The Amazing Race Season 9: Episode 9

Do You Know How Much Running I Did Today, Phil?

By Reagen Sulewski

May 17, 2006

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Our surprising leaders at this point, Fran & Barry, are the first to leave Oman at 5:35 p.m., one of the more civilized starting times of the race so far, though it may be too late in the day to avoid bunching. Immediately, they're off to Perth, Australia, a big jump most of the way around the world. They stop to drop off $20 at BJ & Tyler's car, which, technically, could be a violation of the rule that they have start with no money.

Joseph & Monica are second out of the gate at 5:54 p.m., which shows just how much time they shed at the end of the last episode, considering they left the Roadblock first. They pull the dick move of making like they're going over to drop off money, but don't actually give any. Nice. Karma would like to confirm its appointment for a later date. In their defense, the Hippies apparently told them that they'd planned to Yield them. To their great discredit, Monica refers to her team in the third person nickname. That's like, 50 dork points right there.

On the way back to Muscat and the airport, Fran & Barry run into the mother of all traffic jams, apparently caused by the King on a Sunday drive. They decide to sit it out at a nearby gas station, since nobody is going anywhere for now. It catches Monica & Joseph as well, who can only shake their fists at the sky in rage.

The third team is Ray & Yolanda, at 6:26 p.m. She laments the loss of their fun, easygoing ways after what was, for all intents and purposes, completely and utterly pointless and stupid. They drop off money for BJ & Tyler, while noting that it looked like Monica & Joseph (it's time to dust off Team MoMo again) left a psyche letter. These two aren't that enamored of MoMo's phoniness.

Eric & Jeremy are fourth out at 6:47 p.m., and also decide to go the "Stay classy, San Diego" route, leaving them a $100 I.O.U. At least they didn't steal money. The Marquis of Queensbury would be ever so pissed. Eric compares the competition to getting into a girls pants, lying, cheating, whatever. You know, like telling them you're straight.

Traffic starts to let up, and the teams are treated to a fireworks show as they travel down the highway. Eric & Jeremy come upon the tail of the traffic jam and remark that this is trouble for the Hippies – no it's not, you dummy. Are you familiar with the concept of a bunching point?

BJ & Tyler are last out at 8:21 p.m. – that Roadblock really kicked their butts. Seeing the bounty left them by other teams, they throw a little psychic kung-fu back the way of the teams that didn't leave them money. Their Ned Flanders-esque attitude towards losing all their possessions is equal parts inspiring and irritating, but you seriously can't demoralize these guys for long.

Joseph & Monica have reached the Muscat airport, discovering that the only flight that gets them to Perth is through Dubai. The big question is whether the flight will sell out before BJ & Tyler get there or even leave. These two make the incredible choice to pick up a pair of hitchhikers – you're in last place, dudes! – and take them in to Muscat. Now, this actually proves to be a savvy move, as they run out of gas, and their new Bedouin friend pays for their gas and buys them food. Then they put their "serious" game faces on (almost literally) and head for the airport. At least they've got a fun attitude about the race.

On the plane, the first four teams are looking thrilled about their chances of leaving the Hippies behind, especially the two that gave them squat at the start of the leg. Eric says that "MoJo says no, so together we're having a big n-o." Is this like code, or something? Urbandictionary comes up blank so I'll just have to assume he's being a doofus. However, a sympathetic ticket agent gets them on the plane in time, at literally the last minute. Monica gets a look like someone wore stripes with plaid, while Eric & Jeremy simply sit and stare impotently. So, a normal Friday night. Ray & Yolanda and Fran & Barry for their part offer big grins and congrats. A distinct line has been drawn down the center of this race.

Arriving in Perth, the teams have to head to Kings Park and find the War Memorial, which is the location of the next clue box. In the ensuing taxi race, Monica & Joseph are passed by Eric & Jeremy, resulting in Monica reverting to elementary school taunts of "stinky boys". That seems about her intellectual level. I think Plato himself was prone to a stink taunt on occasion. Riding with the Hippies, we find out that they were able to beg $300 on the flight over, which probably has them considering a lucrative new career as international bums.

Eric & Jeremy reach the clue box first, and the directions inside send them to Fremantle, then onto a ferry to Rottnest Island, a popular tourist spot. This was clearly the portion of the leg that was meant to sink the team with no money, as it turns out to be about an hour taxi ride. They're flush with cash, though Ray & Yolanda are apparently worried about their funds. However, their driver notifies them that there's a charter bus that would be significantly cheaper. They, and BJ & Tyler decide to go for that option.

The wait for the bus is immaterial, however, as the early teams arriving in Fremantle discover that the earliest ferry doesn't leave until the next morning. A pouting Monica tries to find the closest hotel, and would someone please find her a double decaf lo-fat mochaccino with extra foam and a splash of cinnamon? This proves to be a backpacker's hostel with themed rooms. Eric & Jeremy get a room in the Batcave (oh, come on!) while Fran & Barry get The Pleasure Dome, a name that puzzles them and nauseates me at its implications.

The next morning sees all five teams heading across to the island, where they'll travel by tandem bike to a lighthouse. Most teams don't have a problem with the bike, except for Ray & Yolanda not puzzling out that the big guy should be in front on the bike. Eric & Jeremy get to the lighthouse first, maintaining their lead. The clue is the Detour, with a manual labor task of dragging a pile of brush across the beach to groom it, which prevents erosion or something. The second choice is to search through crayfish traps, of which only a few have live ones, and bring two back for their clue. That seems awfully cruel, but remember, crayfish are ugly and don't count.

Both Eric & Jeremy and Monica & Joseph choose the sea detour, thinking it'll be faster. Along come the Hippies shortly after, with Eric giving a call out of "Nerds!" as they pass each other. Ah, but remember who had Revenge? Monica declares them the best followers ever, and sleazy. Have they... met Eric & Jeremy? The animus is full on for these teams.

