From Italy to India, the players faced the most frustrating leg of The Amazing Race so far. One couple makes a great use of a Fast Forward, while another (right) reconsiders whether they should even be a couple anymore.
This week the teams faced the most frustrating leg of The Amazing Race so far. The teams had to make their way from Western, civilized Europe to the crowded chaotic streets of the world’s second most densely populated country – India. The difficulty they encountered there, in communicating and navigating their way, would make anyone rethink a planned vacation to the sub-continent.
The teams started off from the scenic Italian village of Sant-Agata Bolognese. Frank and Margarita were first, and they decided right off that they would go for the Fast Forward pass. I personally don’t think they could have picked a better time to use it. It was an intelligent move. My opinion of their team’s chances has risen considerably, in light of the great idea Frank had last episode, when he hired a cab driver to lead him to the pit stop, rather than have to figure out the winding streets and Italian map. Also, Frank’s extreme competitiveness, although it makes him abrasive, is definitely going to be an asset as the race gets tougher.
Team Guido left next – the envelope they received contained a detour; they could “glide or ride.” The first option was to fly around on a sailplane, and then take a quick taxi ride. The second option was to take one of several bikes and ride all the way across town. The catch for the glider trip was that there was only one pilot, so it was first come, first serve. Kevin & Drew as well as Rob & Brennan decided on the “glide” option, while all the remaining teams went for the bikes. Both options didn’t open until 9 in the morning, so the teams in the lead (again) completely lost their advantage as they waited for opening time. Once again these bottlenecks kill any advantage, or any purpose, of being the team in the lead! I personally think that if the producers knew that no one could even start their tasks until the morning, they should have extended the mandatory 12-hour wait to 16 hours so that the teams in the lead could start off IN THE LEAD! If anything, the lead teams were at a disadvantage, because they had to wake up before dawn and wait around pointlessly while the trailing teams caught up on their sleep.
Since Frank and Margarita decided to go for the Fast Forward pass, they went to Ferra castle, located 50 miles away. The task was to get in a boat and row around the castle moat to find the FF pass hidden in a crevice in the castle wall. They found the envelope without problems, and discovered the location of the next pit stop. “India, here we come!” said Margarita, as they made their way to the airport to book a flight to New Delhi, and then on to Agra, India.
Back at the glider airport, Rob & Brennan were first in line at opening time. Rob got onboard the tow plane, while Brennan strapped himself into the engine-less glider. The glider was towed into the air, and the cable unhooked. Rob was having a great time, enjoying the incredible vista in the quiet, tranquil cockpit of the glider. The pilot did a few hair-raising maneuvers just to spice things up a bit. The plane landed and Drew & Kevin took their turn. After their glider trips were finished, the teams were told to get to the Red Fort market in New Delhi, they took taxis to the train station, then they had to decide which airport they would try to leave from.
Back at the “ride” option, Joe & Bill finished first, followed by Nancy & Emily and Lenny & Karyn. At the train station, Rob and Brennan and Team Guido boarded trains for Rome, assuming that would be the best airport for getting a flight to India. Kevin did some asking around, and found they could also get a flight that evening from Milan. As Kevin was getting confirmation for their seats (as well as Lenny & Karyn’s and Nancy & Emily’s) the train bound for Milan was getting ready to depart. Drew raced to the train, and then stood in the door and haggled with the conductor to stall the train long enough for Kevin to finish his phone call.
The teams all arrived in New Delhi at basically the same time (with the exception of Frank and Margarita of course, who got the Fast Forward). They then got on taxis to get to the Red Fort market. Apparently, taxis in New Delhi Aren’t like in the U.S. It’s more like a small private shuttle service, in which multiple passengers ride at the same time, and share the fare. It was really chaotic. For some reason, Lenny & Karyn and Rob & Brennan’s taxi was pulled over, and they were asked to pay for everyone’s fare! There was some angry discussion with the drivers, and both teams lost a few precious moments.
Team Guido were the first ones to reach the flag at the market. In it they found a roadblock. The challenge was for one team member to take a rickshaw and find a shopkeeper inside the market. They had the address for the shop, but that didn’t help much considering there were no addresses posted. The market was unbelievably crowded and chaotic, and the throng of people and confusion put the teams under much stress. Joe and Bill found the shopkeeper first, and their next clue was a figurine of the Taj Mahal, and they were instructed to get to the Taj Khema hotel. Bill and Joe had a real advantage, because they knew that the Taj Mahal is located in Agra, over a hundred miles away. The other teams assumed the hotel was in the same town, and desperately asked directions to a hotel that most of the local people didn’t even know existed.
After receiving the clue, Nancy was really freaking out, trying to ask the hundreds of people surrounding her rickshaw where the hotel was, and getting no answer at all. Drew and Kevin, as well as Lenny and Karyn, hopped taxis that they thought would take them to the hotel. They were shocked when they realized that their drivers had no clue where the hotel was, and were simply driving them into town so they could ask directions. Karyn was freaking out, yelling at the driver “You lied to me!” She also kept rolling down her window and stupidly asking the hoards of people where the hotel was. It didn’t phase here that none of them spoke English, and were simply wanting a handout from what I’m sure they assumed were rich westerners, with the camera crews and all. I guess she thought that if she just yelled it enough someone would know where it was. I guess if they wouldn’t have been too stupid to recognize the figurine of the Taj Mahal, they could have asked anyone, who would have instantly told them that Agra was where they needed to go. But that’s just going on the assumption that one of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD (!) is slightly more well known than some obscure hotel. Eventually, however, the teams found out they had to get to Agra.
At the pit stop in Agra, Joe & Bill arrived second, followed by Rob & Brennan. With all the delays, Drew and Kevin were very happy to find out they were only in fourth place. Nancy cried most of the way to Agra, and she and Emily seemed completely certain that they would be eliminated. They were ecstatic when they found out they had made it in second-to-last place.
Later that night Lenny & Karyn pulled up, feeling and looking miserable. During the stressful episodes back in New Delhi, Karyn had complained that she was doing all the work. I guess she would have thought it helpful if Lenny would have joined her in panicking and yelling. When they were informed that they were last, and eliminated from the race, Karyn wasted no time before saying that she doesn’t think their relationship is going to work. She said, "I will walk away with some really good memories, but at the same time, I would be lying if I didn't say this is going to take a toll on us as a team." She also said they were “incompatible” because she is more competitive than he is. I was surprised to find out that competitiveness, not communication, is the cornerstone of any lasting relationship. It was obvious that she was blaming Lenny for their loss. Even though Lenny did screw up back at the Eiffel tower, I don’t think it was his fault at all this time, it was just luck of the draw.
I kind of felt bad for Lenny, but then I realized that he could do way better than Karyn with her whining, controlling ways. I think he and Margarita would make a good couple, if she would just dump her jerk.