With the million dollars becoming more attainable as the playing field narrows, some teams are becoming more cagey and mistake prone. One team member is tossing aside manners while another temporarily tossed aside shoes. The Amazing Race 14 continues to be a lesson in how to travel wisely and what mistakes not to make.
Thailand continued to be a lovely backdrop for this week’s episode. The teams left Phuket for Bangkok where the first stop was a boat yard where the colorful painted wooden long boats are parked. Who got there first depended upon which taxi driver knew the directions and Bangkok traffic. Bangkok traffic can be the absolute pits. Even going a mile can take more than an hour. I know because I’ve sat in traffic not knowing that I could have walked faster.
At the boat yard, one member from each team were to put together a propeller correctly so the team could then travel to the next destination, Peninsula Pier via one of the long-tail boats. This was one of the times I felt compelled to shout out at the TV, “No, no, no, don’t leave your stuff!” when sisters Kisha & Jen and brothers Mark & Michael headed off without their bags. This is not just a lesson for The Amazing Race, but for any travel experience. Leaving baggage behind in taxis or on docks is not a good idea. Not only did it give them problems later, instead of enjoying the process of traveling, they were worried and distracted wondering how to get their belongings back.
Having the teams use the canal system and rivers to get around was a wonderful way to highlight the life along the water. There were shots of houses and temples as the teams glided by. Only Jaime and Cara commented on the color of the water. Not the stuff you’d want to swim in, but people do. When I was in Bangkok on a long-tail boat ride, there were smiling kids waving and bobbing as we passed. Ferries and long-tail boats are one way people move about the city.
Once the teams arrived at Peninsula Pier there was a choice between two tasks. Margie & Luke, in the lead, chose the one where they had to become dentists at “The Street of Happy Smiles” to outfit five Thai people with dentures. This was a hoot to watch but I hoped that the participants were handsomely compensated for their efforts–not Margie & Luke, but the ones who were fitted with dentures. After watching Margie breeze through this task, I’d say she could get a job in a dentist’s office for sure. She fit dentures like a pro. The shots of this task were fast to follow, but I’m hoping that each person who needed dentures had their own sets of dentures in their own stash so that teeth sets that were put in one person’s mouth didn’t end up in another’s.
All the other teams joined up with a party taxi where they sang a Thai pop culture karaoke song with women who may or may not have been transvestites. Everyone had a blast with this task, although Jen & Kisha didn’t have their stuff, including their passports and money, and Mark & Michael who were way behind because they had their taxi take them back to the dock to retrieve their bags before they continued with the race. Still, all sang away in a manner reminiscent of William Hung. Remember him from American Idol? She Bang. She Bang!
I’ve been to Bangkok several times and have never seen one of these party taxis. I’m curious. Here is a link to one driver who does have passengers sing karaoke to pass the time.
Because of Margie’s ability to kick it through tasks, she and Luke arrived at the Pit Stop at Phya Thai Palace first. For her quick thinking ways, they won a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Jaime & Cara, who I don’t like much, at least I don’t care for Jaime because she’s so rude and catty, came in 2nd. Michael & Mark’s fondness for rule breaking got them in trouble again. Because they paid off taxi drivers with their belongings since they didn’t have any money left after their taxi ride back to the dock, gave them a four hour penalty. Thus, Kisha & Jen who had to go back from the Pit Stop to get their passports before they could check in, were able to beat them.
My respect for Thai taxi drivers went way up. The drivers were seen waiting for long periods of time, giving rides for free and bartering for fare. Bangkok is such a wonderful city and this episode highlighted some of the reasons why.
This was a non-elimination round which gives Mark & Michael a chance to catch up. Kind of. They’re going to be starting three hours behind everyone else and have their own Speed Bump to boot and Margie & Luke, as nice as they are, are devious and can’t be trusted. I’m waiting for Jaime to get hers. Seriously. She’s the type of person you don’t want to travel with if you want to treat people with kindness and patience and be a good guest.