I can’t begin to describe how fantastic Australia is. Not only is it a beautiful country, the people are SO nice, everything about it … just blew me away. I can’t wait to go back, it was the most spectacular place, there are so many things to say about our trip, I don’t even know where to begin.
The Bridge Climb was just incredible. In the gift shop, they have a wall of photos of celebrities who have climbed the bridge: Robert DiNero, John Travolta… Drake Hogestyn, Deidre Hall!! So I knew I was in good hands. I talked to Dee, Drake and Thaao about traveling to Sydney – they went to promote Days last fall – and they couldn’t stop raving about it. Thaao grew up there, so he had many recommendations for us, including suggesting that I call (flashback to 2002) Justin Melvey (he played Colin on Days). Justin spent an hour on the phone with me, recommending places, and offering all sorts of advice. He was so nice about everything and it was the perfect way to get ready for our trip.
Okay, so 15 hours later, we arrived in Sydney. We all traveled together – the contestants, the crew, and me and Dave. We got there early Friday morning and spent the day just getting acclimated. Dave and I decided to walk around for a bit, do some sightseeing, stretch our legs, immediately behind us out of the hotel come Ali and Mark. Out for a jog. We ran into Jay and Roger doing visiting the Sydney Opera House. Every time Dave and I were coming or going from the hotel we ran into one of them on their way to or from the gym. They all worked SO hard in Sydney. I can only begin to imagine how heartbreaking it was for all of them – to bust their @sses so hard all week and see such low numbers on the scale.
But before we get to the weigh-in/elim … how CRAZY intense was the challenge this week??!!! I mean, seriously. Walking up to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge was amazing. Beautiful, and even though I’m not really afraid of heights, it is intimidating. I think something about looking down and seeing 6 lanes of flying traffic beneath your feet makes you feel very fragile. But that’s nothing compared to what Mark was going through. And to watch him face his fear like that – confront it head on – I think we were all impressed. And then the triathlon was incredible to watch. Truly epic. The way they all just dove into the harbor water… I was frustrated because it was the first challenge I couldn’t really watch. I had to get a move on back to the shore, so I could get up to the top of that building before they got there. Ha. It was so sweet to see Mark wait for Ali like that. For such a competitive person, it said a lot about how much he’s grown – that he was able to achieve his goal – he had asked the challenge producer what his time was on the course, and set that as his personal goal – he beat that time, but that was all he needed, he wanted to cross that finish line with Ali, his friend, and work-out partner. They have been through so much together and it was a very fitting finish. You didn’t get the chance to see in the episode how much Ali was touched by his decision to wait for her, but she was.
Okay, I’ve had like 5 people email me tonight to say they were bawling during the elimination. Of course they were – seriously, it was a tear-jerker. I was totally choked up. Seeing the bond between Mark and Jay, and hearing Jay talk about his decision to ask to be voted, it’s a tribute to the man he is. Not to mention the impact he’s had on Roger, Ali and Kelly. He is a great guy, and it was really hard to say goodbye.
It’s great to see Kelly’s attitude change over the last couple weeks. She has constantly been on the chopping block – since she started the show she’s felt that if she fell below she’ would be the one to go – and finally her successes have given her the confidence she deserves. I loved hearing her say she knew she was a threat, so what? Just gonna work that much harder.
Only 4 people left. 3 finalists. Who’s it gonna be??
p.s. For more about my trip to Australia, please visit alisonsweeney.com, I'm going to post more photos and stories about my expereince in Sydney on the message boards there. xo