"Clearly I'm More
Intelligent Than You" -
STARTING LINE: SANTA MONICA, CA, USA
Eleven lifeguard transports ride on the beach towards
the famous Santa
Monica Pier, each carrying a team of two people in an
relationship. The teams are preparing for a race around
Hmmm... must be the fifth edition of THE AMAZING RACE!
The teams are:
BRANDON & NICOLE - a Christian model and a former Miss
Texas USA who
just move to Los Angeles after long-distance dating for
KAMI & KARLI - identical twins from Eugene, OR who are
LINDA & KAREN - best friends, mothers and amateur
Palmdale, CA who are competitive not only with other
teams but with
MARSHALL & LANCE - brothers and pizza store owners from
Dallas, TX who are very abrasive and loud... and might
kill each other before the end
of the Race.
CHARLA & MIRNA - cousins from Baltimore, MD; Charla is
challenged" but determined to bust the stereotypes in
DENNIS & ERIKA - a formerly-engaged couple from NYC
trying to get back
together through this "ultimate love test".
BOB & JOYCE - widowers who found each other on the
internet and became friends and now live in New Jersey,
the oldest team in the Race.
COLIN & CHRISTIE - daters from Corpus Christi, TX who
are so "type A"
they just might clash with each other for control.
CHIP & KIM - married parents who started a computer
company in Orange
County, CA who "spend 23 hours a day with each other"
(we'll see if the
extra hour snaps them).
JIM & MARSHA - ex-military father and his daughter from
for a closer relationship...and for him to stop thinking
of her as a "little girl".
ALISON & DONNY - off-and-on daters from Pennsylvania who
quarrel a lot but still stick together.
(Over time, I gave
nicknames to the teams to cut down on all the
Now you know the players, let's get to the rules:
Each leg of the Race starts with a ROUTE INFO, telling
the players where to go and giving them some money to
start with (the teams carry none of their own money and
must pay for everything but air transportation with the
money given). Arriving at the destination (marked by
red-and-yellow flags) will lead the teams to the next
ROUTE INFO, which will lead to the next location, and so
forth until one team crosses the FINISH LINE and wins $1
million! Along the way, there are three other things put
in the teams' ways:
DETOUR: Both teammates have to complete one of two
tasks, each with its
own pros and cons.
ROAD BLOCK: One teammate
has to complete a task, but they won't know
the EXACT task until one of them is chosen to do it.
FAST FORWARD: On each
leg is a special task. The first team to complete the
task advances to the leg's PIT STOP automatically.
However, each team can only use FAST FORWARD once during
the entire Race.
At the end of each leg of the Race, the teams arrive at
a PIT STOP for a mandatory 12-hour rest period to eat,
sleep and mingle. On most of legs, the last team to
arrive at the PIT STOP is eliminated from the Race.
Your host Phil Keoghan greets the teams at the end of
the pier, telling them the rules. Then he springs a
surprise. For this Race, if you arrive last at a PIT
STOP when it's not an elimination leg, it will make the
Race "very, very difficult". As to what that is... he
doesn't say. The first ROUTE INFO is in their bags at
the start of the pier, which they will read before
hopping into new cars to head off for the airport. With
that, Phil starts them off in the traditional way: "The
world is waiting for you. Good luck... Travel safe...
And the AMAZING RACE is on!
The foot race starts with some tripping but everyone
makes it with Marshall & Lance way out in front... and
Charla & Mirna bringing up the rear.
ROUTE INFO: Find the Hand in the Sand in the country of
Uruguay. You may only travel on one of two flights.
First come, first serve. You have $97.23 for this leg of
Into the cars and off to LAX they go, facing their first
obstacle: Los Angeles traffic. Christie used to live in
L.A., so she knows a quicker way to the airport for her
and Colin than the 405. There's talk about the tripping
being deliberate, but all it harbors is thoughts of
knocking them out. Only Jim seems to be truly injured,
having possibly fallen on a nail. The knees of his
pants-leg is torn and red in blood... but he'll
persevere (he's ex-military, y'know).
But, wait... not ALL the teams are away from the pier.
Bob & Joyce and
Jim & Marsha are having trouble finding the trunk
release switch on the
cars and are starting to panic. The third team is Charla
& Mirna... who
were behind for obvious reasons. At least THEY find the
and leave first... er, ninth, followed quickly by the
The early American Airlines flight to Uruguay can only
hold four teams. The rest will have to leave on a United
flight later. HOWEVER, the United flight is actually
FASTER, since its layover in Miami is SHORTER. The teams
have to choose a flight and stick with it; they can't
return the tickets they got.
