"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Mark Twain. I’d like to embroider it on a pillow and whap Jaime upside her head with it! Miss Misanthropy doesn’t seem to realize that she’s the foreigner here, and surprise, surprise – not everyone in the world speaks English. For some reason she thinks this gives her license to bellow obnoxiously at anyone unfortunate enough not to understand what her Highness wants them to do. Ugly American, indeed.
Okay, enough of that. Our intrepid Racers are off to Phuket, Thailand this week, giving me hope that someone will mispronounce it just for comedy’s sake. Alas, most seem to get it right, except for Kisha, who says “Foo-koot” or some such. Tammy shares that she’s been to Phuket before as a girl with her parents on vacation. It wasn’t much of a vacation, however, as the ‘rents didn’t even let little Tammy play on the beach or get more than a few feet away from them. Gee, fun. Mel says that Phuket is his fave city, and when son Mike asks if he speaks any Thai, Mel quips “Mai Tai!” Mike looks rather unamused.
A sign of things to come: Margie tells us how incredibly tiring it is to have to constantly communicate by signing with Luke. All those arm movements are exhausting sometimes and she’d like a break once in a while. And Jaime complains that she hates all the noise, traffic, and people talking in foreign languages. You’re on the wrong show, woman. Hey, world – shush! Jaime doesn’t like all that noise you’re making!
So, off to Phuket they go, with only a picture of a gorilla statue in hand as their clue. Said statue is at the Phuket Zoo, but they’ll have to figure that out when they get there. No plane drama this week, either, with everyone landing the same flight. 14 hours later – poof, they’re there via the magic of TV.
Lions and Tigers and Bitches, Oh My!
The mad taxi scramble begins, with Mel and Mike losing out. They’re the last to grab a cab, and their driver mistakenly takes them to a beach instead of the zoo. Why he thought there were gorilla statues at the beach, I don’t know. Though I have seen a few guys at the beach who were hairy enough to pass for gorillas. But really, none of the other drivers seemed to have a clue, either, so teams were forced to pull over and wander the streets hollering “Gorilla? Gorilla!!” hysterically. A guy in the street tells Tammy and Vic that they need to head to the zoo, and off they go. Others follow. Mel and Mike finally get back on track, but not until they’ve lost a bunch of time. Mel jokingly suggests that they stop for a Thai massage.
Jaime and Cara find the statue first, with Mark and Michael hot on their snippy little heels. The next clue tells them that they must take a picture with a tiger, then take part in an elephant show where they have to lie on the ground while the pachyderm taps them on the behind, then squats over the last person on the ground. What kind of freaky animal show is this? Weirdness.
Running around bellowing animal names at strangers seems to be the way to go, so Mark and Michael pace around the zoo yelling “Tiger! Tiger!” Someone points the way to them, and they spot the Esso the tiger’s handler – he’s missing an arm. Kisha and Jen point out that the stuntmen are about the same size as the missing appendage: bite-sized. Mark and Michael put on big grins and park their snack-sized behinds behind the tiger to get their pictures snapped, then Jaime and Cara take their turn. Unfortunately, even Esso decides that Jaime is too bitter to take a bite out of. She confides that if she could live in the wild with the critters and never see people again, that would be just fine by her. The animals, on the other hand, might have something to say about that.
After everyone has their Kodak moment with Esso, they head off to get defiled by the elephants. Laying face down on the ground, each racer takes a turn getting their behinds tapped by a huge elephant foot. The elephant then goes and squats over the last person in line. Thankfully, Dumbo didn’t have a big breakfast and nothing came of it except for some odd photo opportunities. Kisha was more nervous with the tiger, saying that she’s just glad she didn’t pee herself while the picture was being taken.
