The leg began in less than spectacular fashion for dating couple Chad & Stephanie who overslept by two hours, but it ended with their engagement and a first place finish in Oman.
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 1:06am, doctors Nat & Kat opened their clue instructing them to fly over 4,000 miles to the city of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. When they landed, they had to make their way to Burj Al Mubkaharah where a man would give them an ingot with their inscribed time when they could climb the fort to receive their next clue.
At a travel agency, Nat & Kat found a flight connecting through Amsterdam that would get them into Muscat at 8:55pm, the earliest arrival possible. The doctors booked seats on the plane along with home shopping hosts Brook & Claire. With that flight now fully booked, dating couples Nick & Vicki and Jill & Thomas along with father and daughter Gary & Mallory all had to settle for seats on a plane scheduled to land at 10:35pm. As the five teams booked their flights and headed to the airport, they all wondered why they hadn't seen last place Chad & Stephanie who were scheduled to depart at 2:45am. Jill asked, "I wonder if they overslept?"
With the sounds of snoring emanating from behind the closed door of Chad & Stephanie's hotel room, the dating couple had indeed slept through their departure time. Finally awakening almost two hours later, the dating couple packed their bags and ran out of the room as a disappointed Stephanie said, "This would be such a lame excuse to be out of the race." Officially departing at 4:45am, exactly two hours later than planned, Chad & Stephanie caught a huge break by booking a flight into Muscat at 10:45pm, only ten minutes behind three other teams. On his and Stephanie's performance thus far in the race, Chad remarked, "No one has outright beat us. It really has been us being careless that has not allowed us to not finish where we potentially could."
After doctors Nat & Kat and home shopping hosts Brook & Claire arrived in Muscat to snag a pair of 7:30am times to climb the tower, dating couple Chad & Stephanie landed in Oman early, only minutes behind Gary & Mallory, Jill & Thomas, and Nick & Vicki. A stunned Jill asked, "How the hell did they get here?" Racing to Burj Al Mubkaharah in taxis, the four teams knew every second mattered to get a better time for their morning departure. With Jill & Thomas arriving in third place and taking a 7:45am time, the last three teams pulled up to the tower, but they couldn't find the man holding the inscribed ingots. Chad & Stephanie spotted him first to claim the other 7:45am time edging out Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vicki who both settled for 8:00am departures. On their rollercoaster beginning, Stephanie commented, "Chad and I made a mistake and we're moving on from it and I think that we just need to wipe the slate clean and just move forward."
ON BENDED KNEE
The following morning as the sun rose over the Arabian Sea, Chad asked Stephanie to join him for a walk along the beautiful coastline. According to Chad, about a month before the race, he made the decision to ask Stephanie to marry him and waited for the right moment. Throughout the race, he carried the engagement ring that belonged to his mother who passed away his freshman year in college. As Chad embraced Stephanie, he told her, "You've come into my life and done so many amazing things and taught me so much. I couldn't see spending my life with anybody else other than you." Getting down on bended knee, Chad officially popped the question to an emotional Stephanie who tearfully accepted the proposal as he placed the engagement ring on her finger. Returning from their walk, the other five teams greeted the newly engaged couple with cheers and congratulations. Chad later said, "My mom, I think that she would be very happy that I asked Stephanie to marry me with her ring."
THE SEARCH BEGINS
At 7:30am, Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire ran up the many stone steps to the top of the tower where they opened their next clue instructing them to drive to Jabel Shams, the tallest mountain in Oman. At the base of the mountain, a safety driver would take them to the top due to the treacherous conditions where they would find their next clue. Jumping into their truck, Nat & Kat pulled away from the tower as Kat said, "The map that we have is a little vague. Seems like awhile away."
By just after 8:00am, all six teams began the difficult task of navigating the roads of Oman in search of Jabel Shams. While Nat & Kat and Gary & Mallory relied on maps and their skills as navigators, the other four teams opted to stop and ask locals for directions. Nick later remarked, "It takes just as long to look at the map and try to get an understanding of it as it does to ask a local that for sure knows where to tell you to go." Pulling into a gas station, Vicki got directions from a helpful local and then shared the information with Brook & Claire who arrived during Vicki's conversation with the man. Furious at Vicki helping another team, Nick railed on his girlfriend, saying, "You have no common sense in your whole body. I'm gonna go home the next time you give anybody any advice."
RACE FOR FIRST
Arriving at the base of Jabel Shams in first place, newly engaged Chad & Stephanie ceded control of their truck to a safety driver who took them up the steep and winding dirt roads to the top of the mountain. A relieved Chad said, "I'm definitely glad he's driving." Running to the cluebox set against the stunning desert landscape, the engaged couple found a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to rappel over 500 feet down the mountainside to a narrow cavern on the desert floor. Then, they had to search among hundreds of lamps for one containing Aladdin's magic ring to earn their next clue.
With Stephanie firmly insisting that she had little interest in performing the task, Chad put on the safety rigging as he looked out at the massive canyon surrounding him. Taking the rope and slowly descending along the rocky ledge, Chad said, "This is freakin' crazy. Holy cow." Continuing his trip down the mountainside, he noticed the incredible view of the canyon when he turned away from the massive wall of rock facing him. Finally hitting the desert floor, Chad ran to an area that contained hundreds of Arabian lamps and began opening them one by one to find one with Aladdin's ring inside. After overcoming her fear of heights in the rappel, Jill joined Chad in the search for a ring as the battle for first place heated up. Finally, after many unsuccessful attempts, Chad finally opened the top of a lamp and saw a glistening ring inside. After exchanging the ring for his clue, Chad opened it with Stephanie instructing the couple to drive to Nizwa and find the giant stack of books in the middle of the town.
