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Welcome back to the Amazing Race. Last week in Greece, Lakelikeanocean got eliminatedlikeanidiot. Oh, and Michelle, too. I guess they're now home in their Carolina dentist office, where Lake is blaming their elimination on Michelle and everyone else but himself.

Everyone remaining will spend this leg of the race running around the Middle East, which I think -- I'd say "correct me if I'm wrong," but I don't care if I am or not -- may be a first for TAR. Also, with Lake's departure, all the teams that are easy to make fun of are now officially gone. And I don't particularly feel like putting effort into my sarcasm today. You've been warned.


The Tenth Rule of Fight Club: Be At Least Slightly Interesting

Anyway. Eric and Jeremy are, as always, the first to arrive at the pit stop and thus the first to leave, at 11:54 p.m. Have I mentioned how utterly dull I find these two? They open their clue and learn that the teams must fly to Muscat, Oman, a distance of 2,300 miles. Oman, a neighbor to Saudi Arabia (they've handily included an onscreen map), has been inhabited for at least 5,000 years. I think that's right -- my notes just say "5,000 years old." Anyway, Oman is old.

In Muscat, teams must find a giant incense burner to receive their next clue. To get to the airport, though, they must run across a bridge and take one of two charter buses. The first one, however, is at 9 a.m.

Eric and Jeremy say they just work faster than the other teams. Monica and Joseph, who leave next, say the other teams' good luck drives them nuts, and Monica adds that their bad luck -- luck? So much for personal responsibility -- means they need to stop following peple and do this on their own.

Ray and Yolanda, third to leave, are confused about the bridge. I didn't really pay much attention to their bickering about how to get to the bridge, because frankly it was boring, but it turns out it was important, because it leads to a fight. Yolanda tells us that she and Ray tease each other a lot, so it's hard to tell when something is said seriously, but apparently that time is now; he cussed at her, she's mad, and we're seriously going to hear about this all the way to Oman.

Fran and Barry are fourth to leave, and say they're just hoping to be third at this point. They and the three previous teams all make that early charter bus, leaving only BJ and Tyler on the second, 10 a.m. charter. No, hippies! Run faster!


Pissing You Off For No Purpose At All

At the airport, Fran and Barry find a flight to Oman, but refuse to share the information with other teams. Since the other teams then follow them and get on the same flight, the oldsters have now pissed everyone off for no advantage at all. Way to go. "We're beyond the point of being the genial grandparents," says Barry. Could you at least be the smart grandparents?

Meanwhile, alone on their bus, BJ and Tyler talk to the imaginary ghosts of eliminated teams past, doing a spot-on impression of Lake's accent, and making fun of the less-than-brilliant Double-D girls ("Is Oman in China?"). When our hippies arrive at the airport, they find everyone in line for that flight to Oman, but no one willing to even admit they know when the flight lands. BJ and Tyler wind up finding a later flight.


Are These Squiggly Lines .... German?

In Oman, the first four teams quickly find their vehicles. Eric and Jeremy think this is the prettiest place they've been, while Ray says he doesn't know what language they speak there, but that he doesn't understand all the squiggly lines. Um, does he ever even turn on CNN? Surely the term "Arabic language" has crossed his path at some point.

Eh, anyway. BJ and Tyler, lagging behind, find a guide and declare themselves "BJ and Tyler of Arabia." Sorry, folks, that's all we've got for funny right now. Lame, I know.

As the gates to the big incense burner don't open till 6, everyone has caught up again. Yolanda uses the time spent resting in the car to revive her fight with Ray. She tells him not to talk to her that way. Ray tells us they've never spent more than four days together, and Yolanda tells us they aren't communicating well. I've been in long-distance relationships and it IS hard -- anyone can get along for two or three days. But this particular fight is just boring. Thrash it out and make up, don't keep picking at it like a scab.

Fortunately, we move on to 6 a.m. and the opening of the gates to the big incense burner. Everyone races inside to find a clue telling them to drive to the town of Sur, 135 miles away (I hope they've realized by now that everything outside the US is actually in kilometers?). Sur is a fishing town and they're to find this particular ferry crossing.

What ensues is some confusion; everyone seems to get lost, while Eric and Jeremy complain that they're being followed, Ray and Yolanda fight about directions, the hippies follow Mojo and then, when Mojo stop to ask directions, the hippies listen in then speed off.


By God, I At Least Wanted One Car To Be Washed Away

Eventually people start driving on a dirt road, and they come to a flooded-out portion, where a man waits to guide them through the water. I personally thought they were all lost at this point, and when I realized they weren't, I was waiting for teams to start thinking they'd gone the wrong way and turning around. Sadly for the dramatic effect, no one does. They come to a second river crossing, and while the hippies and Mojo argue over who should venture into the water first, the frat boys speed by and make it through a river that's up to their car hood. Monica whines that the frat boys just barge in front all the time.

