Singapore, with a GDP growth that outshines many western country, despite having virtually no natural resources and only one climate, was the latest leg of a race around the world.
Not a lot of Pitstop footage, just a brief eating sequence of teams slurping down some steaming noodles. The standard rhetorical question from Phil, of whether Willow & Tara, who have finished 1-2-1 in the last 3 legs, will be able to maintain that position. Or if Buffy & Riley, who have been 3-5-6 and will start the next leg with no money, will be able to reverse their slide. Phil needs to come up with some better narrative, not to mention change out of that hideous see-through white shirt he's wearing. He's hot and all, but I don't want to be seeing more spots than I already am.
Oh, and it's pissing down with rain.
9.02am. Willow & Tara rip open the clue to learn that they are to find their way to Sandakan in Malaysian Borneo and find the Rotary Observation Pavilion. They're shivering in the rain but stand aside to wait for Pirates to step up to the cluebox.
9.04am. And we have Xander & Anya. The Lovey-dovey Alliance set off together to get taxis to the airport. "We're still working with the girls, doing what we can to get each other into the final three, and then it's each team for their own. We have an understanding," Anya in a voice-over. If it ain't broke, why fix it? I think the alliance has held up surprisingly well, but I wonder if the girls, as Anya calls them, will be sufficiently ruthless in the final run-in if it comes down to a fight to the death with the Pirates. I hope that's not the end of them.
9.16am. Faith & Robin count out the money. They have $135 for this leg of the race. "If this were a marathon, this is where the Wall starts hitting. Faith and I are trained and prepared for this, we've run the perfect strategy so far, letting the others set the pace and following closely behind. We just need to start kicking at the right time," Robin voices over.
The L-D Alliance arrive at the airport and manage to squeeze onto a Malaysian Airlines 1005 flight to Kuala Lumpur, where they will connect to the flight to Sandakan via Kota Kinabalu. Hey, give me a cookie for getting these names right, will ya.
Team Efficiency arrive too late, the flight has already closed, they have to make do with a Air India 1100 flight to Kuala Lumpur, where they have a 5 minute window to catch the same Kota Kinabalu flight as the L-D Alliance. "We'll try our best, time to put our best running shoes on, baby," says Faith.
10.11am. Adam & Oz, in cute ponchos! Snerk. They drip their way into their taxi.
11.05am. Rupert & Randy, looking like they've been hit by the Wall already. Rupert, the oldest remaining Racer, is certainly feeling the strain. "Physically I'm in the best shape of my life, but I'm not as spry as I used to be, luckily my son has been supportive," he interviews. Estranged father and son my ass.
11.13am. Buffy & Riley. Blah blah blah no money cakes. Blah blah blah begging at hotel cakes. Nothing new. What annoys me is, they get a good response from their victims, cos a few people recognize them. *coughfamewhorescough* If they get asked for autographs I'm going to throw my remote at the tv. They are lucky that the non-Elim is in Singapore. Imagine if they are stuck back at the camp in Kenya, who's there to recognize you, Goldies?
"We had a lot of help in Singapore, the locals were generous," Riley interviews.
"Riley is a super-competitive person, that's why he is so successful in what he does. If he sometimes comes across as pushy, that's his competitiveness. I won't have him any other way," Buffy gushes. Oh you poor misguided fool, you think you know what you should do, you're losing your point of view.
All three teams get tickets to Kuching where they will connect to Kota Kinabalu then Sandakan. Problem is, that flight leaves at 1325, leaving a big gap between this group and the group in front.
At Kuala Lumpur, the flight to Kota Kinabalu is delayed by 15 minutes, allowing Efficiency to make it. So now the teams are split evenly into two groups of 3 teams.
Amazing Yellow Lines show the flight paths. It's disconcerting to have to fly north, then double back east, rather than straight, but that's how flying is sometimes.
4.20pm. The first group arrive at Sandakan and pile into taxis for the Rotary Observation Pavilion, a lookout point near the center of town. No problem getting the next clue. It's an early Detour, with a choice between Dive Down or Climb Up. In Dive Down, teams travel by boat to Pulau Lankayan, a tiny remote island off the coast of Sandakan and take part in one of the most popular activities in the area -- diving. In Climb Up, teams drive themselves to the Gomantong caves, home to millions of bats and swiflets, and climb up narrow bamboo ladders to reach the roof of the cave 50 feet up.
