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The Amazing Race 9 - Episode 8 Summary

'Oman, What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been' By kathliam
Original Airdate: April 19, 2006

Previously on “The Amazing Race”, six teams set out from the island of Sicily, Lake & Michelle argued (who’da guessed?). Teams flew to Athens, Greece, where Monica helpfully informs us that ‘this is where thinking began’. Eric and Jeremy win the Fast Forward breaking plates in a Greek restaurant, beating Joseph and Monica, who had arrived earlier. The bungee jump roadblock exhilarated Ray but terrified Fran. Lake refuses to stop for directions, and BJ & Tyler discover they have driven an hour in the wrong direction on the way to the Detour. Despite their difficulties, and with the help of a green frog hat, they arrive 5th at the Pit Stop, ahead of Lake and Michelle, and our favorite dysfunctional dentist and his charming wife are Philiminated from THE AMAZING RACE.

Eric and Jeremy are first to depart, at 11:54 pm. Their clue instructs them to fly to Muscat, Oman. (Insert your own ‘Muscat Love’ joke, here.) I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I would want to travel to a Mideastern country right now. But that’s just me. Once in Oman, teams must search for a giant incense burner to receive their next clue. (Perhaps not as thrilling as the giant office chair from last season, but you work with what you got, I guess.) The teams must walk across the bridge to the Visitor’s Center to sign up for the charter buses. (Can you say bunching?) There is a sign-up sheet for the buses, and apparently these are real honest-to-TAR sign-up sheets, not something BJ&Tyler scribbled in the middle of the night.

Joseph and Monica depart at 4:31 am, nearly five hours behind Eric & Jeremy. It drives them nuts that other teams have better luck ‘than Monica and I’. (It drives me nuts when people use bad grammar.) Ray and Yolanda depart at 4:41 am, and tell us they joke a lot with each other, jokes that other people probably don’t understand. They are yammering at each other the entire walk across the bridge. Wow, I’m getting winded just listening to them. Conserve your energy, people.

MoJo arrive at the Visitors Center and sign in second. Ray and Yolanda sign in third. Fran and Barry leave fourth at 6:20 am and discover they are flying to ‘Muscat Omen’. I hope they are able to find the correct transportation! Fran tells us that now that they are in fourth place, their goal is to work up to third. They also sign up for 9:00 am bus.

BJ & Tyler, my cuddly little hippies, my funny little Scooby and Shaggy, finally depart the Pit Stop at 8:51 am. They leave 9 hours behind Eric & Jeremy, which also means they were probably just getting to sleep about the time Eric & Jeremy were departing the Pit Stop. It also means they only have 9 minutes to make it to the Visitors Center. Run, my little hippies, run!

They are indeed running, or trotting sorta, not really hustling. The other teams board the bus and see Scooby and Shaggy walking across the bridge. They call to the bus to no avail, and discover the next bus is at 10am. They go from being 9 hours behind to an hour behind. Hey, we can work with that.

Meanwhile, the first bus arrives at the Athens airport. F&B are first off the bus and find a flight on Gulf Air through Bahrain (wave to Michael Jackson for us!) which arrives at 10:50 PM. They choose not to share their information with E&J and after E&J head for the information counter, F&B take off running to the Gulf Air counter. E&J prove they are not nearly as stupid as we thought they were, but turning and following F&B. Proving they are good lemmings also, Ray & Yolanda and MoJo follow F&B. F&B are trying to appear inconspicuous, but the other teams seem to be booking the same flight! Wow, what a coincidence!

Meanwhile, BJ&Tyler are riding the second bus, with the ‘ghosts of the fallen comrades’. First, BJ introduces Lake & Michelle, and proceeds to do a so-funny-I-have-to-clean-my-monitor and dead-on imitation of Lake asking for help since they are partners. Dave and Lori are sitting a little further back kissing and hugging. The Pink Girls are in the back asking if Oman is in China. Thank you very much, I’m here all week, please try the veal. They arrive at the airport while the other teams are trying to get their flights ticketed, and the teams won’t share information with the Hippies. They check with another counter person for information, and are told that the flight is almost full. They head off to another ticket counter and find a Qatar flight that arrives at 11:45 pm. Okay, I need to take a deep breath. They were 9 hours behind, worked up to an hour behind, actually caught up with the other teams, and didn’t even try to even the playing field by asking if there were tickets available. They end up still an hour behind. Stoopid hippies, silly, stoopid hippies.