Finally everyone's rolling into Sur, and they seem to find the ferry crossing pretty quickly. The clue here is a detour -- camel or watchtower.

In Camel, the teams must use a block and tackle to load a camel into the back of a pick-up truck, and use a hand-drawn map to tote the camel one mile to a Bedouin camp.

In Watchtower, teams must search three towers on different rocky outcroppings, to find messageboxes. They deliver the message box to a silversmith in town, who will give them their clue. But not every tower has a message box in it.

Eric and Jeremy, in fourth place by this point, choose to do the camel, while the others head off to the watchtowers. I know there's one team missing at this point, but I didn't write down who.


Watch Out, They Spit

Anyway, the watchtowers are not easy to get to, and there's a lot of running around while teams figure out who's going to try which one. Then there's a lot of climbing over rocks. BJ and Tyler strike it lucky and get a message box in their tower, as do Fran and Barry. The two teams head back to the ferry. Monica and Joseph, however, are not so lucky; their watchtower is empty, and they switch to the camel task.

BJ and Tyler and Fran and Barry quickly find the silver shop and get their clue, which tells them to drive 80 miles to the town of Al Hawiyah for their next clue.

Meanwhile, Eric and Jeremy are driving their camel around the desert, but they're lost and frustrated. One of them whines that they'll "drive till we're dehydrated and die." Um, you're what, a mile from town? Buck up, son, I think you'll live.

Monica and Jeremy successfully deliver their camel, by the way, and zip off.

Ray and Yolanda, the missing team I forgot, finally arrive. They choose the camel task, and complete it with no problems. Eric and Jeremy finally find the camp as well, so now everyone's on the road to the next task.


BJ Does Baaaad so lame! I know!

In Al Hawiyah, the clue is a roadblock -- one team must work for food. They'll dig through 117 sand mounds to find one of just six wrapped packets of lamb. The sand mounds are actually ovens, the lamb is cooking in there, and they'll take the packet with them as their dinner.

So, yeah -- in the desert, go dig in an oven. Obviously this is rather warmish and uncomfortable. Monica complains and Joseph tells her to hush and keep digging. BJ is digging away, to no avail. Eventually, Barry finds his lamb, Monica finds hers, and we learn that the next clue is the pit stop, 150 miles away at a sultan's palace.

Poor BJ is still plugging away as Eric and Jeremy arrive, find a lamb packet and depart. BJ complains about the choice of roadblocks -- he says he's dug for lamb and gnomes while Tyler got to bungee jump and do cool stuff. By this point, even Ray and Yolanda have caught up, found a lamb, and left. BJ is dragging, flinging himself on the sand beside each mound to listlessly scrape at the dirt. Tyler says it's hard to watch. It's hard for us too -- who doesn't remember those poor girls in the cowfield a few seasons ago? They never did find whatever it was they were looking for.

However, BJ finally strikes gold. He lugs the lamb packet to their truck while Tyler demands a hug.


We'll Be Seeing a Lot of Those Red Pants

So, everyone's driving. Eric and Jeremy take what they say is a shortcut. Ray and Yolanda are still fighting. BJ is looking shell-shocked while Tyler pep-talks him. Fran and Barry say it would be nice to have the old couple win one for once, and -- astonishingly -- they do. They arrive first, which seems to surprise Phil to no end, and they win a trip to Rome. Good for them.

Monica and Joseph are next to arrive, but they look disappointed in their second-place finish.

Eric and Jeremy are still wandering in the desert. They can stay out there for 40 days, as far as I'm concerned. Not to give them any messianic credit, or anything. I just don't like them.

Ray and Yolanda arrive third, and Phil asks if they're still in love. Yolanda says they'd been having fun, and now they're not.

BJ and Tyler are hoping the other teams got lost, but even though the frat boys did, they still beat the hippies to the pit stop. Phil, delightfully, asks if a 4th place finish is humbling. I doubt it, sadly.

Finally BJ and Tyler arrive, doing a very tired-looking version of their usual jump onto the mat. They're last, but luckily, this is a non-elimination leg. Yay, the hippies are saved! I bet BJ at least is wishing he'd put on a spare shirt, though. He's got to smell rank after all that sweating in the desert sun. Anyway, Phil takes their money and their stuff, but they say they'll just keep being themselves, without possessions. We'll see how well that works out next week, but somehow I have a feeling these two will have no problem getting money out of people.


Next week
The teams head for Australia, and explore tunnels under a prison. Hopefully the frat boys get lost again, perhaps forever. And Monica and Joseph fight. See you there, mates.


Look, there wasn't a lot of funny to work with, ok? lucy@fansofrealitytv.com