Friday, January 04, 2008

Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?

Not me!

Hi guys! Welcome to the eighth leg of this Amazing Race! I know this recap is tardy and I apologize as I was out of town for the first half of this week, but here we are and it’s getting down to final few. It’s getting better every week!

We start back in Florence, Italy, which is, as Phil tells us the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Florence is one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever seen, and it is such a shame that the racers don’t get a minute to look at the Duomo Cathedral or Michelangelo’s David statue. Oh well, we’re in the race to race, so let’s race! Nick and Grandpa arrived first last week with their double lame tattoos, so they get to head out first at 10:12 PM. The clue tells them to fly to Mumbai, India – another reason to stay in Florence – and travel by auto-rickshaw to a newspaper stand to purchase a newspaper that has a clue hidden in it as an advertisement. They set out, immediately find a computer, locate a flight and use a phone to buy tickets. Done! They go back to the hotel to sleep some more until their flight leaves at 6:50 AM. Nice work, guys!

I would be on this team tonight.

The Babies set out next and tell us how embarrassed they are that they acted like such screaming whiny idiots and that they are making a concerted effort to hold it together and be mature from now on. Good luck with that, psychos. They get in a cab and head straight for the airport. No internet for them. Moronald and Christina are next and Moronald gives another one of his meaningless speeches, comparing the Renaissance of Italy to the Renaissance of himself as a new man trying to make his daughter proud. Oh puke. They stop at a hotel to use the computer and phone and get their reservations taken care of in short order. The Hippies are fourth and remind us that they are going to stay mellow. And last but not least are Jem and Rio, braving the looming danger of the Speed Bump. Hang in there, little Rock ‘n Roll cartoon dolls! Jem tells us that she feels like she’s waking up from a bad dream because it’s so rare that she and Rio aren’t in perfect sync and we get a flashback of the car fight with Rio screaming at her to stop the car right now. If you’ll recall that’s right before Rio destroyed the car entirely. But that’s all in the past and now they are ready to face the future, including the dreaded Speed Bump.

The Babies arrive at the airport, which is closed. Nate takes the words out of my mouth, saying, “Who would think that the airport would be freakin’ closed?” Especially in Italy, home of the all-night party. I would have been less surprised to see the airport closed at one in the afternoon when everyone goes home to nurse their hangovers. Moronald and Christina arrive, followed by The Hippies, and everyone comes to the grim realization that they will be sitting on the ground outside until the airport gets around to opening. Jem and Rio soon join them and at 4:30 AM the doors finally open. The Babies and The Hippies practically trample each other trying to get to the ticket counter first, but the joke is on all of them because that doesn’t open for another hour.

Nick and Grandpa Donald wake up much better rested than anyone else and get into a cab for the airport. Jem and Rio decide to go against the grain – imagine that – and get into the Lufthansa line while everyone else waits in the Air France line. Nick, Grandpa, Moronald and Christina all pick up their pre-reserved tickets and The Babies manage to buy some at the airport. This leaves The Hippies and Jem and Rio still looking around to find their passage to India. Jem and Rio end up arranging something that arrives just a few minutes later than the first flight, but The Hippies are going to be a couple of hours behind. Jem and Rio decide that it will be a good strategic move for them at this juncture to pretend to be all worried and distressed. I’m not exactly sure what affect this is supposed to have, but Rio says that they are relying a lot on performance art right now. I guess they don’t want The Hippies to discover that there is an earlier flight than the one they purchased.

Witness the Gothic performance art.

The Air France flight with the first three teams on it is, of course, delayed in Paris. Never fly Air France. They lost my luggage once and didn’t find it for several days, but to make up for their mistake they gave me an Air France t-shirt so that I could advertise for them and also an overnight kit that had a condom in it. I would have preferred my belongings, but the condom was a nice second – especially since all I had to wear was an Air France t-shirt. Anyway, Jem and Rio get to Mumbai first and hop into an auto-rickshaw. The Air France teams are close behind and so the four teams get to the newspaper stand around midnight and have to wait around, once again, for something to open. Here is a very disturbing image and one of the main reasons I would not want to vacation in India. I would have no choice but to cry the entire time.

Maybe they'll let the racers sleep over.

