Double Your Money
September 30 - Leg 1
Twenty times before, teams of two -
linked by blood, marriage or friendship - have gone around the world
and back again in pursuit of one million dollars in cash. Through
many DETOURs and ROADBLOCKs, some SPEED BUMPs and FAST FORWARDs,
they have travelled millions of miles for the money. But THIS time,
the eleven teams could be racing for MORE than that! And all they
need to do is finish TWO of the Race Legs in first! Say what?!?
Find out soon enough as we start THE AMAZING RACE 21!
COLORADO STREET BRIDGE
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, USA
A week after winning its ninth Emmy(TM)
for "Outstanding Reality-Competition Program" out of the
ten offered (how the hell Top Chef won in 2010 still confuses
me), the king of all reality shows returns...with a hippy bus, loaded
down with surfboards and the like, driving out to the bridge. The
eleven teams disembark at a cul-du-sac nearby and jog to the center
of the bridge. And they are...:
Trey Wier & Alexis "Lexi"
Beerman (Team Texas Two-Step): dating couple from Texas; he's
a land consultant (and a former U of TX footballer) and she's a
clothing designer (and a former U of T cheerleader)
Natalie & Nadiya Anderson (Team Jersey Twins): twins
sisters from Edgewater, NJ via Sri Lanka (they were born in Queens
but moved to the island nation at age 3); Nat's a physical therapy
student and Nad's a project coordinator
James Lomenzo & Mark "Abba" Abbattista (Team Hair
Metal): friends from CA; James is formerly of Megadeth and White
Lion while Mark is an entertainment lawyer
Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge (Team Beekman Boys):
life partners & goat farmers from Sharon Springs, NY; they once
starred on Planet Green's "The Fabulous Beekman Boys",
a show referred to as a "gay Green Acres"
Amy Purdy & Daniel Gale (Team Adaptive Action): on-and-off
daters from Summit County, CO; she's a double amputee and he's an
executive director for Adaptive Action Sports, a company for amputees
who want to get into extreme sports like Amy.
Caitlin King & Brittany
Fletcher (Team Besties): BFFs; Caitlin's a special ed teacher
from Atlanta, Brittany's a medical device salesperson from Chicago
Rob Scheer & Sheila Castle (Team Over-the-Hill Engaged):
50+ engaged couple; he's a lumberjack (and he's OK) from Alaska,
she's a retail manager from Tennessee
Gary Wojnar & Will Chiola (Team Sub Teachers): friends
from Michigan (GO BLUE!); they have the toughest job
in America: middle school substitute teachers [CRINGE!] They FINALLY
made the Race after SEVEN auditions.
Abbie Ginsberg & Ryan Danz (Team Dating Divorcees): daters
from California who are divorced from different marriages; she's
a dance instructor, he's a financial service company owner (who
was also on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart")
Jaymes Vaughn & James Davis (Team Full Monty!):
friends from Las Vegas; both are part of the world (in)famous Chippendales
male stripper/dancer team
Rob French & Kelley Carrington-French (Married Monster Truckers):
husband and wife from Boston, GA; they drive monster trucks for
a living...BOTH of them.
Our ineffable host Phil Keoghan greets
the teams on the bridge. They know the score: ROUTE INFO to ROUTE
INFO, DETOURs and ROADBLOCKs along the way, PIT STOP at each of
the twelve Legs' end, last to most of them go home.
Come first in a Leg, win a prize. Come
first across the FINISH LINE!!, somewhere in the US, win
ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!
But...that's not all! Phil informs
them that Racing to the FINISH LINE!! will NOT be their only
incentive for big money. You see, the team who won the FIRST Leg
of the last two Races have gone on to win the ENTIRE Race. Apparantly,
CBS would LOVE to keep that streak going...so here's the deal: if
you cross the FINISH LINE!! first, you STILL win the million.
HOWEVER, if you win this FIRST Leg and THEN go on to win the Race,
you do NOT win the one million dollars...
You win TWO MILLION DOLLARS!!
(But no EXPRESS PASS this time)
OK, time for the first task (in keeping
with the racing theme, I call it the "GREEN LIGHT CHALLENGE").
The first clue to the Race is on the Racers' bags. The Racers' bags
are 100 feet below them off the side of the bridge. To get to said
bags and said clue, both team members must rappel off said bridge.
