Ali Baba in a Suit
Skipping through St. Petersburg, Russia,
the Racers donned clown noses while spinning plates and play accordions.
They solved a mystery en route to the Peter & Paul Fortress where they
(literally) played Russia's version of "Bowling for Dollars". In the
end, Nat & Kat (Team Rhyming Docs) won their third leg and 5 grand
each...and Kevin & Michael (The WuTubers), courtesy of TWO half-hour
penalties, were sent home to their webcam. A dozen players remain in the
Race for a cool million.
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
PETER & PAUL FORTRESS
0106 LOCAL TIME
St. Pete is STILL rather high,
latitude-wise, so there's a feeling of dawn over the shoulders of Nat &
Kat as they kick off Leg 8...
FLY TO THE CITY OF
Head to Pulkovo Airport in and
fly more than 4000 miles to the city of Muscat in the sultanate of
Oman in the Middle East. Upon arriving, head for the Burj Al
Mabkharah. Once there, a man will hand you an ingot with a
prescribed time for you to climb the steps of the fort to receive
your next clue.
And, remember, Nat's a
diabetic...and scheduling her insulin is KINDA hard when the time zones
keep changing. They look for an open travel agency. The other teams'
depart times (local time) are:
Brook & Claire (Team HSN):
Nick & Vicki (Team Ick): 0129
Gary & Mallory (Miss KY & Dad): 0146
Jill & Thomas (Team No I'M Right): 0153
Chad & Stephanie (Team Almost Engaged): 0245
[Remember, Chad & Steph ALSO had a half-hour penalty from the last Leg
so it was tacked on before the start of this Leg]
At UniFest Travel, the Docs
look for the fastest trip to Oman. The best connection, according to the
agent, goes through Amsterdam and arrives at Muscat at 2055. Once
confirming, they get the tickets. As they are getting things organized,
Team HSN and Team Ick stop in and use OTHER agents. More teams, more
waiting for agents to open up. But as Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire
depart, already booked through to Muscat, the agents inform the other
teams that THAT fight is full. Ut oh. The next flight arrives in Oman at
2235...a full two hours behind the ladies. The other three teams get
Speaking of waiting, 0245
comes and goes...and Chad & Stephanie are not on the PIT STOP mat to
open their clue. Why? Because they OVERSLEPT! At 0343, we check in...and
they're STILL checked out. Again, ut oh...
The teams all arrive and
await their flights...wondering where Almost Engaged are.
4:37am...a scream of "Oh, my
gosh!" is heard from the hotel room where the two spent the day. Only
NOW have they found out they have a Race to run! They quickly pack up,
run to the Fortress...and, two hours after the were SUPPOSED to leave,
they finally leave. It's been nothing but a relationship strain for them
since they left Massachusetts. At the travel agency, they get booked on
a THIRD flight to Oman...but, lucky them (sorta), it arrives a mere 10
minutes after the second flight. So...THAT'S something...right?
Flight: Team Rhyming Docs, Team HSN
2nd Flight: Team Ick, Team KY & Dad, Team No I'M Right
3rd Flight: Team Almost(?) Engaged
No, I won't be doing the all
TOO obvious play on the country's name, thankyouverymuch.
The first flight lands,
comfortably in the lead. But the four ladies want to hustle because they
have no idea what times the ignots have for them. Compared to
Scandinavia and Russia, Oman is hot and humid...and it's NIGHTTIME. A
few hours later, the second flight touches down. As for Chad & Steph,
THEIR plane made up some time en route and they actually caught UP with
the second group.
At the fort, both ladies
find the ingot man...and, Sod's Law, they BOTH get ingots labeled
7:30. They'll be the first to scale the fort...tomorrow morning. As
they rest by the buttress, Team No I'M Right arrive and receive a
7:45 ingot. The last three teams arrive at the same time...but it's
Chad & Stephanie who get the other 7:45 ingot. Gary & Mallory and
Nick & Vick each get one with 8:00, bringing up the rear.
So, at 0600 ZULU, all the
teams are awake. This INCLUDES the refreshed Team Almost Engaged, who
are ready for a new start now that they're so close again. It is here
and now that Chad asks Stephanie to take a walk with him away from the
other teams. Yup, this is the moment we've been awaiting/dreading from
the start: Chad gets down on bended knee and says to Steph, "I couldn't
see spending my life with anyone else other than you..."