The racers find a bench to get comfy on for the next six hours and meanwhile The Hippies are landing at the airport. As the take their auto-rickshaw ride, either Rachel is getting ready to do a holdup, or India is really smelly.

"Don't taze me, bro!"

Since The Babies also remarked on the stench I’m going with the latter. After what I’m sure is an extremely restful night on the bench the teams snatch up their newspapers at 6 AM and begin to search for their next clue. Nick decides to stand near another team to watch where they’re looking in case they find the clue first.

Jem and Rio are first to find the clue, which tells them to travel again by auto-rickshaw to a tailor shop where the owner will give them the next clue. Moronald and Christina find the clue next and The Babies are starting to lose it because there is a little dog jumping all around them while they search the newspaper. The Hippies find the clue and take off, followed shortly by Nick and Grandpa, so of course, The Babies are ready to rip each other’s eyes out.

Wanted: Two Lesbian Ministers
(I wonder how they would have done...)

Apparently this tailor shop is a little hard to find because even though Nick and Grandpa left after everyone but The Babies, they are the first to find the tailor and get the clue. Also at the tailor shop is a giant Speed Bump sign, so as soon as Jem and Rio get here they are in for it. The clue is a Detour which means a visit from our beloved Phil.

"Can you smellies get out of my way?
I have a Detour to explain!"

This morning’s choices are Paste ‘Em or Thread ‘Em. In Paste ‘Em the teams have to paste a six panel Bollywood movie poster onto the wall of an underpass. Apparently this is a very precise task and not easy to perform with the unwieldy panels. In Thread ‘Em the teams have to go to a flower market and thread 108 flowers into a wedding garland using a specific color pattern and present the garland to a bridegroom to receive the next clue.

Nick and Grandpa decide to Paste ‘Em because Grandpa used to work in the printing business and is familiar with multi-panel posters. Moronald and Christina are next and also choose Paste ‘Em. The Babies still can’t find the ad in the newspaper and Jem and Rio can’t find the tailor shop. The Hippies choose Thread ‘Em because Rachel works in the flower business and is certain she can quickly make a suitable garland. When Jem and Rio finally arrive at the tailor shop they learn that they have to take time out for their Speed Bump and go master a bunch of yoga moves before they can do the Detour. Rio philosophizes that with all of the stress they are under from the race it will be nice to take a break and do some yoga. Way to stay positive, Rio!

The Babies at long last find the elusive ad in the newspaper and climb into an auto-rickshaw, now way behind the other teams. Moronald and Christina locate the underpass and spread out their movie poster to take a look at how it needs to be hung. The Hippies get to the flower market and sum up the process for threading a garland, thinking they’ll be able to do it in just a few minutes. Right away Moronald makes the crucial mistake of hanging his first panel so high on the wall that he can barely reach it, which is going to make matching and hanging the remaining panels much more difficult than it needs to be. Christina tries to help by giving Moronald a wooden crate to stand on, but it smashes apart right under his feet. Moronald starts yelling at Christina for skimping on paste, as if that is the problem here.

"Where's the paste, you imbecile?"

The Babies reach the tailor shop and choose Thread ‘Em, and then I am startled to witness Nate being very sweet to Jen in the cab on the way to the flower market. He actually tells her very reassuringly that they’re going to be okay. This is shocking.

Proof of the unbelievable.

Jem and Rio progress smoothly through their yoga moves and Rio tells us that watching Jem twist and contort was a highlight for him and probably for the instructor as well. I forget that these two are a couple because they totally act like brother and sister. Then after Rio says this I’d like to go back to forgetting they are a couple. Ew. Back at the underpass Nick and Grandpa arrive and spread their poster out to start pasting. The Hippies move right along with their threading and Jem and Rio finish up their yoga session.

Rio misunderstands "downward dog."

The Babies lament in their cab that they know they are in last place and Jen says that even though Jem and Rio have a speed bump, she thinks they have some kind of supernatural powers and they’ll stay ahead of them anyway. LOL, Jen.

