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Bonds will be forged, tested, and strained, as eleven teams of two, joined by family or relationship, follow a path of twists and turns in a frenetic race around the world for $1,000,000.

Who will be the first to cross the finish line? 

For more information and current standings, visit GSNN's Amazing Race Log!

Recaps by Chris Wolvie, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Phil Keoghan
Creator: Bertram van Munster, Elise Doganieri
EP: Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Hayma Screech Washington
Packager: Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Worldrace Productions, Amazing Race Productions
Airs: Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET on CBS



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"We Got a Gnome! We Got a Gnome! - Leg 9" - April 26

PIT STOP: JASWANT THADA, JODHPUR, INDIA


Well, it was a long road to the last PIT STOP. Aside from what was presented in the FIRST half of the leg, they had to ride a train all day and all night, push heavy wooden elephants and race camel carts hither, thither and yon. But... not EVERYONE took the EASY way to the stop. Uchenna & Joyce (Team Will Race For Food) tried out the FAST FORWARD. And, though they shirked about Joyce shaving her head, she went through it and put them in first place. The American Survivor Alliance (ASA) of Rob & Amber (Team Survivor) and Ron & Kelly (Team American Beauties) arrived at roughly the same time. Meredith & Gretchen (Team Socially Secure), the team that REFUSES do die, lands in fourth... and Lynn & Alex (Team Fab Two) finally ran out of tricks; they were "Philiminated".

At the palace-slash-tomb of Jodhpur royalty, the Racers rest for 12 hours. But, come 11:24pm local time, Team Will Race For Food - bald heads and all - rip open the first clue of the ninth leg:

 
ROUTE INFO:
Fly to Istanbul, Turkey (over 4000 miles away). Once there, travel by train to a dock and take a ferry to the island of Kiz Kulesi and find your next clue at the top of the lighthouse tower, you'll find your next clue. You have $82 for this leg of the Race.

(At this point, I was going, "Uh,... why are they headed WEST? Wouldn't it be easier to keep going east to Australia or the South Pacific than to backtrack?" But, then, I thought of the tsunami that hit the Pacific rim and... well, I doubt there are too many airports and/or tourist attractions OPEN around there right now so it makes sense that they do a "loop" instead of "lap" around the world.)

So the team - adopting a "Let go and Let God" mentality - take off to find a travel agent to get them to the Ottoman. A mere two minutes later, the ASA rip open THEIR clues and start off, still a little shaky about their alliance together... but trusting in their trusty Hindu guide Sanjay to get them to a travel agent that's open at this hour. Ron & Kelly's tension between each other seems to be reaching a fever pitch.

The final team to leave the PIT STOP - seven minutes behind the ASA - is Team Socially Secure. They can't believe that they're still in the Race... and they can't believe that the driver of their cab has half his windshield covered with stickers.

Uchenna & Joyce think the travel agent will be closed at this hour and decide to find a hotel to call the agent from to check the hours. They're SHOCKED to find that they're still open and promptly find out that the earliest flight to Istanbul is at 10:20am. They make their way to the agent...

...just as Team Survivor and Team American Beauties ARRIVE at the agent. The 10:20am flight routes through Delhi but still appears to be the earliest flight to arrive there at 8:45am, Turk time. So... the ASA book their tickets. As they leave for the airport, Team Socially Secure show up and book the same flight. They almost literally run into Team Will Race For Food on the way out and clue them in. Soon, all four teams have the tix on the same flight, and the non-ASA group is heading back to the hotel to get some shut-eye before the LONG battle with jet-lag en route to Istanbul.

As it must, the Earth turns to make it look like the large ball of hydrogen and helium in a constant state of nuclear fission is starting its climb towards the zenith (that is, the sun rises). All four teams head for the airport. Meredith & Gretchen and Uchenna & Joyce both get their boarding passes. But... wehn Rob & Amber stand on line, Rob casually says to Gretchen, "Did you get the earlier flight to Turkey?" This serves a double purpose: a) to see if there WAS an earlier flight and b) to install some paranoia into their system that might make them screw up.

Well, it turns out that b) worked. Gretchen, naive as she is, tells the others that there might be an earlier flight out of Dehli. This gets the two non-ASA teams scrambling to find out. Uchenna borrows a cell phone and found out that a) is right, too. There IS an earlier-arriving flight, connecting through Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It'll arrive almost two hours before the direct Delhi flight. Ron & Kelly overhear this... and feel the NEED to get on that flight!

But, for now, all four teams are tied for the lead again as the Great Equalizer takes them all to...

DELHI, INDIA

At the Delhi International Airport, Team Survivor unofficially break their ASA and go to find a travel agent on their own. Uchenna & Joyce and Meredith & Gretchen likewise look for an agent. They're followed closely by Ron & Kelly. As they ride, Ron realizes that there's so much for him to do and see before he settles down... and that does NOT sit well with Kelly. She claims Ron isn't into the "C" word... but Ron says he was committed to the military... which Kelly says he got OUT of by becoming a POW. Oh, this is going just SWELL for them, ain't it?

