From The Cutting Room Floor - TAR 30.9.10

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The Amazing Race, Season 30, Episode 9 & 10: "The First Rule of the Amazing Race Club" - #TeamExtreme Recap

What a week on the Amazing Race!! Bahrain and Thailand were really incredible places to travel. We never would have found Bahrain on a map prior to this race and are grateful to have experienced it. P.S. - I'm still trying to track down some King of Halwa... And Thailand. Oh, Thailand! I can't wait to go back!! My husband spent quite a bit of time in Bangkok, but had never been to Chiang Mai. So we'll definitely be planning a trip back! The tasks in both these legs of these races were so much fun, but the elephant task was by far the most unforgettable.

Leg 9: Baharain

How did Brittany & Lucas loose a passport?

Our travel from Zimbabwe to Bahrain was brutal. Our original itinerary had us on an Emirates flight with only one connection, but Brittany and Lucas found an earlier flight on a cheaper airline. It had more connections, allowed for less sleep, but landed an hour earlier. So they took it. In the end, we were all able to get on that flight.

We had to pull our passports out a few times just for certain connecting flights. Don't know exact details but, when they got on our flight from Addis Ababa to Dubai, Brittany sat in a seat of vomit with a dirty diaper in the back of it. She quickly jumped up and switched seats. Sounded like she usually takes Lucas' passport right when they sit down, so I think that things got lost in the shuffle...quite literally.

We figured there had to be a non-elimination leg coming up and weren't sure if this was going to be it. So, even though we knew they didn't make their flight, when we last saw Lucas and Brittany it sounded like Lucas was running back to the plane to look for his passport. We figured there was a good chance they might make it in time to run the leg and stay in the race if it were a NEL. All of us just took to racing hard like usual.

How did you finish the log challenge before the boys?

We were asked to get 300 lbs of lumber to offset the scale. Kristi and I combined are about 15 lbs shy of 300 pounds, so we knew it wasn't that much lumber. Kristi figured if we dragged lumber we could make fewer trips and get more lumber to the scale more quickly.

We made two quick trips with 4 pieces of lumber. Kristi wanted to make one more trip, but I was pretty certain we had 300 lbs, so we tried it and nailed. The Indy boys way overshot how much lumber they needed.

We heard there was an unaired task? What was it?

Yes, this task was called "Who knows your partner best?" It took place on a ship in Bahrain Bay. One partner was on a plank, the other was inside the ship out of eyesight. Teams were asked 3 questions and without communicating with one another, we had to hold up a board with Kristi's name or my name on it, stating which of us the question applied to. The first question was "Who has carried the most weight in the race?" "Who is the first to quit on a task?" and "Who knows their partner best?" Every time you got an answer wrong, the person on the plank had to dive in the water. Then you had to start over. It could have been easy to get stuck there all day.

Well, apparently 12 years of friendship isn't enough to actually get to know a person... We got each question wrong on the first attempt and correct on the second attempt. On the first and last questions we were both trying to be nice and flatter one another. The second question: "Who is the first to quit on a task?" is a dumb question to ask me and Kristi.

The correct answer is NEITHER! But, we quickly realized that it didn't matter if our answers were "right," they just had to match. We got each question wrong, but on the second time that it was asked, I kept my answer the same and Kristi changed. Had we both kept our answers the same, oh boy...

With the unforeseen drama with the passport, there wasn't enough time to air this task. While it was pretty cool, I don't think it changed the team order nor had as much cultural relativity as the camels, so they eliminated it.

How did you to get so lost before the pottery challenge?

Blahhhhhh. Getting lost in Baharain SUCKED!!!!! Kristi and I made it to the general location of the candy store pretty quickly. When we got there we saw Alex & Conor again, so we worked together to find the candy store. After receiving our next clue, we decided to work together to find the pottery place. I had printed out several google maps images of the area from the travel agency in Zimbabwe, but they were all different scales and didn't match up all very well. We could see the town of A'ali on the map, and it looked relatively straight-forward to get there.

I thought that the highway we had been on earlier was the highway that would take us right there, but I was mixed up. Eventually, I realized what I had done wrong and stopped to explain it to the guys. I found a route on the maps I had printed out, but the zoom wasn't super helpful for determining what exit we needed. There was a weird looking loop/junction that we couldn't be certain would link us to the highway we needed to be on. At this point, I should have switched with Kristi and had her drive because I had a really good sense of where we were. Navigating and driving at the same time, in a foreign country whose street signs are in Arabic, is very difficult...

Needless to stay, we stopped once more to get directions, but weren't being patient enough to write them down. Then Alex had interpreted what the woman said differently than the rest of us. But we agreed he might be right. Then this sent us even further in the wrong direction... That lasted for another 15 minutes at which point I insisted we turn around and get back on the highway, despite the traffic. I was done with the crazy backroads. Once on the highway, I spotted a sign for the pottery place, but Indy was in front of us, so we had to part ways. Kristi and I got lost once more from here, after stopping yet again for directions. She told me to take a left at the round-about and somehow my brain registered right... It was a road that we couldn't turn around on, so we had to follow this massive loop all the way back to the highway and start over.

