It's Week 2 of Bravo's new show Tour Group, and it's safe to say that I am officially obsessed with watching this adventure of a lifetime. I find it so entertaining and enlightening to see all these exotic places and cultural experiences I otherwise wouldn't have any kind of exposure to, even if just from the comfort of my couch. I never really grew up watching National Geographic, but I'm starting to think maybe I should have... Plus, before I break down the second episode travelogue, I want to give a big thank you to all the cast members who have been so enthusiastic in sharing last week's recap on social media and helping it reach such a wide audience! You guys are the best!
As the episode starts, it's the morning of Day 3 and the travelers are shaking off sleep at the Sahara Palace outside of Marrakech. While everyone is packing, eating breakfast and getting in a last-minute morning workout, twins Misty and Jenna Kingma are out in the courtyard having a serious heart-to-heart about the note from Jenna's boyfriend that she found in her suitcase the night before. She tells her sister that it was essentially a break-up note, but half a world away from home, she's not sure what to think. Besides, the twins have much more pressing and immediate guy to talk about: playboy Jared Levy, who's caught the eye of both sisters. Jenna informs Misty that she told Jared about the note and he did an awfully good job of comforting her in her time of need. However, Misty also admits that she thinks the New York financier is attractive, but wonders whether his nose is fake. Meanwhile, in the palace's gym, Jared admits to Sandurst Miggins that both sisters have caught his eye for different reasons, and the concierge reminds him that with six weeks left on the trip, it might be a good idea to keep his sheets clean.
The group packs up, ready to leave Marrakech for a destination only the three guides know. The uncertainty is a bit stressful for a few of the Travelers - Amy Grice is worried about ISIS and unrest in the world while her bestie Heather Marianna just wants to know where she can get her next blowout. Gathering the group at the front of the palace, the guides inform them that they'll be getting a chance to experience authentic Moroccan transportation in the form of, what else, riding camels. With the help of a group of local Berbers, the travelers (minus animal-loving Heather) don traditional Moroccan clothing and mount the camels for a ride through the North African countryside. Let's keep in mind that the last time a camel ride was documented on Bravo, Luann de Lesseps nearly died on the RHONY trip in Season 4. Quickly, many of the men in the group learn that riding the camels is less-than-comfortable for their testicles, while Georgia boy Steven Roberts discovers the quite literal reason behind the euphemism "camel toe."
Following the ride, the travelers dismount and have the opportunity to try fresh camel's milk. While most are gung-ho about the experience - with Jared even taking a turn at milking the camel himself - former model Michelle Harvey isn't happy that the camel's legs are tied (to keep it from kicking) and joins Heather in protest of how the animals are treated. Rachel Grant, one of the three guides along with Sandhurst and Brandon Presser, tries to reassure the ladies that the camels are domesticated and have been utilized by the Berber tribe for hundreds of years, but the pair are having none of it. In his confessional, Brandon (the lead guide on the trip) notices that Michelle and Heather are striking up an unlikely friendship, surmising that the women have the potential to become the wicked stepsisters of the trip by joining forces with their strong personalities and forceful opinions.
After the camel adventure, the group loads onto the buses and heads out of Marrakech bound for the Atlas Mountains. En route, Steven's half-brother Michael Cook shares that, prior to the trip, he overdosed on prescription pills and actually died for 40 minutes. During the overdose, Michael's mom found him completely paralyzed and unable to speak, and he spent months afterwards in hospitals and therapy to recover from the accident. A tearful Steven chimes in, saying that seeing Michael in a hospital bed with tubes down his throat was the hardest moment of his life. Michael explains that he's grateful to be alive, and the ordeal is a major part of why the brothers decided to take this trip together. Visibly touched by Michael's story, Jenna states in her confessional that learning about his experience and seeing the brothers' close relationship puts into perspective just how much work she and Misty have to do on theirs in order to become closer.
The travelers reach their destination in the heart of the Atlas Mountains just as the sun is setting, and discover that they'll be staying the night in the luxurious Kasbah Angour. As they unload, Brandon explains that kasbahs are a type of Islamic fortress or estate that date back over a thousand years, when ancient Moroccan khalifs would build them all over the country. Upon reaching their room for the night, an emotional Jenna relays the story of Michael's near-death experience to Misty, and tells her that she will appreciate their bond now from an entirely new perspective. However, early the next day, Jenna and Jared proceed to ditch Misty to go on a flirty hike, leaving Misty to vent about the situation to Michelle on a hike of their own. As Jared confesses in his interview that he'd like to rip Jenna's clothes off, Misty explains to Michelle that she's simply not interested in getting to know the playboy if he's developing a camaraderie with her sister. Saying that she feels "obstructed" by Jenna's budding relationship with Jared, Misty basically admits that even though she would like to get to know him better, she's willing to take one for the team as to not get in the way of her sister.
