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The Amazing Race Season 23: Middle East, 11/10/13

November 14th, 2013 · No Comments

Staunch TAR fans will expect that, with only six teams remaining after seven episodes, a non-elimination round is imminent.  The latest leg of Season 23 begins with teams receiving clues to fly from Vienna, Austria to Abu Dhabi,  the capitol of the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf.  Five teams book a flight that arrives at 6 a.m.  “Afghanimals” Leo/Jamal, however, grab the last seats available on a flight that gets in ten minutes earlier.  This proves an advantage for the rest of the leg.

Once teams arrive in Abu Dhabi and grab taxis, the first stop is at one of the world’s largest and most elaborate mosques.  The seven women still in the field are required to don appropriate dress (black  robes and head veils) to enter.  From there teams are directed to a second location, where a clue box waits with choices for a detour.  Teams may either “sort it” (dates) or “sew it” (fishing nets).

Amy/Jason and Nicole/Travis choose to construct the fishing nets, which are more like traps or baskets.  They’re big chicken-wire domes that have to be lashed to a pole framework and a chicken-wire base.  Then a wire door has to be attached.  Working on a dock with no protection from the midday desert sun, Nicole/Travis find the job tedious and consider using their express pass.  They decide to finish the job they’ve started, however.

Leo/Jamal, Marie/Tim, Ally/Ashley and Nicole/Kim choose to arrange date trays.  Leo recognizes the large elaborate trays as the type that are typically served at weddings and engagement parties.  This job is a little more comfortable because teams are under canopies in an open-air date warehouse, but they have to search though dozens, maybe even hundreds of dates to get the right varieties, and count out the right amount.  Nobody gets it on the first try.   One type of dates is especially hard to find.  Baseball wives Nicole/Kim find it first.  The Afghanimals offer help if the women will tell them where the dates are, but they refuse.

Extra drama during the date detour finds Marie/Tim getting emotional and engaging  in the kind of bickering that’s both funny and not funny.  Other teams express concern about the impression they’re making.  The Afghanimals make some personal digs–but in an interview, not while the task is in progress.

Amy/Jason are the first to finish either detour and get instructions to travel from the Al Bandar marina to the Yas marina by yacht. The boats are large, powerful, top-of-the-line luxury craft–the program probably should have spent a little more time explaining such exotic transportation.   However, Leo/Jamal, who were first to finish the date detour, are first to get to the marina.   The two teams take the same yacht to the next destination.

When teams disembark, they find they’re at the racetrack where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is run.   The next clue is for a roadblock that combines daredevil physical feats with mental focus.  The person performing the RB must put on racing gear, rappel down to the track, and ride in a two-person race car around the track.  The pro driver hits race speed, about 200 mph, literally racing by signs along the track.  Each sign posts a driver’s name and top lap speed.   To get the next clue, TAR racers must remember the record-high lap speed (six digits long) and the name of the racer that posted it.  If not, it’s time for another 200-mph spin around the track.

Jason complains he hates heights and Amy never does any tasks involving heights, but he does the RB anyway.   In his post-leg interview, he says, “We were driving like they were in the race.  I’m like, Dude, slow down, I gotta read the sign.”  Leo has to take two laps to get both the name and the time, but he finishes before Jason, who needs three laps.

Other teams have by now finished their detours.  Nicole/Travis are third to finish either detour and second to take a yacht.   Marie/Tim are second to finish their date tray and the fourth to finish either detour.  Boats depart every fifteen minutes.  Marie/Tim and Ally/Ashley board the third yacht.  They hide and persuade the crew to set sail just as Nicole/Kim are running down the dock.  The baseball wives slip to last place and must take a fourth boat.

Jamal/Leo get the clue for this leg’s pit stop, “Find Phil on the champion’s podium.”  They run by Nicole/Travis, who are just getting to the RB.  The ER doctors ask if there were still other teams at the date detour.  Hearing that there were, they know there’s no need to use their express pass.  The Afghanimals win this leg and a trip to Paris.

Travis says, “I’ve definitely tried to drive my own cars like they were race cars. ”  He’s the only TAR racer who gets the correct name and time on his first try.  Team members who performed the RB continue wearing their race gear to the mat, but Travis makes a point of asking if he can keep his.  Jason/Amy are second to the mat, Nicole/Travis third, Marie/Tim fourth.  All three couples express disappointment at not winning the leg.

The two female teams both need perhaps a dozen tries to get the right name and time.  Ally/Ashley make it to the pit stop in fifth place.  When Nicole/Travis come in last, Phil lets them cry for a minute before he informs them this is a non-elimination leg.  He doesn’t mention a speed bump, so we’ll have to see the next episode to find out.


Tags: Amazing Race