Amazing Race
"This Is Gonna Be a Fine Mess"

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Phuket Again

Phil brings the room down a bit, telling us, "The 2004 tsunami that devastated Phuket was the deadliest in recorded history." Thanks, Mr. Brightside. After we see some photos of the destruction, Phil's walking along a rocky beach, adding, "Teams now have a chance to rebuild Thailand's tourism industry." Wow, that sounds like a big job. And they'll have to do it with a choice of Detour tasks that comprise "Coral Reconstruction" and "Beach Preparation." For Coral Reconstruction, they'll assemble a "coral nursery," which looks like a clothes rack made of blue PVC pipes. Then they'll carry it out into the water on a kayak not much bigger than the rack itself, along with a tray of some live coral. They'll sink the nursery next to a buoy in what looks like about eight feet of water, and dive down to plant the coral pieces into it. And presumably there'll be fresh new reef here in just a few hundred years, so we can all look forward to a future Amazing Race season coming back to visit it. When the marine biologist swimming out there in scuba gear is satisfied with their work, he'll hand them their next clue, in the form of what looks like a compass on a string. For Beach Preparation, each team collects twenty beach chairs and ten beach umbrellas from a storage shed, and then arranges them on the beach in the exact same pattern as the example previously laid out. Each team must use only chairs and umbrellas whose stickers match the one on their individual clue, so no random grabbing. When they get it right, the beach attendant will give them their next clue. Andy and Tommy hop onto one of those waiting speedboats, which roars out into the sea, leaving the rest of the teams in the dust, where they seem likely to stay. Back on the shore, Team NFL, the siblings, and Jeremy and Sandy opt for Coral Reconstruction, while Ernie and Cindy prefer Beach Preparation. Laurence & Zac want to "build a reef" and Liz & Marie go for beach preparation. I'm sorry to say that the twins have changed clothes and are dressed nearly identically, so I'm back to square one on telling them apart. Dammit. Bill and Cathi bring up the rear with their decision to do Reef Reconstruction. It'll be just like working on their farm, but with more possibility of drowning.

The snowboarders are zooming over the water, marveling at the scenery and at the fleet of boats in their wake. Marcus and Amani's boat is in second place, and Marcus notices Justin in the bow of his boat, "think[ing] he's on the front of the Titanic." Sure enough, Justin gives out a whoop while Jennifer adds, "We're the king of the world!" "I was hoping you wouldn't say that," Justin says, but he welcomes her to Thailand and they high-five. For those two, that's a Family Ties-grade hug/cry. Jeremy and Sandy are enjoying the ride more than Sandy enjoyed sleeping on the beach. All the teams are having fun, in fact, as Liz and Marie's boat edges ahead of the rest, save Andy and Tommy's. "This is the best day so far," one of them says. "And we're in Thailand!" Now all they have to do is capitalize on that commanding lead of theirs.

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Amazing Race

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