BJ & Tyler choose the sand option, as do Fran & Barry. While it's physical, it's probably less taxing on Fran and is more than likely the right choice. Ray & Yolanda have suffered from the embarrassment of being waxed in a physical task by the old team, and decide to get their revenge by going after them in the sand Detour. At least that's how I'd play it.

Out biking on the road, Joseph has what can best be described as a "freak out" when Monica decides she needs to check the map. It's really something to behold, and occurs out of nowhere. Did a certain, uh, body part get pinched when he stopped or something? It's the only real explanation.

Continuing a theme, Eric & Jeremy are first through the Detour, with the clue sending them to Fremantle Prison, or as Australians call it, Home Sweet Home. They spare some time on the way out to laugh at the Hippies for doing "manual labor – didn't they go to Stanford?" That's some world class resentment coming out now. Though, really, I could do with about 98% fewer cries of "TTOW!". They're fairly quickly through as well and are away to the prison. Joseph & Monica's great mental breakdown day continues as they misremember the clue and only bring in one crayfish. Joseph blames it on bad luck, but I'm kind of failing to see how that enters into you not being able to read. Unless, you know, you were hit in the head temporarily rendering you unable to parse English phrases. But maybe that's just wishful thinking.


This lets Fran & Barry get ahead of them as they finish third. This puts it down to Monica's diving ability versus Ray & Yolanda's brute strength. After attempting to grab a crayfish, she freaks out underwater and says she's scared of it (it is essentially an overgrown bug), but could she be more of a girl about this? "I have a right to be scared," she says, which just continues her pathetic slide. Meanwhile, Joseph's wondering when the camera will turn off so he can drown her. Eventually she overcomes this monumental obstacle and they're free to continue. They'll have to hustle though, as Ray & Yolanda are right behind them.

At the ferry terminal, Eric & Jeremy are just in time to catch one departing for the mainland. BJ & Tyler are ten minutes behind, and are told that the ferry leaving at that time will get to the mainland in a different spot quicker, but will require a cab ride. It seems like a no-brainer and a lucky break, and they take it. Fran & Barry arrive in time for the next direct ferry to Fremantle, and call ahead to have a taxi waiting for them. Joseph & Monica and Ray & Yolanda also get on this one, about 45 minutes behind Eric & Jeremy. On board the ferry, Joseph nabs a cell phone and copies Fran & Barry's taxi strategy.

Entering the prison grounds, Jeremy lets off a horribly accented "Crikey" before finding the clue box, giving them the Roadblock. They'll have to search the grounds for a flashlight, then enter a bunch of tunnels that are either wet or dry to find the clue. I'll leave the tunnel metaphors for you to play with. Jeremy gets the call and starts hunting around for the markers listed in the clue, though he proves to be... not smart and wastes a lot of time looking in obvious dead ends. Eventually he discovers a room with a flashlight, but now the hunt is on for the tunnels. Eric could probably kill him right now.

While BJ & Tyler wait at red lights hoping to get back to Fremantle, the third ferry arrives there. Joseph & Monica's taxi is there waiting for them, but the one that Fran & Barry called for seems to have ditched them. They're left to wander in the streets to find another one, and they lose ground to Ray & Yolanda who stumble upon one of their own. Eventually they find a city bus that's going to the prison.

As Joseph & Monica arrive at the prison, Jeremy is still searching in vain for the tunnel entrance. Joseph decides to do the roadblock, leaving Monica and Eric to discuss just how much they hate those horrible horrible Hippies. But oh, not for long as they arrive, with Tyler going for the Roadblock.

Finally, Jeremy finds the tunnel entrance after wasting an hour (!) and he starts off in a canoe down a wet tunnel. Joseph & Monica are busy running around in the prison, with Joseph stonewalling Tyler even after he offers to work together – seriously man, rein in that hate a tad. Ray & Yolanda and Fran & Barry now arrive, with Yolanda and Fran going for their teams.

Underground, Jeremy has gone all the way around the wet tunnels to no avail, then decides to move over to the dry ones, finding a clue almost immediately. I don't think he could have wasted more time if he'd stopped to try and figure out the daily Jumble. Meeting up with Joseph as he comes up the ladder, he tells Joseph to "take the canoe". So much for the united front against the Hippies.

It's the last clue of the day, with the Pit Stop located at the Fremantle Sailing Club. While pondering whether or not to steal MoMo's taxi, they're told that it's within walking distance. These guys are just a joy to be around.

Jeremy's misdirection of Joseph doesn't work, and he finds a clue in the wet tunnels somewhat easily. Of course, with Jeremy's powers of observation, the clue could very well be plastered all over the cavern and he'd never know it. He and Monica take their taxi to the sailing club, with the decision of Eric & Jeremy to walk to it seemingly being a bad idea. They arrive at the same time and it becomes a footrace to the finish, with the Frat boys winning by about 20 feet. The prize for this leg is a trip to Hong Kong, but this is getting ridiculous. Do we really want these two as cultural ambassadors to the world?

The remaining three teams head down into the tunnels, with Tyler helping Yolanda find the entrance. This possibly proves crucial, as the order that the teams enter the tunnels is the order they come out, namely, Tyler, Yolanda, then Fran.

BJ & Tyler hustle to the Pit Stop, coming in for third, running a decent leg after having a huge handicap to start. Ray & Yolanda waste some time by running around inside the club, making the run to the finish a footrace between themselves and Fran & Barry. Of course, this is still no contest and Ray & Yolanda survive to race another day. This is not another non-elimination leg, and Fran & Barry are gone. There's just too much physicality for an older team, even in the excellent shape these two were, to beat out the younger teams.



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