Amazing Race 13, recap 9: Russians don’t laugh at you, they laugh with you

With Terence & Sarah eliminated, and Starr & Nick coming in 1st four times in a row, it was any one of the team’s game during episode 9 of the Amazing Race 13. As the teams headed off to Moscow, Russia from Almaty, Kazakhstan, I was curious what would trip up Nick & Starr and if Andrew & Dan could dump their status as the team with the most trouble with tasks.

Moscow was shown as a complicated city that is more than a little expensive in the taxi department. The city gave two teams a bit of grief. Language barriers and a lack of being able to find directions were consistent problems. By the end of their day, I hope there were shots of vodka waiting.

Travel Tips:

  • Hotel bedroom slippers will temporarily work as shoes.
  • I would find someone who knows English to write down locations in Russian in order to find places more easily. That’s just an observation I had after watching the teams struggle.
  • Keep a sense of humor. It will help.
  • Work out taxi costs before you get in a cab, but it may not do much good.
  • On second thought, when traveling in Moscow, don’t take taxis. They are EXPENSIVE.

Recaps and Cultural Highlights

Even though teams left the Pit Stop in Almaty, Kazakhstan at different times, they were on the same flight to Moscow. The airport scene in Kazakhstan was a hoot once Andrew & Dan showed up. Because they left their shoes at the puppet theater when they dressed up as a cow, there they were shuffling along in hotel slippers. Luckily for them, there was an open shoe store at the airport despite the late hour. Shoes weren’t cheap, however. From what I could tell, the least expensive pair cost $80.

Each bought sneakers and didn’t complain about them pinching, rubbing, or making blisters later on in the episode. I assume that meant they were decent shoes. If anything, these frat boys were pleased with their shoes, but were concerned that their money stash was diminished. What a funny story they have to tell later.

Dallas and Starr had more time to further their interest in each other at the airport. Yawn. As with any romance that starts on the road, I give it a 1 out of 5 chance of succeeding.

What was more interesting was when the teams hit Moscow. The buildings’ magnificence impressed the whole gang, but everyone was focused more on money once they hopped into a taxi.

Moscow is very expensive. A taxi ride from the airport to the first stop at Krutitske Podvorye Monastery cost $100. Not one dollar. One hundred dollars. Other taxi rides to the other tasks seemed to cost about the same due to the distances the teams traveled. Being lost may have added to the price.

The monastery was a beautiful Russian Orthodox building with a church service in progress when the teams arrived. I gave Toni high points for covering her hair with a scarf when she stepped inside the church to light a candle. The candlelighting led to the next clue. As she said, “It’s history…There’s reverence and respect. ” As she pointed out, when in a place of worship, one should act appropriately.

Once she & Dallas received their clue that directed them to Kolosok Camp, a decommissioned military base, they were off again without a hitch. Nick & Starr were close behind until Nick & Starr got lost.

Once at the camp, teams were to chose between marching with soldiers or serving soldiers borscht. All teams initially picked the marching. From Ken & Tina’s amorous attitudes during this activity, it looks like all they need to do to get rid of their marital woes is to put on a uniform once in awhile.

While Toni & Dallas and Ken & Tina were marching away, Nick & Starr were not having one bit of luck with their driver. It didn’t matter that it was Nick’s birthday. They spent a good deal of the time between tasks during this whole episode lost. To their credit, there was minimal snipping, although Nick did ask Starr how crying could help. He should try it sometimes.

In the meantime, even after Nick & Starr finally showed up, Andrew & Dan kept bumbling along at the military camp which provided great guffaws at my house. First, Dan couldn’t correctly wrap his feet with fabric like a good Russian soldier should. “Neit, neit, neit,” the supervisor kept saying. The boys decided to ditch the marching and headed off to serve borscht to the 75 waiting soldiers. Once they found out they had to wear the uniforms to serve soup, it was back to the marching.

That was a bad idea. Andrew couldn’t march to save his life. I was rolling on the floor and my sides hurt from watching him. I like this guy. Even the Russian soldiers were laughing hard at watching them. To his credit, and to Dan’s, they got a kick out of themselves as much as the soldiers did. Back they went to serve the soup. Despite their abysmal luck with tasks, they looked like they were having a great time. They also seemed to be off of their bickering from the last episode.

Once teams finished marching like a soldier or serving watery borscht, they were off to find the town Zhukovsky and the Zhukovsky Bakery. At the bakery, one member had to move 50 sacks of 55-pound sacks of flour from the back of a tractor trailer to the bakery floor. Ken was able to plow on through this task. Once Andrew showed up, he happily kicked with this task as well. Dallas, although keeping his team’s lead, struggled. Nick struggled even more so. No one pulled out their backs. I was anticipating that. Once the flour sacks were moved, it was off to the Pit Stop at Neskuchny Sad Park. As Phil pointed out during some of his descriptions of Moscow, the city is filled with beautiful parks.

Who Won: Toni & Dallas were able to keep their lead and arrived at the Pit Stop first. Finally, a team other than Nick & Starr won a round.

What Toni and Dallas won: A trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Who lost: No one. This was another non-elimination round. After all the laughs at Andrew & Dan’s expense, I’m happy they stayed in the race for at least one more week.These two said they are fine with their underdog status.

That’s a good thing. If they win this race, it will be the biggest comeback ever. It’s a long shot. They have a speed bump to do and absolutely no money because they gave all they had to the taxi driver who dropped them off at the park. If they are still in Moscow next week, I say they are in big trouble. If they head to a new country, they receive more money. As they said, they need a miracle.