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Monday, October 20, 2008

Amazing Race 13: Episode 4

This episode was personally exciting for me because the teams travelled to one of my favorite places in the world - New Zealand. Yes, I have actually been there! I found it to be one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen - very pastoral of course with sheep everywhere.

The eight remaining teams all travelled from Bolivia to New Zealand on the same flight so that effectively wiped out any time advantages from the previous leg of the race. Once they arrived in Auckland, they were directed to a marina where they would find a Gordian knot to unravel. My understanding of the Gordian knot story is that the knot was so difficult to untie, it had to finally be sliced through with a sword. In comparison, these knots didn't seem so tricky to untie. Once the knots were undone, two slips of paper were revealed. One had the next destination and the other announced the chance for the first Fast Forward in the race. Completing a Fast Forward task first allows a team to head directly to the Pit Stop.

Ken and Tina and Frat Boys Andrew and Dan battled it out to arrive first at the Fast Forward location with Ken and Tina winning by a slim margin. To earn their express trip to the Pit Stop, the pair had to climb the Auckland Skytower all the way up to the tip top and retrieve a Travelocity Gnome. The last part of the climb was done on the outside of the swaying needle. In my opinion, accomplishing this daunting task deserved a reward. Well done, Ken and Tina.

Everyone else went on to Mount Eden and one of the most fun Roadblock tasks I've seen on the show. At the summit, racers found a group of Maori warriors performing a war chant. Each one had unique markings on his face. The Roadblock task was to match a tattoo on a card with the warrior wearing that tattoo. The first team to arrive actually had to do this in the dark. Fortunately Terence was wearing a head lamp.

While Toni was completing the task, son Dallas commented, "Just don't eat my mom!" Tee hee. The warriors did look fierce. The one stationed at the clue box had a lot of fun growling at Blonde Belle Brooke. Once a successful match was made, the warriors showed their softer side by bumping noses with the racers. Awww.

Next teams travelled to an Auckland hotel rooftop to spot Travelocity Gnomes posed as participants in New Zealand "wish list" activities. Aaagh, the sponsor tie-in rears its ugly head once again. Enough said. When the racers retrieved their gnome, they were directed on to the Detour segment.

Option number one for the Detour was crushing kiwis (remember Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes?) in a vat to make 12 quarts of juice. Racers were then required to drink a tall glass of it. Option number two was for each team member to assemble a blokart (a go kart vehicle with a sail) and ride it for 3 laps around a track. Terence and Sarah and Divorcees Kelly and Christy rocked the kiwi juicing and finished as teams two and three. The remaining teams (except the Blonde Belles) tried making juice but gave it up in frustration and went to the blokarts instead. Dan struggled with assembling his which gave Andrew his chance to shine. Starr crashed and hurt her arm. Uh oh. Is the karma I mentioned last week coming back on her? She managed to complete this leg of the race but stay tuned for further developments as her feud with the Divorcees continues.

The Blonde Belles struggled throughout this episode. They were last to arrive at the marina and had difficulty finding their knot. They had a chance to catch up when Aja and Ty, another team that had fallen behind switched Detour tasks, but alas it wasn't enough. The two sweet natured girls, who wondered if they like blondes in New Zealand, arrived last at the Pit Stop. In tears, they received a hug from the greeter - Phil's Dad! What a wonderful surprise and a nod to all the faithful viewers who were aware that New Zealand was host Phil Keoghan's homeland.


Steve said...

Is it really true that there are a lot of sheep in NZ? I always though it was just one of those cliches about foreign countries. In the same way that half the world still seem to think us brits walk around with stiff upper lips bellowing "What Ho, old, chap, chocks away!" to each other.

Sorry, going slightly off topic there....

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Steve,
When I was there in 1988, I purchased a postcard with this statistic on the back: "the 66 million sheep here outnumber New Zealanders 20 to 1." It may have changed in the last two decades but I clearly remember hillsides dotted with sheep.
Thanks for your comment. I thought your recent article on the town criers was interesting.