In reality, it should have only taken about 20 minutes, but I bet the elapsed time was nearly 2 hours. Somehow we were still the second team to arrive... For more insight into the NIGHTMARE of driving in Bahrain, check out this clip.

What was the most difficult challenge in Baharain?

Um, driving. Next question. Haha! But seriously, the driving and navigating in this leg was beyond difficult. We'd do things a little differently if we could do it over, but unfortunately I haven't figured out how to fold time back onto itself.

Other than the driving, the pottery was the most difficult task. There were so many pots, it was like 90 million degrees out, and the nuances of the gems we were searching for were very specific. It was really time consuming.

How did you two complete the pottery challenge so fast?

Kristi and I used the same approach in this challenge that has carried us this far. Be thorough. There's a saying in mountain biking: slow is smooth, smooth is fast. That concept really lends itself well to the race. Listen, Kristi and I are the first to run and sprint from place to place, but sprinting in the wrong direction isn't faster than walking in the right direction. We got one of our first relics wrong and realized how minute of details they were analyzing. From there, we just made sure to look in every damn pot. When we went to get something checked, we made sure to know where we left off.

We also communicated very effectively during this challenge. Only one of us was allowed to be touching a pot a time, so we would get in position ready to pick up the next one as one of us was checking a different one. Also, some of the pots had larger openings and you could pretty easily see into them. By not touching any of those pots, and just looking in, we saved quite a bit of time.

What was it like to milk a camel?

OMG! You can really tell how deprived of animals I was at this point because I definitely got overly excited about milking a camel! Haha! But it was really cool. I've never been up-close-and-personal with a camel and their faces are just so expressive. It's priceless.

But in all honesty, it was really difficult to milk the camel! You really had to yank on those udders to get anything to come out. I was worried I was gonna hurt the precious mama and she definitely got a little grumpy. I'm sure you develop finesse with this over time, but I didn't have any!

Leg 10: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Why were you last to arrive at the temple?

So, this was the first sign of us starting to overthink things. We looked up google images of this temple on the internet and I noticed that there were elephants lining the front entrance. Our clue said to "search among the elephants," so I thought I was being clever when all the other Songthaws turned left toward the parking and I directed our driver to the main entrance. Unfortunately, the temple grounds were actually under construction. Not to mention, those weren't the elephants in which the clue was hiding...

Had we been bold enough at that point to just bolt into the temple grounds, we likely would have been in first, but we doubted ourselves. Our driver then went to where everyone else had originally gone putting us in last place to get to the clues.

Why did you change detours?

My first instinct was to do the elephant detour. I'm not scared of math and I felt like it might be pretty easy to get through. But then Kristi thought the frogs would be easy. We went back and forth in our Songthaw way too much. At one point she said, lets just do what you want, but then she kept planting seeds of doubt about my decision. This was one of the few times in the race where we had a real interpersonal issue. We were over it as soon as the leg was done.

Our driver didn't know where either location was, but we were playing a game of leapfrog with Yale because their driver was about as clueless as ours. I had a pretty decent map of Chiang Mai and managed to find both locations on the map. We decided we were going to go to the elephants, but when we saw Big Brother and Indy at the frog detour, we just wanted to get out of the car. Finding places is the hardest part of the race, so typically if you get to a detour you should stay there... However, when we got there, both teams were already in the mud and no one had found a single frog. Each team needed to find 20 frogs in the same mud pit. It wasn't like there were frogs stocked for each team, so the more of us looking for frogs, the more difficult it would have been for any of us to find frogs and get the number that we needed.

We had a loose alliance with Indy & Big Brother and felt like it was in our best interest as a group if Kristi and I went to go and tackle the elephants. It was a gut decision as soon as I stepped into the water. We were trying to get Yale out of the race in this leg. So, Kristi and I switched. We didn't waste any time deliberating.

Loved seeing you best Team Yale at Math. How did you do it?

Wooop! Technically, I'm not sure we beat them at the "math" part, I think they had an error in their measurements, but I'll take it!

The math that we had to do involved multiplying a three-digit number by 21.11 or something like that, then do some subtraction. We couldn't use a calculator. I just broke it down into chunks, multiplied in easy numbers and then added them together. So, I took the original number, multiplied it by 21 then added 1/10th of it and then 1/100th of it to itself. The decimals are what intimidate most people, but this was a really easy fraction for me to figure out. I don't know... We were pumped to get out of that challenge before Yale. I figured it was more likely the measurements they were hung up on, because we could see them REMEASURING their elephant. None-the-less, we still found the irony in the outcome to be humorous.

You have to understand, that every time we do post-leg interviews, producers are asking us how impressed we are by Yale's intelligence. Isn't it surprising that they've done so well? Well, no, you have to be smart to do well in this race. And they show you the "nerd" side of Henry and Evan and all the "bumbling" that they do, but they held up just fine in the physical tasks. I got in a footrace with Evan in the Reykjavik airport and that girl can RUN! Regardless, Yale would have been chuckling if they beat us in a more "physical" task too.

