Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm good! I'm ok!

Solemn, austere, dignified - Buddhism is a religion of nonviolence and inner reflection. It teaches us that nothing is permanent, suffering is the human condition, and once you've attained the denial of self, you get to listen to Nirvana's Greatest Hits or something like that. Strict and pure, the path to knowledge is one of abstention and discipline. One can't help but immediately feel a sense of inner peace when confronted with such devotion to mindfulness. Majestic temples steeped in tradition, the gentle hum of holy chants, ascetic lives searching for truth, senses eradicated, freedom from all the worldly nonsense - the beauty of simplicity! However, my apologies to all ye monk people. 18 greedy gluttonous Americans are about to trample all over your Dharma Initiative and claw one another's eyes out for one million dollars. Your friendly Buddhas that once held their hands in postures of peace now scowl and give 340 million practitioners the finger. That little path to enlightenment you've been on is now covered in blood and bong resin. *sigh* I hope Nam Myoho Renge Kyo translates to "Get off my temple!". Let's recap, shall we?

As Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) was the first team to finish the last leg of the race, they are now the first to depart. Teams are instructed to dress up like Clark Gable in Mogambo and go bike riding with a group of bike riding enthusiasts who like to reenact the swinging bicycle patrols of the 1940's. When teams arrive at Fort Vredeburg, they'll be given a clue to proceed by taxi to a restaurant in the Salakmalang Village. Fun loving Andy & Tommy hop onto their bikes and it's a bell dinging, wheelie popping, handlebar handstand frolic of fun. Team Gilligan (Laurence & Zac) and Team Pink Ladies (Kaylani & Lisa) follow shortly behind.

Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) leave fourth and upon reading their clue, we discover exactly how determined and prepared Miss Bert is to win this cockamamie race around the world. In the morning after she sections a grapefruit into 15 precise wedges, runs 5 miles, and logs about an hour and half on her Rosetta Stone Swahili CD-Rom's, she lays out Ernie's freshly ironed socks and underthings for him and off they trot off to bridge scaling class (not to be confused with tree climbing class, underwater basket-weaving class, or sheep wrangling class). They not only keep their bodies physically strong with a high protein diet rich with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, but they stay hydrated with exactly eight 8 oz. servings of Adderall-infused water with electrolytes at regular intervals throughout the day. Lunch is followed by a quick 45 second nap, a re-alphabetizing of their sundries and legumes, and then it's off to two hours of fencing practice immediately followed by pilates class taught in Mandarin. After a quick shower with a scouring brush and Soft Scrub (with bleach!) where the tiles are simultaneously re-grouted in a charming eggshell white, it's time for exactly 3 oz. of salmon, 20 milligrams of Ritalin, and a documentary about the geological landscape of Papua New Guinea. 4,288 sit-ups later, the couple enjoys some celery sticks dipped in liquified Dexedrine during a round table reading of the A-F Encyclopedias followed by a recitation of the complete works of Moliere (in French!). Finally, the night is capped off with a quick lovemaking session (entirely in Italian I'll have you know!) and a re-ironing of the sheets before lights out. Whew! And to think, all I did this weekend was paint my nails, buy some scented candles, and give my dog a stern talking to about her snoring problem.

The one class Bert forgot to schedule before entering the race was "Bicycle Maintenance 101". She had every intention of taking it, but it wasn't taught in Portuguese so she figured, "What's the freaking point of that?!" Wouldn't you know it? Ernie's legs (strong from both yoga and ballet class) furiously pedaled a pedal right off his bike. Immediately Bert is stricken with a panicked look of horror as she watches team after team after team pedal right past her. Team Parent Trap (Liz & Marie) pedal by and all we hear are the maniacal cackles of homicidal lunacy on the wind. I don't like to make accusations, but I swear to god I saw LizMarie swipe Ernie's pedal and shove it into her bra right next to her collection of freshly sharpened throwing stars. Oh dear god...

Finally, after using spit, a shoelace, and a pedal fashioned out of tree bark, Bert & Ernie are able to rejoin the race. At this point in the time, the rest of the teams have reached their destination and are hopping into cabs and heading to the restaurant in the Salakmalang Village. Jennifer of Team Fresh Prince (Carlton & Jennifer) excitedly yells at her cab driver to pass the other teams while Carlton sits with his arms crossed over his chest and mumbles, "Can you please not confuse our cab driver?" Jennifer rolls her eyes to herself and wonders if it's too late to drown him in a bathtub. Meanwhile, Team Armani (Amani & Marcus) turn in their bikes in last place and now we're off to our next adventure.

