First off a mea culpa; shamefaced, I admit to not correctly interpreting the photo clue regarding identifying the racers. For the last three recaps I have identified Andy/Tommy incorrectly. Andy is the first name is on the left side of the contestant photo along with his picture and Tommy is on the right. So, for the last three recaps where I have been naming the bearded one Tommy, it should have been Andy. I think I went off track the first episode during the Confucius Road Block and never corrected it. I mean – the bearded one does look like a Tommy, right? Maybe I should just call them bearded dude and dude. No excuse…me – last to the mat and eliminated for not interpreting a clue correctly. But, wait…it’s a NEL so I have another chance. Whew.
The teams need to travel from rural Indonesia to Phuket, Thailand. For those Bachelorette fans, we have been to Phuket already this year, so the scenery should look familiar.
Andy (the bearded one)/Tommy 8:17 A.M. (This leg they want to win a clean first place because Laurence/Zac had the penalty last leg.)
Laurence/Zac 8:28 (They have never been to Thailand.)
These two teams have about an hour lead on the remaining six teams and head to the airport where they take a flight on Garuda Indonesia to Jakarta leaving at 9:40 A.M., where they hope to make a connection to Phuket. Once there, they learn the direct flight is fully booked and have to take a connecting flight through Bangkok.
Phuket is pronounced with an oo sound as in phooey, not uh as in bucket.
Jeremy/Sandy 9:40 (Sandy says they are going to Bucket. Jeremy thinks the race will bring out a couple of things they still need to work on. Here we go with TAR couples’ therapy.)
Justin/Jennifer 9:41 (We will see that Jennifer’s snippy frustration emerges again this episode.)
Ernie/Cindy 9:42 (They are excited because they were just in Phuket, Thailand. Evidence of Cindy’s pre-race training sessions becomes evident this leg.)
Amani/Marcus 9:46 (They want to teach their four children that if you are at your dead-end, you can keep going.)
Bill/Cathi 9:56 (Cathi is still harping on the age difference and states that every morning they wake up and are ready to go.)
Liz/Marie 10:05 (They comment that their recently deceased dad would be rooting for them.)
These six teams all take Air Asia to Jakarta departing at 12:45 P.M., then a connecting flight departing at 4:00 P.M. from Jakarta to Phuket. Because they have a connecting direct flight they arrive in Phuket approximately one hour ahead of the first two teams, who have to fly through Bangkok.
Once in Phuket, the six arrange Taxi service to the boating pier at Sacarena(?). Once again a taxi race ensues; Bill/Cathi’s driver understands the words chop, chop (NOW we’re on the Amazing Race!) and with a thumbs up tells them we’re number one! The two teams previously in the lead find out that isn’t the case when they arrange for their taxis and are told everyone is ahead of them by about an hour. Their long faces take us into the commercial break.
However, because this is the AMAZING race where anything can happen, they arrive at the beach area to find the other teams waiting for it to open at 8 A.M. and all snuggle down for some sleep. Once again a huge lead is erased – by plane and by time.
The clue envelopes wait for them on a barrel at the end of a narrow serpentine floating pier and they charge through the gate, splash through water, climb up on the pier and run as best they can on the wobbly structure. Once they receive the clue they find that it is a
DETOUR: Coral Reef reconstruction or Beach Preparation.
There is a shade of The Bachelorette as once again an American TV show is helping the island of Phuket recover from the 2004 Tsunami; only this time rather than refurbishing an orphanage they are either setting up a below water platform for growing coral or getting ready for tourists by setting up twenty beach chairs and ten umbrellas matching the sticker on their clue. The wind is against one challenge and the current is against the other.
Tommy is the first to pull the clue off the barrel and he and Andy decide to create a coral growth structure. They must all hop aboard speed boats to get to both destinations and Amani thinks she might puke, but she does just fine and the boat race is on. Justin stands in the bow of his boat playing “King of the World.” The boats speed around the striking islands with their lush tropical tops and stark bases which stick upward like spikes from the ocean floor, and think them beautiful. Andy/Tommy disembark at a small sandy beach island and run to their destination.
Once Andy/Tommy have acted like plumbers and placed the blue pvc pipes together in the form of a cube, they pile themselves, the structure and the coral pad onto a small rubber dinghy and paddle out to a marked buoy. There, a Marine Biologist waits for them and if the structure is placed properly and the coral seedlings inserted into the drilled holes properly, they will receive the next clue.
After Andy/Tommy put their structure together, they paddle out to the buoy and find themselves in choppy water and a strong current. Using their surfboarding expertise, they catch on that they must tie the boat down to the buoy and find a rock to anchor the structure. Using swim masks they place the coral in the holes and get their envelope.
