MONDO EXTRAS

TARcon XIV

Also here without her partner is Kisha, making her way through the crowd and gazing around with a familiar wide-eyed look. We talk briefly and she is quite nice. I do not ask if Jen is in the bathroom.

At some point, a pair of women literally carry Steve into the bar, like the king of the castle. Quite a triumphant entrance for someone who came in tenth.

Somehow word spreads that the top three teams are outside. A sort of gauntlet spontaneously opens up just inside the entrance, and as Cara and Jaime walk past me, holding hands and looking more overwhelmed than I've seen them in...well, I think it's been a couple of hours now, I hear Cara asking Jaime, "What do we do?" They will come up with a plan, I assure you. Alas, it will not occur to me until the next day, when it's too late, to approach Jaime and attempt to converse with her in Japanese. Margie and Luke are both much taller than I expected (Margie will later tell me he's 6'3" and she's wearing heels), and quite popular. Victor and Tammy are also surprisingly tall, and gracious about accepting congratulations from all directions. Tammy looks radiant. And rich. "Has it been this crazy all night?" Victor asks. "It just got crazier," I say.

Preston and Jennifer have shown up by now, and are hanging near the back. I do not approach them, because the only thing I can think of to say to them is how much I loved them for being eliminated first. Besides, I don't want to be next to them if they start arguing. The petite blonde over on the other side with her back to me may or may not be Amanda. I do see Kris is spending a lot of time talking to Tammy. I later find out that that is not Kris, but Tammy's best friend from college who looks uncannily like Kris. Later, when the real Kris shows up, there will be photos taken of the two of them together, and it's like live-action PhotoShop. I am glad I didn't go up and introduce myself to the wrong Kris.

Getting a drink at the bar, I run into Victoria, who's doing the same. She and I and another partygoer chat a bit about the Amsterdam debacle that ended up getting her and Brad Philiminated in the third leg. She says yes, she knows the rule, "Never get on a plane alone," but they thought the worst-case scenario would be -- well, not nearly as bad as the even worse-case scenario, in which they ended up stranded in Amsterdam all night while the other Racers went ahead with the leg. All she can do is shrug. "Some days I'm fine with it, and other days I'm not," she says as she goes to deliver a bottle of something non-alcoholic to her husband.

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