Team Snowbunny reaches the clue first and it's a Detour: Rice Field or Grass Fed. In Rice Field, teams must deliver the midday meals to the hardworking men and women in the rice paddies. While the workers eat, teams must plant 300 rice seedlings. When the farmers are satisfied that the seedlings are firmly planted, they'll hand over their next clue. In Grass Fed, teams must fill two bags with freshly cut grass, retrieve two psychotic sheep, and deliver both to a shed. They must then deliver 6 buckets of water and deliver them to a water trough. Once they've successfully completed their chores, the farm manager will hand them their next clue.

Team Snowbunny takes a look at the Detour options, sees the word "grass", and it's a no brainer - they're doing Grass Fed. With a spring in their step and grass on their minds, Andy & Tommy race across the slippery rice paddies and dive face first into a pile of the green good stuff. They shove as much grass as they can into their sacks, pull their travel "bowls" out of their rectums, and begin a leisurely hike back to collect their sheep. I'm thinking they have no idea that the punishment for pot smoking in Indonesia is death.

Meanwhile back on the road, Team Geritol (Bill & Cathi) has somehow acquired an "Asian" accent are now taunting the other cabs with, "We numba wahn! Go go wonton!" Asian Bert gives Bill a death stare out of the window of her cab as she wonders if perhaps he's been studying Mandarin too.

Over in the Pink Ladies cab, Kaylani is furious that her cab driver has dared to smile and giggle at the excitement of the race. Look, Lani Kaylani Luau, the Indonesians are a happy people. They're hard working laborers who laugh when life hands them something ridiculous like ex-showgirls sitting in the back of a cab grumbling with a camera in their faces about how they might not get a million dollars for not leaping onto a rubber mat in time. Lighten up lady. Chances are this man has no idea what the hell you're bitching about anyways. Not everyone sits drunkenly in the lounge of the Golden Nugget at 3am on a Tuesday wondering what's the easiest way to make a mil. As a matter of fact, Team Armani's cab driver is laughing as well. Sure, he's lost and half way to Fiji by now, but is Marcus yelling and mocking him? No. In fact, he's encouraging and kind. You catch more flies with footballs, then you do with stinky ole sequined costumes. At least, I think that's the lesson we're supposed to learn here. *shrugs shoulders*

At this point, Team Snowbunny has smoked half their bag of grass and are now all giggly as they ride their two tiny sheep to a shed. The farm manager sticks his head inside of the empty bags of grass and asks, "What the hell happened to all my grass?" The Snowbunnies fall over giggling into a pile of hay while the farm dude shakes his head disapprovingly and makes them start the Detour all over again. Had the stoners, I mean Snowbunnies, been of sound mind, they might have been pissed off. Instead, they somersaulted back to the start and happily collected more than enough grass for everyone to enjoy.

The Snowbunnies move onto the second part of the Detour where they now have to fill 6 buckets with water. The Detour clue specifically says that they are only allowed to use 2 buckets at a time and being decent law abiding citizens (puff puff), the Snowbunnies follow the 2 bucket rule to a 'T'. Team Gilligan arrives and that chap Laurence is so hellbent on finishing in first place that he neglects to read the "2 buckets per team" rule and decides to fill every bucket he can find all at once. Stoner #1 even mumbles, "Read your clue dude", but Laurence is in the zone and, besides, clues are for suckers.

Team Snowbunny finishes the Detour successfully and must now proceed to the Borobudur Temple where they'll climb the stairs to the top and receive their next clue. The Snowbunnies take off on a cloud of smoke while all of the other teams are just now arriving at the Detour. Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy), Team Fresh Prince, Team Bert & Ernie, and Team Geritol all choose to do Grass Fed while Team Pink Ladies and Team Parent Trap choose Rice Field. Now, I don't know the first thing about how rice is grown, cultivated, or made. I know I enjoy it with Kung Pao Chicken and it's mighty tasty with Thai Green Curry, but I had no idea it was such hilariously dangerous work. Those rice paddy fields are slippery and kaboom goes Camille! She took one step with her 6 inch Louboutins and down she tumbled. Kelsey giggled to himself while Camille grimaced and demanded 50 more million dollars. She adjusted her shimmery gold cocktail dress and trudged on. That's the thing about Camille - no matter what curve balls life throws at her, she keeps on truckin'.