Tweedledee and Tweedledumbass
Before they head off to an herb shop, their next destination, Jaime and Cara get in some snark time on the stuntmen, calling them the “Tweedles” and laughing over their non-stop talking. But karma bites them in the butt as they get to the shop first and are passed up by several other teams. I'm lovin' it. The idea was to tell the shopkeeper to open one drawer out of 99, hoping the clue would be hidden within. Of course, Jaime screams at the poor guy, telling him to hurry up, that’s not the drawer she wanted opened, on and on. The stuntguys find their clue and leave the screeching redheads. Tammy and Victor also pass them up, as do Luke and Margie. Jaime fumes, and I laugh.
Alas, they finally get their clue (I felt so bad for the old couple running the shop) and the remaining teams straggle in. Mel and Mike take quite a while, but at least they had fun and were pleasant to the shopkeeper. Every time the old guy would open the wrong drawer, Mel and Mike would both say in a comical voice “Noooooo!” I heart these two.
The herb shop clue led them all to the Detour: 100 Barrels or 2 Miles. Teams could choose to load 53 barrels on a fishing boat and fill up the other 47 with drinking water, or they could pick a rickshaw and cart it through the mean streets of Phuket. Mark and Michael get to the rickshaws first, only to find that they all have a flat tire. Pumps are conveniently placed nearby to remedy this. They pump up their tire and decide to be devious: they throw all the pumps in a box, hoping the others won’t see them. Bad move, little dudes, as they will find out later.
Bad move #2: they pay their taxi driver to lead them to the King Rama IX Park, where they were to drop off the rickshaws. Something in the clue specified that they were not to do this because Victor had the same thought, until Tammy said no, they couldn’t. At least she can read.
Phil to the Rescue!
Tammy and Victor fail to fix their flat tire as Victor carts his sister through the blazing hot streets, commenting that his little sis weighs more than he thought. Oh, please. That girl might weigh 85 pounds soaking wet. Your ego weighs more. Jaime and Cara also run off with a flat, and Jaime begins her ranting at the locals, and....I’m done talking about these two. Bleah. Luke charges off carrying his mom, but it’s impossible for her to communicate with him when he has his back to her, so she takes the wheel, so to speak. She soon gets overheated and changes back with him.
Meanwhile, Kisha and Jen have chosen to load the barrels and get to stacking. Too bad they didn’t think to start filling the water barrels while they were stacking, like Mel and Mike did when they got there. To make matters worse, when Kisha and Jen finish and head off to the Pit Stop, their taxi drops them off at the wrong temple. Mel and Mike are in last place, but right on the sisters’ heels.
Smug and pretty damn pleased with themselves, Mark and Michael roll up to the Pit Stop well ahead of the others. Phil greets them, pauses, then announces with a raise of the Mighty Brow that they have incurred two 30 minute penalties, and could you please go sit your cheating little behinds over there while you wait. They get dinged 30 minutes for messing with the pumps (which really, I didn’t think was against the rules), and 30 minutes for paying the taxi driver to lead them. Crestfallen, the guys park it on a nearby planter and hope the others are more than an hour behind.
They weren’t. Here’s how they came in:
1st – Tammy and Victor, grabbing the trip to Oahu because of Mark and Michael’s screw ups.
2nd – Jaime and Cara. Boo. Well, half a boo. I still like Cara.
3rd – Mark and Michael. Bet they won’t try any funny stuff from now on.
4th – Margie and Luke. Poor Margie passes out from heat exhaustion right after Phil tells them how they placed. Phil immediately rushes to get her water and help while Luke frets. She recovers, and Phil rawks.
5th – Kisha and Jen. Just barely.
Philiminated: Mel and Mike. Phil gives the father and son high fives and comments that he’s sorry to see them go. “I had aches and pains and groans and groins, but I was pretty good and I loved it when my son thought so too,” shares Mel. Mike is glad that he and his dad got to be teammates, bringing a different kind of camaraderie to their relationship. Good luck, guys, we’ll miss you.
No show next Sunday (grr), but TAR will be back on 4/12 when we’ll be treated to bad Bangkok karaoke and arguments between Mark and Michael. See ya then!
Thanks a bunch, CBS slackers, for not putting this episode online so I could get some pictures for this recap.