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The Amazing Race 5, Episode 7 MVPs and LVPs: The Fight for Cargo Classby Betsy Wasser -- 08/24/2004
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Wow, that was another exciting episode of The Amazing Race. I swear, this show gets better every single week. In an action-packed and sometimes tense trek through Africa, some of the teams seemed to fall apart, while others rose to the occasion. That means, of course, that it’s time to hand out the First Class and Cargo Class awards for another week. Let’s get to it.
I can’t even pretend that the winner of this week’s First Class award is a mystery. Who deserves it more than Chip and Kim? From start to finish, Chip and Kim ran a smart, strategic leg of the race, and at the same time, let their own natural cheer, exuberance, and good nature shine through. When the conflict between Charla and Colin heated up (and believe me, we’ll be talking about that more later), Kim had the smartest attitude about it – she and Chip teamed up with Colin and Christie, probably because they’re much stronger racers than Charla and Mirna. But she and Chip didn’t get involved in the infighting, preferring instead to let these two strong teams argue and bicker, and maybe knock each other out. The dynamic due also proved themselves to be strong in challenges once again – Chip is indeed “the Michael Jordan” of eating challenges, scarfing down that ostrich egg like it was nothing. And their performance in the “Busy” challenge was a model of First Class behavior. They were polite and friendly to the locals who helped them find the home to deliver the chairs to. And when the locals tried to get them to buy cushions to go with the chairs, another team might have thrown a fit about wasting time, but Chip and Kim just laughed and kept on going. And if you can complete a challenge, then take a break to sit down and have some fruit with the locals and still come in first, then you are a force to be reckoned with.
Brandon and Nicole had a really hard time this leg of the race. The bus driver seems to have tried to take advantage of them from the beginning – while the other teams were charged $5 to ride the bus, Brandon, Nicole, and the twins paid $40. Unless that $40 included bus fare for their camera crews, they got ripped off from the beginning. Then, the two teams tried to get the driver to leave right away and offered him $100 to do so. He tried to negotiate for more money, which is his right to do, I guess. But when the teams felt uncomfortable and wanted to get off the bus, a bunch of men blocked their way. That would be really disconcerting. Well, the next thing you know, the bus has run out of gas, and the driver demanded that Brandon and Nicole pay for it. And when the bus finally arrived at the village, the driver would not leave Brandon and Nicole alone until they paid him another ten dollars. Nicole tried to ignore him and he hit her on the shoulder. She finally threw the money on the ground.
Is this Cargo Class behavior? I’m on the fence. The locals definitely took advantage of Brandon and Nicole and tried to squeeze every last dime out of them. And he tried to physically intimidate them, both by forcing them to stay on the bus, by getting in their faces afterwards, and by poking Nicole. I don’t blame them for being upset, frustrated, and stressed. On the other hand, a reader emailed me to tell me that it is common for tourists to be charged more for certain things – like bus fare – in Kenya, so the driver wasn’t doing anything unusual. And by showing up on the bus and offering $100 cash to get to the destination faster, Brandon and Nicole basically painted big signs that said, “SUCKER” on their foreheads. And Nicole’s throwing the money on the ground was without a doubt a bratty thing to do. Brandon and Nicole were put in a bad situation this week, and they didn’t handle it especially well. But I can’t honestly say I would have handled it any better. I’m giving them a pass this week.
Now, what about the rivalry between Colin and Christie and Charla and Mirna? We saw quite a lot of Cargo Class behavior from both teams. Let’s start with Colin and Christie. Christie stood in the doorway and attempted to block Charla and Mirna from entering. That was not only obnoxious, but it didn’t even work especially well – Charla was able to just duck right under her arm. Once that altercation was over with, Colin was all set to book flights for his group on the Swiss Air flight that didn’t arrive until the next day. I’m not exactly an expert on flights in Africa, but I would have certainly tried to find a better deal than that. Then, at the ostrich egg eating challenge, Colin totally fell apart. Remember what I said about Christie’s difficulties with the caviar? It’s a race, and it’s for a lot of money. Suck it up and eat it as quickly as possible. That same advice goes for Colin, too. Eating what amounted to two-dozen chicken eggs had to have been really gross, but come on, Colin. If Christie can do it, so can you.
After Christie blocked their way into the airport, an indignant Charla complained, “as if she has control over the whole airport!” Too right… but the same could have been said of Mirna just a few minutes later when she was booking the Gulf Air tickets for her group. She went as far as to close the blinds to make it look like the office was closed. Then, when Colin and company caught on that there might be a better deal at Gulf Air. Mirna told the representative not to help them because they are “violent.” In this day and age, airport security is no light matter. What Mirna said was really sleazy. Then, when she and Charla got their tickets, they gloated obnoxiously to the other teams. Too bad their gloating was premature – the rest of the teams got on the very same flight.
So between the bad behavior of these two rival teams, which one edges out the other to win the Cargo Class award? Well guess what – they both deserve it. We have our very first ever Cargo Class tie.
Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again, and that the teams will take a tip from the Chip and Kim race manual. We’ll find out soon if anyone else follows their lead, both as racers and as First Class racers.
Who do you think deserved Cargo Class more – Colin and Christie or Charla and Mirna? Email Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline Betsy Wasser at firstname.lastname@example.org with your opinon.
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