Amazing Race 14, recap 7: Thailand is hotter than heck

With all teams on the same flight from Jaipur, India to Phuket, Thailand on this episode of the Amazing Race 14, the competition didn’t heat up until teams dashed out of the airport to find a taxi. Their goal? To find the statue of a bigger than life-size gorilla without knowing its location. All they had was a photo of it as the clue to lead the way.

Showing the photo to anyone who would look at it eventually proved to be fruitful for five of the teams. Mark & Mel’s driver, unfortunately, led them on a goose chase to Patong Beach about the time the other teams found the gorilla at the Phuket Zoo for their picture taking with Esso the tiger and being part of an elephant show.

In a typical Thai elephant show, among other feats, elephants tap on people’s butts, or fake sit on them after audience members volunteer to lie face down on the ground.

The unusual aspect of this segment is that if you were at the Phuket Zoo, you could do exactly what the teams did. They’re normal zoo offerings. The tiger handler’s empty sleeve where an arm should be didn’t exactly promote confidence in the teams, particularly when the handler positioned them next to the tiger, their arms across it.

After the zoo, teams were sent to the oldest herb shop in Phuket. Nguan Choon Tong Herb Shop was an interesting destination because it captured the flavor of more traditional forms of medicine. The next clues were in the 99 drawers, one clue for each team. To find a clue, teams had to guess drawers. The shop owner kept opening the drawers until clues were found.

Cara & Jaime didn’t have much luck as other teams breezed past them. Frankly, I was happy to have them do badly with this since they spent time dissing Mark & Mike’s size. Mark & Mike, as far as I can tell, are nice, interesting men. Who cares if they don’t clear five feet? Are the two women middle schoolers in disguise?

The next task involved two choices–working like a Thai fisherman or operating a rickshaw. Jen & Kisha and Mel & Mike, once they finally found the gorilla, loaded up a fishing boat with 53 barrels and filled 47 other barrels with water while the other teams played rickshaw.

Rickshaw driving meant one team member playing driver and the other playing passenger until the driver couldn’t take the heat anymore and the pair switched rolls. Rickshaws had to be taken two miles to King Rama IX Park without a taxi leading them there.

After dropping off their rickshaws at the park, the teams headed by taxi to Wat Thep Nimit Temple the location of the Pit Stop and some of Buddha’s remains.

Mark & Mike who had blazed to first place made two mistakes. One, they piled the bike pumps back into a box so the other teams would have a harder time with the task, and two, they let a taxi driver help them. When they reached the Pit Stop first, they had to wait for one hour because of two thirty-minute penalties.

This allowed Tammy & Victor to win, yet again. This time they are going to Oahu. Jaime and Cara pulled up second which made Mark & Mike 3rd. To Mark & Mike’s credit, they didn’t get after each other for their breaking the rules missteps. Margie & Luke came in fourth.

Soon after stepping on the mat, Margie collapsed from the heat which is the best illustration of the importance of drinking plenty of water when running through the streets while pulling a rickshaw in a tropical climate. She recovered, but people looked worried for a few minutes there. It was one of the few times you could see the people who are behind the scenes since one of them also came to her rescue to help her to shade. Luke, naturally, was freaking out. Something happens to her and there goes his interpreter. He’d be able to get along, but it would have been harder.

Unfortunately Mel & Mike’s side trip to the beach cost them the race. Although disappointed, they’re so thrilled to have been in the race in the first place, winning would have just been gravy. I need to take whatever they’re taking because the two of them have the greatest attitudes.

Hopefully, they’ll liven up the Elimination Station in Koh Samui. The teams who are already there are depressing to watch.