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Episode Five, July 20, 2004
Okay, so where are we? Ah yes, on the runway, ready to leave for the lovely city of Perth. I'm in a rather good mood. I'm heading to the city for a decent meal, I get to shave and get out of hiking boots for a few days and I know that -- no matter how badly the morning goes -- I'm not the one getting eliminated.
Now if you think about it, you could maybe see this whole Adrienne thing coming. How many times has Jack said, "my girls" in the past weeks? He's protective of them, he wants to watch out for each and every one of them. And who was the ringleader of the anti-Marissa movement? You got it. I don't think Jack was angry with Adrienne, per say, but I think he never quite shook that mistrust, that feeling that she rallied the rest of the girls against Marissa. Jack loves an underdog and Adrienne certainly isn't that. She's smart and strong -- maybe in this case a little too much so for her own good. So away she goes, on a plane heading East while the rest of us board our plane heading West.
I am told that Perth is the most isolated city in the world. For a thousand miles in every direction there's absolutely nothing. Flying in, you really feel it -- scrub and dirt as far as the eye can see. Then suddenly, out of nothing, this beautiful city appears, big and bright and cosmopolitan.
We're staying at Intercontinental Burswood Resort and Casino. There's a woman there whose job is to make sure that anytime I say the name of the place on camera, I get it exactly right. I'm sure she has other jobs, but I can't tell for the life of me what they are.
The girls, as you might imagine, are in heaven. The place is truly luxurious. From the spa to the gym to the fine wine shop in the lobby, this is about as far from 'roughing it' as you can get. (I'm not holding it against the Burswood that Lou, the co-producer, and I dropped $200 at the black jack tables the first night. I have no one to blame but myself...and Lou, of course.)
It's actually a lot of fun to see the girls enjoying themselves. And watching Jack adapt to the life the girls are used to holds its share of laughs as well. Don't get me wrong; he's not a bumpkin. He's spent time in the city, but how many guys are used to Prada and waxing and facials? Even the most cultured of men would find this a little much...for Jack, it ranks somewhere between bizarre and excruciating.
Oh, did I mention the 5,000 sailors in town on shore leave? So, the USS Kitty Hawk is docked in Freemantle (a cool little Bohemian suburb of Perth) and its massive crew of sailors is enjoying a little leave time. More than a few are staying at our hotel and the bodyguards are busy. One look at the girls and these guys are ready to propose marriage (or propose something, anyway). Of course, one look at Christian, the show's security guard, and even the US Navy would think twice.
Realizing they'd never get through the front door, some of the boys in blue decided to scale the outside of the hotel from their balcony below to one of the girls rooms above. I'm trying to imagine the look on their face when they see Christian peering down at them as they cling to the wall, 70 feet above the parking lot, shaking his head at them.
But the girls don't need to worry about a slew of randy seamen (don't go there), they need to worry about each other. That sense of sisterly love that defined the first weeks of their time in Australia is disappearing and it's every girl for herself. Maria is going out of her way to steal every free moment with Jack (believe me, this isn't going unnoticed by the rest of the ladies). And if the girls thought Meri-De was the outsider because she came into the picture late, one look at she and Jack together has changed their minds.
Before we started this whole adventure, I knew about the twist here in Perth. I knew I'd be offering one of them a chance to stay and shop and be pampered. If you had asked me on the skydiving plane how I thought it would play out, I'd have told you the girls would be fighting each other for the chance to live it up in the big city. I was more than a little proud and impressed that all of them chose Jack and the Outback.
Certainly their competitive nature had something to do with it, but I think they also deserve credit for giving in to the adventure of it all. At some point, the girls who are left turned a corner and realized that this wasn't some sort of trial; it was the opportunity of a lifetime. They are still the prissy city girls that got on that plane in Los Angeles, but they're also more than that now.
Still, you have to wonder if Cortney is wishing she'd taken the hotel room and limo. It's a long flight home. Personally, I was sad to see her go. Not because I was rooting for her in particular. But because Cortney is one of those rare, what you see is what you get people. No pretension, no agenda. She's Cortney, which in the middle of this reality TV mayhem, is hard to be.
Back we go, my suitcase stuffed with wine and the remains of a cheese and fruit plate, to our home in the Outback. It's a long day of travel and in the morning the girls are getting yet another surprise. The Boomerang is back, and it's about to get interesting all over again.