Leg 16.10 – “He just flapped into my eyeball!”
Teams are in the home stretch. And now, they will be flying to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates!
All teams will be on the same Eithad Airways flight arriving in Abu Dhabi at 7:05am. Teams will pick up a brand new 2019 Kia Sorento at the airport and drive themselves to Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.
At this highly regarded facility, teams must choose a falcon and take its measurements before following a care checklist to receive their next clue.
Teams must now drive to Yas Waterworld where they will find a Double Road Block: Straight Down or Up Straight.
The team member who chooses to go “Straight Down” will enjoy the Liwa Loop where the floor drops out from under them launching them down a looping waterslide.
The team member who chooses “Up Straight” must then conquer Bubble’s Barrel, the world’s largest sheet wave. Teams must stay upright for one minute before then attempting to grab a flag overhead in order to receive the next clue.
Teams must now drive themselves to the Al Khatim Desert and search for their next clue which will reveal the Detour: Bumpy Ride or Steady Glide.
In Bumpy Ride, teams must choose a map and compass and follow it across the dunes on an offroad vehicle to collect all the flags according to their map. Once they have collected the flags, they can receive the next clue. If they have retrieved an incorrect flag or missed a flag, they must repeat the course.
In Steady Glide, teams will choose a camel. Once team member will ride on top and guide their partner to lead the camel to two different, but nearby stations. At each of these stations, teams must make two paper airplanes and send them flying into a nearby Bedouin tent to receive their next clue.
Teams must now choose a marked area and dig for an artifact which they must keep until further notice.
Teams must now drive to this farm in Al Ain.
Here, teams must set up a traditional falaj irrigation system to receive the next clue.
That clue points teams to the Al Ain Oasis where they will find the Road Block: Who wants a hot date? This is the 11th Road Block of the Race. Teams can only perform a maximum of six Road Blocks for every 12.
For this Road Block, teams must climb up date trees to retrieve a clue envelope until they’ve found the correct one.
That correct clue envelope will tell teams to refer to the artifact they dug up in the desert…
A replica of the Al Jahili Fort, the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race.
The first team to check in here will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check in here WILL be eliminated!
This was a pretty barebones Leg at first, but I think it developed into a pretty full Leg in the end. TARPHDME has only visited UAE once and it was a mostly-recycled Dubai Leg.
This Leg here in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain has some familiar tasks, but together I think makes for a competitive Leg.
First up is the falcon hospital. I had the falcon hospital as a Route Marker for a while, but it wasn’t until TAR30’s elephant care Detour in Thailand that I knew what kind of task to have here. Measurements and caring for the falcons would be a good first task for this Leg. Especially with all teams likely here at the same time.
Next is the Double Road Block at the waterpark. Yes, it’s another waterpark task. In UAE! But I’m sure the waterpark will gladly sponsor this task for us. Hehe. The catch here is it is a Double Road Block. Of course, teams won’t know which task they’ll be doing before they open the clue. “Straight Down” sounds like the more difficult task, but it is simple and straightforward. The wave/surf/flag grabbing task has been done on many other TARs before. But I think the extra drama here of it being a Double Road Block and one team member needing to do it without knowing what it is before choosing should be fun. Especially since it is not an easy task.
Next up is a requisite visit to the desert. What tasks can be done in the desert that haven’t already been done before, even on TARPHDME. I think we’ve got a good balance here. Dune bashing in off road vehicles can always be exciting. Especially if teams wipe out and fall down dunes and stuff. (But without injury of course) To make it difficult here, teams can only use a map and compass to figure out which flags they must take. So the challenge is being able to navigate correctly.
For the other side of the Detour, I actually don’t remember the origins of this task. But it’s a different task that could be interesting. It could also be made more difficult in some way. But dealing with a camel and then having to do something so simple as make and fly a paper airplane could prove to be a tedious task that frustrates teams.
Then we have the digging in the sand. It shouldn’t be made too hard though. Just a quick extra task to reveal the artifact that will later reveal the Pit Stop. (A TARPHDME staple task.)
The falaj irrigation system was something I’ve had noted for a possible Al Ain Leg for a while now. This should be an interesting and maybe physical task. Especially in the middle of the day, after a solid morning of tasks and in the heat of the sun. Wonderful!
Finally, the date trees at Al Ain Oasis. In TAR27, the locals were the ones who climbed up the trees. But here, we’ll have teams do it themselves! A good physical task to end the day with.
Overall, a pretty good Leg in the UAE.