Get to the bottom, get your bags, read your clue, hope into a 2013
Ford Escape(TM), head for LAX...and start your 25,000-plus-mile
And now, Phil says those eleven BEAUTIFUL,
"The world is waiting for you...
Twenty-two Americans run past Phil
and out to the highest point of the brudge. Trey & Lexi are
the first to start the descent, Caitlin & Brittany on their
tail. Josh & Brent and the Ja(y)mes "brothers" are
close behind them. But Team Beekman Boys work their way down the
ropes first with Team Besties mere feet behind. The other two teams
lag a bit, but it's still a rather close race. Both teams run to
their bags and read their first clue:
MAKE YOUR WAY
TO SHANGHAI, CHINA!
Drive to LAX and then fly
nearly 6500 miles to Taipei, China. Upon arriving, travel
by taxi to Yuanshen Sports Center Stadium. You'll find your
next clue on the grounds.
You may ONLY travel on one
of two flights: China Airlines' Flight 7 (scheduled to land
at 10:50am), which will accomodate ONLY the first seven teams
to check-in, and Eva Air's Flight 15 (scheduled to land at
12:05pm), which will take the last four teams.
(The second half of the
clue was given by Phil on the Escape's viewscreen)
As they start off, James
& Abba and Abbie & Ryan start down...and Gary's not sure
he can even DO this. He & Will evenutally start down...after
Amy & Daniel and Rob & Kelley get down. Rob & Shiela
are next to last and Natalie & Nadiya bring up the rear.
Into their Fords and down
the 110 they head, hanging a right at I-105, another right at Sepulveda
and finally to...
ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA
Team Full Monty! are the
first to get the China Air tix, followed closely by Team Besties.
Teams Hair Metal, Adaptive Action and Dating Divorcees likewise
make the early flight. Three more teams arrive, but only two will
be 75 minutes ahead of the others in Shanghai. And Team Beekman
Boys...they blew it by being too nice and letting another team ahead
of them. Well, actually, it was Josh who let them pass...and Brent
berated his partner for this lapse of judgement. So they'll be the
first on the SECOND flight while Team Jersey Twins and Married Monster
Truckers take the last seats on the early trip.
FLIGHT (CHINA AIRLINES, ARRIVING 1050 Zulu):
Jaymes & James, Caitlin
& Brittany, James & Abba, Amy & Daniel, Abbie &
Ryan, Natalie & Nadiya, Rob & Kelley
FLIGHT (EVA AIR, ARRIVING 1205 Zulu):
Josh & Brent, Trey & Lexi, Rob & Shiela,
Gary & Will
REPUBLIC OF CHINA
China Air touches down
in the most populous city in the world. No kidding, either; over
23 million people call this place home, or over 3600 per square
kilometer! Ai ya!!
Anyway, the fourteen Americans
disembark. James & Abba are first to catch a cab...and the cabbie
speaks English VERY well. Jaymes & James can't get a handle
on how HOT it is in the country. Abbie & Ryan are having jetlag
issues after the 17-hour flight (and Ryan brags that he hasn't changed
his underwear in that time). Amy & Daniel state that it's STILL
a close Race as they and everyone else get to...
SPORTS CENTER STADIUM
multi-purpose 20,000-seat stadium (mostly used for soccer), the
cabs start to arrive. They run to the stadium, run to the Clue Box
and run right into their first...
TO GET PADDLED?
Table tennis (or ping pong)
is pretty much the national sport of China. Champions of the
sport practice at an early age. One teammate must go into
the row of table tennis tables set up and play a point against
a junior world champion (who, by the way, HATES to lose).
You must BEAT her for one point before you can continue. If
she beats you, you'll have to wait your turn as she'll travel
down the row of tables, playing against other Racers. To give
you a SLIGHT advantage, with each consecutive point she makes
on you, she will use different household items in place of
a paddle (like a frying pan or a small clipboard). Only when
you score a point against her will she reward you with your
And the first 'BLOCKers
of the Race are: James D., Caitlin, Nadiya, Abbie, James L. and
Daniel. (mentally counts) Uh,...where're Married Monster Truckers?