And we’re off. Love the little telestrater letting us know what flight path the planes are taking. When DH and I are traveling, he actually gets upset if there isn’t a telestrater on international flights. He claims it soothes him to watch his progress across the Atlantic Ocean. Me, give me a thick book or a tall stack of magazines. I don’t want to know I’m over a large expanse of water with only my seat cushion to save me. But that’s just me.

Flight #1 arrives at 10:50 PM, on time. The teams must find the Arrival Parking Lot and find the marked vehicles. The teams must drive to Riyam Park, and I must say Oman looks like Vegas, there is so much neon. BJ&Tyler’s flight arrives on time at 11:45 PM, and they’ve met a local who has offered to lead them to the Park. Yee haw, Scooby and Shaggy in Arabia. Scooby snack, anyone?

E&J arrive at the park, only to discover the park doesn’t open until 6:00 AM. MoJo, R&Y, F&B are close behind. BJ&T arrive and we have an official bunching point. Off at the end of the parking lot, R&Y are having a ‘discussion’ about their relationship. You al know what that means, don’t you? They tell us they have never spent more than 4 hours together at one time, and spending this much time together is strange, different, and something they have to work on. I mean, really. No matter how long you’ve known someone, would you really go on a 30-day race around with world with someone in whose company you’ve never spent more than 4 hours? You can hide a lot of flaws in 4 hours, not so many after 4 weeks. That’s brave, my friends!

The teams enter the park, find their clues, and must drive to the town of Sur and find a ferry crossing. F&B have fallen to last place. Everyone is trying to follow E&J, although they would prefer someone else lead. Meanwhile, MoJo is unhappy the hippies are following them, yet unhappy when the hippies pass them. No pleasing you, is there? When E&J stop for directions, F&B pass them, upsetting them, but at least they no longer have the burden of being in the lead, do they? Really, there is no pleasing these people. R&Y decide to stop for directions, but the guide doesn’t speak English. Figures, a woman manages to convince a man to stop for directions and it doesn’t work. Bet he’ll try that again, won’t he.

The teams arrive at a flooded riverbank, BJ&T in the lead. Ghandi’s younger brother silently leads them across the water. I am once again impressed that BJ&T know how to say ‘thank you’ in the native tongue. However, Monica just wants to take the guide home in her pocket. Ha. F&B cross the river, then E&J. R&Y are a little lost.

The teams encounter another flooded part of the road. I thought this was supposed to be a desert? BJ&T don’t wish to cross first, when MoJo and F&B pull up. E&J, who are bringing up the rear, decide to do the only truly macho, Frat Boy thing to do, which is to barrel through at full speed. After all, they are driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle, how hard can it be, right? Yea, well the water is over the wheel base and splashing up on the windshield. BJ is hanging out the window like a Labrador, and Barry’s mouth is hanging open that he made it across without stalling. R&Y encounter Ghandi’s younger brother and traverse both flooded areas with little difficulty.

Searching for the ferries, E&J pull over for directions and the other teams pass them, MoJo arriving first. The teams receive their Detour clue, ‘Camel or Watch Tower’. They must either load a camel into a pick up truck using a block and tackle, then drive the camel to a Bedouin camp, or search 3 watchtowers for a silver message box and deliver the message box to a nearby silver shop.

Watch Tower: F&B, BJ&T, MoJo. E&J will load camels. At least the Watch Tower teams are smart enough to split up and go to different towers. E&J’s camel isn’t pleased with the manner in which they are raising them. MoJo fail to find a message box in the tower they have chosen, but BJ&T and F&B have more luck and find their boxes on the first try. Must. Not. Make. A. Joke. MoJo decide that searching the other towers for a message box will be too difficult, and decide to switch to hoisting a camel. What? The Frat Boys are successfully loading their camel into the pickup truck, no different than loading kegs on Friday night, really, and receive their map.

BJ&T find someone to lead them to the silver shop, while MoJo work on loading their camel. Or, rather, Joseph is working on loading the camel while Monica stands and admires his work. E&J are trying to find their Bedouin camp, but it just looks to me like they are in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I don’t have their map or party-seeking skills. F&B find the silver shop and wave to BJ&T that ‘this is the place. F&B are currently in first place.

Okay, I need to process that information. Fran and Barry are currently in first place. Has the world tilted on its axis?

