Chapter 2

On Monday morning Brett went to work as usual. He had a chat to his manager and told him what might be happening.

“No worries Brett. It's been a little quiet anyway, we will be right. Hopefully you will get to go”

“Yeah, I mean as long as it doesn't put you guys in a tight spot”

“Not at all. It would be great to watch you guys. I wish I could get that chance”

“Thanks mate” said Brett and returned to the floor to help some customers. The afternoon rolled around and he still hadn't heard anything. Around three pm his phone rang. It was Chris.

“Mate, have you heard anything yet?”

“Nah, nothing. Where are you?”

“I'm at home, we finished early. Looks like we may have missed out hey. Dammit”

“You never know, we may hear from them yet”

“Yeah maybe. Catch you at home then”

Not long after he hung up the phone to Chris, it rang again. 'This must be the rejection call' he thought.

“Hello, Brett speaking”

“Hi Brett, it's Rebecca from the network. Sorry for calling so late”

“Hi Rebecca, no probs. So what's the news?”

“I just rang to say congratulations! You guys were great the other day, and the executives were equally impressed”

“Wow really? No way. So what now?” even the usually reserved Brett was getting a little excited.

“Well there are a couple of formalities to go through. No I will need to speak to your boss or manager, make sure it is ok for you to be away from work. It is ok if I get your pay details from him?”

“Yeah sure, that's no problem”

“I will also send you an email. You and Chris will need to go down to Sydney and attend the briefing with the other contestants and hosts. That will be in a couple of weeks. Then after that it's all go”

“Sounds good. Have you spoken to Chris as yet?”

“Not yet. I will call him now. Speak to you soon Brett, and congratulations again”

'Unbelievable' he thought. 'Chris won't shut up for the next two weeks now'. He received the phone call he was expecting from him and could hardly understand a word he said, so fast was he talking. By the time he got home, Chris was waiting at the front door.

“Mate, we got the email, come check it out”

The email gave them details of their flight, which was early in the morning on Friday week. They had been booked into a hotel and would fly home the next morning.

“Finally, we get to go on tv” said Chris.

“Mate, it's not all that great. No one remembers these reality stars more than five minutes after the show is over”

“That's what you think. Mate I could be the next Kim Kardashian!”

“Well you sure talk more than she does” he said, chuckling.

“Nah I just want to marry Kanye”

They both had a laugh and then returned to their daily routines, working, swimming, surfing. Before they knew it, the time had come to go to the briefing. Friday morning was a usual autumn day on the Gold Coast, warm and sunny. They caught a taxi to the airport and boarded their flight.

“I wonder what the other teams are like” asked Brett.

“No idea. Couldn't be as awesome as us hey”

“You mean me right?”

“Haha good on you. Mate we have to be careful, don't give away our strategy”

“We don't even have a strategy. We hardly know what we have to do”

“That's the spirit, say nothing” said Chris, winking.

Brett shook his head and returned to reading his magazine. They landed in Sydney about 45 minutes after taking off from the Gold Coast and found a limousine driver holding up a placard with their names on it.

“See mate, I told you we would be famous” sad Chris.

“Not a single minutes airtime and you have a big head already. You won't fit through the studio doors at this rate”

“No way mate. I am a person of the people. I will never change”

They boarded the limousine and after a short drive they pulled up in front of the Channel 10 studios. When they got out there were number of other people milling around. Brett assumed that these must be members of some of the other teams. Brett and Chris stood outside with the others and started to chat idly with some of the others. They were indeed some of the other teams, there was a father son team from Melbourne, sisters from Adelaide, married couples and two guys from Tasmania who were around their age and also house mates. Soon after a young man came down with a clipboard and did a roll call of the people present, and they followed him into a large board room. They all found seats and waited, talking away to each other.

A middle aged man entered the room, trailed by two younger ladies and a younger man. “Hey” whispered Chris “That's Grant Miles”

“Who the hell is he”

“Really? He hosts that Big Brother program”

“No idea mate” said Brett.

“Good morning ladies and gentleman” said the middle aged man. “My name is Michael Grundy. These two young ladies are my assistants Michelle and Tina. And of course the gentleman standing to my right needs no introduction, Grant Miles”

“Before we start we will just through some house keeping” He brought up a slide on the projector screen with a plan of the building. He pointed at some areas “Toilets here, emergency muster point here. Ok, now we will go through today's program. It's 9.30 now, so in the first part of the session we will talk about the basics of the show. We will have an hours lunch break at 12, then we will be back in here to take some questions and clear up any other business. We will also be taking some of you periodically to do some promo stuff through the afternoon. No need to stress, just some basic camera takes. Ok, are there any questions?”