Colin & Christie are the first to arrive at the airport
easily and get to the American counter. Marshall & Lance
are second and they get the shuttle driver to pass by
the twins and Alison & Donny. Dennis & Erika join them
for the next shuttle and decide with them to split up
and find out which line is faster. The brothers meet the
lovers... and find out that they're at the wrong counter
(there's no flag). Dennis & Erika get to the correct
American counter and order tickets for them and the
other two teams... not realizing it's the SLOWER flight.
Alison & Donny do the SMART thing: they ask the United
counter girl to check American's flight and, finding out
they arrive about a half-hour sooner on United, become
the first team on the United flight. The twins follow
suit... not knowing their tickets for the other flight
are already waiting for them.
Colin & Christie and the brothers find the right
American counter, where they meet Dennis & Erika. D & E
are holding the line for the other teams... but the
twins are on their way to say they're on the United
flight. While this happens, the dating models, the
married parents (the best kind, in my mind) and the
net-widowers arrive. When they find out what's going on,
the shouting match begins... all pointed at D & E. The
twins show up, tell what's going on... and D & E are
POed. Unbeknownst about this, "Team Type A", the
brothers and the parents book the last seats on the
Meanwhile, Charla & Mirna are the last to arrive after
getting lost on the way. Little do they know how lucky
they are? One by one, the other teams filter to
United... and are happy to find out they're going to get
there AHEAD of the other four teams.
AMERICAN (slower) FLIGHT: Chip & Kim, Dennis & Erika,
Colin & Christie,
Marshall & Lance
UNITED (faster) FLIGHT: Everyone else
However, the Race may be over sooner than expected for
one team. An LAX paramedic observes Jim's bloody knee
and says that he may not be able to fly. They pull him
and Marsha aside and send them to the emergency medical
clinic there. However, the shuttle hits traffic on the
way. They have to get in, out and to the gate in 45
minutes or they're screwed. Boarding starts at 2:05 and
the other six teams get on the flight, wondering where
the others are. At 2:10, Jim comes out after getting 25
stitches, gets on the same shuttle and motors back to
LAX. They arrive back at the terminal at 2:30... and
make the flight with three minutes to spare.
The United flight
touches down the next day at 12:35pm local time and the
seven teams exit. Their task is to take a 75-mile bus
trip to Porta del Este and find "The Hand", a monument
of stone fingers in the sand next to the roughest waters
in South America that is supposed to represent that last
thing you see of a drowning man (nice image, ain't it?).
Charla & Mirna leave the terminal first and find the bus
terminal... followed by everyone else. A half-hour
later, the American flight lands and the final four
teams depart and, likewise, get on a bus towards The
Hand. The first bus drives right by the monument and
make a mad sprint towards the flag behind the "fingers"
(Charla falling behind, though Mirna runs ahead to get
ROUTE INFO: Get to Gorriti Island and look for the clue
box at the end
of the pier.
They have to hop a ferry to this former Spanish pirate
hideaway. The teams look for taxis to the ferry... and
Charla tries the use of a whistle to slow down a taxi
for them. Brandon, however, wants to save money, trusts
in the Lord to get them where they're going and decides
to try WALKING to the ferry.
The widowers arrive first, with the off-and-on daters
and the twins right behind. They TRY to leave the twins
behind, but the boat wasn't moving. Charla & Mirna (whom
I'll call Team Hi-Lo) and Jim & Marsha (Team Wounded
Knee) get on a second boat. Behind them are the bowling
moms and the models. Meanwhile, the second group arrives
at The Hand and gets the clue. Chip & Kim, the married
parents, are in last at this point.
ISLA GORITTI, URUGUAY
Alison & Donny are the
first to arrive at the next clue, with Twins Team and
the Net-Widowers on their heels:
ROUTE INFO: Search the
trees in the area for tickets to the Charity Ferry.
There are three different ferries and each leaves at a
different time tomorrow. Once a ticket is taken, you
cannot change your mind.
The teams scour the forest, shouting out the times...
and trying to keep quiet about shouting out the times.
The times are 8am, 8:30am and 9am. Kami & Karli look at
two tickets... then go to the earlier one they found:
8:30am. Bob & Joyce make the 8am one...and so do Alison
The second group then arrives at the Isla and gets the
clues. Mirna tries to ask Team Wounded Knee to work
together... but Marsha wants none of it. She even tricks
Team Hi-Lo intro thinking they didn't find one when they
did. They eventually take one for 8:30. The cousins
likewise find the last one for 8:30. The third ferry
group - the bowling moms and models - then arrive. Linda
& Karen find an 8am one right off the mark and take it,
the last one to make it on that ferry.
