The Amazing Race: Hay There, Cowboy!

Wow, that was some week off, huh? I got so much done while The Amazing Race wasn’t on! I…I did nothing, really. Read the internets, drank some wine, GTL without the G or the T, battened down the hatches for the government shut-down that wasn’t. You know, regular stuff. But you know who were super busy? The seven teams racing for a million bucks.

Father/Daughter left the pit stop first at 1:18 p.m. and headed to the airport where they were to catch a flight for Varanasi, the religious part of India. Their next clue would be at a Tonga stand. What is a Tonga? The Google tells me it is a covered carriage. That sounds not very amazing and not very religious. But to the Tongas we go!

The Cowboys left a few minutes after Father/Daughter, with Old Yeller, the Nerds, the “Couple” and the Sisters all within spitting distance. The only team trailing was the Globetrotters, who left the pit stop a full five hours after the rest of the teams.

Father/Daughter, Old Yeller, the Nerds, the Sisters and the “Couple” got tickets for a 10:45 a.m. flight to Varanasi. But for some reason, the ticket agent gave the Cowboys tickets for a flight that left a full hour afterwards. Maybe they would be on a later flight with the Globetrotters? No! The Globetrotters, who arrived at the airport hours later, got tickets for the 10:45 a.m. flight!  So all teams were on the earlier flight except for the Cowboys! That is a huge mistake. The poor Cowboys were wandering around the airport wondering where everybody else was, and you could see that sick-to-your-stomach-and-not-in-an-I-just-ate-some-bad-vindaloo-way look creep up on them when they realized that there was an earlier flight.

When the teams arrived at their destination, they hopped into cabs and headed for the Tonga stand.  This was unremarkable except for Kynt inexplicably hitting his head on the trunk of the car, which triggered the “Couple’s” need to berate their cab driver. As a TAR expert, I can say that one thing rings true no matter what country you are in–it is never a good racing strategy to piss off your cab driver.

The Nerds’ cab stopped for gas, Old Yeller’s cab was redirected by police officers over some bridge, and the Globetrotters passed the Sisters and Father/Daughter. Sometimes it’s all about what cab driver you have and, note to the “Couple,” how nice you are to them.

Despite their sunny lousy attitude, the “Couple” reached the clue box first. Roadblock!  One member of each team had to search for the meaning of life. Pfft! I could’ve skipped that task and gone straight to the pit stop. The meaning of life is shopping for shoes without having to flip them upside down to look at the price first. You got that, ladies? For the rest of you who doubt my deep insight, the teams were provided with a photo of six religious figures (lasidus? I couldn’t make out the name, if anyone knows what this is, please enlighten us in the comments) for reference. The teams had to find the holy person, who would give them a word. If the words are arranged properly, the teams will learn the meaning of life.

The Globetrotters reached the clue box next, followed by the Sisters, Father/Daughter, Old Yeller and the Nerds. At this point in the race, I was really worried about the Cowboys. An hour is easy to make up on travel (hello airport equalizers!) but tough to make up on tasks.

Big Easy tried to work with Jen, but then she ditched him. Kynt cut some sort of a deal with Gary which is strange because Gary is generally very careful at these types of tasks and should not need Kynt’s help. Kynt was basically just following Gary, and then there were two cows licking each other which was either sweet, or a metaphor for the race.

Ron was doing terribly. Like really and truly awful. Maybe he was looking for somewhere to stop for a snack? I don’t know, but he was headed in entirely the wrong direction.

The Sisters finished first and learned that the meaning of life is: Shoe Shopping Without Regard For Prices. Oh my gosh! I was right! I’m kidding. The real meaning of life is: Once You’re Over The Hill You Pick Up Speed. I suppose that’s a little more profound, but how are you supposed to get over that hill without stylish footwear? Hmm? Exactly.

Flight Time and Justin teamed up together and finished the task next. The teams were then sent to the Swaminath Akhara Wrestling Club where they were supposed to find a strong man who would give them their next clue.

Some time after the Sisters, the Globetrotters and the Nerds left, the Cowboys arrived at the task. This made Old Yeller, Father/Daughter and the “Couple” nervous because the Cowboys make notoriously quick work of tasks. Jet (or Cord, I haven’t quite figured out which is which) said, “How fast you run is how fast you’re going to get through the road block,” but you have to look around and not miss anything. So true, so true. The Cowboys blazed through the task while Ron was still wandering around India in the wrong direction. The “Couple” and Father/Daughter finished the task next, which left Old Yeller and the Cowboys out on the course.