The same cannot be said for Cathi. The second her Easy Spirits hit the rice paddy, she slid off into the weeds and broke a hip. At home I half cringed and half giggled. I think it was when Cathi shouted, "I'm good!" that I full out doubled over and dribbled gin down the front of my "Team Ass Burgers Fo' Life" shirt. Cathi's a tough old bird though so she got up and kept sprinting onward. Splooosh! It was so quick that all I saw was a tuft of red hair peeking out of the greenery. It was when she shouted, "I'm ok!" that I knew poor Cathi went ahead and broke her other hip. Poor gal.

At this point the Pink Ladies and the Twins are hard at work planting their seedlings. LizMarie counts to herself, "18, 19, 20, kill, 21, kill, 22, kill, 23." Oh no, she's plotting. The bloodlust continues to pulse through her veins and I wondered to myself if she'd push Kaylani face first into the mud or take another innocent holy man's life. Why her victims have always been kindly chaste men is a mystery to me. That Kaylani is annoying! Get rid of her instead.

Back at the shed, Camille and Kelsey have made some new friends - new sheep friends. The sheep went "Baaa!", Kelsey went "Baaa!", and Camille went "Baaa!" The local children observing from the other side of the fence started cracking up at the madness. As a celebrity couple used to traveling to all sorts of foreign destinations, it's important for the Grammer's to immerse themselves completely into new customs and traditions. If sheep talking is going to help Camille toss another million dollars onto her giant pile of money, then so be it.

While most of the teams are wrangling their sheep and planting rice, Team Snowbunny and Team Gilligan are now arriving at the Borobudur Temple. The Temple itself is an 8th century shrine to Buddha built on a hill of bedrock located between two twin volcanoes and two rivers. The monument was abandoned centuries ago and hidden under an overgrowth of jungle and volcanic ash only to be rediscovered in the 1800's. Local lore suggests that the site is a place of "bad luck and misery". Uh oh. This doesn't bode well for our weary travelers, does it? Anyhow, the two teams of men make the long exhausting journey up the 9 platforms and receive a Road Block. In this Road Block, teams must identify Buddha statues with four distinct hand positions. Additionally, they must figure out that they have to demonstrate the four hand gestures.

Laurence and Stoner #2 decide to do the challenge and work together as a team. Laurence likes the Snowbunnies sense of adventure and our first Amazing Race alliance is born. Back at the rice paddies, Team Pink Ladies and Team Parent Trap are finished and are now headed to the temple. As they leave, Team Armani is only just now arriving. They decide to do Grass Fed just as Cathi is yelling at some local children for stealing her sheep. Bill solves the problem quickly by yanking both the sheep (and the children) up by their necks and tossing their lifeless bodies into the shed. At this point, Teams Grammer, Bert & Ernie, and Fresh Prince all finish up and begin to make their way to the temple while Team Armani's grass gets rejected and they make the whacky decision to switch to Rice Field.

Over at the temple, Laurence is busy counting Buddha's while Stoner #2 shadows him and fact checks his numbers. Confident he has the right figures, Laurence approaches a man in a chapeau and a beaded necklace and says, "17, 17, 17, 18." The dude replies, "17 of what?" Laurence says, "Buddhas! Duh." The man says, "Buddhas, what?" Oh for crying out loud! It's one thing to put a small sign up that racers may or may not see, but it's entirely another to give them a task to perform and then not tell them how they're supposed to perform it. If you'll remember, Phil specifically said teams will have to eventually "figure out" that have to demonstrate the hand gestures. Como what? Don't get me wrong, I love seeing teams scramble and panic, but to just not provide any direction whatsoever seems kind of odd. I'll bet Evil Phil came up with that idea.

I have no idea how, but remarkably Laurence figures out that they have the right numbers, but they need to know the hand gestures as well. Maybe it was written in the clue. Who knows? All I know is I'm not rewinding to go find it again. Bert would rewind if she were me. She'd rewind and then she'd study Japanese while taking a pottery class.

So the Twins and the Pink Ladies arrive at the temple and climb to the top. Lisa starts to read the clue and Kaylani immediately yells at her for being too tired. "If you're tired, don't do the challenge!", she barks. Insufferable. Lisa insists that she's fine and Kaylani wandered off to make some tourists lives miserable or something. LizMarie and LizMarie agree that LizMarie should do the challenge and off she goes.

