Got a Gnome! We Got a Gnome!
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:
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
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
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
But, for now, all four teams are tied for the lead again as
the Great Equalizer takes them all to...
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
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
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!)
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
DETOUR - Columns or
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
After putting one more fairly-heavy guy on their scale,
Uchenna & Joyce reach the 25000-kg mark. For that, they are
Make your way to
Rumeli Hisari, a 550-year-old European fortress (ten
miles away). Outside the main gate, you'll find your
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
RUMELI HISARI, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Uchenna & Joyce arrive at the castle and find
themselves staring down another:
ROAD BLOCK (Is climbing
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
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:
guard this page to allow your partner to enter. Then
search the fortress for the next Pit Stop.
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
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
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
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!