A COMMERCIAL BREAK?! NOW?!?
OK, plugs are done. Chad
pulls out his mother's ring (she had died during Chad's freshman college
year) and asks, "Will you spend the rest of your life with me? Will you
marry me?" Through the tears, Steph quickly says, "Yeah, I will."
(Everybody, now: "AWWWWWWW...[BARF!]") Well, at least the other Racers
are happy about Team Alm...er, I mean, Team VERY-RECENTLY Engaged!
7:30am, all tears dried
up...the Race is on again! Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire mount the steps
of the fort. To the top of the roof and the top of the wall, they dash
away...and you know the rest of the poem. At the top, they get this:
DRIVE YOURSELVES TO
Take one of the marked vehicles
in the parking lot and drive yourselves more than 140 miles to Jebel
Shams, the tallest mountain in Oman (at roughly 10,000 feet above
sea level). As you approach the base of the mountain, you will be
stopped by a "safety driver" who has driven the dirt path up the
mountain many times. Let him drive you to the top (due to
treacherous conditions) where you'll find your next clue.
The ladies get in their cars
and drive. Team Rhyming Docs...they get lost with a "vague map". At
7:45, Jill & Thomas and Chad & Stephanie mount the steps, receive the
clue and likewise go mountain hunting. Team Very-Recently Engaged get
directions from a kind motorist and feel confident again. Jill & Thomas
ask a cabbie for help. The last pair of teams go up at 8:00 and Nick &
Vicki and Gary & Mallory start off. While Miss KY & Dad use a map, Team
Ick opt instead to ask a local at a gas station...the one which Brook &
Claire show up at moments later to ALSO get directions. vicki helps Team
HSN out...much to the chagrin of Nick who tells her to "just shut up".
Gary & Mallory get lost as well.
OUTSIDE OF MUSCAT, OMAN
Chad & Stephanie arrive at
the base of the mountain first and get their "safety driver" who
CONFIRMS they've gone from worst-to-first in just under 36 hours. The
driver gets them up to 10K feet without a hitch and, among the goats,
they find something VERY intersting:
WHO WANTS TO ADD A
LITTLE MAGIC TO THEIR LIFE?
The story of "Aladdin", while
Chinese in setting, is Middle Eastern in origin as one of the famous
"One Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights" stories. One of you must
rappel 500 feet down a sheer cliff face of Jebel Shams to a narrow
cavern (the "Grand Canyon of Oman") on the desert floor where
hundreds of antique "Aladdin"-esque lamps are. You must then search
the lamps for one that has Aladdin's magic ring in it. Once you find
one, hand the ring to the shoaut (monk) nearby and he will hand you
your next clue.
It's ALREADY been a
"magical" morning for the couple, but Steph is NOT sure she wants to do
this task...so Chad opts to do it. And, as soon as he sees the
ledge,...he starts to freak. He's not acrophobic by any stretch,...but
that was a WICKEDLY scary view. "This is freakin' crazy/gorgeous," are
his most uttered words as he goes down.
Meanwhile, Team No I'M Right
arrive in second and Jill opts to do the ROADBLOCK. As Chad touches
down, Jill suits up...and we find SHE'S the acrophobe in this Race. Chad
can't believe the number of lamps he has to search. Jill is freaking all
the way down...but she's hanging in there (no pun intended).
Annnnnnnnnd the Docs and KY
& Dad are STILL lost due to bad map-reading skills.
Almost as soon as Jill
arrives to search for a ring, Chad FINDS one. He trades the ring and
lamp for a clue and jogs up a trail to rejoin his bride-to-be. And the
DRIVE YOURSELVES TO
THE TOWN OF NIZWA!
Once the "safety driver" takes
you back down the mountain and to the base, drive yourselves more
than 140 miles to the town of Nizwa. Your next clue will be found on
top of a stack of large books in the middle of a roundabout.