Oh, I see...they're circling the complex on foot looking for the
clue box. The 'BLOCKers couldn't believe that they have to play
against a 10-year-old girl. Nadiya thinks they have this since they
played ping-pong in Sri Lanka...but she quickly blows the point.
Down the line she goes, SLAMMING that ball into the players' chest
and stomach off a bounce. When all seven failed, the champion put
down the paddle and picks up a small clipboard (with paper, no less).
James D. does no better against that, hitting into the net. Nadiya
hits it out of bounds again...and Natalie yells at her to "relax",
which she does NOT appreciate. Down goes Caitlin, down goes Daniel.
But Abbie gets lucky as the champ hits it out of bounds! She &
Ryan leave the ROADBLOCK first with this clue:
LET'S GO OUT
FOR SOME CHINESE!
Make your way to Cui Ping
Jiu Jia. Your next clue is a mouthful.
Note: You can find Cui Ping
Jiu Jia at Gui Zhao Lu 107.
While the divorcees depart
the scene, James L. LIKEWISE gets lucky as the champ misses the
table by an inch. He & Abba are second out of the gates. The
rockers manage to get a cab FIRST and head on their way.
Ah, THERE're Rob &
Kelley. They practically toured the entire complex before finding
the clue box. And, when they find the ROADBLOCK, Kelley is volunteered
to swat that paddle. As they enter, James D. lucks out and he &
Jaymes depart in third. The champion starts the third round with...a
frying pan? And AGAIN Nadiya hits it out of bounds on the first
rebound...which makes Natalie yell even MORE at her twin! And she's
even MORE frustrated when Caitlin lucks out and she & Brittany
leave in fourth. As Team Besties leave, Married Monster Truckers
arrive and Kelley takes her spot. First, though, Daniel plays against
the champ with a tamborine in her hand...and after begging for mercy
throughout the point, the champ hits behind the net and Amy &
Daniel go out in fifth. Kelley promptly gets "aced" with
the paddle and Nadiya awaits her turn again.
The champ picks up a tamborine...and
Nadiya overshoots AGAIN!! Oh, this is downright embarrassing! The
arguing between the girls, not Nadiya's constant goofing up. Kelley
blows her point (not shown) and the champ now has a plastic pencil
box. Nadiya FINALLY gets it in-bounds...and the champ underhits!
Much rejoicing (YEAH!) as Team Jersey Twins get going in sixth,
leaving Kelley behind to try to make up time. Eventually, with the
champ using the very clue she is to give contestants, Kelley scores
on an underhit. Arrive in seventh, leave in seventh...but at least
they're not last en route to...
PING JIU JIA RESTAURANT
The clue is in a stuffed
yellow frog outside the restaurant entrance. And Team Hair Metal
find it containing something I'm sure they weren't expecting THIS
early in the Race.
WHO WANTS TO
GO TUBING? (IF YOU DID THE TABLE TENNIS ROADBLOCK,
YOUR PARTNER MUST DO THIS ONE!)
All you have to do is have
some traditional Chinese dessert called hasma. Hasma is two
hallowed-out papaya halves...filled with frog fallopian tubes.
Ayup, you're going to eat the chewy frog insides where tadpoles
travel to be fertilized. Yummie. You may not pick up the plate
or the papaya from the table or use your hands; you must use
chopsticks. Once you down the frog innards, the restaurant
manager will hand you your next clue.
Wow, the "dreaded"
RBx2 first thing out of the gates, eh? Of course, that means Abba
must partake in the "delicacy". When he uncovers the papaya,
he feels the hasma looks like "overcooked macaroni". And
EATING it? Nigh on impossible with chopsticks; Abba has to slurp
it off the sticks about two centimeters above the rest of it. As
he downs it, in come Team Dating Divorcees, Ryan ready to consume.
And DOES he consume. He's REALLY eating it up! In comes Britanny
ready to eat for Team Besties and Amy for Team Adaptive Action.
Before they can sit and start, though, Abba slurps up the last of
the frog fallopians. The manager checks to see he's done and hands
off the clue. Team Hair Metal go outside and read it:
IT JUST ALL
Make your way to the Bund
and find the woman using an abacus to find your next clue.
a sign from heaven according to them. They find a cab just as Ryan
finishes up in second.
