Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Amazing Race - Episode 11 (Leg 10)

Whew, that was quite the finish at the end of the last leg. Last week we were surprised when teams all finished within an hour of each other, well this week they started within 10 minutes of each other.

You may recall last week's finish included the three way photo finish involving Eric/JEremy who were not penalized for sabotaging other teams taxis. Joseph/Monica who we got to see Monica's facial recation go from giddy with delight at the thought they had eliminated enemy BJ/Tyler to seething angry when BJ/Tyler once again became the beneficiaries of a non elimination leg. Sure they had to give up their money and posessions once again, but they are still in the race.

We had seen at the end of the last leg they did not have any shoes or pants on at the mat, and wondered if the show was going to show them some mercy. No, the show did not, they did the right thing and are making them live with their decision. We see Ray/Yolanda leave first and they stop by BJ/Tyler's car. This time they are not leaving money, they are leaving some spare pants. Huh? Can you say Race? Can you say contest for a million dollars? This is when teams should be 'kicking them while they are down' or surely not offering any help. BJ/Tyler had been consistantly toward the top of the standings, if you are Ray/Yolanda this is the sort of team you don't want around in the finals. I do give Yolando a pass becuase she left them a pair of purple female pants, and was cackling about who is going to wear those.

Next we see Eric/Jeremy leave, you recall last time not only did they not leave the hippies money, they were the team man emough to leave a note saying they didn't leave any money. Surely they will remember this is a competition, but no they stopped by the hippies car to drop off spare footwear, in the form of sandals or flip/flops. WHAT!!??!! Competition, guys. Imagine how hard it would be to do this race in bare feet, isn't that what you want your competition to go through? Why on earth are they suddenly going soft? A theory that has been advanced is they don't want to cheapen their win by leaving doubt as to if the hippies would have been able to beat them if they had shoes. Still, make em suffer!

Next, a minute later due to the rule of minimum spacing between departures, is Jonathan/Monica, you can safely bet they left nothing for their sworn ememies. The motive may not have been right, but they alone realize this is a competition, take any advantage ytou legalley can.

Last out are of course BJ/Tyler who look through their goodwill offering, then augment it by raiding the resort's lost and found box. No one else seemed to make mention of the ethical implications of stealing other peoples things, so I won't either.

And where are they all headed?

Clue #61 - Route Info
Fly to Bangkok, Thailand, once there take a bus to Lopburi Thailand and go to the Three Spires Pagoda.

The teams had no trouble finding their way back to the airport, and the three lead teams all made reservations on the same flights to Bangkok. There is some interaction in the airport, specifically that of Joseph/Monica calling Eric/Jeremy on leaving the hippies shoes. Monica states that BJ/Tyler would not have been allowed in the airport without shoes. Eric/Jeremy lie about it, which makes no sense as they know Monica left after them, and had the chance to inspect the hippies car.

We see BJ/Tyler arrive at the airport, we see them learn the flight doesn't leave until the morning, so instead of making reservations while they were right there at the airport, they leave the airport to go to downtown Darwin to beg. They claim it was profitable, but they didn't claim how much the take to the chairty of BJ/Tyler was this week. They do know other teams were given over $200 this leg.

When Bj/Tyler return to the airport they learn the team flght is full. There is some speculation as to weather or not the flight would have been full if they had gone to the ticket counter when they were there erlier, but who cares, its nice to think they got penalized for stupidity. BJ/Tyler do however seem to come out smelling like roses when they find an alternate flight plan that is suppoed to get them there 15 minutes ahead of the other teams.

Flights fly and there are flight time changes, the flight with the three leading teams arrives early, and BJ/Tyler' flight arrives late, such that BJ/Tyler are 45 minutes behind the others in Bangkock. The three lead teams catch taxis. Eric/Jeremy and Ray/Yolanda have no trouble hailing taxis and getting to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal. They also have no trouble getting tickets on a midnight bus. They are seen going downstairs to the loading areas and boarding the bus.

Joseph takes an instant distrust to his taxi driver and has the nerve to say so right in earshot of the friendly cabbie who is just loading thier bags into his trunk for them. They arrive at the bus terminal and he drops them off in front of a set of closed ticket windows. The cmaera pans over so that we can see the open windows a short distance away. The cabbie claims the bus terminal is closed for the night and will reopen at 4:50. There has been specualtionas to weather or not this is payback for Joesph's comments, or if the cabbie was trying to convince them to let him drive them all the way to the pagoda. J/M head to a hotel. They show us a shot of the clock to let us know J/M should have been able to easily make the same bus as the other two teams. The only thing that would have made this scene better is if Eric/Jeremy would have waved out the bus windows to them as they departed. Remember it is ultimately Joseph/Monicas decision not to check out the entire bus station for themselves.

We see BJ/Tyler arrive on their later flight, we see them have no trouble getting to the bus station. They do, however arrive after midnight, They search around the terminal and find tickets on a 4:20 bus. Recall that Joseph/Monica think ticket sales do not begin until 4:50 for a 5:20 bus. We see BJ/Tyler walk around the station distraught at not seeing any other teams. We then see Joseph/Monica saying that they will arrive about at the time the the ticket window opens.

