Day 13: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 – Day 13: Abu Dhabi, UAE (24.4539° N, 54.3773° E)

The Gulf State Pivot…

Well, it was only a little tease….a brief stop at the airport–that we have come to know in this state-of-the-art Gulf State aerotropolis well.

We are all safe and sound…but now actually in Cairo, Egypt…it is dry and warm here–not hot and moist. There is a unique difference in that. Teams will be holed up at the Kempinski Nile Hotel along the ancient Nile River, and not too far down the street from those famous old ancient buildings–the Pyramids. We have successfully transitioned from South Asia to North Africa.

And it has been a busy day…

A fun hospitality dinner in Colombo, followed by an o-dark-thirty 4-hour Etihad flight from CMB-AUH …a quick (or long depending on your perspective) 90-minute layover in Abu Dhabi. We really know that terminal well, the one with a smoking booth and French cafe surrounded by an amazing Lotus-like green and blue tiled terminal…maybe a little too well!? Followed by a short 3.5 hour flight to Cairo. Bet not many can say they did that!?

And we had a lot of time to think about this event inflight too: the rules n’ spirit of the event, and about what the competition does to people. It makes them push the envelope as much as possible, challenging themselves to do things they might not normally do–for points–and challenge us occasionally too as to what the rules of the game are. Keeping them inside the accepted lines is our jobs. One we prefer not to have to enforce, rather allowing our participants to have fun trusting strangers in strange lands and letting it all hang out site-doing for three weeks. Alas, there is a prize at stake, not only The World’s Greatest Travelers crown and throphy, but a free trip around the world next year to defend that lofty title. And beacuse of that, people test us.

There were a few “issues’ brought to our attention following the conclusion of the Sri Lanka leg, from readers of various blogs, and from the participants themselves. No anonymous notes under the door or letter left with the front desk, but serious concerns about what was “legal” and what was not. Probably a little jealousy too. And yes, competitive juices being what they are in we humans… So, after the peer review proofs were completed, the Road Officals had to adjudicate some messiness among half the teams–some deliberate circumventions and some inadvertent.

The “issues” included: not completing mandatory scavenges completely; excessive teaming up (the official stated limit is 2 each 24-hour period); claiming to have completed a scavenge that under closer scrutiny they clearly did not; not fully completing Bonus scavenges; traveling inter-city during expressedly prohibited times (10PM-5AM); and excessive use of  a taxi or facsimile of public transportation (you may do only 2 scavenges per ride or else it evolves into a driver and guide situation–that is verboten.) Some teams had minor offenses, some were repeat offenders, some multiple offenders. Some teams where playing a tad too fast and loose and some where just absorbed having fun. Nonetheless, we dealt with them all and reenforced the rules and spitit of the event upon arrival in Cairo.

The official final adjusted results of the hard Sri Lankan Par 6 leg are as follows:

In 10th place, earning zero points: Traveling Bohemians.
In 9th place, earning an adjusted 850 points: NOLA 2nd Line
In 8th place, earning 865 points: Long Gone
In 7th place, earning 1,460 points: Flying Snitches
In 6th place, earning an adjusted 1940 points: YOLOGoNow
In 5th place, earning 1965 points: TSA Precheck Yourself
In 4th place, earning 2125 points: Thundeersnow doing 3 Big Bonus scavenges
In 3rd place, earning an adjusted 2190 points: SLO Folks doing 4+ Bonus scavenges
In 2nd place, earning an adjusted 2290 points: Lawyers w/o Borders completing 5 Bonuses
And in 1st place, congratulations to Team Ying who earned an adjusted 2,400 points on the difficult Bonus-ladden Par 6 leg completing 5 Bonuses.

It is the fourth different team in a row to win a leg, but one team has consistently placed in the top 3 each leg.

And that means that we have another shakeup of the leader board after five completed legs (par 14 of 27 completed), just over half…the overall top 3 teams are:
3. Tie at 45 – TSA Precheck Yourself + SLO Folks
2. Lawyers w/o Borders at 39
1. Team Ying at 27.

1/2 of Team Ying making new friends in Sri Lanka.

Again, congrats to all and you can click here to view the updated Official Leader Board.