Rob & Amber arrive at a row of travel agencies and ask about earlier flights to Istanbul. They get the same shtick from everyone there: the earliest flight is the direct one to Istanbul. But Team Will Race For Food and Team Socially Secure know better. When THEY arrive, they get tickets and the TRUE earliest flight. When Team American Beauties reconnects with Team Survivor, they confirm once and for all that they have the earliest Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul.

Later that night, back at the airport, the non-ASA board their flight to Dubai. As they take off, the ASA arrive and wait for THEIR flight. Rob starts to RIP on Team Socially Secure for their age and Team Will Race For Food for their idiocy. "The blind leading the blind," he calls them. Little does he know that that the two "blind" teams are well ahead of them right now en route to...

ISTANBUL (NOT CONSTANTINOPLE), TURKEY

In the largest city in the country and the former capital of THREE different empires, the first flight lands at 6:27am. Meredith & Gretchen and Uchenna & Joyce (whom I'll call the "NSBA" for "not-so-blind alliance") don't notice the tell-tale red cap of Rob's so they're confident that they're in front. They hop the metro train, enjoy the view, find the dock, get on the ferry (just in time) and head for the island.

As they sail away, the second flight arrives, almost a full tour hours behind them. The ASA hustle out of the terminal... but Rob & Amber hustle more, leaving Ron & Kelly to wait for the next train.

The NSBA make a stop-over at another island and switch to a small craft to get to Kiz Kulesi. After leaving their bags at the doorstep to the tower, the two teams climb the steps to the top and find this (PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALERT!) clue:

ROUTE INFO:
Search around the island until you find a Travelocity "Roaming Gnome"(TM). You must carry it all the way through this leg to the PIT STOP. Once you get a gnome, head back to the mainland and head for Galata Kulesi (about 12 miles away). At the base of tower, you'll find your next clue.

(What the teams DON'T know is that the patch on the BOTTOM of the gnomes have a special significance. The team who takes the gnome with an airplane on the patch all the way to the PIT STOP will get a very special prize, no matter WHAT position they arrive in.)

The two teams go in opposite directions and start their search. But it's Meredith & Gretchen who find their gnome first. But the ferry doesn't leave for the mainland until Uchenna & Joyce find a gnome of their own.

The NSBA ride in taxis to the next clue while Rob & Amber ride the train to the ferry... and Ron & Kelly jump the next one in the HOPES that they're not in last.

GALATA KULESI TOWER, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Upon arrival, Team Will Race For Food get out and run right into another:

DETOUR - Columns or Kilos?
COLUMNS - Make your way two miles to Binbirdirek Cistern, an ancient well held up by 224 columns, each displaying a number. You will be given a unique map, directing you to four unique columns. Write down the numbers of each of the columns, then head for the well and pull up a marked box on a rope. Use the numbers to unlock the combination to the lock and retrieve the next clue inside the box.
KILOS - Travel to a town square at Yeni Camli and take part in a common practice on the streets of Istanbul: weighing people. There will be a man with clipboards and scales waiting for you. Mark down the weight of every person you weigh to the nearest kilogram. Once you have achieved a total of 2500 kilograms (or about 5500 pound), give the clipboard and scale back to the man and he will give you your next clue.

Uchenna & Joyce decide to try KILOS, since it sounds much easier. As Meredith & Gretchen name their little sidekick "Jerome the Gnome", Team Survivor arrives at the docks. They watch the door of the ferry to make sure Team American Beauties don't catch up. The doors close and they breathe a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, at the town square, Team Will Race For Food find the man with the scales and start their DETOUR. But... what self-respecting Turk wants to get weighed by an African-American couple? Not many at first. But, as a few start to step up to the scales, more and more so the same. The GOOD news is that Uchenna & Joyce seem to attract the more heavy-set of people.

Back at the tower, Meredith & Gretchen get out of the cab... and Gretchen thinks they'll have to climb the tower to get their next clue. (Uh, hello! The clue says "BASE of the tower"!) They actually get lost... in the ELEVATOR! (How they lasted this long, I'll never know.) After checking the perimeter of the balcony, they start to make their way back down.

After putting one more fairly-heavy guy on their scale, Uchenna & Joyce reach the 25000-kg mark. For that, they are awarded with:

ROUTE INFO:
Make your way to Rumeli Hisari, a 550-year-old European fortress (ten miles away). Outside the main gate, you'll find your next clue.

They head off after getting instructions. Meanwhile, Team Socially Secure try the balcony one more time, crying into their gnome. But no sooner do they look over the rail... when the find the clue box is right near the entrance. Gretchen apologizes profusely as they arrive at the DETOUR and decide on KILOS.

Meanwhile, back on the water, Team Survivor changes ferries as Team American Beauties get on the main one (still believing they're in second and not fourth). But Rob & Amber find out that two other teams had taken the ferry already... And Rob is PISSED that they're now in third! They get to the island, find the clue in the tower and promptly find their gnome. They get back to the main ferry... and JUST miss Ron & Kelly changing to the small ferry. En route back to the mainland, Rob uses a spyglass to see Ron & Kelly on the island, finding the last clue and the last gnome. THEY take a taxi (like the others) to Galata Kulesi instead of the main ferry.

