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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amazing Race 13: Episode Nine

I missed writing about two Amazing Race episodes. Here's a brief recap of episode seven: Divorcees Kelly and Christy were eliminated. Nick and Starr came in first. In episode eight: Sarah and Terence were eliminated largely because they went for the fast forward at Terence's insistence only to find he couldn't handle eating the sheep butt they were served. Nick and Starr who were successful at eating the local delicacy finished first once again.

Now on to Episode Nine and this week's burning questions: Can Nick and Starr maintain their winning streak? Will Dan and Andrew continue the race in stocking feet?

Previously, Dan and Andrew made the strategic error of leaving their shoes behind at a puppet theatre when changing into a cow costume. They wrongly assumed that they could retrieve their shoes later when returning the costume. At the beginning of this leg of the race, they have donned hotel slippers purloined from a maid's cart. Fortunately for them all the teams are stuck waiting at the airport for the first flight to their next destination: Russia. Dallas helpfully points the Frat Boys to an airport shoe store. Everyone knows that airport shops don't offer bargain prices. The boys take a risk and purchase the cheapest shoes they can find figuring that prices will only be higher in an expensive city like Moscow. Surprisingly, we didn't see the Frat Boys doing any "begging" as teams on previous editions of the Amazing Race have done when in dire financial straits. I would have thought the hotel slippers would have made someone feel sorry for them.

The racers' first task in Moscow is an easy one. Locate a monastery and light a candle. Easy if you can find a cab driver who knows the way. For Toni and Dallas and Nick and Starr no problem. Not so for the Frat Boys and Ken and Tina who are lost until their cab drivers stop to ask for directions.

In the lead, Toni and Dallas proceed with ease on to their next destination, a decomissioned military base. This time Nick and Starr do not as their cab driver has no idea how to get there and is unable to communicate with them in English. This causes the brother/sister team to fall into last place as Ken and Tina and Dan and Andrew arrive at the military base ahead of them. There teams find a Detour choice of Boots or Borscht. Both tasks require teams to don military uniforms including traditional foot wrappings which take the place of socks inside their boots.

True to form Andrew struggles with wrapping his feet correctly. In exasperation, the boys take off their uniforms and head over to the kitchen area to serve borscht (beet soup) to 75 soldiers. Once there they realize they were required to do this task in uniform so they go back to their starting point. Meanwhile mother and son team Toni and Dallas have easily completed the Boots task of marching the grounds with a troop of Russian soldiers. Ken and Tina also have no trouble with the task and take the time to compliment each other on how good they looked in their uniforms. That was a nice moment to share. Coming from behind Nick and Starr make up time by also completing the task without a hitch.

Unlike Andrew and Dan who continue to experience difficulties. Once Andrew gets his uniform on, the Frat Boys decide to complete the Boots task counting on Andrew's experience in marching band to carry them forward. Unfortunately, Dan has not had marching experience and he puts on an unintentionally hilarious performance trying to coordinate his arm and leg movements. Even the stoic Russian soldiers crack up laughing at his antics. The drill sergeant says, "Nyet, nyet" (no, no) over and over until the Frat Boys decide to head back to the kitchen. There they enjoy serving the soldiers using their Russian language skills to say "Anna Kournikova. Maria Sharapova." Ha, ha.

At the Roadblock the teams' task requires some heavy lifting - 50 bags of flour each weighing 55 pounds have to be unloaded from a truck and brought into a bakery. I wondered how would the divorcees or even Sarah and Terence have managed this task? Dallas takes it and powers through under his mother's anxious eye. Not surprisingly Ken takes the task and falls back on his football training to soldier through the pain and fatigue. Inside the bakery, a woman oversees the stacking of the flour bags and receives a kiss on both cheeks from Ken when she hands him his clue. The race is on to the Pit Stop and this time Dallas and Toni greet Phil first.

Back at the bakery, Nick takes the task for the brother/sister team and sets a slower pace for himself carrying a single bag at a time. He finishes ahead of the Frat Boys but he and Starr lose time while looking for a cab to get to the Pit Stop. Dan takes the task and redeems himself with a good performance. The Frat Boys would have come in third rather than fourth if only they didn't come up short with cab fare for their driver. Dan offers the driver his shoes but he isn't interested. When Dan gives him all the money he has the driver finally accepts and drives away.

Amusingly Phil tells Dan and Andrew at the mat that he's sorry to tell them "it's a non-elimination leg of the race". Their relief is palpable. Next week's preview shows Dan struggling once again with coordination on a task and announces that one team loses their passports and money. Yikes!

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