This week’s episode of The Amazing Race taught us that
quarrelsome teams with decent navigational skills almost always have an
edge over the directionally clueless — no matter how positive their
attitudes. But if I had to pick a team as travel guides for my next
vacation, I’d take eliminated cheerleaders Jamie & Kellie over bickerers like Peter & Sarah or Rob & Kimberly every time.
This week, teams
left the Great Wall of China and headed to Outer Mongolia. Two buses,
leaving two hours apart, carried teams on the first leg of their
Tyler & James, Duke & Lauren, Peter & Sarah, Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Kimberly
Jamie & Kellie, Erwin & Godwin, Tom & Terry, Lyn & Karlyn, Mary & David
two-hour delay gave teams on the second bus time to clown around
together at the bus station. Kentucky coalminer David was even cajoled
into dancing. The Race has been especially eye-opening for David’s
wife, Mary, who’d never met any Asian or gay people before. Her
assessment? “Damn, I like ’em!”
Both buses arrived at a train
station, where all of the teams were forced to wait for a train to
Ulaanbaatar. Because everyone was on the same train, the first-bus
advantage was rendered completely moot.
While the locals outside
the station were amazed by Sarah’s prosthetic leg and her ability to
run on it, they weren’t impressed enough to pay for her demonstration,
although Peter did ask.
In rainy Ulaanbaatar, teams cheered as
their reckless cab drivers made dangerous attempts to pass cars on the
muddy streets. Some of the cabbies were better than others at finding a
temple, where teams observed a traditional religious dance. Teams
entered in groups, as the dance was only performed every ten minutes.
Jamie & Kellie had a passenger on the train write directions (in Mongolian) to the
temple. They handed the directions to their cabbie, who sped them to the temple in first place.
dancers, wearing oversized masks, performed a short skit before handing
teams their next clue. The clue directed teams to drive to
Terelj National Park in old Russian military jeeps.
Several of the
teams were lucky enough to find native English speakers in town, and
asked them for directions. David & Mary just grabbed a cool local
guy smoking a cigarette and had him ride with them to Terelj.
the drive, the old jeeps started to break down. Tyler & James, who
were in seventh, got a flat tire, only to discover that their jack was
also broken. Rob & Kimberly stopped to help the models, but Lyn & Karlyn passed right by. “It’s not like we’re
being mean,” Karlyn said. “We just want to win.”
Kimberly couldn’t remove their jack from its compartment, so they left the models and drove on
ahead. Fortunately for Tyler & James, a couple of locals lent them
a jack and helped them with the tire.
Jamie & Kellie, who’d left the temple first, had
trouble navigating, and then stalled their jeep. By the time Jamie was
able to help Kellie restart their vehicle, they’d fallen into last
When teams arrived at the national park, they had to ride
horses, following a guide to a meadow where their next clue was
waiting. Peter & Sarah were the first team to arrive, followed by
the Miss USA contestants, Dustin & Kandice. So that Sarah’s
prosthesis didn’t get caught in the stirrup, she put a fake foot and
shoe on the end of her leg. Kandice donned the required protective (and
furry) Mongolian helmet and yelled, “I’m a Mongolian, baby. Get me some
Within eyesight of the park, David drove his jeep
into a mud pit. Unable to get the vehicle out, he and Mary were forced
to wait for a replacement. The smoking guy took it as his cue to leave.
And several teams arrived in the meantime, including Rob and Kimberly.
As Kimberly mounted her horse, she asked Rob, “Can horses smell fear?”
He replied, “No, that’s bees and dogs, I think.”
Kimberly might have been on to something. Minutes later, her horse rode
under a low hanging branch, clotheslining Kimberly and knocking her to
the ground. Their guide had to chase down the horse as Kimberly sat and
cried. Instead of asking if she was okay, Rob told Kimberly she was okay.
Kimberly’s fall wasn’t even the most dramatic of the day.
Kandice fell off her horse, caught her foot in the stirrup, and was
dragged for several yards, before the horse broke free. She was fine,
though she lost her Mongolian helmet in the process.
teams thought their animal ordeals were over, they reached the next
cluebox. A Detour forced teams to “Take It Down or Fill It Up.”
Take It Down, teams disassembled a traditional tent shelter used by
nomads. They then packed the tent components in a specific manner, so
that the tent could be strapped onto a camels back. The task was more
complicated than it was physically demanding.
In Fill It Up,
teams drove an ox-cart to a stream, filled up jugs of water, then drove
the cart back to a large barrel and emptied their pails into it. It
took at least two trips to the stream to collect enough water to fill
the barrel, and success was entirely dependent on the mood of the ox.
