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Andrew (Drew) Feinberg, 35, a senior court officer in Brooklyn Supreme Court in New York, and his friend Kevin O’Connor, 34, a litigation consultant with Deloitte & Touche in Manhattan, are one of 11 two-person teams that are competing on CBS’ latest reality show “The Amazing Race,” an around-the-world race that debuted last week. Think “Survivor” on speed. All the team members have pre-existing relationships, including best friends, grandparents, an engaged couple, life partners, and, in the case of Kevin and Drew, fraternity brothers. The teams face a variety of physical and mental challenges — including traveling on limited budgets, sleeping on park benches and riding camels. The winning team will receive $1 million; each week, the team in last place will be kicked off the show. Like “Survivor,” the show is taped, and Kevin and Drew are prohibited from talking to the press until after the episode airs in which they win or get the boot. Both men took leaves of absence in March and April to compete on the show. They met in 1984 as undergraduates at St. John’s University. They were members of the Delta Psi Upsilon fraternity, with Drew eventually becoming president and Kevin vice president. Kevin and Drew finished Wednesday evening’s Episode 1 in ninth place. Only the mother-and-daughter team of Nancy and Emily separate them from elimination. The married couple of Matt and Ana came in last, and got the boot. But Kevin and Drew were the stars of the show. They had all the best lines, which were usually shouted at top volume. While other teams are taking the trip to work out personal issues between teammates, there is none of that touchy-feely stuff for Kevin and Drew. They have only two goals: move like bats out of hell, and bicker at each other at every opportunity. All 11 teams start at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. They are told the round-the-world course has eight elimination points — the last team to make it to each point is out of the race. The first elimination point is in Zambia. To get there, the teams need to take one of three flights to Johannesburg. One flight goes direct; the others go first to Milan or Zurich, then on to South Africa. There are a limited number of seats on each flight, and it is first come, first served. They grab their backpacks, and discover they have been given only $80 dollars to make it to the first elimination point. “Eighty dollars! What are we going to do with 80 dollars?” Kevin wails. (Did we mention our boys are from New York?) Which airport to go to? Like several of the teams, Kevin and Drew hit pay phones near Central Park to call the airlines they are told are holding seats. It doesn’t go well. “Three phone calls and we got nothing,” Kevin says. “Oh, shut up,” Drew responds. We see other teams take cabs or the subway. Somehow — perhaps the former frat boys were delayed by a keg party they ran across — Kevin and Drew make it out on the last flight. Once in South Africa, the teams have to take a cab to another airport, take another flight, then drive to Victoria Falls. It is all a blur, except when one of our guys congratulates their driver (who is prohibited from giving directions to the checkpoints) on running some of the contestants off the road. Once at the falls, the teams have to walk across a wet but sturdy footbridge to get their next set of directions. Option one: Hike to a well-hidden location and claim a ticket that allows you to go directly to the first elimination point. But there is only one ticket, so you better get their first. Option two: Get back in the car and go the long way to a gorge. Rob and Brennan, lawyers from some backwater town called Los Angeles, claim the short cut, and end the episode in first place. Our guys proceed to get lost again and again on their way to the gorge. Drew is trying to be nice to the local population they ask directions from, but Kevin is having none of it. Drew explains: “You have to get out of the car and you have to approach people in an affable, friendly way. You don’t do it like you’re in New York.” “Those are the directions you got: It’s under the tree!” an exasperated Kevin shouts back. Drew gets a guidebook from vendor on the side of the road, and gives him some bills. “Drew, stop taking out money every time these guys ask. I thought that was free,” Kevin pleads. “Nothing’s free, Kevin. We’re in Africa. If you go to the Statue of Liberty, is the guy giving these away for free? For crying out loud!” Drew responds. “It’s got a map in it. Zambia — that’s where we are,” he says triumphantly, passing the book to Kevin. “That’s Namibia, jackass,” Kevin replies. By the time they reach the gorge, our guys are way behind and about ready to snap. “The village idiot, that’s us,” Drew says to no one in particular. Africa is a long way from Brooklyn, he’s learning. “These flies are like lobsters,” he says. They can take another long hike, or get harnessed into a zip line to fly over to the other side of the gorge. Like all the other teams, they take the air route. Once on the other side, they have to bungee jump to the bottom of the gorge. It is not like a typical down-and-up bungee jump; it is more like a bungee arc, with contestants swinging out over the canopy of trees at the bottom of the gorge. Drew takes the plunge first, with Kevin shouting after him “Swing, you fat bastard, swing!” It looks as if our guys are out of the running (perhaps because of clever CBS editing), but by some miracle of navigation they make it to Songwe Village before two other teams. “I was damned if we were going to be the first ones out,” Drew says.

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