DISCLAIMER: I did NOT actually run The Amazing Race. It is just used as a tool to help narrate what I did on my trip. The events are real; the Race elements are not.
Teams raced from Singapore to the island of Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. Team So Not Lost – Nobody and I – had to go through motion sickness, long waiting times, and a rough 7km trek through the jungle to beautiful Juara Beach, the Pit Stop for that leg of the Race.
Make your way from Juara Beach to ABC Beach.
Nobody and I talked to The Dutch Boys to discuss our options. There was a boat service that circled the island, but that was unreliable. We could walk back, but we didn’t want to waste another three or so hours, not to mention any more energy. Hiring a car was the fastest option, but that was also going to be the most expensive choice; then again, if The Dutch Boys and Team So Not Lost shared a car hire, then that would mitigate the costs. The final option was hitching a ride with some local folks headed in that direction, then simply paying a relatively minimal amount. That was what the two teams decided on.
Team So Not Lost and The Dutch Boys stood at the corner of the road which led towards Tekek. The Dutch Boys tried to hitchhike with a few 4x4s that were heading in that direction. “We’re full,” they said. Then a pair of motorbikes emerged. Both were headed to Tekek. The Dutch Boys haggled for MYR 10 (US$3.30) for each bike. “But there’s only two of us,” the motorbike drivers said. The Dutch Boys suggested that they go ahead and take the two bikes, leaving Nobody and I behind. Nobody wanted to wait.
And so The Dutch Boys rode on the backs of the bikes.
I waited with Nobody for other bikes to pass by. Several did pass by, but none were headed towards Tekek. 15 minutes passed. 30. 45. As the wait approached the one hour mark, I headed back to one of the places that arranged car hires. I asked how much a car from Juara to Tekek would cost.
“70 Ringgit (US$23).”
I gulped. That was too much. I went back to the corner of the road where I discussed options with Nobody. After about five more minutes without any sign that any other motorbikes headed towards Tekek, I decided that the team should start walking towards Tekek. There was, after all, a paved road between Juara and Tekek, which meant not going through the jungle. Still, it would be a long walk back.
sign marking the road to Tekek
I started walking with Nobody when not five minutes later, I heard a motorbike approaching. I turned around and waved him over. “Tekek? 10 Ringgit?” I asked.
I agreed. 20 Malaysian Ringgits (US$6.60) may be more than the MYR 10 each that The Dutch Boys were paying, but it’s better than MYR 70, and way better than walking all the way back. I hopped on to the back of the bike with Nobody.
“Where are you going?” the driver asked.
“I take you there.”
The ride was exhilarating and scary. There was a LOT of speedy downhills with wicked turns. It was a lot of fun, though I definitely gripped the back of the motorbike a little too hard.
The bike stopped at the steps of the hill that bordered Tekek and ABC. I didn’t have small change, so I went over the hill, got change, went back over the hill to pay the driver, then went back over the hill to finally make it to ABC.
Make your way to Orange Chalets and Bar. Once there, grab the special mix at the bar, and sit at the beach for two hours.
When I arrived at Orange with Nobody, The Dutch Boys were already there, drinking the special mix. Team So Not Lost grabbed the special mix, which was a cocktail which contained (among other things) tequila and mango vodka. Then it was time to sit at the beach with other teams who were doing the task. The biggest challenge was the swarm of sandflies that were attacking our legs. A pair of girls had some special oil that seemed to repel the insects; Team So Not Lost and The Dutch Boys stuck it out without protection.
A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons.
Sleep Heavy or Party Hard
In Sleep Heavy, teams must head back to their chalets and sleep the rest of the night until morning. In Party Hard, teams must go to a bar in Tekek and party until morning.
Most teams, including The Dutch Boys, went for Party Hard. I wanted to Sleep Heavy. Nobody supported me.
When teams encounter an Intersection, two teams must join together and perform all succeeding tasks as one team, until given instructions to separate.
Nobody and I paired up with The Dutch Boys.
It’s time to hit the beach! All four team members must partake in one of three beach activities popular in Tioman. One must take a diving course, another must swim or wade in the water, and the remaining two must go snorkelling. All four team members must then go sunbathing for half an hour to complete this task.
I decided to take the simplest task, as I was not the strongest swimmer. The Dutch Boys decided to go snorkelling. Nobody took the diving course.
one of The Dutch Boys snorkelling
After all had finished the individual tasks, the four went sunbathing. The Dutch Boys were smart enough to head into the shade as soon as the sun got too hot. I ended up sunburning my shoulders.
You are released from your Intersection! Teams must now run the rest of this leg as two separate teams.
A Roadblock is a task that only one member of the team must perform.
Who’s ready for a different kind of liquid activity?
I decided to take on the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, I had to go back to Orange and finish an unspecified amount of alcohol. Once the barkeeper is satisfied with the alcohol intake, the task is finished.
It was fun being around different people from different countries, and there was definitely a relaxed atmosphere. The music playing in the background was pretty good (everything from The xx to Ed Sheeran to Air), and the barkeeper was nice.
Pit Stop Information
Make your way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Warning: The last team to check in here… MAY be eliminated.
The next jetty back to Mersing wasn’t until morning, so I stayed at the bar for a little bit longer with one of The Dutch Boys before calling it a night. I asked the owner of our chalet if I could buy tickets from him. He told me I could just board the boat and pay there. The Dutch Boys had managed to get a return ticket when they purchased their earlier jetty tickets, so I was a little bit worried.
In the morning, Team So Not Lost and The Dutch Boys had breakfast together, then went to the jetty dock at ABC for the 9.30am jetty. When the jetty arrived, it was a bit of chaos trying to get on the boat; thankfully, the chalet owner was right, and I was able to purchase a ticket on the boat itself. A second jetty had arrived which The Dutch Boys tried to get on, but apparently they were going to save it for passengers who were boarding at Tekek. Our ferry then went to Tekek, where there was quite a lengthy delay. Then it was finally off on an hour and a half trip back to Mersing.
ABC jetty dock
Once in Mersing, The Dutch Boys and Team So Not Lost went to the travel agent close to the dock to ask about buses. The Dutch Boys managed to get the last two tickets on the next bus to Kuala Lumpur. “All full!” the agent said to me. There was nothing left. As it turns out, it was a Public Holiday in Malaysia that day, and a lot of buses were already pre-booked.
I decided to walk towards the bus station, where there would be more options. One of the teams walking in the other direction told Nobody and I that all buses to Kuala Lumpur were sold out. Once at the bus station, I asked about buses to Johor Bahru, which would have more bus options. “1pm, 11.70 Ringgit (US$3.85),” the lady at the ticket booth told me, “and don’t be late!” It was 12.30pm, which gave Nobody and I some time to grab lunch, get water, and use the toilet.
The bus station was full of other frantic teams trying to find a bus out of Mersing. The stress was getting to everyone; everybody looked tired, weary, and worried. Pairs hugged each other for comfort. Nobody comforted me.
1pm was fast approaching, but there was no sign of the bus I bought a ticket for. Other teams were soon boarding buses that were departing earlier. I started to worry that the bus had left without Nobody and I, but I’d been looking out for the bus long before 1pm. Then, at 1.30pm – half an hour behind schedule – the bus finally arrived. Just a couple of minutes later, the bus departed Mersing for Johor Bahru. I wondered where the other teams were.
Upon arrival in Johor Bahru, Phil was waiting for Nobody and I.
“All other teams are now well on their way to Kuala Lumpur,” he said. “I’m afraid it will be too late for you now.”
Nobody and I had Philiminated.
No million dollars for Nobody and I. Just a nice tan and a sunburn.