Not too soon after Team
Very-Recently Engaged take off, Jill finds a ring, gets a clue and
departs with Thomas after them. Just then, Team Ick arrives and, while a
goat tries to eat the clue, Vicki chooses to repel. Team No I'M Right
passes Team HSN going the other way. When the ladies arrive, Claire
INSISTS on doing the task.
Annnnnnnd the other teams
are STILL lost...but getting help en route to the mountain. The Docs
think nobody's more lost than they...but Mallory is PRAYING that she and
her father can catch up.
It's Vicki down next...and
Kinda hard to miss a stack
of huge books in the middle of a roundabout. Fortunately, Chad &
Stephanie DON'T. They park, mount the stone representations of literary
works (with Jill & Thomas hot on their heels) and hit a:
WATER TABLE or
WATER TABLE: Drive back
to Muscat to the well marked on the map (Fanja) and pump water into
a water truck. Once you're full, use the map to navigate the streets
of Muscat to a marked residence. Connect the water hose to the
residence and pump the water in and the owner of said residence will
give you your next clue.
WEDDING TABLE: Head
back to Muscat and go to a market. There, you must purchase 25
frozen chickens as well as all the ingredients for a traditional
wedding soup called maqbous, meant to bring health and virility.
Once you deliver the goods, a chef will give you a serving of
maqbous to give to the bride and groom nearby. They, in turn, will
hand you your next clue.
You'd THINK the choice would
be obvious for the couple, considering they've been engaged for a few
hours now. But, no, they decide to do WATER TABLE. Jill & Thomas mount
the books (much to Chad & Stephanie's disappointment) and choose to
follow them to WATER TABLE..
Back at the mountain, Claire
and Vicki are still meandering through the lamps for a ring. But it's
Vicki who finds one first. Claire, however, finds one right afterwards.
As such, Team Ick and Team HSN will depart the DETOUR practically
Uh...hold that thought. Team
Ick has a flat tire. So, as Brook & Claire head off, Nick has a fit as
he gets help from the safety driver in changing the tire...and Vicki
TRIES to calm him down. Nick is still frustrated as the tire is fixed
and they start down the mountain, now a fair bit behind.
As Mallory continues praying
for her and Gary to stay in the Race, Team Very-Recently Engaged arrive
at the well, with Team No I'M Right almost literally on their bumper.
All they need to do to pump water is to start a gas-engined pump. Chad &
Steph stop the motor as the tank fills...Jill & Thomas OVERfill THEIR
tank (as the workers laugh at their precious water being wasted).
Back at the books, Team HSN
get to the DETOUR and, likewise, choose WATER TABLE because, well, they
can't cook for crap. Back at the mountain, Team Docs FINALLY reach the
ROADBLOCK and, because of Nat's acute acrophobia, Kat does the rappeling.
Back on the road, Team KY & Dad are still bemoaning their poor
The two water haulers ask
the locals as to directions to their independent residences...but, Chad
& Stephanie gets a clueless "new guy" that doesn't know...while Jill &
Thomas find someone who has MORE than an inkling (as the residence
belongs to the guy's COUSIN, of all things). Team Ick choose WATER TABLE
at the DETOUR. Kat "Ohmygosh"es her way down the cliff face. Team No I'M
Right connect the hose and start the pump up as the resident gives them
the clue. But it ain't a PIT STOP clue yet:
HIT THE ROAD AND
FIND ALI BABA!
Drive yourselves to the Muttrah
Souq in Muscat and search for Ghalib Bakheet Salem Bait Kalshat Al-Maha
Store. Receive a small coffer of frankincence from the vendor and
search the market for the famed Ali Baba in a fabric store. Exchange
the frankincense to Ali Baba for your next clue.
Feeling like forty thieves
for passing Team Very-Recently Engaged, the couple head to the market.
Chad & Stephanie aren't giving up, though; they find the house, start
the pump, get their clue and head of on THEIR heels.
As two END their pumping
adventure, Nick & Vicki somehow pass Team HSN and get to the well in
third. As they fill up, Brook & Claire show up. The two leave minutes
Amid the goats, one clue
remains at the ROADBLOCK...and, as Kat still scrounges for a ring, Team
KY & Dad FINALLY reach the foot of the mountain. But Kat finally finds
one and gets the clue. As she and Nat head down, Gary & Mallory head
up...and Mallory does the ROADBLOCK.