The Nerds and the Globetrotters found the strong man and the clue box at about the same time. Detour! The teams had a choice between Feed the Fire and Feed the Buffalo. In Feed the Fire, the teams had to travel down the Ganges River and follow a path to the home of milkman, make fifty poop patties, place them on a wall to dry in the sun, and light a fire to boil milk. This does not sound like a very good task since it involves manure. In Feed the Buffalo, teams had to cross the Ganges River, pick up hay, cross again and carry the hay through narrow streets to the correct milk farm. Since this task does not involve manure, it is the task I would have chosen.

Because great minds think alike, the Nerds and the Globetrotters chose to feed the buffalo. The Sisters, on the other hand, chose to feed the fire.

Back at the Roadblock, the Cowboys finished the task before Old Yeller! Yeehaw! Old Yeller was sort of freaking out and backtracking, thinking the holy men may not have been properly garbed as in their photos beacused they wanted to take a refreshing swim in the Ganges River. What? No, no, no Old Yeller, they did not take a break from their TAR obligations to take a refreshing swim in the Ganges River! Holy hell. Eventually Old Yeller got back on track and finished the task, though he looked ready to collapse.

Meanwhile, back at the front of the pack, the Nerds and the Globetrotters worked together to find the correct address for their hay delivery while the Sisters arrived at the Dung Palace. They were literally vomiting before one poop patty was even made. Ladies, you made the wrooooong choice.  The “Couple” also chose to feed the fire, just like the fire in their bedroom. Ugh now I’m vomiting. Father/Daugher then joined in the fun at the Dung Palace.

The Globetrotters and the Nerds were singing “Running with haaay, in the middle of India!” as they delivered their bales of hay. How can you not root for these guys? They received a clue which directed them to the pit stop at Ramnagar Fort across the Ganges River. Is crossing the Ganges River the only thing anyone ever does in India? In a foot race between the Nerds and the Globetrotters, it’s best to put your money on the professional athletes. The Globetrotters were first to the mat and are Team Number One, followed by the Nerds as Team Number Two. For coming in first, the Globetrotters won a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. A big island for some big guys!

The Cowboys chose to feed the buffalo and were chuckling that they went all the way to India to haul hay. Old Yeller also chose to feed the buffalo. Like the Nerds and the Globetrotters in a foot race, if I had to put my money on who was going to haul hay faster, I’d go with the Cowboys.

Over at Dung Palace, the Sisters were struggling. A mean old lady knocked some of their poop patties off of the wall because they were too big. Eventually they made their poops exactly the right size and were headed to the pit stop. The “Couple” finished the poop task next, then Father/Daughter.

For some reason, the “Couple” decided to take a boat to the pit stop. But when they pulled away from the dock, Vyxsin did something really weird, even for her. She jumped out of the water taxi into the Ganges River! Just jumped right out, like she was compelled to do it by an evil spirt.  She grabbed the boat and hauled it back to the dock and they took off on foot for the pit stop. And then Kynt said something, just a little something, and my skin crawled. He said, “You need to get a grip, sis.” Are they brother and sister? Eew. The possibilities are just eew.

The Cowboys made hay of Old Yeller and finished the task in no time at all. The Sisters checked in at the pit stop, then Father/Daughter, and then the Cowboys who are back in this race. Finally, the “Couple” checked in, which meant Old Yeller were the last team to arrive. They have been eliminated from the race. I’m…kind of happy about this. I’m sick of watching Ron bumble around the world, snapping at Christina and snacking on local delicacies at the most inopportune times. They weren’t going to win, so it’s good that Phil put them out of their misery. And it was misery for poor Christina. Yes, she said that she cherished the moments she got to spend with her father, but I could sense seething contempt just below the surface. Good luck with your marriage to that other guy from TAR, Christina. I hope the two of you are very happy together and move far, far away from your dear old dad.

Next week: The six remaining teams head to Austria, where it looks like they compete in a food challenge that Mallory isn’t enjoying, and the “Couple” are again fighting over directions.

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