Meanwhile, the Models
argue about taking a 9am one.
Then the United group starts to show up. Team Type A,
Team Once Engaged, Team Pizza Brothers and the Married
Parents start to comb the trees. Upon seeing Brandon &
Nicole, they ask if they've seen anything later than
9am. When they say they haven't, Marshall & Lane and
Colin & Christie take 9am tickets. After much waffling,
the Models take the 9am one they were ogling. Dennis &
Erika likewise take one for the last ferry, as do Chip &
8am: Bob & Joyce, Alison
& Donny and Linda & Karen
8:30am: Jim & Marsha, Kami & Karli and Charla & Mirna
9am: Dennis & Erika, Brandon & Nicole, Chip & Kim,
Marshall & Lance and
Colin & Christie
Now that all the teams are stuck together until morning,
they have a chance to eat a little, relax...and
strategize. Some teams are optimistic as the sun
rises...while others had insomnia from the bugs flying
around. When the first ferry arrived back at Porta del
Este, Team Net-Widowers, Team Bowling Moms and the
Off-and-On Daters find their next clue:
ROUTE INFO: Make your way to the city of Maldonado and
find the Jose
Francisci Gonzalez Meat Warehouse
The three teams find a bus to take them to the suburb.
The second ferry group arrives a half hour later. Team
Hi-Lo finds the clue... and tricks Team Wounded Knee
into thinking it's not there as retribution for
yesterday as they ask a stranger to take them there. And
Team Twins... they walked right by it... TWICE! While
those two teams keep looking, Charla & Mirna catch up to
those on the bus. Alison & Donny find the clue first,
with Team Hi-Lo right behind.
ROUTE INFO: Carry a 55-pound side of beef to La Rosada
Caniceria a half-mile away (beef is a big industry in
Uruguay). Upon delivery, the butcher will give you your
Bob & Joyce and Linda & Karen find the clue shortly
afterwards and all four teams don their coats and
gloves. Bob doesn't think he'll make it, Charla REALLY
wants to help Mirna carry... and Alison & Donny are
racing like the wind.
But, wait... there's ANOTHER twist to this Race: YIELD!
There's only one in each leg and the first one to use it
can force another team to stop for a predetermined
amount of time. The team that must YIELD must turn an
"hourglass" over and must stay until the sand runs out.
Like FAST FORWARD, YIELD can only be utilized once by a
team for the entire Race... though any team can be
YIELDed more than once. The YIELD for THIS leg is en
route to the butcher shop. But Alison & Donny by-pass
it, not wanting to waste it now that they're in the
lead. (In fact, NO one uses the YIELD in this leg.)
Meanwhile, back at the
pier, Team Twins and Team Wounded Knee are STILL looking
for the clue to the meat warehouse. They finally find
it... just as the final ferry arrives. The five teams on
said ferry find the route marker without a problem and
look for transportation to Maldonado.
Donny is getting tired of hauling his beef... but the
slow and steady Bob & Joyce are right behind them.
Charla & Mirna are lagging behind... but THIS time it's
because Mirna is DISGUSTED about handling the heavy,
smelly meat. She finally drops the meat, exhausted from
carrying it. Charla cheers her on into carrying it for a
little longer. The Off-and-On Daters deliver their meat
and get the next clue:
ROUTE INFO: Your next clue is waiting across the street
from the blue &
white hotel in Porta del Este.
As they get a stranger to help them back to town, Team
Bowling Moms arrive at the butcher shop in second,
followed closely by Bob & Joyce. They each get cabs and
take off. Team Hi-Lo asks a stranger to carry their bags
while they carry the meat (the clue said THEY are the
only ones that could carry the meat). Charla hefts the
meat over her shoulders and hauls it down the road...
but they PASS the butcher they were to deliver it to.
Four streets later, they find out they missed... and the
two STRUGGLE to get the meat back... while REFUSING help
from the guy carrying the bags. They finally arrive at
the shop in fourth, with Kami & Karli and (a hurting)
Jim & Marsha close on their heels. While they struggle
to find a taxi, the teams from the 9am ferry start to
filter in: Team Type A, Team Pizza Brothers, Team Once
Engaged and the Models. Marshall & Lance aren't stupid;
they ask the butcher to call a taxi for them while the
others wait at a taxi station. The last team to the
butcher is Chip & Kim... still not out of it, though.
As Team Pizza Brothers and Team Married Parents get
taxis at the shop, Team Twins get first dips on a taxi
at the station. One-by-one, the teams grab cabs... but
Erika argues with Dennis for him giving what she thought
was THEIR taxi to Colin & Christie. They are the last to
find a cab back to...
PORTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY
The Off-and-On Daters
are the first to the blue-and-white hotel... but they
miss the clue entirely. As such, Team Bowling Moms reach
it first, followed closely by Alison & Donny and Team
DETOUR - ZIPS OR CHIPS?
ZIPS: Go across a
horizontal zip-line at the top of the hotel (210' high),
then down a SECOND zip-line to the pool 18 stories below
CHIPS: Go to the casino and play roulette with 20 chips.
If you don't hit your number and run out of chips, you
MUST do the ZIPS.
The three teams choose ZIPS (after Linda convinces Karen
that the odds of hitting a single number in roulette are
quite big). Karen went first, with Linda watching
carefully to get the gist. Donny goes across another
line and, as those two get to the second zip line, they
are dead even. Donny splashes down first, with Alison
right behind, despite her fear of heights. Bob & Joyce
are close behind, though.
ROUTE INFO - PIT STOP: Travel by taxi to the Casa Pueblo
in Punta Ballena. Last one to the PIT STOP is
Meanwhile, Kami & Karli totally miss the clue AGAIN
(they forgot the "across the street" part)! But they DO
find the casino and automatically play CHIPS. Turns out
they can play up to five numbers at one time. Chip & Kim
likewise initially miss the clue as Team Bowling Moms
descend. Team Twins manages to get the #5 on their
second spin and get the clue, pushing them into third.
The Married Parents hold a taxi for themselves while
THEY find the casino and play CHIPS (passing the twins).
Team Pizza Brothers actually FINDS the clue and decide
on CHIPS since Marshall LOVES playing roulette. They
meet up with Chip & Kim... and, on their very first
spin, they get the right number and move into fourth,
leaving Chip & Kim behind. As the others look for taxis,
Team Married Parents try again...and they luck out on
their last chips. All five grab cabs at about the same
time, followed closely by Bob & Joyce zipping down.
The Models and Team Wounded Knee both decide on ZIPS as
Hi-Lo gets convinced into playing CHIPS (Mirna calls it
a "sign" since they're in casinos all the time), while
Team Type A goes for ZIPS. As Jim & Marsha get lost,
Brandon & Nicole zip across with Colin & Christie not
too far behind. Charla & Mirna get their number and head
out to the PIT STOP.
PIT STOP: PUNTA BALLERNA, URUGUAY
Chip & Kim get out of
the taxi in front of the Casa Pueblo, followed closely
by Team Twins. Team Married Parents hit the pad in front
of Phil, who announces, "Chip & Kim, you are the first
team to arrive!"
This, of course, sets
the team SCREAMING that they went from worst to first!
That euphoria is short-lived, though, when Phil says
they must go BACK to the hotel and get that route marker
they missed. He tells the same thing to Kami & Karli,
who are likewise bummed and backtrack.
So there are two teams
fighting for... tenth? Or maybe not. Brandon & Nicole
are splashing down with Colin & Christie close behind...
and Jim & Marsha are still lost... and Dennis & Erika
had yet to even ARRIVE at the hotel...so there's still a
"Alison & Donny," says Phil as the Off-and-On Daters hit
the pad, "you're team number one!" They also get a
vacation to Hawaii courtesy of AA.com, which can be
enjoyed after the Race. They led themselves to the
finish and now they're leading others... and Alison
hopes this is the first step towards a non-fighting
FINALLY, Team Once Engaged arrives at the hotel and
chooses ZIPS, joining Team Wounded Knee at the hotel
top. As the teams filter into the PIT STOP one-by-one,
Jim & Marsha zip down (Jim wincing as the stitches hit
the water). While that's happening, Chip & Kim reach the
route marker and then head back to the PIT STOP. As
Dennis & Erika zip down, Team Twins arrive at the route
marker. It's a four-team race to see which team gets in
Seven teams made it in already... and Chip & Kim run in
next. Phil says, "You are NOW team number eight."
They're ultra-relieved that they're not last and know
they'll get better once they run on all cylinders. Next
in... is Team Twins, who are equally relieved. Will Team
Wounded Knee or Team Once Engaged who will be
eliminated? Team number ten......
...is Jim & Marsha! They are NOT eliminated! They played
through the pain and now get 12 hours to rest Jim's
Unfortunately, Dennis & Erika are the last team to
arrive... which means
the 6800 miles they've traveled from Santa Monica to
Uruguay was the most travel they would see in this Race.
Erika knew it was Dennis'
"niceness" that cost them the Race... but she's content
with that now. Plus, it truly brought them closer
together as they hoped it would; they can't imagine
being with anyone except each other (Awwwwwwwww-barf, as
Gordon and Chico would say.)