Sunday, October 19, 2008

Amazing Race update – In the land of Phil

Teams have to travel nearly 7K miles from Bolivia to Auckland, New Zealand; it's very late at night in La Paz and everybody's trying to figure out flights. Team Twelve Oaks says: "I hope they like blondes in New Zealand." (What an odd thing to say.) At the airport, everybody's trying to find computers to get the earliest flight. It's funny: in previous seasons of TAR, teams used to beg locals for their cellphones. Now, in this modern age, they simply ask to use the laptops of people sitting around the airport. WiFi is making the Race easier.

Once in Auckland, teams take marked cars to a nearby harbor to untie some knots and find the next clue. Aja & Ty get a flat tire on the way. At the clue, the teams are directed to Mount Eden which is the tallest natural spot in New Zealand. It's also the Fast Forward and Ken & Tina decide to race to this task that could allow them to skip all other challenges. Team Infidelity barely beats out Team Bluto to the Fast Forward (only one team may take it) and Ken & Tina climb to the top of a building.

At the non-Fast Forward clue, it's the Roadblock: one team member must match a pattern to a Maori warrior's face tattoo. Terence & Sarah finish first and head to the next clue at the City Life hotel. The Ditzy Divorcees can't seem to find their way up Mount Eden so they decide to climb the mountain. Great idea. However, they're looking like rocket scientists next to Team Twelve Oaks: the Southern belles can't find the harbor and arrive hours behind the other teams. Then they can't find the "Gordian knot" even though a huge rope ball is sitting conspicuously on the harbor pier.

At the City Life hotel, teams take binoculars and they need to look around the landscape for a Travelocity gnome. Once they grab the gnome, they're driving to "Kiwi 360" for the next clue. There's a lot going on in this leg so it looks like Ken & Tina made the right move to take the Fast Forward, even though it involved climbing up a radio tower. They take a helicopter ride to the Pit Stop where they are welcomed to New Zealand by...Phil's dad! (In case you didn't know, Phil Keoghan is from New Zealand.)

At Kiwi 360, it's the Detour: Matter of Time or Matter of Skill. Teams may either crush kiwis to make 12 quarts of juice, or learn to use an asphalt sailboat and go around a track three times. Terence & Sarah finish and head off to meet Phil's dad at the Pit Stop. Yet three other teams start this task before giving up to race the sailboats. I always think that switching tasks is a time waster but some of them master it quickly. Kelly & Christie stick it out and finish crushing kiwis ahead of the switchers. Aja & Ty have been bickering this entire leg of the Race and they don't like crushing fruit; after a while, they switch Detours. Team Long Distance and Team Twelve Oaks both finish their respective Detours in the dark, so it's unclear who's in the lead.

In the end, Marisa & Brooke can't overcome their time deficit and they are eliminated at the Pit Stop. Phil's dad decides they need a hug from him. Phil throws up his hands as if to say: "Oh, Dad."

Final standings:

Team Infidelity – Ken & Tina – Prize: (what else?) a Travelocity trip
Team Co-Dependency – Terence & Sarah
Team Ditzy Divorcees – Kelly & Christy
Team Mom/Son – Toni & Dallas
Team Perky – Nick & Starr
Team Bluto – Andrew & Dan
Team Long Distance – Aja & Ty
Team Twelve Oaks – Marisa & Brooke – PHILIMINATED

Next week: Pulled over for speeding.

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