All three teams opt for Dive Down. "Narrow ladders sound dangerous," says Xander.
They get to the harbor and onto speedboats. The sea looks gray and choppy and the little boats small and frail, it's going to be a tough journey. "How far is it to Lankayan?" Faith asks. "About an hour ma'am," says the boatman. Even Robin blanches at the prospect of an hour bouncing up and down in those rickety beasts.
Xander & Anya talk about whether they should switch Detours. "It's up to you," says Xander. "I get seasick, but we knew that if we switched the remaining teams might catch up, so I decided to brave it," Anya explains. "How hard can it be?" Ooops, famous last words.
Next shot is Anya violently throwing up over the boat bobbing precariously in the rough waters. 'Nuff said.
They endure the ride and acquire a ghastly shade of seasick green upon disembarkation, especially Anya, who is helped off the speedboat by the crew. Any worries about whether she can do the dive is put to rest, as they come to the dive center and the ever taunting sign: "Hours of Opening: 8am to 5pm."
Xander and Anya are visibly relieved. "I'm not sure I can do this again tomorrow," Anya whimpers.
Faith & Robin are clearly disappointed at the delay. They ask the crew what time the diving starts. The crewman point at the sign, not needing the words to say "Dude, don't you know how to read?" Yeah, Efficiency, what's with the painfully obvious question?
"It's late afternoon and of course we understand we can't dive at this time of —" Robin complains.
"Well actually it's just as dark underwater, shouldn't be any difference," Faith interrupts. "If only they opened half an hour more we wouldn't be stuck here overnight, the other teams are going to catch up now."
"I wonder if the other teams will take this Detour or the other one?" Willow asks as they settle down on the beach for the night. There doesn't seem to be many hotels nearby and teams opt for sleeping under the stars.
It's a beautiful sight, and the sunset is breathtaking.
Meanwhile the other 3 teams arrive at Sandakan airport. Jostling off the plane the teams, knowing they are behind, are nervous to the point of agitated. We rarely see the 'getting out of the airport' footage, but this time we see the pettiness that is the Riley-Randy cock waving contest. They're pushing and shoving at each other in the passport line, getting their baggage and even in the corridor. How pathetic.
It's even evident outside the airport, where somehow they end up in a line for minivan sized MaxiCabs. Or are they mini-buses, no one's sure. Buffy & Riley climb into the first one and load up their bags. Rupert & Randy, who are next, are asking the driver if these are buses or taxis. The driver tells them to get in, cos there is space. But Riley closes the door on the father and son. "No, we don't have room for you," he snarls and shuts out the other team.
Rupert & Randy end up sharing one with Adam & Oz. "Haven't had a lot of chances to talk with Adam and Oz, turns out we have a shared interest in music and jamming, after the race, we might get together to play. It's surprising who you meet while traveling," Randy says. It's nice and all, planning future social activities, but it's a RAAACE, people.
It seems a little bit late for these teams for develop an alliance, but a common disdain for Riley may push them together out of necessity, like one of those shotgun Las Vegas marriages. "Do you, Rupert & Randy, take Adam & Oz to be your trusty allies. Do you promise to scoff and deride the embarrassment that is Riley, for roadblocks and detours, for peace at pitstops, in first place or last. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to those whose names are not Riley, so long as y'all shall remain in the Race?"
"I can understand competitiveness, especially for a professional athlete, but his behavior has worsened as the race goes on, he doesn't talk to the other teams during the rest period, he is rude to everyone, I feel sorry for the poor girl who has to stay with him," says Rupert.
"Riley's a jerk," Oz says succinctly.
It's totally dark when they reach the Rotary Observation Pavilion and the clue for the Detour. Adam & Oz and Rupert & Randy decide immediately to go for the caves, guessing that the boat to Pulau Lankayan will not be running anymore. "The boat to the island has stopped for the night, but we can gain time by driving to the caves and be ready as soon as they open," Adam explains, with impeccable logic.
Of course Goldies aren't privy to this discussion, and they decide to do Dive Down instead. Lo and behold, when they reach the jetty the speedboats are done for the day. A frustrated America's Golden Couple trudge off to find a hotel.
Sunrise, beautiful beaches, palm trees, crystal clear waters. Just the postcard you feel obligated to buy whenever you visit this type of vacation destination.
While Buffy & Riley are speeding their way towards Pulau Lankayan, the teams who spent the night on the beach are getting ready to dive for their clues. Faith & Robin are keen a sticks, Willow & Tara show a mixture of excitement and nervousness, but Xander & Anya are not looking happy.