This sets up wonderful footage of BJ/Tyler being able to board the 4:20 bus (wondering where everybody else is) before Joseph/Monica evena rrived to book the 5:20 bus. Way to gain a place there, guys. Joseph/Monica arrive buy tickets and are very distraught wondering why there are no other teams there. They catch the bus alone. I think waht happened is that here in America our inter-city ground transportation systems are neglected and mostly ridiculed as being only for the lower class. The teams may not have realized that other nations actually utilize their bus/train systems to the point where there meay be multiple bus lines out of a single station. Joseph/Monica may have been directed to a bus lines office that had closed for the night, when a little exploration may have helped them find an open carrier.

Eric/Jeremy and RAy/Yolanda arrive at the 3 spires pagoda to learn it doesn't open until 8. The pagoda is overrun with 'sacred monkeys' who can't contain themselves and even jump the fences to play with the teams. BJ/Tyler arrive not to much later and they all make their way to:

Clue #62 - This is a real packet. It contains:
- a Travelocity clue that is not to be opened until the Pit Stop
- A Fast Forward clude
- A Roadblock clue

Okay, lets deal with these:

The Travelocity clue, well just keep that in mind, I don't want to spoil the surprise just yet
The Fast Forward can be claimed by going to a local restaurant and eating a bowl of stir fried crickets, of course teams are merely told they will go to a restaurant and partake in a favorite after school ritual.
The Roadblock required one team member to decorate and set a table. The task demands exactly replicating a table of food, fancy cut fruit and other items. The table will then be taken into the courtyard of the pagodas and offered to the sacred monkeys. This is supposedly an imitation of an annual ritual. (It's arts and crafts day on Amazing Race)

Eric and Jeremy and Ray and Yolndas are first in, and grab their packets, since Eric/Jeremy have used their one roadblock allotment they go ahead and slect Eric to compete in the Roadblock. Ray and Yolanda decide to try for fast forward.

The two teams are suprised to see BJ/Tyler beat Joseph/Monica to the pagoda. BJ/Tyler opt for the Fast Forward. BJ/Tyler pull ahaed of Ray/Yolanda and are first to the restaurant, Yolanda tried to guess the popular afterschool pasttime and gueses football, crickets? Just as they switch to a shot of a bowl of crickets.

BJ/Tyler enter the restaurant and it appears that they are given freshly stir fried bowls, but I think each got a family size bowl that is probably meant to be shared under normal circumstances, but they get their own giant bowl for each of them. Let me say I don't care much for the gross foods challenges, and am glad they have seemed to have gone away from Survivor, but this one is a Fast Forward and is completely optional, so no worries mate. Phil explains about a Fast Forward and tells us this is the second of only two fast forwards. I want to know if teams know this is the last available fast forward, as that would seem to moot the whole strategy of "decide when its most advantageous"

Ray and Yolanda come in and join BJ/Tyler already eating. They both eat for a while, and then Ray/Yolanda don't seen enthusiastic about the crickets and don't think they can finsih. BJ/Tyler are happy to help convine Ray/Yolanda that no they can't finishe the crickets, so that Ray/Yolanda actually give up on the Fast Forward and head back to the Roadblock. We know that Yolanda must take all remaining roadblocks so off she goes.

Ray/Yolanda and Eric/Jeremy exchange notes and they wonder if BJ/Tyler can finsihe the fast forward, Ray/Yolanda tells Eric/Jeremy that they will be at it for a while.

Let me short circuit this by saying that we keep alternating between shots of the roadblock and shots of the fast forward. The fast forward shots contain mostly shots of them puking, wonderng if they can finish, and continuing to shovel in the food. Basically eat a few crickets, puke, bitch, eat a few more crickets, puke, bitch, repeat. Oh my I wonder if they will be able to finish, suffice to say they do, and are given the pit stop clue.

Back at the Roadblock, Joseph/Monica arrive and are shocked to see everybody there already. "We thought we were in first place" Monica protests, "Well you thought wrong" Jeremy snarks back. Joseph/Monica also are probably not happy that BJ/Tyler are off claiming the fast forward pass. They send Joesph to do this roadblock.

Okay, now lets talk about the roadblcok, the teams have to decorate a pretty intricate table compelte with cutting, preparing and arranging the food on the table (mostly fruit) in just the right pattern, along with other decorations, when they complete it they take it into the courtyard to give to the monkeys. Nothing says "Job satisfaction" like seeing your demanging intricate work ravaged to shreds in seconds by a few monkeys who have somehow lucked into living the life of being sacred. That and the monkeys may not even wait for you to finish, thats your tough loss as the table must meet approval before you can take it in. In other words if the task wasn't exactling enough as it is, the added aggravtion of the monkeys would be enough to send anybody over the edgema dn indeed a few contestants get a bit testy.

