Amazing Race
"This Is Gonna Be a Fine Mess"

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Phuket Again

Andy and Tommy's speedboat is approaching one of the larger small islands, and they're soon docked in a spot where they're staring straight up the vertical cliff face. This one is Andy's, and he starts scrambling right up, attached to a belaying rope lest any of these tasks approach being something remotely dangerous. He quickly makes it to the nest, and watching from below, Tommy says, "The eagle has left the nest." Andy rappels down, and the eagle has landed. Sorry. They're still in first place, and have yet to see another team approaching. Back on the boat, the clue is sending them to the next Pit Stop: Koh Panyi, a two-hundred-year-old floating village that seems to be growing organically from the lee side of another one of those high, towering islands that sticks out of the ocean like a giant stone fin. Phil says it was built as a fishing village, and that there's a soccer field floating on the edge of it. That soccer field would be the Pit Stop for this leg. A floating soccer field sounds fun, but that thing could use a fence, or at least some kind of low railing. Otherwise I suspect most of the soccer in town is played with a wet ball. Of more immediate concern is that the last team to check in may be eliminated. That probably won't be the snowboarders, because they're on their way, still far ahead of anyone else.

Jennifer and Justin arrive at the rock-climbing island, and Jennifer heads up, thanking Justin for the encouragement he's calling out from the boat. She gets their clue in second place. Looking at the map that was included in the envelope, Justin shows the boat's pilot a northwesterly course from where they are to Koh Panyi, and they're on their way. Northwesterly. Remember that.

Back at the beach, Ernie and Cindy are the first team to finish Beach Preparation, which means they get their clue in third place. Amazing what a wet t-shirt can accomplish when properly deployed. With their compass and medallion and instructions to travel north thirteen minutes, they get back in their boat, and Ernie says north is "that way." It's hard to get one's bearings watching an unfamiliar setting on TV, but the rattling sound effect that gets dropped in here helpfully tells us he's wrong. Laurence and Zac also finish, receive their clue, and get on the boat. "North is directly in front of us," Laurence pronounces. Well, they're the sailors, they should know.

Meanwhile, Jeremy is pointing out the different notches on the beach chairs, which Sandy says don't matter. But then the judge gives them a thumbs-down, so I guess she was wrong. In the meantime, Amani and Marcus finish the task and get their clue in fifth place. Cathi tells an annoyed-looking Bill that they have to make their chairs look more like Team NFL's, while Liz and Marie are still battling to get more of their umbrellas planted. On their way past, Marcus advises them to twist the pole down into the sand. Sandy and Jeremy get their clue, prompting Cathi to tell Bill to hurry up. Getting on their boat, Jeremy asks Sandy where their clue is. "In your hand, honey, focus," she tells him. Which it is. "Okay, I'm positive," she adds before he can throw her earlier words back at her. Meanwhile, Andy and Tommy are already getting dropped off at Koh Panyi. They run through the village and follow the signs directing them in both Thai and English to the "floating stadium," a rather grandiose term for a slab of wood with lines painted on it. Phil is standing at center court next to a bearded, snaggletoothed old fisherman in a straw hat. As Andy and Tommy arrive, Phil tells them, "You've done it again, you're team number one!" And they win five grand each, because sometimes that damn gnome just gets tired of shopping for prizes. Phil tells them they "smoked" the course, which is an interesting choice of words, and Tommy agrees that this is the clean first-place finish they wanted. In their post-leg interview, Andy praises God, and on the mat, he praises the old fisherman's long beard. Andy seems like a very positive guy. But then it's hard not to be in a good mood after winning three legs in a row, even if the first two were partly the result of other teams' mistakes.

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Amazing Race

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