Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Amazing Race update – Running out of Lucknow

The five remaining teams started out from Khwai, Botswana and started the long journey to Lucknow, India: first to Francistown, Botswana, then to Mumbai, India and finally into Lucknow the next morning. The only thing worth noting here is that Gretchen was trying to purchase a backpack at the airport with the $125 received at the start of the leg and the cheapest was, well, too expensive. I think she left with a child’s backpack.

Once in Lucknow, the teams needed to take a taxi and go to a shrine for the next clue. The taxis there are pre-paid and some wild haggling ensued at the airport. Once at the shrine, female team members needed to cover their heads before proceeding inside. The next clue instructed teams to head to a steel factory – caution: Yield ahead. From the shrine, teams take a horse-drawn cart to the factory which appears to make hundreds of metal boxes. Ron & Kelly arrive first and foolishly choose not to yield Rob & Amber, who arrive seconds behind them. For once I agree with boorish Rob who calls Team America “not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree” (although he’s not exactly Mensa material.)

This is the Roadblock: one team member must search through hundreds of metal boxes to find one of ten clues hidden. Amber finds hers first, then Kelly, and they both head off. The other teams arrive, find the clues, and travel by bicycle rickshaw to the next clue at a gas station a mile away. It seems that any mode of transportation can only travel as fast as a lumbering cow and teams slowly wind their way through the packed streets of Lucknow.

At the Detour, it’s Solid or Liquid. Teams can choose to go to a quarry, break up some coal, and transport 175 lbs. to a charcoal store; or they can take a tea cart to an office building and track down five people and serve them tea. I would have assumed that the younger teams would pick the strenuous but straightforward Solid task, but all teams opted to deliver tea. All teams arrived and departed the office building and completed the Detour in the same order they started. Therefore, Team Survivor finished first and received the next clue before Team Codger – who fell way behind at the Roadblock – even started the Detour.

There’s only five minutes left in the show so this must be the Pit Stop, but when Rob & Amber open the next clue it only instructs them to “meet Phil on the roof” of a nearby apartment building. Hmmm... By this point, all the teams are visibly exhausted from lugging backpacks through the crowded streets while serving hot tea. Team Survivor makes it to the rooftop first and there’s Phil and the bathmat, but no traditional Indian greeter or location box reading “India.” Hmmm...what’s this all about?

Phil does not say “Rob and Amber, you’re Team #1.” Instead, he says “welcome to Lucknow.” Huh? Then he says: “You probably thought this was the Pit Stop, but it’s not. I have your next clue – you’re still racing.” It’s a twister-oo! It’s the old “to be continued” trick! Next week, all five teams continue the Amazing Race.

Assumed positions of teams after first half of this leg:

#1 – Team Survivor – Rob & Amber
#2 – Team America – Ron & Kelly
#3 – Team Africa – Uchenna & Joyce
#4 – Team Showtunes – Lynn & Alex
#5 – Team Codger – Meredith & Gretchen


Pat said...

I was disappointed nobody took the coal task. As a result both the roadblock and detour tasks were actually the same; look for one of ten items (clues, people to serve tea), among many. Not very high entertainment value, IMHO. Gretchen really fouled up big time, although I can't help wondering if the producers really made that task fair; clearly women were at a disadvantage because they couldn't reach as high as the men.

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