We had to travel to Baja caves, which was 60km away. When we got there it there was an hour of operations so we decided to go to rest at a motel nearby. In the morning all the teams bunched early at the hours of operation and we hiked up the steep steps to get our clue.
Travel to Pune by train
We then had to take a train to Pune and then look for a statue at the station and take note of the information stated on it. The train was packed to the brim with people. I was lucky to get a seat for the 1 hour journey. When we got to the station we followed Geoff because he had talked to a local who was going to bring us to the statue but our guide brought us to a statue that was 10 minutes away. We figured that it was the wrong statue because it wasn’t even near the train station so we had to double back.
When we got station we saw a statue and it was of Gandhi. We copied all the info down and head to the Standard Charter bank to look for the next clue.
When we got to the bank the clue asked us to key into the designated bank machine the birthday year of Gandhi. That information wasn’t on the statue but luckily Sam was talking to the taxi driver about stuff and Gandhi’s birthday came up during the conversation. We keyed in 1869 and received our next clue.
We next had to travel to Muscat Oman. We went to a travel agent to book our flights out of Pune. While waiting for our flights we bought some long sleeved shirts because we knew that the sun would be intense…and we were not properly prepared for the desert.
All the teams took the same flights which transferred in Mumbai to Oman.
Al Alam Palace
When we got to the Oman we had to search the airport for a designated jeep. From there, our clue asked us to drive to Al Alam Palace to search for the next clue. We hired a taxi driver to lead us to the right place. The funny thing was that he couldn’t understand that we were racing and he would stop at all these tourists sites … even on the shoulder of the highway to show us his city. He told us to take pictures and was being basically a tour guide. What nice guy but … we were RACING haha… We got to the palace but had difficulty finding the clue box… it was hidden obscurely in the corner and we drove everywhere in the complex looking for it.
We next had drive to Nizwa Fort to search for our next clue. I asked our taxi guide to show us the way to the fort and but he wanted to park his car and then ride with us there. We told him that he couldn’t come with us because we were in a race and we couldn’t bring him back to his car… so he reluctantly go back in his car.
Well .. the reason that he didn’t want to go was because the fort is actually outside of Muscat…. 140 km away. We had to drive through the night and we had been up quite along time since when we started in Pune the night before. I had to stay awake in case Sam fell asleep at the wheel.
We finally got to the fort and it was an hours of operations…. GREAT …all the teams bunching together again!
We decided to rest in jeep for a few hours because we were all dead tired. The other teams also did the same. When the fort opened we raced in and started searching the grounds for the clue box… I thought that we should go right to the top and work down. It was a maze inside and when we got to the courtyard I spotted the clue box and ran up to get the envelope. We raced back down to see open it because we didn’t want the other teams to see where the box was. We thought we had it but when we opened it up the clue was a decoy … and when I looked around … there were multiple boxes… GRRR… that meant that we had to run up the different steps just to check each one to see if it help the real clues….
I think that on the third try we were able to find the correct clue and it directed us to drive back to Muscat and look for Mutra Souque.
Mutra Souque- Carpet or Count it
By this time I had read the map and figured out where all the places where ,,, we were driving BACK to the city where we were the day before… out taxi guide from the other day actually tried to park his car in that area. SO… we then started to drive off but when we left Sam wanted to make sure that we went to the right place..so we split the fare for a taxi guide with Geoff and Tish.
When we got to the square I spotted the box on top of the steps and we all ran to get the clue. It was Detour! CARPET OR COUNT IT… I thought that it would be easier to count limes because at least it’s not a luck based challenge … it would require concentration but it wasn’t a searching task. When we got to the market we saw Ida and Tania counting already… I’m not sure how long they had been there but they did leave the fort slightly before us. I don’t remember exactly our formula for counting but I think each took 10 limes out of the sack and put them into the basket and at each transfer we would tally on a paper as “1” so that at the end, all we would need to would be to multiply our tally total by 10…
This was a good strategy and we actually had the right number 1601 on one of the first few counts ... but Sam thought that we must have made a mistake with the extra “1” so we gave the answer as 1600…. WRONG… that meant that we had to go back and count the limes ALL OVER AGAIN… we couldn’t just stand there and keep guessing around that number.
We again had a wrong number the second round through and after a few more times we got 1601 again so we submitted that to the judge and we got our clue.
Are clue asked us to drive back to the opposite direction taking the same highway towards the fort. Argh … back again on another long drive… 2 ½ hours away.
Periodically we would take stop to ask locals to tell us where to go… and EVERYONE told us the same route… so we listened to them… and we got LOST… Most people refer to the area of WADI TANUF as one side of the mountain range … but we had to actually be on the other side of the range… We were driving around EVERYWHERE in that area… even going into places that we not meant to be driven on …we went into an areaw where there were WILD GOATS and a STREAM … it was NOT A ROAD haha…
We during our search we saw Ida and Tania and shared our information with them… we kind of worked together for a bit but then they decided to take off on there own… so we continued to drive and search… We then went towards the city area close by and saw Geoff and Tish.
They had been searching EVERYWHERE too… we decided to stay together until we could find the right area… while asking for directions at a petrol station we bumped into Fuzzie and AD… so all of us searched together … we finally got to the right entrance to the area and Tania and Ida came right up behind us.
So all four teams drove along the cliffs towards the right destination…the scenery was beautiful but it was a little scary because it was basically a very narrow road without barriers … it would be very easy to drive off especially since Sam was driving ( he was more experience at driving standard but being from Singapore and now living in Hong Kong he is used to driving on the right side of the car not the left… and he would often veer to the shoulder when driving.. YIKES… !)
Roadblock Tyrolean Traverse
We were first to get the clue and when we opened it was a Roadblock. After reading the clue we thought that it was something that had to do with heights but not strength and since I had done four roadblocks Sam should do this one to even up. Little did we know that this was going to backfire on us. The task was to travel across a canyon on a zip line to retrieve the and to then return to the other side to open it.
The task seemed simple enough but it was quite physically demanding. I knew that we were in trouble when Sam was slowing down and was unable to move when he was almost at the end.
The angle was quite steep and he had no more strength to pull himself up. All I could do was encourage him by telling him not to give up… but I was really frustrated sort of like a coach on the sideline watching his team lose.
Ida and Geoff finished already and after attempting to get back on his own for almost half and hour I finally agreed with him that it was not possible and we took the four hour penalty as a consequence… I think that this was the first time that I was really emotional .. I can only describe it as feeling like being on the losing end of the SuperBowl … you’ve come so far but yet… you didn’t win.
Lots of things went through my mind but I couldn’t blame Sam for not completing the task. After all this is a team game and you win and lose together…. He tried his best that’s all I can ask for... we would have to wait to see if team Singapore would be able to complete the challenge or not.
Fuzzie chose to do the Roadblock and was unable to complete it.. and we were saved from elimination. Who knows what would have happened if AD did it...they also thought that it was a walking task ….
I don’t know if even I could have completed it…
We pit stopped 3rd but now with a 4 hour penalty.
But one thing remains…Thank-you God because we’re still in the RACE!
Watch AXN this Thursday night Nov. 20th for the Final Episode to see what happens.