"I thought she was feeling better but no, she hadn't recovered. But she chose to keep that information to herself. She's far too gungho for her own good," Xander complains.
"What good would that have done? We spent the whole night on the beach, and we had the task to do. It was too late to switch Detours," Anya retorts.
Faith & Robin get suited first and follow their instructor down to the water from a small dive platform. They follow a rope all the way from the surface to two small boat wrecks 50 feet down. The visibility isn't great and they have a little trouble finding the clue in the murky waters. Some fish and shrimp swim past and it's quite a sight.
After some fruitless swimming around they finally locate the clue, tied to the side of one of the wrecks. One of them — Faith? — gets the clue and they make their way up, hand over hand on the guide rope.
"We were really disorientated down there, took a lot of trouble to get the clue," Robin says.
Efficiency rips the clue and learn that they are to fly to Queensland, Australia and locate a lifeguard at the beach at Surfers Paradise. All they have is a Polaroid, and they have to search all the posts on a long stretch of beach for the right lifeguard. O' Yea, it's Needle in Haystack clue time.
They make their way towards their boat just as the next group — Willow & Tara are already getting ready to dive. Faith is like an excitable teenager, "Australia, Ace, it's all surfers and beaches man. My dream vacation," she grins insanely all the way to the boat. Robin looks on with amusement at his partner's enthusiasm.
On the way back to the shore, they pass by Buffy & Riley and exchange waves. The contrast is marked. One team full of excitement, the other perfecting the look of death. "They finished quickly," murmured Riley. What economy of words, what venom. Shut. Up. Riley.
Meanwhile Lovebirds are underwater, making slow but steady progress along the guide rope. At the wreck, they stop and appear to try to gain their bearings before setting off to find the clue. They get it quicker than Faith & Robin seem to and they do a little thumbs up to each other.
They get the clue and are also happy to be going to Australia. "Funny the clue doesn't tell us which airport to fly into. Queensland's a state, right? But which city?" Willow muses.
"May be a map, or a travel agent?" Tara suggests.
"Good call," Willow smiles. My insides melt, cos, to my Lovebirds-addicted mind, anything they do is cute.
They jog by Xander & Anya, who surprisingly haven't suited up yet. Anya is looking pretty sickly, and in a discussion with the dive instructor about whether she is fit enough to dive. She insists that she is, but the instructor isn't convinced. "We have to do this task, otherwise we're stuck," Anya argues.
"But it's dangerous if you're sick. It's diving, not a walk in the park, if you get into trouble underwater, you can't get out, and that's it," Xander does a throat cutting motion that isn't helping his wife's dilemma.
Anya glares at him, "Oh great, Xander, now you don't even need to murder me in my sleep, the water will do it."
In the end the instructor puts his foot down and insists that Anya is checked out by the resort doctor. Pirates are not happy about it, but have no choice. The doctor tells Anya she can't dive. They try arguing, but he is adamant.
Phil appears and explains that if a team can't complete a Detour, they have a choice of switching to the other task, or taking a time penalty of 4 hours from the time the next team arrives.
They're debating the merits of each option when Buffy & Riley arrive. They opt for the time penalty. "It will take an hour or more to get back onshore, then driving to the caves and finishing the task, will probably be more than 4 hours," Xander says. He sits by Anya and puts one arm round her, she looks angry at herself and shakes him off.
"It's okay," he keeps trying to console her.
"Why did we decide on this task? We should have turned back and gone to the other task before getting on the boat, why didn't you say something?" she sobbed.
Xander looks to be torn between arguing back and being supportive. He opens and closes his mouth, but decides, perhaps wisely, to keep his own counsel. He may be a pirate with only one eye, but he seems to display some understanding of his wife's tantrums.
Buffy & Riley meanwhile, are suited up and ready to go. Buffy sees Anya in distress and goes over to ask about her, Xander gives her a thin smile. Nice to know one of the Goldies have a heart. Riley, on the other hand, runs past the Pirates and frowns when Buffy fails to keep up.
They get in the water and have no trouble with the diving. Riley is a swimmer after all. Not that I'm happy about his behavior, he should be, and is good at, sports related tasks. Doesn't excuse the insistent "let's go" he is barking at the crew.
"Anya is sick and the doctor refuses to let her dive, so they're talking a time penalty," Buffy comments when they're on the boat.