RUMELI HISARI, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Uchenna & Joyce arrive at the castle and find themselves staring down another:

ROAD BLOCK (Is climbing your forte?)
Time to storm this fortress! One team member must climb a 25-foot-high rope ladder up a wall. Then make your way down the marked path to the top of a tower to retrieve a key. Then you must rappel back down to the courtyard and unlock your next clue (which is in the bound books near the inside of this entrance). The other team member must stay by the entrance for his/her partner.

Uchenna opts to do it, since Joyce was the one who had to sacrifice LAST time. Up the shaky ladder he goes, huffing and puffing. He jogs up the many, many steps to the top... but can't seem to find a key (not that he's to be blamed, since they practically blend into the stonework).

Over at the city square, Team Socially Secure arrives and start to weigh-in... as soon as they find the fellow with the scales. (This just AIN'T their leg, eh?) Around the courtyard and into the shops, carrying their gnome and shouting, "Scales! Scales!" go the lost Meredith & Gretchen.

Back at the castle, Uchenna finally finds a key and heads back down the steps. It's a slow rappel to the courtyard, but it's a fun drop. He finds the books and unlocks it to see on the front page:

Congratulations!
Show the guard this page to allow your partner to enter. Then search the fortress for the next Pit Stop.

Warning!
The last team to check in may be eliminated!!

(The PIT STOP is at the Rumeli Hisari Overlook.)

Getting his "princess", Uchenna rejoins Joyce and jogs up the path to...

PIT STOP: OVERLOOK, RUMELI HISARI, ISTANBUL, TURKEY.

"Uchenna & Joyce," says Phil Keoghan beside a local, "you're Team Number One!" Team Will Race For Food has much rejoicing (yea!).

But...what about the gnome? Well, that's when Phil tells them about the prize for having an airplane symbol under it. But... it's a car. But, hey, they're in the lead! They're happy, prize or no prize.

Back at the square, the seniors FINALLY find the scale guy and get to their task. Gretchen begs for big men while Meredith does the weighing. Meanwhile, Rob & Amber return to the mainland and hop a cab, slightly behind Ron & Kelly. It doesn't take long for Team Socially Secure to get to 2500 kilos and get their next clue towards the fortress.

At the tower, Team Survivor arrives in third and choose KILOS. As they leave to try and find their way to the square, Team American Beauties arrives. They, too, go to the top of the tower to try and find the clue. As they struggle, Rob & Amber decide to walk the kilometer or so to the square. Meanwhile , the POW and beauty queen find the clue on the bottom, argue all the way down and are the ONLY ones to choose COLUMNS.

The two Survivor vets find their way to the square and start their weighing. They line up a bunch of people (who obviously SAW them before) and start their climb to 2500kg.

Meanwhile, Ron & Kelly arrive at Binbirdirek Cistern, get their map and start the search for the columns. Ron, being ex-military, seems to be a wiz at map coordinates, so he starts the search while Kelly trails and writes down the numbers: 0-1-3-6.

Meredith & Gretchen arrive at the ROAD BLOCK and, after some queasiness at the height of the tower of the fortress, Gretchen decides to do it. It's a long, slow climb... but she sticks to it.

Rob & Amber reach their limit and get to the clue in third while Rob & Kelly try the different combinations before coming up with 6301 and heading for the ROAD BLOCK in last.

Back at the fortress, the climb is still slow for Meredith who is quickly running out of energy. But Meredith knows she'll keep plugging away. And she does and makes it to the top. After a brief rest, she climbs the steps to the tower, grabs a key, breaks the Third Commandment more than ANY 66-year-old should (that's "Thou Shalt Not Use The Lord God's Name In Vain" to those non-Bible scholars) and starts her rappel to the courtyard. It's an easy trek for the seniors up to the mat to become Team # 2. And "Jerome"... well, he has a cruise ship on the bottom so no prize for them.

Back outside the fortress, Team Survivor chooses Rob to storm the fortress, with Amber FOLLOWING him to the ladder (you'd think someone who've BEEN in reality shows wouldn't MAKE so many damned mistakes). Up the ladder goes Rob in quick order as Amber returns to the front... just in time to see Ron take off on the ROAD BLOCK for HIS team. The ladies watch and wait to see who gets them inside first. Rob snags a key almost IMMEDIATELY after mounting the stairs and starts his drop. Rob picks up the pace and finds the last key quickly... but not before Rob hits the courtyard, unlocks the book and grabs Amber to get to the PIT STOP as Team # 3. Their gnome has a train on its bottom...so guess who won that prize?

As Team Survivor check in, Ron watches from the top of the tower. He finds the key and heads down to collect Kelly. They hit the mat in last... but they're not out! This is the second non-elimination leg. That's good. They have to give up their money and their possessions. That's bad. Their gnome has the plane, which means they win the Travelocity prize: a 12-hour stay in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel for the day AND $20,000 to use on travelocity.com to book a great vacation anywhere in the world. That's good. But they're stuck with no cash, no clothes (except what's on their back), only a passport and in a DISTINCT disadvantage for the next leg. That's bad. They have their relationship problems but, as a team, it's ALL good!

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