There were no questions, so he continued. “Ok, so I know you must all be dying to know how the game is going to work. Firstly, the name of the show will be “Sprint Around the World”. He brought up his next slide. “Ok, as you can see these are the cities: We start here in Sydney, then Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Tokyo, Beijing, New Delhi, Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris , Madrid, Rome, Athens, Cairo, New York, Los Angeles then finally back here in Sydney”

“Now I know what you are thinking. This is like the Amazing Race. It is a little, but there are big differences. On our show you don't need to do any challenges or puzzles. Your aim will be to get to each of these cities and spend some time there within a certain budget. You will now have a ton of questions but I am sure I will have them answered by the time we are finished”

“Ok, so the teams will all start from here on Friday the 15th of June at 6am. Each team will receive a budget of $50,000 in the from of a prepaid credit card. This money will need to be used on everything. Airline tickets, food, accommodation, the lot. We will cover all of your visas here first so that is the only thing you don't have to worry about”

“Like I said. Your aim is to get to each city for the least amount of money as possible. You can use any modes of transport to get from place to place. Hell, you can walk if you like. You must spend a minimum of 24 hours in each city, no exceptions. The time at which you step into the terminal the clock starts. Each team will be designated with a cameraman who will also act as a referee. Please note that any breaches to the rules will count as instant disqualification”

“The only thing we require is that each team will have a photo taken in front of a famous landmark or tourist destination. This is also non-negotiable. You are not allowed to spend any money outside of the designated 50,000 and this will be kept track of via the card balance and if you choose to spend cash, the cameraman must see each transaction and record it”

“There are also other prerequisites” Michael said, flicking to the next slide. “You cannot book tickets for your next leg until you land in the previous one. So that means for example, you can only book your ticket for Bangkok after landing in Singapore. We will also track this. Bookings for the first leg to Singapore will open at 6am the day before. Ok, next slide. Yes, under no circumstances can you sell anything to make extra money, accept money from any outside sources or do any work for money”

“You have a 20 kilogram weight limit to take with you, so it is advised to choose what you think you may need carefully. So the aim is to be the first to get back to Sydney. If every team runs out of money before they get back here, whoever gets the furthest will be declared the winner. So you need to think about your strategy. You might choose to get as far as you can whilst spending a little more, or you may choose the slower and cheaper option which ensures that you make it back to Sydney. This however does not guarantee that you will win. So the aim of the game is whoever can think on their feet, find the best deals and have the capability to budget and plan properly will most likely win”

“Now the question that you will all be asking” Michael flicked to the next slide “1 million dollars. That's what you are racing for. Tax free, winner take all. Now all of this information will be given to you on paper. We will require that you all sign confidentiality clauses and by no mean are you to show this paperwork to anyone outside of this room. There are also a host of forms that we need to fill out for visas and the like. Also if any of you have any medical conditions or on any medication will need to fill out some other forms. My two lovely assistants will start handing these forms out, then I will get Grant to say a few words. Now, any questions?”

The various teams asked questions, most of which were already covered. “What happens if we get sick whilst we are away” asked Brett.

“Good question. You will all have travel and health insurance whilst you are away. So if you get robbed or you get ill, you will be looked after. Thanks for the question”

He introduced the host, Grant Miles. He was his usual charming self. “Hi guys, I'm Grant. I would just like to say I am looking forward to hosting the show. Due to the nature of the competition, you may not see me very often, however I will be sure to catch up with each team on a few occasions throughout the trip. I would also be happy to answer any questions you may have now or you can email me”

Grant left and the assistants brought in stacks and stacks of forms, all which needed to be filled out. Soon it was lunch time and they all moved to the kitchen area. Brett and Chris ate a couple of sandwiches each and rank some coffee.

“Mate I feel like my eyeballs are going to pop out or my head” said Chris.

“I know. It's just never ending. That's the life of the rich and famous hey” he said with a wink.

“It's good to see you are finally acknowledging my fame” said Chris, laughing.

They ate a few pieces of fruit and were chatting to the boys from Tasmania again when one of the assistants came in and told them lunch was over. They all shuffled back into the room and continued to fill out visa forms and other releases. Each team was being taken into a studio to do some promo shooting, and soon it was their turn.

One of the assistants led them to a room where the make up artists were waiting. “Wow, this is full on isn't it” remarked Chris.

“Mate, they should have got you in here early this morning. It will take more than make up to make you look good on tv”

“You are just jealous of my rugged good lucks”

“I would say just rugged” laughed Brett.

Once they had the make up applied, they were led into another room, this one had a background with the mane of the show on it, some chairs, lights and cameras. A man walked up to them and handed them each a piece of paper. “Basically you just have to give the viewers a bit of an insight into how you are feeling about the competition, what strategy you might have, what your strengths are etc”

“No worries” said the boys and sat down. Soon after they filmed and the boys said what they wanted to hear, they returned to the board room. It wasn't long until they had finished all their paperwork and were just sitting around chatting to some of the others. Michael entered the room and said “Well, looks like we are just about done. Are there any more questions? If you think of any later on, my email address is on the paperwork you were given. If not, we will see you here the day before the competition starts. You will get progress emails and we will let you know when your prepaid cards are ready to be picked up from your local bank. Good luck guys and we will see you soon”

“Shit am I glad that is over” said Brett.

“Yeah I know. I could do with a beer. What do you say we hit the casino after dinner? I noticed it is just around the corner from us”

“Yeah for sure mate. I need one too. Let's see if any of the other teams want to come too”

The boys spoke to some of the other teams, and it turned out most of them were staying at the same hotel. They arranged to have dinner together then head to the casino. After returning to the hotel, the two boys showered and got ready then headed down for dinner. The mood was jubilant, however Brett could already notice some of the other teams trying to talk to them about strategy and what they may be thinking of taking with them. Brett and Chris were playing their cards close to their chest and didn't say too much. After having a few beers at the casino, they decided to call it a night, as their flight was early in the morning. They said goodbye to the others and returned to their hotel.

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