Where is the dislike for TeamYale coming from? Is it because they're not like the rest of you?

Here's the deal, folks. Any amount of "liking Yale less than other teams" has nothing to do with them attending an Ivy league school. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first things we talked about. My late father was a computer science professor at Yale for 32 years. As it turns out, Henry's mom was a computer science major at Yale and knew my father. Henry and I pretty quickly connected over this, but as soon as we did, it seemed like Evan pulled back.

There was a very cerebral quality to Evan's racing that tended to rub us the wrong way. I only know Evan in the context of this race, so I don't know if this is how she is in real life. Everything was a strategic calculation for her, but somehow the fact that there were emotional beings executing the racing, got lost in the shuffle. When they tried to insert themselves into social play later on in the race it was too late. This wasn't bullying, this wasn't casting them out because they're different, this was a race.

Do we think they're a strong team? No doubt. Do they run the race differently than us? Yes. Do we feel more connected and aligned with some other people in the race? Absolutely. But we don't hate Yale. And please, can we stop with "the nerds vs. the jocks" narrative? It has nothing to do with it.

For a few of our other thoughts on #TeamYale and our other competitors, check out this video.

How did you pass the sanctuary and not see it??

The editing masterminds did some voodoo with the clips and soundbites in this episode to build some extra drama. We never drove past Patara Elephant Farm until we found it for the detour. The problem was, the map we had was more of an art piece than a map to scale. (It's the only map from the race that I saved so that I can frame it.)

While looking for the farm we passed two landmarks that appeared after Patara according to our map. We decided to turn around in case we had driven past it. Yale kept going at that point, and that's when I made my remarks about them not knowing where they were going despite having the same map as us. I was wrong. 100%. I was also misinformed. But at the time, I believed I was right and I was annoyed. And no, you couldn't see the elephants when I made my comments. Watch it again, my voice and the clip of the elephants are separate. 

Kristi and I spent another 15 minutes from that point to finally getting someone (a monk in a private monestary) who confirmed it was back up the hill where we had last turned around. So, this time we kept going past Doi Resort. That's when we saw elephants crossing the road and found Patara. Check out this behind-the-scenes clip to see a little more into our navigational woes in Thailand.

Why did Kristi hope Yale was lost?

As for Kristi's comment at the end of the leg "I hope Yale's lost," allow me to explain... With only 4 teams left, and supposedly another 2 legs of the race, we expected Thailand was a non-elimination leg. NELs are one of the most frustrating parts of the race. Especially when a very strong team nearly gets eliminated, but survives. Though Henry & Evan thought we were underestimating them, we were not.

We knew at this point that we were getting close to flying home. There was such little amount of time left, we figured the only way to fit another leg of the race in before flying back to the US, was to stay in Thailand. There's a greater chance of maintaining an advantage from a previous leg when you start the next leg in the same country. Wishing that they were lost, was a way of expressing that we wanted as big of an advantage as possible the next leg. We wanted Yale to get eliminated. That doesn't mean we hated them or even disliked them. We're simply racing for $1,000,000.

Isn't riding elephants horrific & cruel?

It certainly can be, but not at Patara. I've tried to learn all I can about Patara Elephant Farm, since my return home. Patara is an elephant sanctuary. The adult elephants are rescued from the the circus and are brought to Patara for protection & breeding. They do not "break" their baby elephants through torturous methods. They only allow bareback riding (apparently the chairs are a very painful and damaging aspect) and only allow one ride per elephant per day. I encourage you to look into their practices further to ensure that this is the case. And if you're traveling to Thailand and want to have an experience with elephants, please look to places like Patara or Elephant Nature Park, and don't accidentally support the corrupt elephant tourism industry.

We didn't have time to ask many details while we were there, but you can read this very helpful write-up from a traveler who visited Patara (or this one). The love and affection that they showed these elephants was astounding and our experience was one we'll remember for a lifetime.

What did the scorpions taste like?

The scorpions were much more flavorful and delicious than the frogs! They also made me eat crickets, which were probably my favorite of all. The hard part about eating the scorpions is that the exoskeleton didn't really dissolve at all. So, you'd just chew it to break it up in smaller pieces, but it was really rough and tough to swallow. Hence why I washed it down with some beer. We weren't supposed to eat the billion little bones of the frog, so that was somewhat meticulous. I just picked out all the bones and then tried to swallow the meat as fast as possible.

NEXT WEEK:

We've made it to the final four and have yet to finish below 3rd for the duration of the race. Hoping to channel a little extra strength next week to be sure we can maintain this streak! Kristi and I are very proud of our performance and are so appreciative of all the support that we've received. Thank you for watching, thank you for reading these recaps, and we can't wait for next Wednesday! Can't believe this is it! Tune in from 8-10 pm MT & CT (9-11 pm ET & PT). DVR the Olympics and watch us LIVE! xoxo