"I should feel sorry for them, cos Anya's sick, but I'm glad of their time penalty, it means we're not last," Riley gloats.
"You could still have stopped and asked about her, what's the matter with you?" Buffy frowns.
"We're in a race, Buffy," he says. He shakes water out of his shoes and continues to rearrange his backpack.
"What about sportsmanship? And you claim to go to church every Sunday," she exclaims.
"I'm in a competition, I don't have time to be a goody two-shoes Christian," he retorts.
"Oh, just stop talking, Riley," she turns away in disgust.
This the sort of behavior we're encouraging from our professional athletes? I know they are in a competition, but if I win this leg with the Pirates being eliminated because of illness, I'd feel bad about winning.
The Gomantong caves are about 20 miles south of Sandakan, and we catch up with the two remaining non-coupley team, make their way from their overnight perch (aka their cars) to the cave entrance.
Once there they are greeted by the sound and sight of thousands (over a million, we're told) of swiftlets and bats flying around. The walls and floor are organic. Even the normally impassive Adam & Oz are put off by the conditions.
"There were piles of bird or whatnot poop all over the ground, everywhere you step it squelched," Adam interviews with a disgusted look etched into his features.
"And roaches, don't forget the roaches," Oz deadpans. Oh lord.
Teams gingerly make their way to the bottom of the ladders where they are fitted out with helmets and harnesses. Both team members are told to climb up the ladders to the top, then make their way across a narrow horizontal platform to retrieve their clues from a hanging basket.
Randy goes first for his team, when he is about 10 feet up, Rupert follows. Oz and Adam do the same. The narrow ladders swing precariously as they climb, but there is never any danger that they will fall, because of the harness.
The younger, fitter Oz & Adam make it to the top first and inch their way across the platform, Adam having to virtually bend double to get his tall frame across. At the corner of my eye I spy some movement on the ledge, I try very hard to convince myself those are not bugs. They haul a tiny basket up from a rope and get their clue. "Not enough room to read the clue, let's go down first," says Adam, the master of logic today.
Randy, followed by Rupert, get to their platform shortly afterwards. Rupert is a little out of breath, but have no problems reaching the clue.
Back on solid ground, TallShort read the Queensland clue, they show uncharacteristic emotion as they high five each other, or rather, Oz high fives and Adam low fives. In any case, it looks like Australia is a popular destination.
R.Randy descend and get the clue also. Rupert, probably the second smartest person on the Race, latches onto the same question as Willow, about which airport they are to fly into. They decide a visit to a travel agent is the best course of action.
Back at the island, two forlorn Pirates sit all by their lonesome on the jetty. They are not talking to each other and body language indicates a huge fight just happened. Anya throws an annoyed look at Xander, "So you're giving up now?" she spits.
"We're hours behind, and you keep blaming me! Why me, Anya? Who hasn't said a single word since you were sick on the boat? Who sat up all night passing you sips of water? Who has been by your side while we got a 4-hour penalty?" Xander yells.
"Right, so it's all my fault then! Fine!" Anya throws her hands up in the air.
Xander seems deflated. It's not about the blame, Anya, it's about staying together as a team and trying not to make a bad situation worse, I can see it in his eyes, and I despair cos she can't see it.
In other news, teams are arriving in Kota Kinabalu. Efficiency and TallShort head straight for the airport, where they find out they need to travel to Brisbane. After a considerable amount of searching, they secure flights to Kuala Lumpur and connecting to Singapore. At Singapore they have a 5 hour layover before boarding a 2110 flight to Brisbane which arrives 0630 local time. "It's airport circus today," Robin jokes.
Lovebirds and R.Randy duck into travel agencies and proceed to do extensive research. R.Randy's agent comes up, amazingly, with a flight via Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei that arrives at Brisbane at 0305, 3 1/2 hours before the flight from Singapore. I wonder why the airport people aren't able to find this flight.
The best the Lovebirds agent can get is the same Singapore flight, okay what's up with not giving my Lovebirds the Brunei flight? The girls politely ask for access to the internet and search for timetables themselves. "I memorized a few websites that may be useful for us. We found this out of the way flight via the Kingdom of Brunei, even the agent was surprised," Willow says happily.
The Amazing Clock shows it's 12.15pm when the four teams board the domestic flight to Kuala Lumpur. Two teams will be on earlier flights, I wonder if the other two will catch on, we'll see.