Teams must now drive to the village of Al Hawiyah and make their way to a spot in the desert where there are an interesting number of sand mounds. MoJo load their camel, and the Frat Boys find a grouping of tents but are nowhere near the proper place. MoJo find the Bedouin camp and depart with their clue, and see E&J driving on the road across the waterway as MoJo return to their vehicle. I hope the Frat Boys brought a lot of water along on their drive, they may need it!

As the Frat Boys deliver their camel, R&Y arrive at the detour to begin their task, which they decide will be ‘Camel’. They certainly seem to complete the task quickly. They are in last place.

Meanwhile, in the village of Al Hawiyah, we are treated to a patented TAR ‘seek and find’ task. For this Roadblock, one team member must dig through 170 sand mounds until they find one of six buried Shuwa, a traditional dish of spiced lamb, wrapped in a dried palm leaf bag and steamed in an underground oven. Once they find their shuwa, they will receive their next clue. Oh, and the shuwa is the dinner tonight. (Remember that salient fact, okay?)

Barry and BJ are digging as MoJo arrive. Monica will dig for her team. Tyler tries to encourage BJ. Joseph tells Monica not to pout about having to dig, and the camel gives Joseph a loud raspberry. Frat Boys arrive and Eric will dig, as Jeremy reapplies his Chapstick. More commentary from the camel, but Jeremy tells him ‘hey, I don’t need your lip right now’. Ha!

Barry finds a shuwa, Monica finds one, and unfortunately Barry’s shuwa collapses back into the pit, covered in dirt. The camel laughs. R&Y are driving, Ray’s ‘driving Miss Daisy’, but they are chuckling. Monica pulls her shuwa from the pit and receives her clue from the Bedouin. MoJo are instructed to drive to Jabreen Castle, which is their next Pit stop, where the last team to arrive ‘may’ be eliminated.

Barry pulls his dirt-covered shuwa dinner from his pit and receives his clue. BJ is still digging, although it certainly doesn’t appear he is digging very deep in the sand piles to find a shuwa. Eric finds a shuwa and he and Jeremy receive their clue and their dinner. R&Y arrive as Frat Boys are driving away. Tyler is doing his best to encourage BJ, but poor BJ is getting discouraged. He had to dig for gnomes and dig for food, while Tyler got to bungee jump and go swimming. Tyler asks BJ if there are any mounds he missed, to which BJ replies ‘only the ones I haven’t done yet’. Yolanda mutters ‘you tell him, BJ’ under her breath, and gestures to Ray to be quiet while she digs. Yolanda finds her shuwa, and she encourages BJ not to give up.

BJ is exhausted, sweaty and covered in sand. He collapses on the ground at various mounds to dig. The vultures are beginning to circle the oasis. It’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ all over again. The camel patiently watches as BJ finally finds his shuwa and they complete their task. They are currently in last place but Tyler is confident they will make it in time.

MoJo and F&B are following the street signs to the Castle, while E&J once again employ tried and true Frat Boy tactics and decide to veer onto a dirt road, which they dub ‘a shortcut’. Oh, the tension is high as MoJo and F&B race to see who arrives at the Pit Stop first. MoJo stop for directions, as F&B pass them. Phil is atop the castle to welcome Fran and Barry as Team #1. He looks startled and pleased for them. F&B receive a trip to Rome. Phil deserves a trip to a real hair stylist, because the haircut he received in Oman is worse than the haircut George gave himself on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

While they never announce the arrival times, it appears to be late afternoon when F&B arrive, and clearly dusk when MoJo arrive at the castle. E&J are driving in the dark and hope other teams are having difficulty finding the castle. While they work on their ‘shortcut’, R&Y arrive in third place, and it is clearly nighttime atop the castle. E&J are still driving and the moon is high above. BJ&T are now heading to the castle, and both teams believe they may be in last place.

However, only one team may be in last place, and E&J arrive at the Pit Stop in fourth place. From consistent top 2 position to almost last. BJ&T arrive at the mat, however Phil is pleased to tell them we have a non-elimination round and they are safe. Phil takes all their money and possessions, and BJ&T assure Phil they will be pure racers without their possessions and the other racers won’t see them coming.

On the next episode of ‘The Amazing Race’, teams travel to the western coast of Australia to navigate tunnels beneath a 19th century prison, and MoJo clash over directions while riding bicycles.

Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been. Thank you, and please stay tuned for your local newscast.

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