Racer Reports

Just Point to Me and Don't Worry About It

Lynn & Alex

Once again, Lynn & Alex proved that consistency is their best racing attribute. They started in fourth place and ended what we saw of this non-leg in fourth place—at least as far as we know; we didn’t see them arrive at “Phil and the mat,” so who knows what will happen next?

We start this leg with an interview with Lynn & Alex in which they talk about how the adversity they are facing every day is bringing them closer together. Lynn then calls their relationship “amazing,” and Alex chimes in with, “That’s a bit clichéd.” They are on the second of two flights to Francistown, and love the flight over Botswana, a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since reading the “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series by Alexander McCall Smith.
At this point, helping out the team that’s clearly weakest may well pay off down the road, but I’m not sure about the wisdom of sharing with Uchenna & Joyce; they’re a very strong team.
At the Francistown airport, the two main alliance groups on this Race are revealed, as Rob arranges flights with the woman inside the terminal for Ron & Kelly as well as his own team, while Alex borrows a cell phone outside and calls a travel agent to arrange flights to Lucknow for Uchenna & Joyce as well as Meredith & Gretchen. Meredith flat-out asks Lynn why he bought their tickets, and Lynn says, “Because we want you guys in the finals with us, and that’s really the bottom line.” At this point, helping out the team that’s clearly weakest may well pay off down the road, but I’m not sure about the wisdom of sharing with Uchenna & Joyce; they’re a very strong team.

After a 5,000-mile flight, all the teams end up arriving in Lucknow, India within a few minutes of one another. Culture shock hits immediately at the prepaid taxi window outside the airport (as well as currency confusion—rubles are in Russia, Lynn, rupees are in India!), and their negotiations go very badly indeed. At the Bara Imambara, searching for the first clue, Lynn doesn’t want to wear a scarf but is allowed to wear a cap; Alex takes a scarf but takes it off once inside—bad form, Alex! If your head is supposed to be covered, keep it covered! Alex also calls loudly to Lynn on finding the clue, enabling Meredith and Gretchen to find it immediately. I think fatigue is starting to set in.

On arriving at the Roadblock site, where they encounter the Yield mat, Alex expresses shock that they weren’t Yielded by Rob and Amber. Alex takes the Roadblock and finds the clue very quickly, so that he and Lynn gain one place, leaving ahead of Uchenna and Joyce; this shift between the two teams (albeit temporary) is the only position change we see on the entire leg. Lynn & Alex then greatly enjoy their cycle rickshaw ride to Aishbagh, commenting on how that’s the best way to really see the city. Lynn also wishes for things to throw at the people, which some people online took as insulting but, with my New Orleans perspective, immediately made me think of Mardi Gras beads or something. (What? You mean you’re allowed to have a parade without throwing things at the crowd?)

Like all the other teams, Lynn & Alex opt to serve tea. They complete their task eventually and take off fourth for what they think is going to be the Pit Stop.

And then . . . To Be Continued. Will Lynn & Alex move up from fourth place, or will they continue to run near the back of the pack? Will they make any mistakes? Will they antagonize any more locals? Will Killer Fatigue start playing a more important role in the Race? Only time—and the second part of this leg—will tell.
–– by Mama Tiger



Meredith & Gretchen

Despite promises that these two would be out of the Race early, they’re still in it. If they’re hanging in there just to drive me crazy, it’s working.
They can’t possibly stay in it to the bitter end. Yeah, that’s what they told me, too. I hope you don’t live to regret that decision, Alex!
Meredith & Gretchen leave the pit stop in last place, but are on the same charter flight in Botswana as all the other teams. Alex negotiates airline tickets to Lucknow, India, for the three trailing teams—including Meredith & Gretchen, much to Meredith’s surprise. Lynn explains that he and Alex want Meredith & Gretchen in the finals. Well, of course they do! They’re the old people. They can’t possibly stay in it to the bitter end. Yeah, that’s what they told me, too. I hope you don’t live to regret that decision, Alex!

As soon as they land in India, the chaos begins. Gretchen’s face plainly shows their frustration with the crowds, the confusion, and the language. And the fun is just beginning! Having finally negotiated for a cab, they are last out of the airport. They will never climb higher the rest of the leg.

Gretchen takes the Roadblock and loses patience very, very quickly. She seems to spend more time spinning in circles and moaning than looking through steel boxes. A quick hug from her husband recharges her, and she eventually locates one of the clues. They acquire an Indian Fern who helps them on their way, and, by the time they (the last team) arrive at the garage for their next clue, an enormous crowd has gathered. They are cheered enthusiastically and besieged by autograph seekers. I’m sure it seems kind of weird to them, but they also seem to be touched by the attention. These two are quite the rock stars by the time they head off for the Liquid Detour!

If editing is to be believed, Meredith & Gretchen don’t even arrive at the tea task until after everyone else has finished, indicating that, perhaps, they burned a lot of time at the Roadblock. We don’t see them hit the mat this episode, but we already know that Gretchen will get to keep her nifty new backpack for one more week at least.

In this episode, Meredith joked about not wanting to break a hip, and Gretchen went shopping in the airport for a backpack, looking for a senior citizens’ discount. If they go looking for an Early Bird dinner special next week, they will have officially completed the Old Folks’ Trifecta of Jokes. Yippee!!
–– by Tribefan



Rob & Ambah

Previously, the Stack-o-Matic Brothers were eliminated, so now I am following the adventures of Rob & Amber. The team is first to leave the pit stop in Botswana before bunching up with all the other teams at the airport, heading to India.

