it yet, so we knew it was ours for the taking. We found the huge fountain and got the Malaysian flag and headed to the airport and got there shortly after 6:00 am, but we didn't know that everyone else had to wait around for the airport to open, so we were shocked to find that we could get on the same flight as everyone except Teri and Ian. With this near-equalizer putting us back with the pack we decided to wait and see if we'd want to take the fast forward or try to beat someone else in the pack and see if we can use the fast forward next week (the last week that it will be available) to give us a boost in the start times for the final leg. Yes folks, we're talking about end-game strategy, just like Silas in Survivor: Africa when he said he had the game in the bag only to get booted shortly thereafter. Is that more foreshadowing music I hear? Stupid tubas, like anyone would really be scared by a guy walking around playing a tuba at them.
We found the two skyscrapers (not hard to spot them once you're in the city, they're huge) and got our picture developed and found our way to the train station to catch the 11:15 train to Singapore with everyone else. More time for playing cards on the train, but we only had Gerard, Ken and Zach in our game. Ken won all the Funyons, but I think Jenn was throwing it because she despises Funyons and wanted Ken to get filled up on greasy chips to slow him down. Flo and Drew were uncomfortably close the whole trip, and I mean uncomfortable for everyone else, especially Derek and poor Zach, whom we wanted to adopt into our team at that point. If only we had time to research an antiserum for the love potion… We were all together again, (even Ian and Teri who had built up a lead during the leg), so we decided to try the leg without the fast forward hoping we could out-maneuver someone during the leg. Flo and Zach looked ready to kill each other, and Jill and Vito were had been making some tactical errors in the last leg that boosted our confidence. A risky move, but it did payoff for us in this leg as we still have the fast forward to use. After finding out that the next challenge location didn't open until the morning we followed Derek, Drew, Zach and Flo's suit and decided to share the cost of a decent hotel room with Ken and Gerard. Don't worry folks, purely platonic stuff with two beds (hey, they are brothers and we're close friends) and very thrifty, as we paid just a little more than Jill and Vito did for their rat-trap accommodations after pooling our resources. That wasn't the only pooling we did, as this hotel had a nice swimming pool and Jenn and I re-enacted our triumphant swim to the pit stop from the prior leg for Gerard and Ken as they stood and laughed while yelling: "It's your turn to fall out of the boat ladies" something they were too polite to yell when we were actually swimming in the bay.
After finding the Margaret Thatcher orchid with everyone at the exact same time we decided to head to the zoo as we love zoos and have a demonstrated affinity for water lately. On our way to Singapore by train we were trying to remember if Singapore was ever a British colony, as more things would be in English that way. We were in luck as everything was in English, including the signs at the zoo that apologized to other zoo patrons that the sea manatee exhibit was closed for the day (check your tapes, it's at the entrance where people were getting tickets). I saw the sign and put that information together with the "mermaids" clue and knew we had to head to the sea manatee exhibit. The whole jog across the zoo we sang "I'm a manatee, I live in the sea, with my Mommy Manatee and the Daddy makes three and we're a family, a family" and gathered many strange looks from people who are not really hip to Sesame Street these days. We got there first (among the teams taking that route) as it took the other teams longer to find out which exhibit, so we were already changed into the wetsuits before the other teams arrived, but our camera crew got a great view of us changing au naturale. Thank heavens Jenn's not a fan of "going commando" or one of the camera guys may have had a heart attack. We were definitely not wearing disposable paper underwear, which we've heard Teri and Ian are selling on E-Bay if anyone is interested. They are so proud of that silly underwear, they talk about it at every pit stop while teams are doing their laundry. It must have been a better sight than Teri as we attracted somewhat of a crowd of male zookeepers by the time we got into the manatee tank, all making whistling noises at us. We waved to our adoring fans and Jenn read the clue and we were on our way to the font of knowledge for the pit stop before Teri had even gotten disrobed, but to answer one question…yes the twins are just as cute wet as they are dry. The things we will do to stay in this race, it's pretty crazy. We were very sorry to see Jill and Vito go as they are very nice people who raced very ethically and.
Until next week, this is Tracey signing off for Jenn and myself.
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