Being nice and slow isn’t exactly the best Amazing Race strategy

Before I left for Costa Rica, I remarked to a friend that watching The Amazing Race had made me more excited and less apprehensive about traveling internationally, which I haven’t done since I was 15. At the beginning of the trip, I experienced everything through the lens of the show; after hiking a few hundred meters down slippery, steep path to the La Fortuna Waterfall, I saw a flag hanging above the top of the waterfall, immediately convinced it was a route marker. (Alas, it was just a faded Costa Rica flag, hanging horizontally.)

What I didn’t anticipate was how much traveling would make me appreciate the show and what the racers go through. In one week, I only took four flights; went through immigration and customs twice; slept every night in hotels or lodges with hot water and private bathrooms; ate two or three meals a day; took only one overly-expensive cab ride; paid for professional tours and guides; and never had to drive sketchy vehicles on narrow, pockmarked dirt roads that abutted thousand-foot drop-offs. I can’t imagine doing that opposite of all that every other day and staying sane, rational, and intelligent, so I’ve gained new respect for everyone who’s done the show.

Does this mean I’m going to stop making fun of teams on The Amazing Race? Hell no. So here we go, catching up from last week first:

  • The blondes get smarter and smarter. One of them (I still can’t tell them apart) said, “Where is Chernobyl? I know it’s where the atomic bomb went off.” At least Kimberly could admit she’s “geographically challenged.”
  • In a car in the Ukraine, Tyler said, “Wow, I don’t even know what I’m driving.” Um, a car? Even in the Ukraine, it’s still a car, stupid asshat.
  • James told Dustin, “I crashed into your tank.” She replied, “I didn’t even feel it,” which is probably not the first time he’s heard that from a woman.
  • Impressed by Kimberly, Rob said something nice for a change: “I think Kimberly is finding out that she is a super-human creature from outer space.” Not to stomp on his nice sentiment, but if that was true, she would have used her laser eyes to fry off his testicles and make his head explode by now.
  • Note to Tyler: When you adopt an overly stereotypical gay voice and say to your friend, “Nice buddy. You look so sexy,” it doesn’t make the way your buddy mounted you and slapped your ass last week any less homoerotic.
  • The Cho brothers went home last week, in part because they were detained by the police for driving on a closed street. I am not sad, because they never really seemed to be concerned about, you know, racing. Honorable but dumb; kind but stupid; steady but slow. You don’t have to be an Rob/Amber ass to run the race, but you also have to desire to try, which does not include driving slowly and waiting around for your friends.

This week’s episode:

  • In this week’s episode, Kimberly told us that “Rob’s starting to learn that sometimes you can’t control everything.” He even managed to shift a car into gear without swearing and telling Kimberly to shut up. He is growing up so fast; maybe next week he’ll learn to wipe himself without assistance.
  • “Don’t look so excited to see us, James,” one of the blondes said when Tyler and James discovered they’d already boarded a flight. James squeezed his mouth so tight you could have sharpened a pencil in it, while Rob, distressed that the blondes caught up, nearly rubbed off his gross-looking beard.
  • The Yield made an appearance, and when James found out, he was thrilled. “If we pull up there and our faces are plastered on that Yield sign, dude, I’m going to kill somebody,” he said. Alas, we didn’t get to see him stab, shoot, or beat someone to death because Lyn and Karlyn were yielded. Karlyn didn’t kill anyone, but she did give their yielders—the blondes—the finger.
  • Reading the clue, Tyler told James, “Oh, we have to make the pots, dude. It’s not actually throwing them.” James replied absently, “Oh, yeah,” as if he didn’t think he was going to be literally hurling pots through the air. I’m surprised the two morons didn’t think “pots” referred to toilets or weed.
  • James and Tyler were running toward the pit stop when they realized they forgot their good-luck charm in the car. Lyn and Karlyn passed them, but James and Tyler quickly lapped them and landed on the mat first. Physical strength pays off yet again.
  • Despite being yielded, Lyn and Karlyn came in second. They hoped the blondes’ “evilness has finally bitten them back.” It did, and the blondes came in last place. On their way to the mat, they said “there’s no bad karma in the game.” Apparently not: it was another non-elimination leg (probably the last), which Phil revealed using his patented Phil Phake Out.

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