Just as the plane is about to take off, Goldies arrive. I can see the steam coming off both of them from miles away. Riley raves and rants, and for once Buffy joins in. She's probably sick of him and wants to get to the Pitstop, stat. They learn the next flight to Kuala Lumpur is at 1405, but they will be able to connect to the same Singapore flight as Efficiency and TallShort.
At this rate, even the Pirates will make the Singapore flight. We seen their time penalty finally coming to an end and they get on a boat. Anya looks better. "The doctor gave me some tablets, I asked if we can do the task but he refused. Xander and I hit a bad spot, we have to rebuild some trust," she says. Sing it sister!
They arrive at Kota Kinabalu in time for a 1545 flight to Kuala Lumpur, then Singapore. Guess what? They will make the Singapore-Brisbane flight. I should be writing an Ode to Bunching now, or may be a haiku. [*no, don't even try. Please.*]
At Kuala Lumpur airport, R.Randy and Lovebirds rush off because they have very little time to connect to the Brunei flight. Efficiency and TallShort see what's going on and they follow, only to be told at the Brunei Air counter that booking has closed. I don't know who has the worst swear words but the beeping is like birds chirping in my head. Not happy bunnies there.
"It's probably too much to ask, for them to share information, I never expected sneakiness from them," says Robin. Wait. No. It's a RAAACE, Robin, what do think this is? The playpen at the kindergarten? Adam & Oz aren't complaining, at least vocally, and they're the ones with the shotgun marriage to R.Randy and all.
At Singapore they try to find better flights, but come up short. Meantime, Goldies and even Pirates arrive at Singapore, and four teams are on the direct flight to Brisbane.
Brisbane, where "Australia wears a sunny smile all year", is the springboard for surf and adventure activities along the Gold Coast, boasting 40 miles of uninterrupted beaches. One of which is Surfers Paradise, home to touristy hotels, malls and where thousands of graduating high school kids converge every year. Surfers beach itself is 6 miles long.
R.Randy and Lovebirds arrive at an eerily quiet Brisbane airport at 3am. [*whaddaya expect, it's 3am.*] They aren't even running to find their cars, just ambling along.
"We managed to get a better flight and ahead of the field by using a travel agent, a few more good decisions like that and we'll be in the final three, I'm sure," Randy says.
The teams drive the 50 miles towards Gold Coast. "The lifeguards won't be on duty yet, will they?" Tara comments as she drives.
"We can take a look at the lay of the land and where the towers are," Willow says.
"That's good," Tara drives on.
"You okay with the driving?" Willow asks.
"It feels different driving on this side of the road. I'm always fighting the urge to drift to the opposite lane," Tara says as she grips the wheel a little tighter.
"Keep yourself on the outside of the road, that's the rule of thumb," Willow suggests helpfully.
It's still dark when the two vehicles arrive at the beach. The sounds of the waves can be heard even in the dark. Nope, no lifeguards on duty at that hour.
As the early morning sunlight moves across the beach, we see Rupert & Randy in their makeshift camp. Randy rolls over off the groundsheet and gets a faceful of sand. He chokes and spurts out a mouthful as he sits up.
The movement disturbs Rupert's sleep. "Assignments are due on Tuesday!" Rupert calls out as he jolts up, his eyes glazed and unfocused. I crack up. They get ready with greeting the day, boy they look rough, uh oh, we're getting towards the 'need haircut/shave/shower' stage of the Race.
Back at the airport, the remaining teams are arriving. Mad rush to the carpark and to their cars, amidst the cries of "let's go!" and "hurry up!". The sky is noticeably brighter, and the traffic heavier.
On the beach, R.Randy and Lovebirds are beginning their herculean task. Oh boy, this looks like a long task, there are dozens of lifeguard towers there, spread out over the 6 mile stretch. I mean, 6 miles! That's ... long.
The rest of the teams appear and soon there are mad rushing teams on the beach. Other beach-goers are beginning to arrive: families, surfers, even a few pretty women. Randy and Oz run into each other mid-search and share a moment, appreciating the assets of several bikini-clad beauties jogging along the beach. Wowza, these Australian babes, they're the dish, dude. Why did Baywatch move to Hawaii again?
With an earlier start Rupert & Randy locate their lifeguard first. They get the clue from him that tells them to drive to the nearby Dreamworld amusement park. They run off.
Adam & Oz find their lifeguard and clue. Lovebirds find the clue. Faith & Robin and Buffy & Riley find the clue. Hit me, it's clues clues clues. Everybody drive off.