RACE FOR THIRD
With Jill & Thomas close behind Chad & Stephanie driving to Nizwa, the second pair of teams, dating couple Nick & Vicki and home shopping hosts Brook & Claire, arrived at Jabel Shams only minutes apart. With Nick professing a fear of heights, Vicki took charge as she scaled the mountainside, saying, "I feel like Spiderman." Meanwhile, Claire shocked Brook by volunteering to rappel for her team, but she needed to take a deep breath once she dangled high above the desert floor. Both women continued their battle for third place as they searched along the rocky desert ground for one of Aladdin's rings. Vicki found one first to gain a slight edge, but when she and Nick returned to their truck, they discovered they had a flat tire allowing Brook & Claire to pass them. A frustrated Nick said, "Are you kidding me?" Vicki did her best to keep Nick calm as he fumed while fixing the tire and getting back on the road hoping to catch up to the home shopping host.
RACE FOR LAST
Meanwhile, the two teams who relied on maps, doctors Nat & Kat and father and daughter Gary & Mallory, continued their day of confusion driving in Oman. Eventually ditching the map, Gary pulled over to ask local men for directions to Jabel Shams, telling Mallory, "I think we made a fatal mistake by coming to the north side." While Mallory prayed for guidance, Gary finally got the directions he needed prompting a teary-eyed Mallory to lament, "You just hate to go out of the race with something like this." At the same time, doctors Nat & Kat also stopped relying on their map and asked a group of local men for directions. Now on the right path, Nat joked, "I don't think anybody could be more lost than us."
RACE HEATS UP
Arriving at the giant multi-colored stack of books located squarely in the middle of a roundabout in Nizwa, Chad & Stephanie climbed to the top just ahead of Jill & Thomas to discover a Detour with the choice of Water Table or Wedding Table. In Water Table, teams had to pump water from an ancient well deep beneath the earth's surface. Once they filled a water truck, they had to navigate the confusing streets searching for the designated house where they would then take their delivery of water in exchange for their next clue. In Wedding Table, teams traveled to a traditional Arab market where they had to buy 25 frozen chickens and all the other ingredients for a traditional wedding soup meant to bring health and virility. When they presented the bride and groom with the customary dish of Maqbous, teams would receive their next clue.
With Jill & Thomas hot on their heels, Chad & Stephanie started up a small pump allowing them to transfer water from the deep well into their delivery truck. Both teams anxiously watched the water gushing from the well into their tank wanting to be first one on the road to deliver their precious cargo. Chad & Stephanie kept their incredibly slim lead over Jill & Thomas by filling their truck first and pulling out of the loading area. However, once in Fanji, Jill & Thomas took the lead because they happened to find a man whose cousin owned the house where they had to deliver the water. After finishing the transfer of water now comfortably ahead of Chad & Stephanie, Jill & Thomas opened their next clue instructing them to drive to Muttrah Souq, a renowned market in Muscat, and find a vendor who would hand them frankincense. Then they had to search the market for the famous Ali Baba to exchange the frankincense for their next clue.
As Nick & Vicki and Brook & Claire battled for third place delivering water, doctors Nat & Kat finally arrived at Jabel Shams where Kat rappelled for her team because of Nat's extreme fear of heights. After a frustrating search for Aladdin's ring, Kat returned to her partner and jumped into the truck with Nat just as last place Gary & Mallory arrived at the mountain. A now optimistic Gary told his daughter, "We're still in this thing." After Mallory quickly rappelled down the mountain and found the ring, she and her father were back on the road in hopes of overtaking the doctors.
A PERFECT DAY
Dating couple Jill & Thomas kept their lead over engaged couple Chad & Stephanie as both teams ran through the crowded Muttrah Souq to deliver their frankincense to Ali Baba. Opening the next clue, Jill & Thomas discovered they needed to drive to the Pit Stop at Al Alam Palace. However, on the way to the Pit Stop, Jill & Thomas made a costly mistake by hiring a taxi driver to lead them, strictly forbidden in Amazing Race rules, and incurred a 30-minute penalty on the mat. As the dating couple anxiously waited out their penalty, newly engaged Chad & Stephanie stepped onto the mat and won the leg to cap off their engagement celebration as Jill & Thomas settled for second place. The shocked and thrilled couple shouted for joy when Phil told them they also received a trip for two from Travelocity to Belize. Stephanie later said, "It was pretty much a perfect day."
LESS THAN PERFECT DAY
With Nick & Vicki edging out Brook & Claire for third place, father and daughter Gary & Mallory tried to create a happy ending to their less than perfect day. Gary & Mallory spotted Nat & Kat in Fanja as both teams delivered water to homes giving the father and daughter even more hope that they were not out of the race. The father and daughter continued to nip at the heels of the doctors all the way through delivering frankincense at Muttrah Souq, but in the end they couldn't pass Nat & Kat driving to the Pit Stop at Al Alam Palace. Stepping onto the mat in last place, a disappointed Gary & Mallory heard the dreaded news from Phil that they had been eliminated from the race. On running the race with Mallory, Gary said, "I'm just proud to have done it with her." An emotional Mallory added, "I wouldn't have competed in Miss America. I wouldn't have been on The Amazing Race if it weren't for the things that my dad's taught me. Keep going after your dreams. You've got one life and you have to live it. Live it full out like it's a race."The leg began in less than spectacular fashion for dating couple Chad & Stephanie who overslept by two hours, but it ended with their engagement and a first place finish in Oman.