January 25, 2005

Fast, Fast, Go, Go, Tuk Tuk!

Frankly, I'm exhausted. No, not from driving the many hours back from Tahoe ahead of bad weather, but from trying to keep up with the Baby Count for this week! It was an exercise in discipline, I tell you. We'll save those results for the end, though, as usual.

So, this week found us back in Ethiopia, where apparently the food made Kendra sick. Serves her right for making Freddy sick back in Hungary, says I. She spent much of the episode looking wan and weak...so weak that we never once heard her mention doing research. I do have to give her credit for going on when she looked like all she wanted to do was curl up in a nauseous little ball. Damn, that's two weeks in a row that I had to give her credit for something -- let's hope that's the end of that because I really don't like her enough to keep doing that.

After the teams took a short charter plane ride from the Pit Stop and ran around a track as a part of a four-man relay team -- which was fun for no one but Hayden -- they set out for Sri Lanka where, Phil noted in an appropriately somber prologue, this leg of the Race was taped before the devastating tsunami. Well, four of the teams went there; Bolo asked to go to Sirika Lankka. That was while he was in Addidas Abbaba, of course.

Once in Colombo, Sri Lanka (or was it Colombia, Bolo?), the teams raced in suicide cabs to the train station. All but Rebecca and Adam made it onto the first train, though I think Kendra was wishing she'd missed it, too, and spent probably the whole trip in the bathroom. Of course, there was much drama and gnashing of teeth as Adam fumed about not making the train while Rebecca, after convincing him not to quit altogether, once again had to essentially tell him, "I want out of this relationship." I'd say only four or five dozen more repetitions, girl, and he may actually get it!

After a ride in a delightfully named "tuk tuk," it was time for the Detour. And oh, man, was it babylicious. I bet you never thought climbing a tree and walking a tightrope could inspire that many utterings of the word "baby" and its variations, did you? Everyone but Kendra and Freddy took the tree-climbing option; the models chose to play elephant polo, and I'd say they had a heck of a lot more fun in the doing. Certainly more fun than Hayden, who got hers for being so dominating in the relay race -- she's afraid of heights and had one hell of a time completing her part.

Once they were done with the Detour, it was off to the bus station for a trip to Kandy land. (Did someone on the staff get a raise for making them hit as many different forms of transportation as possible for this leg? I would have said they only missed water, but just wait for the ending.) Of course, there was a great big catch-up opportunity in Kandy that eventually found all five teams sitting around the next morning waiting for an art association to open. I think "art association" may be Sri Lankan for "tourist trap," but I'm not sure. They dashed inside to buy an offering of rice that they exchanged for a blessing and a clue from a rather long-winded young monk. Even the ever-cheerful Kris found her patience being tested by the time it took to complete this relatively simple task...I think she lost her smile for at least three minutes!

Then, led by Lori and Bolo, it was back on the bus to Dambulla and another interesting rock formation for the Roadblock, where one person had to race up 1,000+ steps and catch their breath long enough to locate the Pit Stop by binoculars. Speaking of catch, they had to buy and take with them admittance tickets for the top. Teams that didn't read the directions carefully, which you think by now they would know enough to do, paid a steep price for their inattention. Amid much huffing and puffing, the teams completed the task, but Lori -- who got up to the ticket-taker near the top before realizing her error -- had to go all the way back down and up before finishing. Channeling the not-at-all-missed Jonathan, Lori blamed Bolo entirely for this oversight.

It was back into the tuk tuks in a dash for the Pit Stop they had located from the rock. They then had to swim the length of a pool, where a dry and smiling Phil greeted them. Was this pool part really necessary? He was Right There, for crying out loud. Anyway, Team Smiley came in first. The next three teams got there at pretty much the same time, and it was amusing to watch them running around the pool like headless chickens to get the swimming part in. Hayden and Aaron outswam the others to come in second, with Freddy showing impressive strength in literally hauling Kendra straight out of the pool to secure third. Adam and Rebecca came in next-to-last again.

Because of the boo-boo at the Roadblock, Lori and Bolo got to the Pit Stop last, with Bolo executing what I thought was a pretty damned graceful dive for a man of his size. As they trudged up to the mat, Lori was probably regretting wearing a white top (though at least she didn't actually mention her implants, let's just say they were fully in evidence) almost as much as coming in last, where they were eliminated. Goodbye, Team Muscles, we hardly knew ye. And Bolo? Your complete lack of pronunciation and counting talents will be greatly missed.

This leaves us with just The Official One Ping Only AR6 "Baby" Count™ to ponder before we wrap this up. And it's a dilly. The vast majority of the "babies" were accounted for in the first half hour alone, and "honeys" were somewhat scarce -- Kendra wasn't feeling well, after all, and Hayden was so freaked out by the whole tree-climbing thing that I imagine she was just not in the honey frame of mind. We did have a unique "sweet pea" in the second half from Kendra to try to balance it out a bit, however lame. So, without further ado, here it is, a season-high effort:

One Ping Only AR6 "Baby" Count: Episode 10 = 75