Wait, wait! We are missing one team. I count, and yes, one team is MIA! Call the rescue. Gather the dogs, we need to search. It's Xander & Anya, who have ended up on the wrong side of the beach, they're still trying to find their lifeguard. Looks like Lady Luck is not with them today.
"I've had it, we've been walking up and down the beach and we're getting nowhere," Anya whines in frustration.
"May be it's over that side," Xander points.
"Over there! It's too far away, what do you expect me to do?" Anya gets so worked up that she sits herself down at the beach and refuses to get up. Ah, not only lack of luck, but KF catching up as well.
I have a bad feeling about this.
The first team is arriving at Dreamworld. First to greet them is the Yield, they choose not to yield any other team. The peloton arrives, and they, too, choose not to yield. Logically, one of them should have yielded Xander & Anya, because it's clear they are behind and the leg is almost finishing, to put them even further behind using the Yield will ensure they are eliminated. My trusty EEFPs tell me that there is only one Non-Elim left, and the Amazing Producers normally leave this until the last 2 legs, especially if they are taking 4 teams into the final run-in. So the chances of this leg being Non-Elim is slim to none.
The long and short of it is, no one uses the Yield.
After the Yield comes the clue. It's a Roadblock. Teams are to drive themselves 3 miles to Pimpama where the Roadblocker will try their hands at Zorbing. What is a zorb? It's a giant inflatable plastic ball, the zorbonaut (yeah, that's the term) climbs inside a small compartment and the whole contraption rolls down a steep hill with the person inside. The experience is not unlike being a hamster in a wheel, or a stray sock in a spin dryer.
R.Randy are the first to the zorb, and Randy takes the Roadblock. The People-in-Charge tell him to strip down to as little as possible because he's sharing the zorb with 40 liters of soapy water. He takes his T-shirt off and a whole school district full of teenage girls faint. He has nice flat abs, but his insane blonde helmet and sucky cheeks take the pleasure away from ogling him.
Apparently the non-Roadblocking partner can choose to lie down at the bottom of the slope and have the zorb roll over him at the end. Rupert, with a look that says "you're kidding me?" politely declines.
Randy finishes the roll, emerges like a wet towel from a wash, gives a thumbs up, and receives the clue telling them to drive to the Pitstop at the Hope Island Golf Resort.
Next up, Faith. She has a cocky grin on her face as she climbs inside, telling us that she is a nut for extreme sports. "I did the bungy jump in Switzerland, so now is her chance," says Robin. Her ride downhill is nothing special, but when she comes out, my eyes are treated to the most fantastic sight — her hair wild and wet, her chest moving up and down with each pant, and her, um, important, um, points, doing the same thing as Farrah Fawcett's in that famous poster. Oh my god, I can hear the click of a million mouses as people do screengrabs of this angel.
No less sexy, but in a different way, the Lovebirds arrive. Using the same logic as Efficiency (ie who didn't do the last extreme sports stunt), it's Tara the Roadblocker. I can appreciate the logic, but she has done the last 3 Roadblocks, may be it should have been Willow's turn? My brain goes to pieces when she finishes and come out from the zorb in much the same condition as Faith, only her T-shirt is even thinner than Faith's. I turn into a puddle of warm melted ice cream as I realize she is even more yummy than Faith. It's screengrabbers paradise today!
Back at Surfers, Pirates get the lifeguard and the next clue. "This is the last straw," Xander grits his teeth.
Goldies. Riley takes the task. I'm interested in neither his abs nor how the water clings to his giant forearms. He finishes, yawn.
TallShort. Adam twists his bulk into the compartment. I think they choose him so he occupies so much space that there's minimal spinning. He finishes, gets the clue and they're off.
Pirates arrive at last and it's Xander with the rolling. I hear faint screams but I'm not sure if he is screaming at the ride or his wife.
At the swanky Hope Island Golf Resort, Phil is suitably attired in golfing wear and waiting by the Amazing Bathmat.
It's Rupert & Randy, you're team number one. They smile. And smile even more as Phil tells them they have each won a Treo PDA phone, sponsored by palmOne. Randy is ecstatic, while Rupert appears to be wondering what a PDA phone is.
"We were able to maintain top spot throughout the leg, we're very happy. And of course happy at pole position next leg," Rupert says.