Teams taking the Roadblock are given:
Clue #62 - Route Info
Go to the Buhhda Garden on Ka Kret Island - The clue is hidden in the garden.

Teams take taxis, but there seems to be no trouble finding the ferry serivce to Ka Kret Island, where they do have trouble is in finding the entrance to the Buddha Garden desipte the signage, in English even. Once they find the garden the clue is in an obvious location.

Clue #63 - Detour
Move it - move 72 clay pots from a pottery to the boat dock - you do this by putting them on a long board which you balance on your shoulders. You can make as many trips as you need.
Alter it - (Or should it say Altar it) - Basically build an altar to Buddha based on an example given. (Its arts and crafts day!)

E/J and R/Y choose Aler it, and learn that most of the altar building challenge is simple, just laying out the pieces in the right places, and the challenge is right next to a shrine where they can go in and have a look for reference. The operative part of this challenge is gold leafing a Buddha head. I told you it was arts and crafts day.

Joseph/Monica arrive at this challenge and see the other two teams already working at it and decide to go off and try the other detour playting the odds that the physical detour may be faster.

We see the Alter it teams gold leafing and its apparently a time consuming and not very exciting process. More exciting is watching Joseph/Monica try to balance the boards with the clay pots. The boards are long enough to be unwieldy, then its not a straight shot, there are several turns along the way. In other words this is going to be challenging. They do pretty well on the first run and get about half the required number of pots to the boat with minimal breakage. Its on round 2, Joseph adds 4 pots as their 'safety net', which doesn't help when Monica starts dropping pots, and you know how it goes, once the first two drop, the others soon follow, especially when you start panicing and going hysterical like Monica did, by the time they get to the dock Monica has like maybe 2 or 3 pots left. On round 3 Monica does nothing and lets Joseph carry the remainder of the pots by himself.

The Buddha judges are a little bit more picky than the dancing judges in Germany, but neither team seems to have trouble gold leafing their Buddha. (Closes I have come to a Buddha statue is as an obstacle on a miniature golf course that was in Biloxi, MS before Katrina, the city apparently had a sizeable Budhist population. But hey, at least I was cultured enough to know I was looking at a Buddha. (They had the shot arranged where you shot the ball through a tunnel which then went up soe kind of ramp so that it looked like the ball came out Buddhas sleeve as he delivered it (hopefully) towards the hole. But I digresss... )

One by one they finish their tasks and are far enough apart that each team gets its own ferry back to the mainland. Order was Eric/Jeremy, Ray/Yolanda, Joesph/Monica)

Clue #64 - Go to the Marble Temple, Bangkok - Warning this is a pit stop.

We see Bj/Tyler show up first by virtue of the fast forward, but sorry guys no prize. The prize for this round is based on, you guessed it, the Travelocity Clue. Recall each team had free choice of taking a clue out of the clue box at random, so thisis essentially a lucky chance, and since the show went two episodes without a luck based challenge I guess they needed some random element. BJ/Tylers envelope did not contain the Gold Travelocity Gnome. Sorry guys, but hey you are in the finals, and are in first place despite starting the leg with no money, no shoes, no pants.

NExt in are Eric/Jeremy, they take their second place finsih well. (Recall they knew BJ/Tyler fast forwarded), but alas no Gold Gnome for them either.

So its edited to look like a race between Ray/Yolanda and Joseph/Monica. Ray/Yolanda apparently decide they have to enter the temple, or enter the ground through the wrong door and they are stopped so that Yolanda can put on some religious appropriate attire that was loaned to her at the gate. This delay still doesn't help Joseph/Monica.

Ray and Yolanda check in, glad to have made the cut to be in the finals, and in their Travelocity Clue is the Golden Travelocity Gnome, by Travelocity, which awards them a Travelocity Vacation to Australlia, (actually a luxury vacation it sounds like, private yacht and all), paid for by Travelocity. Oh, and they also get an in-race reward, they get to spend the night at a luxury hotel courtesy of Travelocity where they will learn more about their prize. Ya know this just about makes up for the pathetic 1 year lease on a car prize they won last week. I am also glad becuase this means Mojo doesn't get a prize. I'm already happy. Just be an elimination round.

Joseph/Monica check in, don't win the prize, and gets eliminated. I'm happy as this is the one team remaing I would not like to see win the race just becuase she started channeling Flo at the end. Oh, and they were part of the bitter rivalry between themselves and the Hippies, and I like the hippies better. Life not fair. I think the whole tone of the race will benefit from this rivalry being gone. The teams finsih up the episode with the usual montage of "We're gonna beet em now" comments. Next week, the 2 hour finale epsiode, which means 2 legs, a non-elimination and the final leg. Can Bj/Tyler hit the Non-Elimination Trifecta?

Oh and in the preview sit looks like Japan and a very cold North Atlantic counry are involved. Oh and whats this rollercoasters and amusement rides. Challenges that involve going to an open amusement park??? Sign me up for this game!!!!


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