The pack arrives as Andy/Tommy are hammering their cage together on the beach, and Liz/Marie are excited saying this is their detour because they’ve been lifeguards for two summers. (Ruh, Roh – foreshadow with a black cloud.) They opt for Beach Preparation. Laurence/Zac wind up at Beach Preparation by accident and decide to take on the umbrellas and chairs. Amana/Marcus and Jeremy/Sandy along with Bill/Cathi join Andy/Tommy in constructing coral cages.
Justin/Jennifer also join the coral crowd and Jennifer gets in her snippy mood. Ernie/Cindy join Liz/Marie and Laurence/Zak to pull heavy chairs with wood rails and canvas sling seats, along with large wood center pole umbrellas out of the hot lean-to used as a shed.
The others at the coral cage construction have a difficult time keeping their structures together and their dinghies afloat in the waves as Andy/Tommy take off in their speed boat for the next destination.
All the coral reconstructors except Justin/Jennifer give up fighting the waves and falling apart cages and head for the chair shack. While Jennifer tries to steady the dinghy, Justin runs into a bit of luck when his cage drifts in a rock which anchors it. They get the envelope and are the second team away from the beach to the next destination.
On the beach, Liz/Marie have a difficult time with the heavy chairs and driving their umbrella poles deep in the sand giving the male beach attendants much amusement. The wind picks up one of the heavy umbrellas and whacks either Liz or Marie’s head as it sails past them. (Ouchies!) Sandy discovers what she sees as a negative side to Jeremy and figures that is something they will have to work on. While everyone pants and heaves with effort, Bill/Cathi calmly go about gathering the equipment while soft music plays.
Ernie/Cindy are the first beach team to get the clue followed by Laurence/Zac . Amani/Marcus take off next, then Jeremy/Sandy and Bill/Cathi. Liz/Marie get a helpful hint on keeping their umbrellas in the sand from Marcus and finally complete the challenge.
**This clue is a compass with instructions tucked inside to head north for thirteen minutes to Soap Island pictured on a medallion with a cut-out which will match up to their destination. Once there they will find directions to a
ROADBLOCK: Who wants to be King of the Hill?
Boating to another island, the racers must climb a sheer limestone rock wall to a large nest near the top which holds the next clue envelope. They then rappel by rope back to the base and rip apart the envelope.
Andy/Tommy arrive first and Andy takes on the challenge. What challenge? I mean really? Dressed in climber’s shoes and hat, he scales the foot and handholds on the cliff like a monkey then speedily rappels back down. They leave for the Pit Stop at a floating village before Justin/Jennifer arrive.
Jennifer climbs the wall with ease and they take off for the Pit Stop before any of the beach teams arrive. Ernie/Cindy (first off the beach) are dead in the water looking for Soap Island. Zac climbs and he and Laurence demonstrate their ocean navigation skills – not – as they go south instead of north to the floating city holding the Pit Stop.
Amani shows skill and determination as she climbs to the nest. Jeremy takes on the challenge followed by Ernie who climbs the wall as if he had practiced rock climbing…uh, he had according to Cindy, as rock climbing was part of the race preparation she devised. Bill, with the strong arms, takes on the hill and becomes “king.” Finally, the twins get off the beach and onto the rock.
Andy/Tommy arrive first at the floating city and find the floating stadium where they are greeted by a local and Phil at the mat. Andy compliments the elder on his beard. The prize for first place is $5,000 each which they are happy to spend on vacation time with their wives. They are also stoked that they won a clean first place.
6. Amani/Marcus (who actually arrived in third place but couldn’t find the floating stadium and ran around looking for it.)
7. Bill/Cathi (once again in seventh place though they tell Phil that is not a good place to be the next leg.)
8. Liz/Marie (the hapless twins are ready to be phileminated, BUT!!!)
This is a non-elimination leg (NEL) and, as usual, while they are still in the race they will have to take on a Speed Bump next leg along with the other challenges.
The next leg is also in Thailand and elephants will be involved.
EPISODE 4: Odd Bits
At the Jakarta Airport, Andy/Tommy sneak up on an absorbed Laurence/Zac and try to distract them by tickling the back of their necks. Jinkster music plays as Laurence/Zak have no clue.
As Andy rappels down the cliff face after grabbing an envelope from the nest, Tommy says, “The eagle has left the nest.
Marcus’ catch phrase of the day: I’m going crazy.
Liz/Marie now appreciate the beach attendants where they worked as lifeguards.
Cathi explains that since they don’t know how long they will be in the race, it makes sense for Bill to take the roadblock at this point, to gain speed.
At the mat, Jennifer says it was a bit of a rough day and Phil says he can tells it was rough when she gives him “the lip,” then tries to demonstrate.