It's Faith & Robin and they're team number two. "Perfect, this is the perfect position, just over the shoulders of the pace setters, we are in great shape to kick once we enter the straight," Robin with his runner's talk again. Score-wise, they have the best score, and remain my pick for winning the Race.
The team I want to win jog up to Phil next. Welcome, Willow & Tara, you are team number three. "Nice," they smile to each other.
Buffy & Riley check in as team number four. Why are they still here again?
Adam & Oz are team number five. Oh I want them to stay in the race, they are my 'dark-horse' team and can't be this far down the field!
Finally Xander & Anya drag themselves onto the Amazing Bathmat. No Non-Elim, sorry, they're Philminated. It's a shame because they have a good alliance with Lovebirds and I want to see them prosper. "Our relationship was badly tested today, and we didn't come through for each other," Xander laments.
"It meant a lot to us, well, to me, to win this. I'm so disappointed," Anya adds.
Goodbye Pirates. Don't kill each other on the way to Sequesterville.
Teaser for Episode 10
Coins are tossed in the air amidst raucous shouting.
Buffy runs after a stray coin that doesn't want to stop rolling.
Adam & Oz throwing and running. It's just like Laurel and Hardy.
And a glimpse of the sexiest outfit ever to grace the Amazing Race.
Warning: Rating for this Extra is NC-17
They tossed and turned on the narrow double bed, the steady humming of the air-conditioning unit creating a disjointed sort of harmony with the sporadic traffic noises outside.
Soft fingers caressed soft skin on a pale freckled arm, then reached up to adjust the bunched-up sleeves on the T-shirt.
"Can't sleep, baby?" Tara asked, returning her arm to its rightful place, looped around Willow's waist.
"No. My body screams that it's tired, my brain super aware of how many hours till we have to set off again, hence the need to rest. But no, I can't sleep. Can you?"
Tara heard Willow sigh as they tried to ignore the sunlight creeping through the not quite thick enough curtains. She glanced at the clock: 12.53pm. They had to be at the start point in under 10 hours, her mind was checking off the Pitstop tasks that had become their routine for the last 3 weeks.
Check in with Ashley, do interview, have lunch, shower, do laundry. Yep, all done. Now if only we can catch up on some sleep.
"Want to do some planning?" Willow asked, but made no attempt to move from Tara's comfortable embrace.
"Only if we can do it in this position," Tara mumbled.
"We can do a lot in this position," Willow snickered.
"What?" She is all sweet innocence, but I have her number.
"You have a one track mind," Tara smiled. She traced a soft finger underneath the sleeve she was adjusting a minute ago and smiled some more at the shiver she felt running up her lover's arms.
Slowly and achingly she slipped further up underneath the cotton material until she reached the collarbone, which she slowly ran over with the back of her fingers, keeping her touches soft. I'm glad this is a loose-fit T-shirt.
Willow let out a sigh at Tara's caress and they felt the flush of desire gradually building through their connection.
Tara worked her hand down from the collarbone to the top of Willow's breasts. She drew large figure of eight spirals around both breasts, intensely aware but studiously avoiding the hardening nubs at the tip.
The sounds Willow was making were sweet and needy, her body arching and pushing back into Tara's, her hips grinding through the clothing barrier and right into Tara's core.
Tara slipped her hands out, earning a needy whimper. "Shhh, sweetie, I'm taking this off," she whispered as she rolled Willow's T-shirt off her back and over her head. Before settling back into their embrace, she quickly threw her own T-shirt and boxer shorts off to the end of the bed.
She resumed the figure of eight movement around Willow's breasts, while pressing her own into the redhead's back. They gasped, but neither was sure if it was Tara's hand on Willow's breasts, or Tara's breasts on Willow's back.
Feeling her own heat igniting, Tara tightened the circular movement on Willow's breasts, at the same time increasing the pressure. When she reached the pebbled points, she stroked, then squeezed, eliciting a sharp hiss from the suddenly still body in her arms.
"Should I stop?" she purred.
"Please don't," came the plea.
She shifted slightly so her other arm, the one previously trapped underneath Willow, was able to snake round and continue massaging Willow's breasts. Her top arm slid tantalizing down Willow's body until it reached the well worn smooth cotton of obstinate, pesky panties. These she removed without hesitation.
They were bare against each other now. Their breathing quickened but remained in sync. Tiny rolls of hips and tightening of muscles were sure signs of an impending hunger, an unending need.
