9:20 AM. Ray and Deana. Ray says that they're aware that they have to get up to the front, and that they can't stand being in the back. He has actually already said that a few times, so you may already have been aware.
9:35 AM. Gretchen and Meredith are pretty perky about flying to South Africa as well. They talk as they get into their cab about how much it sucks to always be eating everyone else's dust. And then we are at the airport, and Ray and Deana are getting tickets, and Ray is talking about how much he hopes Gretchen and Meredith get a flat tire. I would make a joke here about wishing harm on the elderly if I weren't secretly afraid this week that I accidentally put a hex on the Pope. It's a really long story. ["Line forms to the left." -- Sars] Anyway, sadly for Ray, Gretchen and Meredith reach the airport safely and get on the flight. Maybe Ray can hope they'll be injured later in the leg. (Cough.) The teams note at the departure gate that they're all bunched up. Rob notes that obviously, he and Amber are not thrilled about the loss of their lead, but it's a what-are-you-gonna-do situation, so. The door of the plane closes. The Amazing Yellow Line follows the teams toward Johannesburg via Sao Paolo. On the plane, Ray is talking to the crew about getting off the flight first. Apparently, he gets them to let him sit in first class, which will get him out the door sooner. It also lets us see Ray and Deana relaxing in a non-combative fashion for one of only a few times in the entire race.
Johannesburg. Ray and Deana, Lynn and Alex...everybody comes off the plane, and the early disadvantage goes to Uchenna and Joyce and Ron and Kelly, who have to go to baggage claim and wait for their checked backpacks to appear.
In their car, Ray and Deana rip the clue and find themselves a Fast Forward. As Phil explains, there are only two on the whole race. And only one team can get the FF, so if more than one team goes for it, the first ones to get it will get it, and everybody else will have to pick up where they left off. Let's face it -- you probably know the drill. Phil does dish up a nice "most advantageous to go for it," so that makes me all kinds of happy, as we know. On this particular Fast Forward, you drive 26 miles to Soweto and go to the top of a cooling tower, where you cross a suspension bridge. Alex and Lynn open the clue next, and this is where it is explained that for those not selecting the Fast Forward, the next step will be a Detour. In this Detour, the choices are Tunnels and Tribes. In Tunnels, you drive about 50 miles to some underground caves, rappel 45 feet down, and "search the underground labyrinth for a clue." Dramatic! In Tribes, you drive 40 miles to a cultural village and complete a task that involves taking "traditional items" and delivering them to each of five tribal chiefs. Potentially wacky! Lynn and Alex think that Tunnels sounds kind of hard (heh, me too), so they go with Tribes. Elsewhere, Ray is getting directions to Soweto for the Fast Forward. Alex and Lynn almost immediately need directions, and then in their car, Lynn says that he's so happy that Johannesburg is "a real city," because he was afraid that it would be "chickens and camels and whatever." Yeah. He thought the capital of South Africa wouldn't be a "real city," but would be "chickens and camels." Not the most culturally sensitive commentary I've ever heard. It's hard to offend urban planners, nongovernmental organizations, and chickens with one remark.
Ray and Deana start out for the Fast Forward, and Deana almost immediately has difficulty with the gears. Back at the airport, Rob and Amber get into their car and decide to go for the Fast Forward, which is not great thinking. When you know there are some teams out ahead of you (which you could know from counting cars), I don't think it's the right move to go for the FF, because the consequences of not getting it really suck.