Wow, has it been 75 minutes
already? There's the Eva Air flight touching down. Teams Beekman
Boys, Texas Two-Step, Over-The-Hill Engaged and Sub Teachers get
out and find taxis to the Sports Center Stadium. Josh & Brent
don't like their chances at a physical task. At said stadium, our
paddlers are Trey, Rob, Gary and Josh. Lexi says Trey "rocks"
at ping pong at home...but Trey's never played against a champion.
It takes to the clipboard, but Trey & Lexi leave this ROADBLOCK
for the OTHER one in eighth. Rob gets lucky when the champ uses
the pan and the pentagenarians (50-to-59-year-old) leave in ninth.
Gary lucks out with the clipboard as well so he & Will leave
in tenth. And Josh actually beat the champ when she overshoot with
her PADDLE on the FIRST POINT! They're in last, but not by much.
Back at the restaurant,
Jaymes gets ready to start eating. It did NOT taste good to him...but,
hell, you do what you have to for two mil. So he eats quickly...so
quickly he spills a fair bit on the table. When he finishes what
was in the papaya in record time, he licks and slurps the tubes
still on the table (much to Brittany's disgust). Once he's sucked
up every bit of white, the manager hands the their clue in third
and he & James split. Right behind, though, is Amy & Daniel
in fourth. As Brittany struggles to keep the Hasma down, in comes
Team Jersey Twins, with Natalie ready to eat. As she starts, Brittany
finishes and Team Besties depart in fifth. Nadiya is more supportive
to Natalie than vice versa; she even gets the whole restaurant to
cheer for her "twinie" as she stays standing and slurps
it up. Just as they finish in sixth, Rob comes in to be the last
of the first group. And it looks like Rob's gonna encur a penalty,
as he picks up the papaya to down it. Sure enough, after he finishes,
the manager does NOT hand him & Kelley the clue. Only THEN do
they find out they goofed and Rob will have to go through it all
OVER again. It's TAR 101, people: read your clues thoroughly!!
At first, Rob can't think to eat two more papayas of the stuff...but
he begrudgingly sits back down and digs in with the chopsticks.
The Bund is a waterfront
area in central Shanghai, the word meaning an embankment or quay.
An abacus (for those who didn't know anything before pocket calculators)
is several row of beads that people slide back and forth to count
things in ancient China. Mark & Abba arrive and look for the
woman with the abacus...only to pass RIGHT BY her sitting under
an umbrella. As they flounder, Abbie & Ryan arrive and start
to look. Jaymes & James arrive a little later and ask around
for an abacus, getting no takers.
As Lexi arrives to eat
up, Rob finishes his second helping and FINALLY gets the next clue.
This cheers Lexi up a bit as they have caught up with the lead pack!
Other teams arrive at
the Bund and look around (some loving the skyline more than looking
for a clue). But it's Amy & Daniel who find the lady first.
She puts down her abacus and hands the daters this vital clue:
MAKE YOUR WAY
TO THE PIT STOP!
Make your way on foot to
the Bund Signal Tower Observatory, a 100-year-old signal tower
overlooking the Shanghai skyline and the PIT STOP for this
Leg of the Race. The first team to check-in will be the ONLY
team eligible for the TWO MILLION DOLLARS!
WARNING! The LAST team to
check-in MAY BE ELIMINATED!
(Actually, no "MAY"
about it; Phil says the last team WILL be eliminated...but the clues
all say "MAY" so...)
Team Adaptive Action ask
a local to show a picture of the Observatory with his smartphone
and then they start to book it. As they plot their route, Team Dating
Divorcees ask them where the "abacus woman" was...and
they SHOW them (the idiots)! One couple starts sprinting for the
PIT STOP while another get the clue to said STOP. Caitlin &
Britanny get to the clue at the same time as Abbie & Ryan so
it's a true foot race to...
BUND SIGNAL TOWER OBSERVATORY
Two couples run towards
the tower...but Abbie & Ryan run past an exhausted Amy &
Daniel...who are now REALLY regretting telling them where that clue
was. As such, it is Abbie & Daniel first to hit the mat in front
of Phil and the local greeter (who gives them a nice "Ni hao").
Phil proudly announces them as Team #1 and reminds them that their
"prize" is the opportunity to win TWO million should they
win the entire Race! Amy & Daniel come staggering in, get checked-in
as Team # 2 and are hugged by Team Dating Divorcees, who thank them
for the clue. Inwardly, though, Ryan is grateful; she sees Amy as
"dangerous" and will take advantage any way possible!
