The Amazing Race: U-Turn-O-Rama

Where were we? Oh right, the “Couple” lost their fanny pack which contained all of their worldly and otherworldly possessions. Kynt had a queasy look about him and I got the impression that he knew he had left the waist-luggage on the gondola. Was he right? Yup. The “Couple” climbed all the way back up the mountain (via gondola) and there it was, waiting for them in some sort of makeshift lost-and-found. Kynt was so relieved that he kissed the fanny pack, which is more intimate than he has ever been with Vyxsin.

In the meantime, the Nerds learned they are still racing and had to travel by train to the city of Kunming where they were to search for their next clue in the Dounan Flower Market.

Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord arrived at the train station at noon and learn that there is only one train which left at 7 p.m. Sad trombones played as they realized that their lead was lost. Oh TAR, you’re such a tease with the transportation equalizers. Also? He can’t hear the sad trombones.

When the “Couple” finally reach Phil they were so overjoyed that they were still racing that Kynt kissed the clue! No he didn’t, but he wanted to kiss the clue a lot more than he wanted to kiss Vyxsin. Because they took the wrong flight, they incurred a 30 minute penalty which they would have to wait out at the next pit stop.

What happened next was strange and wonderful. It appears that Flight Time has been lugging a basketball halfway around the world in a giant fanny pack. So while they were waiting for their train, the Cowboys, the Sisters, and the Globetrotters shot some hoops in the parking lot while the Cheerleaders cheered. It was an amazing little glimpse at how much fun racing around the world can be, and I have made a mental note to bring a basketball the next time I find myself at a train station in China with seven hours to kill.

All teams boarded a triple-decker train to Kunming. What is a triple-decker train you ask? It’s a train with beds stacked three high. The top bunk looked about ten feet off of the ground, and there was no visible ladder so I assume climbing up involved a great deal of gymnastics. Or, if you’re the Globetrotters, just sitting down.

Upon arriving in Kunming, Old Yeller noted that by speaking Chinese, they have the home court advantage. Not to be outdone, the Nerds added that “Ron and Christina must know exactly where they’re going.” Because China is a small town?

The Sisters located the clue first amongst the flowery flowers of the flower market. Teams were directed to the Golden Horse and Jade Cock Memorial Arches to search for their next clue. No joke, I had to rewind three times because I thought Phil said “gay cock.” Now that would have been an interesting Detour.

Detour! The teams had a choice between honoring the past, or embracing the future. In Honor the Past, teams had to watch a traditional Tibetan performance and place a set of 15 dolls representing the characters in the show in the same order as they appeared on the stage. In Embrace the Future, teams had to offload a water heating system, carry it to the roof of a building, and properly install it.

Dance, dance, dance, dolls, dolls, dolls, and the Nerds finished the task and were the first team headed towards the dreaded Double U-Turn. The Sisters and Old Yeller were close on their heels. Because Old Yeller knows all of China everywhere, the two teams decided to follow Old Yeller’s cab.  Unfortunately, Old Yeller’s cab driver did not know China as well as they did and led all three teams to the wrong location. Oops! That’s what you get for following another team.

Over at Embracing the Future, Deaf Kid and Umbilical Cord lugged the materials up to the roof like champs! Behind them were the Cheerleaders and the “Couple” who seemed to already know about the dreaded Double U-Turn. The “Couple” were having a bit of trouble carrying heavy things because Kynt has wispy, pale little twigs for arm. To add insult to injury, the Cowboys blazed past them on the staircase like they were carrying marshmallows topped with feathers. The Globetrotters eventually showed up, picked up two toothpicks, and stepped onto the rooftop.

Deaf Kid and Umbilical Cord finished the task and headed for the dreaded Double U-Turn. When a team is U-Turned, they have to go back and complete the other task which can really slow a team down considerably. Deaf Kid arrived first and decided not to U-Turn anyone because they were pretty sure that they were in first place. Which they were. But still, it’s a race for a bazillion dollars! Play hard or don’t play at all, folks!  Another team that didn’t U-Turn anyone? The Cowboys. I don’t understand the nicey-nice strategy, but okay.

The “Couple” and the Cheerleaders arrived at the U-Turn almost at the same time, but the “Couple” muscled the Cheerleaders out of the way at the last second. First, they U-Turned the Globetrotters because they knew that they were still behind them. But what other team was behind them? Psst! They’re standing right behind you! The lightbulb went off in Kynt’s head and they U-Turned the Cheerleaders right to their faces! Ha ha! It was evil and awesome and the smartest thing they’ve done in days.

Roadblock! Teams had to take a cab to the Stone Forest outside of the city. Most of the teams bunched up and followed one cab to the Stone Forest where they had to reconstruct a 20-foot life-sized dinosaur model. The task looked really hard and physically exhausting.

The Cheerleaders arrived at the second task while the Globetrotters realized that they had been U-Turned. Poor Globetrotters. The Cheerleaders finished before they even showed up.  But, the Globetrotters made quick work of it and the Cheerleaders’ cab had to stop for gas, so the Globetrotters passed the Cheerleaders on the way to the Stone Forest.

The Nerds and Father/Daughter got totally lost and were having communication problems. At one point, they were miming “stone” and “forest.” As a result, they were the last two teams to arrive at the task.

Most teams were struggling to properly complete their dinosaur models. Father/Daughter took one look at the task and decided to use their Express Pass. Remember that? They got it for winning the first leg and it allows them to skip any task. Bam! Off to the pit stop at Green Light Park in Kun Ming Zhan!

The Cowboys did a great job of being careful and checking the diagram a million times and finished the task before the rest of the teams. They even let out a little yeeeeehaw! And, because Father/Daughter were having trouble finding a cab, the Cowboys passed them and won this leg of the Race! Another hearty yeeeehaw! and the ginger one even threw his hat in the air! And, rather than another romantic vacation, they each won $5,000 which they can spend on hats and belt buckles and other cowboy accessories. Good for you, Cowboys, I think you got your groove back!

Back at the task from hell, Jaimie was getting pissed, Zev was disassembling his dinosaur again, and Kynt climbed up on a ladder to grab the top of the dinosaur tail and did some sort of a swan dive onto the ground.

Umbilical Cord finished next, then the Sisters, then the “Couple” (who still have a 30 minute penalty to wait out), and then Big Easy who looked like he just picked up a few dinosaur bones and placed them at his feet. Finally Christina finished and I have to say, good for you, Ron. You kept your big mouth shut and let your daughter do the task without any berating or micromanaging. See how well that worked? The only teams left at the task were the Nerds and the Cheerleaders, and neither of them were even close to finishing.

Eventually, Justin finished his dinosaur. Jaimie looked like she wanted to give give up. She threw a mini-tantrum, waving her arms around like a tyrannosaurus rex, and…pressed on. Exhausted and broken, she finished the task knowing that they were going to be the last team to arrive. The Cheerleaders were eliminated, but I give them credit because they finally showed something closely resembling grace.

Next week, the teams are off to Calcutta, India and have to do a tea tasting that supposedly brings Luke to his breaking point (fingers crossed!). Also, Luke loses his sleeves.

So? Are you as happy as I am that the Globetrotters caught up and the Cheerleaders were eliminated? How badly did you want to join in that game of hoops at the bus terminal? And where exactly was Flight Time stashing that basketball?

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