The Amazing Race All-Stars: 1798 Miles and Lots of Bad Accents

Phil in QuitpI love watching The Amazing Race. While I don’t care much for the teammate squabbling, I love seeing so many remote parts of the world, many of which are non-traditional staples of American TV viewing.

This season, the series’ 11th, boasts the so-called All-Stars. Featuring some teams you may have rooted for in the past — and some teams you may not have rooted for — this season will, no doubt, be filled with deceit, treachery, lying and sleaziness — especially since Rob and Amber are back.

Beginning with an impossibly long ride to the airport in Miami, the teams head for Quito, Ecuador…

… where they rush to Pim’s Restaurant. After receiving staggered departure times for the next day’s trip to Hacienda Yanahurco, an ecological reserve in Cotopaxi National Park, the teams have to choose between Wrangle It (give a beauty treatment to a horse) or Recover It (find a needle in a haystack). Ultimately, sneaky, snake-y Rob and Amber score a first place finish while formerly dating couple John Vito and Jill get the boot.

Of course, it’s easy for me, as an armchair racer, to critique the racers’ performance from the comfort of my sofa. However, I did come up with some things that the racers probably should have avoided — and that you might want to avoid on upcoming trips:

  1. Do not speak to locals with English infused with accents that you believe the locals speak with. They will not understand you better. Charla and Mirna are notorious violators of this travel no-no. Just speak slowly and clearly.
  2. In the airport, many of the racers accost the ticket agents, demanding the earliest-arriving flights. Generally speaking, I don’t think this is the best method for getting the seats you want. Be polite. Ask nicely. Be calm. Freaking out never made an airline seat appear.
  3. While I understand that time is critical, asking foreign cabbies to speed and/or break the local laws is probably a bad idea — and doesn’t make the rest of us travelers more appreciated.

In summary, the racers experienced 2 countries, 1 nearly dislocated shoulder, and 1798 miles of stale airline air.