Back out on the road, Team Grammer is in a herky jerky taxi with smoke coming out of the hood, the "Check Engine" light on, one of the wheels flat, and the muffler dragging and making a squiggly line on the pavement. Camille gnaws on her acrylics and begins to worry that the car might not make it all the way to the temple. The car sputters to a halt and, without hesitation, Camille and Kelsey leap out of the cab, grab their backpacks, and jog the last kilometer to the temple. Now that's the spirit! Can you imagine if that was Kaylani? She would have kicked and screamed and pulled the driver's hair. Good job Grammers. Way to hustle.

At this point, Ernie, Carlton, and Bill have all started counting Buddhas. Instead of counting statues, Ernie starts counting reliefs. I knew he shouldn't have faked sick that one day Bert scheduled them for an Art Appreciation class! Ernie isn't the only one making that mistake though. Carlton, that perv, goes up to the beaded necklace man and guesses 69. Lisa guesses 1,073 and Ernie guessed somewhere in the 80's. After the whole "missing the sign" debacle last week, you'd think teams would be extra extra careful when reading the clues. LizMarie approaches next and she has one hand suspiciously resting on her clavicle. She guesses 68 and my hands immediately flew to cover my face. I heard a yelp in the distance and when I peeked through my fingers I saw it. That innocent chapeau-ed gentleman with the beaded necklace was lying flat on his back with a ninja star right between his eyes. *shakes head* LizMarie smiled to herself, covered him up with her sarong, and then trotted back to count more Buddhas like nothing happened. I know, I know, she's ruthless. She looks so innocent, but who knew pure evil ran through her veins?

The Grammers arrive at the temple and Kelsey, typical Kelsey, wonders if there's a way to cheat. He asks one of the temple guards how many Buddhas there are and the shrugs his shoulders and has no idea. Eventually, everyone begins to figure out that they need to count the different hand gestures. Laurence delivers the postures first and is correct. Stoner #2 goes second and is also correct. Team Gilligan takes off to the Pit Stop with Team Snowbunny right behind them. On Team Snowbunny's way out they see Team Armani just pulling up and they give them all of the correct answers. Normally I'd be really pissed off about this because I hate it when teams give other teams the answers, but ding-dong Team Armani wasn't even paying attention and completely forgot all of the answers by the time they made it to the top of the temple. I wonder why Team Snowbunny did it though. Was it to knock out another stronger team? I have no idea.

At the Pit Stop, Team Gilligan runs up and Laurence is ecstatic that he's in first place. Hold on there sonny jim. Evil Phil says, "Laurence & Zac, you are the first team to arrive HOWEVER..." Dun, dun, DUN! Remember when Team Gilligan used like 85 buckets back at the sheep farm? Well, they weren't supposed to do that and they have now incurred a 15 minute penalty. 15 minutes?!? That's it? Bollocks! So, Team Snowbunny rolls up and they arrive second, but... congrats fellas, you are once again in first place. Both of you have won a trip for two to Dubai. More precisely, you've won a trip to the Atlantis where that horrible Mika person cried about going down a waterslide. For some reason, Team Snowbunny feels guilty about the win even though they knew the whole time about the bucket screw up. Out of goodness, kindness, or just because they were stoned out of their gourd, they offer Team Gilligan all of the free snowboarding gear they could ever want. That'll come in handy on the high seas.

In the end, Team Gilligan are #2. Team Grammer pulled out an amazing comeback and actually benefited from their jalopy breaking down. While all of the other teams were searching for and settling up with their cabbies, Team Grammer skipped happily into third place. Team Fresh Prince finished 4th followed by Team Bert & Ernie and Team Armani. With two broken hips and a strange Midwestern/Asian accent, Team Geritol finished 7th with those diabolical twins finishing 8th. You know what that means, folks? Buh bye Pink Ladies! Too bad, so sad. Don't let the Buddha kick you on the way out. So, what did you guys think of last night's episode? I'm loving the more complicated challenges and I didn't even mind it so much that they stayed in Indonesia for a second episode. Can Team Snowbunny continue to stay on top? Will Team Gilligan ever place first? Should Cathi up her Boniva intake? Will Interpol ever catch LizMarie? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!