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The Amazing Race Season 23: United Arab Emirates, 11/17/13

November 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

As the final six teams navigate their way through nearly ten clues in the United Arab Emirates, the eighth episode of Season 23 is loaded with action that may make for very popular DVD extras.

This leg begins as teams depart the racetrack in Abu Dhabi, with about an hour between first-place Afghanimals Leo/Jamal and last place baseball wives Nicky/Kim, who are facing a speedbump.  Teams are also informed of an upcoming double u-turn.

Teams first have to dig out the satchels of Viking coins they collected in Norway.  Combining the designs on the front (and satchel) with numbers on the back reveal the codes which teams need to unlock the doors of the Ford Explorers they’re provided for this leg.  (Viking coins to unlock car doors in the Middle East–who thought that up?)

Teams’ first clues are to drive to a dune buggy course.  The next clue box is out in the desert at the other end of the dunes.  Leo/Jamal and Nicole/Travis get to the dune buggies first.  Leo/Jamal take the lead when Nicole/Travis get stuck going up a hill.  When they get unstuck, they roll back down to the bottom.

Other teams get to the dunes including Nicky/Kim.  They get stuck, too.  They’re practically covered in great fountainfuls of sand.  How they get out isn’t entirely clear–this is one spot where a DVD extra would be helpful.

Once teams are out of their dune buggies and back in their Ford Explorers, the next stop is at a museum that includes a date orchard.  As teams arrive, a man climbs up to the top of a date tree and comes back down with the next clue.  It’s for a detour, and either option is to be performed at a historical fort.

One detour choice is for a “beauty contest” but when racers arrive, they find the contestants are camels.

“It’s like a show dog,” comments Marie when she sees the camels.  Teams are given information on how to pick out a champion camel from the herd.  When they do, a man ropes it the way a cowboy ropes a horse or steer.  Teams then have to groom and dress the camel and present it to a panel of judges.  If the judges approve,  the next clue is handed over.

ER doctors Nicole/Travis turn in their express pass, with the implication that they’ll avoid the possibility of being u-turned.  Next stop is a fort tower with the double u-turn sign.  The couple u-turn the Afghanimals and get the next clue, which sends them to a roadblock at a water park.

Nicole/Travis explain they u-turned the Afghanimals because the men denied u-turning Brandon/Adam back in Poland.  I’m guessing the doctors also targeted Leo/Jamal precisely because, having used the u-turn before, those guys can’t simply create some space by u-turning someone else.

Marie/Tim and Jason/Amy choose the “beauty contest” detour.  When the Afghanimals get their detour clue, they pick the other choice, to make a meal traditionally served to wedding guests.

Marie/Tim choose what Tim calls “one hot camel” but it doesn’t meet the judges’ approval.  They have to look over the animals again and make a second choice.  Amy/Jason get their camel groomed and dressed–and it immediately rolls in the dirt, so they have to start over again with a more docile camel.

Nicole/Travis reach Wadi Adventure water park, where people can raft artificial class 4 rapids.  Red, green and black flags are suspended about seven feet over the course.  For this episode’s RB, one team member and a guide must raft the rapids–then the racer must stand up in the raft and grab a flag of each color.  Obviously the height of the flags make this a difficult task for anybody short, especially all but the tallest women.

Once Marie/Tim get their second-choice camel approved, they can’t find the tower for the u-turn or next clue.  They wander by the Afghanimals’ cooking station.  The men panic at the sight of a team that finished the detour ahead of them, and decide to switch to the camel contest.

At the water park, there’s plenty of DVD-extra action. Nicole does the RB and she has to jump for the flags.  (“She fell but she’s in the boat!” her husband shouts.)  She misses several, but finally collects the required three.  The married doctors get the next clue, for the pit stop, Jabel Hafeet, at the top of a hill.

Phil narrates how the route up the hill is often considered the world’s best driving route, with 21 turns up to the 4,000-ft. elevation.  Had two or more teams hit this road at the same time, there may have been some hair-raising driving in store–but that doesn’t happen.

Nicole/Travis finish a predictable first.  The prize for winning this leg:  two cars, but not just any two cars.  Each teammate gets to choose from any Ford eco-boost model:  Fusion, Focus, Escape, Explorer, and more.

When Marie/Tim find the u-turn sign, she suggests u-turning the baseball wives, whom the other teams have nicknamed the Bunnies.  She says it’s payback for that argument over who was first on standby at the Sao Paulo Airport in the third leg.  I’m thinking she also knows the women have a speedbump along the way, so u-turning them produces an even bigger handicap.

Amy/Jason finish the camel contest, and decline to u-turn anyone.  Jamal/Leo get their camel approved and find they’ve been u-turned.  Back to the cooking station!

When the two straggling female teams reach the detour, both choose the hot camel contest.  Except Nicky/Kim decide they don’t want to rely on an animal and switch.  They join the Afghanimals at the cooking stations.  The guys pretend they just got there, but the  women guess otherwise.  Ally/Ashley get their camel approved and move on the RB.

Jason/Amy move through the RB, followed by Marie/Tim.  Jason’s tall enough he can reach the flags without difficulty, but he expresses his desire for a cold beer after this leg.  Tim says he’s rafted but not class 4 rapids.  His adventures in the boat would probably make for some good DVD/Web extra clips, if they were made available.  At the pit stop, Amy/Jason are second and Tim/Marie, third, and this is turning  into common finishes for both teams.

Jason/Leo finish preparing the wedding meal, and head for the RB.  Nicole/Kim finish preparing their meal, and find they’ve been u-turned.  Back to the camels!

Jamal is doing the RB as Ally/Ashley arrive.    While those teams are still rafting, Nicole/Kim arrive, having finished the camel contest.  However, their speedbump awaits.

The speedbump sounds simpler than it is.  The water park includes a wave tank where a six-foot wave rolls across every ninety seconds.  The task is to jump in the tank, swim across, and climb the rope ladders on the other side.  Except the force of the wave is strong enough to sweep people off the ladders.

Kim takes a look at having to jump in the wave tank, and she’s afraid of heights.  (This is common on TAR.  I understand the producers’ idea that it’s good TV but why do people who know they’re afraid of heights apply for a show that regularly involves heights?)  They strap on safety helmets and flotation devices.  They don’t change into swimsuits–they jump in still wearing their clothes and shoes.  They take a pounding swimming through the wave and climbing out.

Jamal finishes rafting, Ashley right behind.  That’s how they finish the leg–the Afghanimals are 4th with Ally/Ashley right behind.  Phil asks, “What about after the race?”

One of the guys says, “If we finish 1-2!”  The women may have their own ideas about who’s going to be “1” and “2.”

Back at the RB Nicky falls out of a raft while trying to get a flag–her efforts on the course also appear worthy of DVD-extra action.  As expected, the baseball wives finish last.  Phil reminds them they’ve been saved on two previous legs but not this time.  They’re eliminated.

With five teams remaining, the next episode may find Nicole/Travis wishing they’d kept their express pass a while longer.

Tags: Amazing Race