& Sarah attempted to pack up the tent, but couldn’t figure out how
to do it properly. So they switched tasks, only to be given the most
temperamental ox this side of Manila. The ox ran away, sending empty pails falling off of the back of their cart.
frustration boiled over, and she started to cry. Peter then stopped
everything to lecture Sarah on why things were going to be okay. She
told him to keep driving the ox-cart, but Peter refused to budge. He
projected his own frustrations onto Sarah and scolded her for “losing
Sarah replied, “I’m just getting teary. I’m not losing it.”
Eventually, she convinced Peter that her crying didn’t mean she was
giving up, and they continued with the task.
When Peter tried to
drive the cart again, the ox ran away a second time. The couple
switched Detours again, returning to Take It Down. There, Duke &
Lauren were already loading items onto their camel’s back.
teams had more success with their oxen, though the rides weren’t
smooth. Rob, seated on the back of the bumpy cart and holding the water
pails, blamed the uncomfortable ride on his driver, Kimberly. He
shouted orders at her as she led their ox.
Kimberly could only listen to Rob complain for so long before she yelled, “Shut up!”
Rob thought for a split-second before replying, “You shut up!”
& Kandice finished Fill It Up around the same time Duke &
Lauren finished Take it Down. Both teams were excited to receive their
clue, which directed them to drive to the Hotel Mongolia.
the clue specified that teams needed to ride their horses back to their
jeeps, wearing all of the safety gear they’d worn to the Detour.
Kandice had lost her helmet when she fell off of her horse, and she and
Dustin couldn’t remember exactly where that had happened.
guide thought he remembered where Kandice’s helmet had fallen, and he
went to retrieve it, as they waited. In the meantime, several other
teams completed the Detour, and last place team Jamie & Kellie had
arrived. When they noticed Dustin & Kandice standing around, Kellie
told Jamie, “I think they’re done and they’re just, like, chillin’ or
Like Peter & Sarah, single moms Lyn & Karlyn
started on the tent task, only to give up and switch to the ox-cart.
While they were switching tasks, Jamie & Kellie started Take It
Both teams finished their respective detours at the same
time, and were now in a race to avoid last place. They rode to their
jeeps…only to find both vehicles stalled.
Jamie & Kellie
found some men who explained that they needed to take a bar from under
the hood, insert it in a hole in the jeep’s grill, and actually crank
their car to start it. After Lyn & Karlyn tried and failed to crank
their own car, they got some help, too, and were on the road soon after
Once teams were on the road, they were able to
relax and make up. Sort of. Peter attributed his team’s problems to
Sarah’s meltdown, not acknowledging that he’d been pretty molten,
And, in their jeep, Rob clarified his surly behavior to
Kimberly. “I wasn’t yelling at you. I just… didn’t know how else to say
At the Hotel Mongolia, teams encountered a Roadblock:
“Who’s ready to aim high?” One team member needed to complete a
traditional Mongolian training exercise, by shooting a flaming arrow
and igniting a target 160 feet away.
Peter ignited his target
first, and he and Sarah ran to the nearby Pit Stop. For finishing in
first place, the couple won trip to a Mexican resort. While
interviewing them at the mat, Phil asked Sarah, “Did you ever expect, in two legs, to be in first place?” To her credit, Sarah took Phil’s awkward choice of words in stride.
& James finished in second, followed by Lauren & Duke, Tom
& Terry, Dustin & Kandice, and Rob & Kimberly. David
completed the Roadblock next, and on his way to the Pit Stop with Mary,
she twisted her ankle. They still finished in seventh, followed by
the Cho brothers, Erwin & Godwin.
On their drive to the hotel, Jamie &
Kellie became convinced that they were driving the wrong way. They
asked some locals, who told them to turn around. They did, soon passing
Lyn & Karlyn going the other direction.
cheerleaders pulled over to ask for directions again, they realized
they’d made a mistake in doubling back. “Today is our stupid day,”
said Jamie. They turned around again. But, by this point, they were too
far behind Lyn and Karlyn, who finished ninth.
At the Roadblock,
Kellie tried to finish strong, but she never got the hang of using the
bow. After several hours, her arm was too tired to shoot another arrow,
and the team walked to the Pit Stop for a mercy elimination.
Duke & Lauren don’t have the money to pay a cabbie. And Tom &
Terry fight with Dustin & Kandice, after the Beauty Queens cut in