Moronald is still yelling at Christina because the poster is too high and he needs a stool to stand on. Christina reminds him that she tried to help by giving him something to stand on but he broke it. Across the way Nick and Grandpa are hanging the poster at a reasonable height and having no trouble at all. Jem and Rio return to the tailor shop to collect their clue and choose Thread ‘Em. Then in the cab on the way over they are delighted to find themselves in a dark car because it makes them feel cozy, like they are in a coffin. I’m going to go ahead and leave that one alone. As Nick and Grandpa’s Bollywood poster is approved, Christina finally decides she’s had enough and orders Moronald to stop yelling at her. Yay, Christina! Stand up to a bully and he’ll back down! The next clue simply tells Nick and Grandpa to proceed to a traffic island to get another clue. AND caution: U-Turn ahead. This is the second and last U-Turn opportunity in the race. Remember, this is where teams can choose to select another team to be sent back to complete the second half of the Detour that they didn’t do.

Over in the flower market, The Babies get into an insult match because Jen doesn’t seem to be threading the flowers up to Nate’s standards. He starts telling her she should know how to do it since she’s a girl, which causes her to fire back that he should have known how to row a boat since he’s a guy. Uh oh, we’re resorting to the low blows now. What happened to the tender couple from the cab ride?

Seconds before the fangs sprout and the
smoke shoots out of her ears.

The Hippies finish their garland and get it approved, so they’re off to find the bridegroom. This may sound awful, but when I see the bridegroom I just keep wondering where his family is hiding the bride they kidnapped for him. Sorry, I watch too much Discovery Times.

"You must hurry before my bride escapes."

Jem and Rio arrive at the flower market and discover The Babies still there to their delight. They are back in this! And they are totally calm and centered after all the yoga so they have no trouble threading the flowers. The Babies, of course, panic that Jem and Rio have caught up to them and proceed to shred each other as a result. Jen says she can’t believe Nate would bring up her sexuality and I do a double take. Her sexuality? Isn’t she his girlfriend? Oh, she means the fact that she’s a girl and should be able to sew. Never mind. Moronald and Christina are having more and more trouble with their poster and Moronald starts yelling at the judge that he’s being unfair, which is certain to help things. Christina finally makes the executive decision to take the whole poster down and start over, and that she’ll be doing it herself. Good call.

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Christina does a great job putting the poster back up at a normal height and they get to move on to the next clue. Who’s your daddy? The Hippies get to the clue first and decide not to U-Turn anybody. TK explains that U-Turning a team when you are already in the lead will just antagonize people and make you a target. The next clue tells them to travel to Bharatgas, a gas depot to get their next clue. The clues tonight suck. They are mostly just telling them to head for the next clue. There’s been one activity so far. Nick and Grandpa do not U-Turn anyone and neither do Moronald and Christina, although Christina says that if they had beaten Nick and Grandpa they would have U-Turned them.

Nick and Grandpa arrive at Bharatgas and discover that the next clue is a Road Block. Hooray! So one team member has to load a pedal cart with six tanks of propane gas and pedal to two different addresses listed on their order slips. They must deliver three tanks apiece to each address and collect a receipt from each residence as proof of delivery. At the end they have to give a foreman their delivery slips and receipts to get the next clue. Nick inexplicably claims to be the team member with good navigational skills and I keep remembering Lithuania and the missing hair salon. Anyway, he mercifully takes this task and doesn’t send Grandpa directly into stroke-land. Moronald also decides to do it, hernia and all, and TK does it as well.

Back at the flower market The Babies have finished their garland, but aren’t sure what to do with it. Jen actually tries to have an elephant take the garland with its trunk before they figure out that they hand the wedding garland to the guy getting married.

"Congrats on your nuptials, Jumbo."

Jem and Rio finish right on their heels. The gas delivery boys are each having trouble finding their first addresses. When Nick finds his first location, he has to carry the three tanks up the stairs five floors – ouch. TK only has to go to the third floor. Moronald finds a guy who offers to take him to his destination, but ends up just hitching a ride on top of the propane tanks and bringing Moronald back to where he started. HA!

"Yes, one more block this way, I promise."

Jem and Rio actually somehow beat The Babies to the U-Turn sign and begin to debate whether or not they should turn someone around. Rio makes an executive decision and announces to us that they are exercising the U-Turn! It looks like this is the end of the line for The Babies, but then Rio decides to U-Turn Nick and Grandpa Donald, who are well ahead of them already. Rio explains that Nick and Grandpa are usually one of the last teams and that they want to hold at least one team back for certain. Oops. The Babies are elated to discover that they have not been U-Turned and set off for the gas depot. Nate starts getting all mushy again, telling Jen he loves her. These two are so schizo.