Back at the Bund, Team
Besties pass by Team Full Monty!, who are STILL looking for the
abacus. So the Ja(y)mes boys decide the girls are running TO the
woman and start running after THEM! As such, Caitlin & Brittany
as checked-in as Team #3...and, when Jaymes & James SEE Phil,
they do a U-turn (not a U-TURN; no DETOURs on this Leg) and head
Back at the restaurant,
the thrill of eating frog inards is all but gone for Lexi...but
Trey and the rest of the patrons cheer her on. As they do, Shiela
(already gagging) comes in for Team Over-The-Hill Engaged and starts
in while Team Texas Two-Step departs in eighth. Shiela barely uses
her chopsticks; she licks it up like it's a pie-eating contest.
She finishes in ninth as Mike of Team Sub Teachers comes in. The
little guy (5-foot-1, so I won't call him what I called Charla)
is cheered on by everybody and finishes as quickly as possible.
The men leave in tenth...and Josh & Brent are nowhere to be
found. But Rob & Shiela get bad directions and are sent to the
Bank of China when they explain they're looking for a "woman
counting". So, while Brent finishes the hasma in last place,
they may STILL have a shot of staying in the Race.
Team Hair Metal STILL
can't find the woman with the abacus, asking shop owners in the
Bund about it. It's Team Jersey Twins who find the woman next and
sprint for the PIT STOP. And THEY are smart; when Rob & Kelley
ask THEM where the clue is, the girls lie and say they're still
looking. The twins check-in as Team #4...but they're disappointed
at missing the shot at two million. Still, the Married Monster Truckers
find her fairly fast and get the PIT STOP clue. They are easily
...because all the other
teams (except for Team Over-The-Hill Engaged, who are frantically
looking at the bank) are STILL struggling. The Bund is a BIG place,
after all. Up and down the modern embankment the Americans go, looking
this way and that for the woman and the abacus. FINALLY, James &
Abba find her and start to sprint for the tower. Whent Josh &
Brent arrive, a local who had been there a while actually DIRECTS
the goat farmers right TO the woman. Team Hair Metal are Team #
6, Team Beekman Boys are #7.
Jaymes & James are
getting frustrated...especially Jaymes, who's trying to win the
million for his cancer-ridden, 50-hour-week-working father. But
as they struggle, Rob & Kelley arrive at the Bund after striking
out at the bank and get directions from another local who has been
there a while...but, just like Mark & Abba, they walk right
past her. Hell, Shiela actually LOOKS THE WOMAN IN THE EYE and they
still pass her by! As such, Gary & Will catch the faux pax and
get the clue themselves. When they PASS Team Full Monty!, they deny
knowledge of where the woman is. Trey & Lexi get help from a
local and Rob & Shiela follow, both getting their clues in short
order...and telling Jaymes & James where it is once they're
about a 1/4-mile away.
Gary & Will are Team
#8. Right behind them are Trey & Lexi, Team #9.
TAs Team Over-The-Hill
Engaged find out where the tower is, Team Full Monty! get the clue.
Both teams run towards the tower, hoping not to be the last one
in. Then the dancers see the couple and start to jog a bit faster.
But will they pass them?! (The other teams at the PIT STOP hope
"Jaymes & James,"
says Phil upon both teams arriving within 15 seconds of each other,
"you are Team #10! You're still in the Race! Rob & Shiela,
I'm sorry to tell you that your are the last team to arrive...and
that you have been eliminated from the Race."
Bummer. Fifteen ticks
of Phil's Timex was all that stood between the couple and going
further than the 6500 miles they had travelled today. Still, no
regrets. They couldn't've picked better partners.
AFTER LEG 1:
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, USA to SHANGHAI, CHINA
1) Abbie & Ryan
- $2M Chance
2) Amy & Daniel
3) Caitlin & Brittany
4) Nadiya & Natalie
5) Rob & Kelley
6) James & Abba
7) Josh & Brent
8) Gary & Will
9) Trey & Lexi
10) Jaymes & James
ELIMINATED IN 11th) Rob & Shiela
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "The Amazing Race", visit the
official website at