Team No I'M Right arrive at
the market first and get to the frankicense (sorry; gold and myrrh are
for a DIFFERENT man). But, as stated, Team Very-Recently Engaged are on
their heels. Mallory rappels, Team HSN drops off their water, the Docs
choose WATER TABLE at the DETOUR, Team Ick drops off THEIR water...and
Gary enjoys the view while waiting for her daughter. She finds the last
ring fairly quickly and they head off...in last, but still hopeful.
Nearly choking on the
incense, Jill & Thomas find the shop and Ali Baba. And NOW it's time for
MAKE YOUR WAY TO
THE NEXT PIT STOP!
Drive yourselves to Al Alam
Palace, a stately ceremonial palace for the Sultan of Oman. It is
the next PIT STOP for the Leg of the Race.
WARNING: The last team to
check-in MAY be eliminated!
A few minutes
after they split, Chad & Stephanie arrive. Thomas
gets a cabbie to head for the palace and they'll follow...but the
soon-to-be-newlyweds just drive. Meanwhile, Nat & Kat fill up their
water tank in the dusk hours.
AL ALAM PALACE
"Jill & Thomas," says Phil
as Team No I'M Right hit the mat, "you are the first team to arrive."
The couple cheer without realizing he didn't declare them "Team # 1".
That's when Phil drops the bomb on them: the Rules of the Race have been
broken again! When a clue says "drive yourselves", that does NOT mean
"pay a taxi and follow it". That last minute slip-up earns them thirty
minutes in the Oman Penalty Box before they can check-in.
As such, Chad & Stephanie
hit the mat in the early evening as Team #1! And, as an early honeymoon
gift, Travelocity is sending them to Belize for 5 nights of snorkeling
and a zip-line jungle tour! What a perfect ending to a perfect day!.
OK, Jill & Thomas, get back
over here. You're Team #2. Don't ever misread clues again, you hear?!
Team HSN find the Souq.. but
they're going the wrong way down a one-way street! Annnnd here come the
cops, telling them dang Yanks to get off the road. Nick & Vicki,
consequently, get the frankincense first. But...are they looking for
"Ali Baba in the Souq"...or "Ali Baba in a SUIT"?
And Gary & Mallory, STILL
not giving up, make it a clean sweep for WATER TABLE (good thing, 'cause
the bride and groom at WEDDING TABLE must be wanting to "have a magic
carpet ride" at this time of night, if you catch my drift).
Well, Ali Baba ain't in a
suit, but Team Ick find him anyway. Team HSN are a minute or so behind.
Team KY & Dad fill 'er up while the the inked ones and the TV stars (so
to speak) race for the mat. Nick & Vicki check-in as Team # 3, with
Brook & Claire as #4 (and there was MUCH rejoicing by Team HSN).
Nat & Kat get their water
running and leave the DETOUR in fifth...and they PASS Gary & Mallory,
unaware that the father/daughter team has yet to finish. They DO finish
some time later, so the race to the Souq is on!
Most of the shops in the
Souq are closed at this hour, so finding the frankincense is no prob for
the Docs. No prob for KY & Dad, either, since Mallory says, "It smells
like our church!" They both find Ali Baba without issue and both get
their clues for the PIT STOP. They both find the fort that is NEARBY the
palace...but the palace takes some more searching. So...who will show up
in front of Phil and the Omanian greeter first?
It's Nat & Kat! They are
Team #5 and still in the Race!
Now comes the sad news for
the former Miss Kentucky and the one person she wanted to Race with:
they are last...and they have been Philiminated. It was a great
experience for Mallory. If not for her Dad, she couldn't have
accomplished so much. "Live your life like it's a race," she says her
father said. And they did.
AFTER LEG 8: SAINT
PETERSBURG, RUSSIA to MASCAT, OMAN
1) Chad & Stephanie (+5)
2) Jill & Thomas (+3) - Express Pass [USED], Brazil
3) Nick & Vicki (EVEN)
4) Brook & Claire (-2) - Hawai'i
5) Nat & Kat (-4) - Belize, Costa Rica, $5000
ELIMINATED) Gary & Mallory (-2)
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "The Amazing Race", visit
the official website at