TK is first to finish delivering propane and he and Rachel get the final clue telling them to make their way to the next Pit Stop. They have to travel 14 miles by taxi to Bandra Fort overlooking the Arabian Sea. That sounds so beautiful but then I remember we are in India. I mean, Pinter's parents won't even come to India and they're Indian. The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Nick finishes next so he and Grandpa also head off to Bandra Fort. Nick says he’s dehydrated and starts feeling sick in the cab. Moronald finishes, so he and Christina get into a cab and just now Jem and Rio are pulling up to Bharatgas. Rio decides to deliver. When The Babies arrive Jen decides to do deliveries. I hope Nate is proud to be the only guy to make his woman do the heavy lifting.

Nick’s cab driver has to pull over so that Nick can puke on the side of the road. This is what I picture myself doing in India in between all of the crying.

Let it out, Nick.

The Hippies arrive at Phil’s mat where a little Indian man enthusiastically welcomes them to Mumbai. For coming in first these two win yet another getaway from Travelocity, this time to St. Maarten. The Hippies tell us that it’s starting to set in that they may actually win a million dollars, which TK says would be “freakin’ awesome.” Indeed.

Calm down, you two.

Back out on the streets, Rio has his second collision with his delivery cart when a passerby points out to him how to use the brake. Rio was under the impression that there was no brake, which is why he was colliding. Oh, Rio. A bunch of children in uniforms decide to run alongside his cart to take him to his first location. Jen arrives at her first residence and only has to go to the second floor AND gets an elevator to use! How is that fair compared to Nick hoofing it all the way to the fifth floor? Well, she makes up for it by forgetting to take the receipt she has to give to the foreman. Nick and Grandpa are team number two. Those tattoos, I’m telling you.

As Jen arrives at her second drop-off, she runs into Rio who is doing his first drop-off. This place also has an elevator and Rio refuses to share it with Jen so she has to wait at the bottom while he takes his tanks up. Then when he gets to his floor he won’t shut the elevator door so that it can come back down to Jen. After screaming up the shaft for Rio to close the door, Jen gives up and runs up the stairs to close it herself. When she gets her final three tanks up to the fifth floor, the lady who lives there tells her that she has to take a receipt with her, reminding her that she forgot to get one at her first delivery and now she has to go back. Moronald and Christina come in third. Jen fetches her first receipt and makes it back to Nate so they start off for the Pit Stop. Someone on the street tells them that they can run to Bandra Fort in two minutes, so they start running around the street like crazy people.

Meanwhile Rio makes it back to the foreman only to discover that he left the delivery slips with the recipients of the gas instead of bringing them back to the foreman like he was supposed to. D’oh! Back he goes to reclaim the slips. The Babies realize that they have been misdirected, causing Jen to go into her hyena screeching mode. Rio makes it back so he and Jem jump into a cab while The Babies get a cab of their own and Jen bawls her head off. She claims once again that Jem and Rio must have witch powers to be able to stay this close with them given all of their obstacles. So here we are just like last week in a neck and neck race to the mat between The Babies and Jem and Rio. The Babies snap at each other until they reach the mat and discover that they aren’t last and then they get kissy again. They are so solid.

Aw, the music gets sad as Jem and Rio jog their way up to the mat. They are last and this time there is no redemption.

Jem girls.

They are both eliminated. BUT, Phil tells them that he would give them the award for the most fashionable team ever on The Amazing Race. That’s a very sweet pretend consolation prize, Phil. Jem and Rio are thrilled to hear this and then Rio tells us that as exotic as they may look on the surface (?) they are still just a couple of Goth kids from Louisville, Kentucky. Actually, a couple of Goth kids from Louisville, Kentucky is exactly what they look like to me. Jem says that this has been a wonderful experience and even though the race is over for them, as long as Rio is in her life the adventure will never end. Aw, that’s nice. And true, I’m sure. Truly outrageous.

Next week, Nick is forced to participate again as Grandpa tires himself right out. Also TK and Rachel do a disappearing act and no one has any clue where they are. What could all this mean?

So how did you like this episode? What did you think of Jem and Rio fighting to the bitter end?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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