As the teams get on the plane, Amber says, “Say goodbye to Africa,” which elicits an “Adios, Africa” from Rob. He always knows just the right way to put things. The teams stop in Francistown, where they pick up their tickets for the next flight. While Lynn & Alex try to pull a fast one on Rob by booking an earlier flight, Rob manages to get one step ahead by finding a flight that is even earlier. Alex tells us that the way you play the game is by telling the woman whose cell phone they used to not let Rob use it, too, but Rob and Ron buy tickets for their teams that will land five minutes ahead of the others, and Rob tells the agent to not let the other teams buy the same tickets. “If they say why not, just point to me and don’t worry about it. I’ll smile right at ’em.” Ron & Kelly start worrying, because they know an alliance with Rob & Amber will make them a target. Even though Rob tells us that the relationship between the two teams is “one of mutual respect and friendship,” Ron says that Romber are “the greatest manipulators” and Kelly says you have to “keep your enemies closer.”
Rob says, “Imagine if I built you a place. It’d be twice as nice.” Ah. How sweet.
Romber arrive in Mumbai and are the second team to get a taxi out of the airport, but quickly take first place when Ron & Kelly’s taxi stops for gas. When they get to the palace, Amber says that a guy built it for his girlfriend. Rob says, “Imagine if I built you a place. It’d be twice as nice.” Ah. How sweet. I really believe him when he says stuff like this to her. They find their clue and are nervous at the idea of a Yield ahead. Rob tells us that, if Ron & Kelly were “any type of players at all, they’d Yield us.” However, Rob convinces Ron & Kelly that it is probably a non-elimination, so it would be pointless. Rob tells us that, if he were in their position, he “would probably Yield them, but luckily they’re not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree.” There’s that respect and friendship he was talking about.

Amber does the metal box Roadblock and finishes right away. The team chooses the Liquid Detour. T hey struggle at first finding their way around the office building, but Rob kidnaps a worker who says he speaks English. With a little help from their abductee, Rob & Amber finish the Detour first, mere steps ahead of Ron & Kelly. Romber get their clue, which tells them to go see Phil and the mat. Amber points out that the clue is not written like all the others. Their abductee leads the way as they are the first to see Phil, but they do not appear to be very happy as Phil tells them that they are still racing and gives them their next clue.

I am enjoying the calm dynamics that Rob & Amber have as a team. They truly seem to love and respect each other and work well together under pressure. It should be interesting to see the effects that a double-leg has on them next week. They have managed to stay at the front of the pack for practically the entire race, but fatigue seems to be catching up to them. I suspect that their good luck will continue, but I would guess that there is still some karmic payback headed their way soon.
–– by PrincessChristie



Ron & Kelly
Ron & Kelly continue to race well for the first part of the leg. They start the leg in second place, but we don’t know how they end it yet.
Ron & Kelly continue to race well for the first part of the leg. They start the leg in second place, but we don’t know how they end it yet. This week, they choose the Liquid Detour and Kelly does the Roadblock (Ron 4, Kelly 3). While they seem to be still fighting a little, it doesn’t affect their racing, and they say they have talked over their problems. They have a few arguments, though, including one about how to get to the Detour and another one on their way to Phil.

This week’s relationship report is about their relationship with the other teams. Ron & Kelly seem to be in some sort of alliance with Rob and Amber. Rob gets them on his flight to India, and, when Ron & Kelly get to the Yield first, they discuss whether or not to use the Yield with the other team. Kelly says the other teams don’t seem to be talking as much to them, since she and Ron are doing so well in the race.

Our war reference for the week is when Ron compares the speed of the Indian traffic to when everyone was getting the hell out of Baghdad as it was being bombed. Of course, everything seems to remind Ron of Baghdad getting bombed.
–– by M. Darcy



Uchenna & Joyce

Memo to World Race Productions: Do not send this episode in for Emmy Award consideration; it was too boring.
Uchenna and Joyce were their usual “wouldn’t you love to have these people as neighbors?” selves this week.
Uchenna and Joyce were their usual “wouldn’t you love to have these people as neighbors?” selves this week. Even-tempered, supportive of each other and other teams, enthusiastic about the sights around them, and competent. They leave the pit stop in third place, which they seem to own, and are likely to be in third place when they encounter Evil Phil at the non-pit-stop mat.

En route to Lucknow, they ally themselves with Lynn & Alex and Meredith & Gretchen in getting plane reservations. Unfortunately, this puts them in a pack of three behind a pack of two. And they lead that three-team pack almost the entire leg. They are the first of the three teams to get a taxi at the airport, first to find the first clue, and first to complete the Detour. They fall behind briefly at the Roadblock, but make up time while Lynn & Alex dither over getting a cab or a rickshaw. And they do tend to breeze through the tasks compared to most of the teams. Specifically, they tend to breeze past Lynn & Alex at the tasks. Hmmmm. Now that we’re down to the final five, this could be a factor in determining placement. And Lynn & Alex seem not to notice Uchenna & Joyce beyond seeming to think that they’re nice people. The lesson? Nice people tend to have an advantage in flying under the radar.

Yes, this episode was a yawn, but based on the CBS.com previews, I believe that Uchenna & Joyce will be getting some camera time in the next episode, and it should show us a whole new side to this team. I can’t wait!
–– by Daria



Phil

Phil starts the leg by reminding us that, previously, six teams left Botswana . . . five teams remain, and by asking who will be eliminated next. This week, Phil has the second of three Yields, a Roadblock (search boxes) and a Detour (solid vs. liquid) to tell us about. When he informs us about the Detour, he has quite a large audience behind him (Phil does draw the crowds). After the teams leave the Detour, they are told to go to Phil. When Rob and Amber arrive, Phil delights in handing them their next clue and telling them that the leg is not over—along with double eyebrow action. To be continued . . .
–– by M. Darcy