Willow moaned, half-rolled and threw one leg over Tara's hips, opening herself to Tara's touch. Tara wasted no time in reaching down, brushing her palms against damp curls, and began to steadily stroke Willow's inner lips. She felt her lover's clit harden, as if crying out for much needed attention. Natural juices flowed easily over hidden crevices, intensifying the friction.
More urgent thrusting of hips demanded more, and Tara gladly obliged. One, then two fingers slid into Willow, while her palm maintained contact with the now very stiff clit. Gently at first, then more rhythmical, she guided her fingers in and out, basking in the feeling of Willow clenching around her and buried in the bliss and love radiating from both of them.
She knew Willow's body so well now, even though it had only been a few days. The memory and significance of their bonding, back in Africa, still fresh in her mind and soul. A small sign, an extra hitch in the breathing, insides that felt smoother, and she knew, deep in her heart, she knew.
I'm coming baby.
I can feel it.
When Willow arched her back and tightened her grip on Tara's hand, she could hear the chorus of Willow's release whispering, louder, clearer, till with one drawn-out, delightful scream the woman she loved climaxed with such force that they were both pulled off the mattress.
Willow turned into her and kissed her deeply. They easily fell into a tangle of arms, legs and warm melding, whispering small words of love only meant for their ears. They held each other close as they drifted into slumber.
When they woke their room was still bright.
Tara felt before she heard Willow's breathing change. She opened her eyes to be greeted with eager green ones that smiled at her.
"Hey," Willow said, placing a warm kiss on her lips.
"Guess we managed some sleep after all. Did you sleep well?" she asked.
Willow smirked. "Of course," she smiled. "I didn't even thank you properly before zonking out, you must think I'm some sort of guy, at least I didn't grunt and rolled over."
"You're nothing like a guy," Tara replied, allowing her fingers to run down Willow's jawline.
Willow swallowed and tried to suppress the arousal that was fast spinning out of control. "Oh Baby, what you do to me. But," she said as she flipped Tara over. "But now, it's my turn to do things to you."
Tara tried hard to stay focused. "Do we have time?" she asked, at the back of her mind she was trying to remember if she looked at the clock, but rational thought was becoming impossible when her arms are held high above her head and Willow was kissing her.
"Let me worry about the time, just relax," Willow instructed as she continued her kisses, now at Tara's neck and arms.
This is so easy.
Tara took a deep breath and felt her tension melt away with Willow's kisses. The kisses were everywhere, sometimes soft and barely felt, sometimes more insistent. Every so often, Willow would lean up and kiss her on the lips, opening her mouth and letting their tongues enjoy the sensation.
Willow was kissing her breasts now, taking care that each nipple received the attention they yearned for.
Now the focus was her tummy, then her hips that she always thought too wide, and back to her breasts.
Cool hands slid around her back, pulling her up and wrapping her legs around Willow, now crouching between her legs. Kisses along the top of her thighs, smooth hands lingering at the back of the thighs, down to the knees and ankles.
What was my life before her like? I can't remember. I can't imagine.
Slowly and carefully Willow kissed all around her sex and outer lips, but resolutely not venturing deeper. She felt the grin along her sensitive skin.
Willow slid back up and kissed her again, she could faintly taste herself already.
I'm burning up all over.
The sensation of Willow's kisses on her clit was unlike anything she had imagined or felt before. Now Willow was humming into her, the vibrations and touches igniting a fire that started deep in her belly and was overwhelming every other sensation.
She knew it would be quick. She wanted to draw her climax out but she had been at the edge since she herself first teased Willow. Seemed like a million eons ago.
Willow sucked her clit and it was instantaneous.
I'm coming baby.
I can feel it.
All around her, she could only hear white pulsing light, could only see white pounding noise. She screamed. Loudly. Screams of joy and of bliss and of pleasure that knew no boundaries.
She pulled Willow back up and they met in a kiss that sealed their love. Willow turned her over and rocked her gently while softly stroking her hair.
There was still Race planning to do. They were in a new country now and chances would be the most or even all the next leg would be in Australia. Five teams were left and the competition was becoming more intense. Their staunchest allies had been eliminated. There was a lot to talk about.
Thinking further ahead, the Race was coming to an end. What were they to do afterwards? Their lives, their relationship, everything, had changed so much. There was a lot to talk about.
But at this moment, as their love enveloped them, it was not the time for talk. Talking would be later, when the reality of the outside world greeted them again. At this moment, they were just two girls, one soul, in love.
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