The next morning, the travelers are renewed and ready to take on their next destination. That is, except for poor Amy, who woke up violently sick and vomiting at three in the morning. While Sandhurst agrees to stay behind in the Atlas Mountains with Amy, Brandon gathers the rest of the group to reveal where they're headed next: they're going on safari in Kenya! After a long flight across the African continent, the travelers arrive in Kenya to the news that all of their luggage somehow ended up in Cairo, Egypt. Oh, the joys of traveling. However, the trip must go on and the luggage-less travelers board a bush plane to fly to Maasai Mara, where they are greeted by a group of Maasai tribesmen adorned in their traditional, iconic blood-red robes. Within the national park, the group is staying at Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp, where they'll be surrounded by wild animals and guarded by dedicated Maasai watchmen. Lions and tigers and elephants, oh my!
With no cell service in Kenya, Heather is unable to reach Amy at Kasbah Angour. Finding herself in need of a new bestie, the beauty maven begins bonding more with Michelle, while Jenna and Jared frolic through the camp in their fluffy bathrobes. Watching the pair from afar, Michael, Steven and Jay Ward wonder aloud if Misty is feeling jealous yet, since Jared's attentions seem to have officially turned from her to Jenna. According to Michael, he's learned from experience not to mess with two sisters - a warning that could come in handy for Jared if and when this love triangle inevitably continues to progress.
In an attempt to nip the brewing situation with Jared in the bud, Misty pulls Jenna aside later that day to get things off her chest. She starts by saying that she doesn't want Jared to come between them and Jenna quickly agrees, assuring her that she and Jared are nothing more than friends. Misty admits that there was a day in Morocco when she thought she could see potential between herself and Jared, but the moment came and went after Jenna started spending more time with him. Besides, if she insists she could never date one of her sister's good friends. After all, where would Jared's loyalty lie if he was dating one twin and being friends with the other? The main issue in the twins' relationship has been that everything since childhood turns into a competition between them, and Jared might just be the latest prize to be won. In a joint confessional, Misty surmises that Jared is just trying to see which of the sisters will sleep with him first, and both vow that they're over him...for the time being.
At 4 a.m. the next morning, the group is up and prepping to go on safari, but the missing luggage issue has led Heather to her breaking point. When both her curling iron and hair straightener explode, the beauty entrepreneur has a minor meltdown, insisting that she's "not trying to be a princess here," but she doesn't know how to function with nothing to wear and no way to do her hair. Seeing her new friend reduced to tears leaves Michelle baffled, and she tries to remind Heather that no one else in the group has their luggage either. However, Heather isn't about to go on safari in flip-flops and Michelle hilariously calls her a "f***ing baby" as the diva storms away.
Thankfully, Heather manages to find something to wear and the group heads out on safari just as the sun is rising over Kenya. As Brandon ribs the twins and Jared about their budding love triangle, the travelers find themselves up close and personal with herds of zebras and elephants, a pair of giraffes, and a pride of lions eyeing a lone buffalo as their prey while a leopard hides out in a nearby tree. In a hilarious case of completely terrible timing, Michelle asks the driver of her vehicle if he can drive off so she and Heather can use the bathroom right in the middle of watching the lions. Seriously girl?? Could you not possibly hold it for five more minutes while watching this once-in-a-lifetime "Circle of Life" scene play out in front of you?
Back at Cottar's, Sandhurst and a fully-recovered Amy finally arrive from Morocco and Heather downloads Michelle on her long and storied history of 13 engagements. It's not her fault everyone wants to marry her, OK? Meanwhile, Jared, Misty and Jay visit Jeff and Jetta Bates-Vasilatos' tent for a bonding session that is quickly nicknamed the "sharing square." Jeff recounts the scooter injury that left him virtually incapacitated for the past year after being hit by a car, while Jay explains that he took this trip to figure out who he is outside of his relationship with his husband Joe. After a bit of coaxing from the others, Jared opens up about his past, revealing that his birthday falls on September 11 - a day he lost many friends in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The tragedy helped Jared realize that all the money in the world wouldn't add up to a fulfilled life. Misty challenges Jared to open up more over the course of the trip, and the playboy admits in his confessional that sharing these stories have started bringing him closer to his traveling companions. Cheers to vulnerability and new friendships!
What was your favorite part of the episode? Would you rather ride camels in Morocco or go on safari in Kenya? Let me know in the comments!