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The warm heart of Africa turns very cold at night as we witness when the racers leave their warm beds in the huts at the village. The early morning hours are cold enough that we see Andy’s breath and Bill and Cathi shake with shivers. By the time taxis have taken them to the bus station, the sun has risen and the heart heats up once more.

The Basics

Destination: Salima, Malawi – a 2 hour bus ride in crowded conditions. Once they arrive at the bus terminal, they will receive the clue.

Roadblock: One team member must propel a local bike taxi carrying a passenger with fish to be delivered to one of three shops. When they have received payment, they are to bike back to the bus terminal and deliver the cash to the dispatcher who will give them their next clue.

Speed Bump: At the bus terminal, Amani and Marcus must put together a sliding block puzzle to find the colors and shape of the Malawi flag. There is a flag there for them to use as a guide. When they have completed the puzzle correctly, they will receive the clue to the Road Block.

Detour: Dugout or Lugout. The teams may choose to either participate in a dugout race on Lake Malawi or lug out goods and passengers from a ferry anchored in shallow water to the shore without getting either the things or people wet. Once complete they will receive the next clue.

Destination: The Jamaica Shop. There they will run into a double U-Turn sign done all high tech where two teams can U-Turn two other teams (making them complete the second part of the detour) before opening the envelope with directions to the Pit Stop, The Sunbird Livingstonian Beach.

Andy and Tommy

5:28 A.M.

Wearing miners’ lights to read the first clue, they find a taxi to take them to the bus station. In a PI (personal interview) they talk about how three times when they reached the mat, they were hit with a “However” from Phil which moved them up into first place. They’ve been trying to keep a low profile, but now realize they are on the radar for the other teams. At the AXA Company bus station, they learn that they pay for the ride once on the bus and are the first to find seats.

The 7 A.M. bus actually leaves at 7:21 A.M. and the sun is high when they arrive in Salima two hours later. They search for the clue to the Road Block and find it stuck in a hat among some vegetables worn by a woman in front of the small terminal building. Andy takes on the challenge and pedals his bike with passenger and fish off down crowded and dusty roads. At one point he gets too exuberant in his pedaling and pops out the pin holding the gear together. However, with the help of locals, the bike is jerry-rigged to stay together and he and passenger find the shop on the cardboard tag attached to the fish stringer. When the passenger pays him for the ride, he returns to the terminal, hands over the cash and they receive the clue for the Detour.

They travel by taxi to Lake Malawi arriving second behind Ernie and Cindy to the Annual Malawi Lake Dugout Canoe Race. Large crowds along the shore greet them as they maneuver the narrowly scooped out and shaped tree trunk onto the lake and begin paddling the course. They are the first to finish the dugout race and celebrate with the crowds by somersault diving off the canoe then run along the beach with young children running with them; which is sort of reminiscent of the opening of Chariots of Fire but without the music. But they are second to find the Jamaica shop as Ernie and Cindy elected to use the Express Pass they won at the beginning of the race. Andy and Tommy elect to NOT U-Turn anyone and take off right behind Ernie and Cindy on a run to Sunbird Livingstonian Beach and the Mat.

When they hit the sand they have some little distance to make up so Tommy drops his pack and they run full out much to the delight of Phil and the male greeter with the spiked-up hair, just squeezing past Ernie and Cindy to another first place in a photo-finish.

After Tommy compliments the greeter on his hairstyle, Phil informs them that they have won $7,500.00 each to use after the race.

Justin and Jennifer

5:39 A.M.

Justin also does a PI as they are getting their taxi. A few years ago he came out to his sister, Jennifer, and while it was difficult, they are closer because of it. Jennifer says that they may bump heads now and then, but he is amazing and strong. They are the second team to board the bus to Salima.

Jennifer takes the fish rider on the taxi bike, finds the shop and receives payment for the ride, but then she panics. She left the clue with Justin back at the bus terminal and can’t remember what she is to do with the money the passenger paid her. Because she panics, her reasoning shuts down and, rather than biking back to the terminal, she hangs around at various points on the road waiting for other teams to come along so she can read their clue. That doesn’t work and she wastes a lot of time. She finally gives up waiting and rides back to the terminal where she learns of her error. With much remorse, unfortunately she and Justin are the last to leave for the Detour.

Happy that she is unhurt, Justin says they have to keep running and then find out at the Mat where they place. They choose Dugout when they arrive at the Detour and are the last to enter the water and the last to receive the clue to the Jamaica shop. That, unfortunately for a remorseful Jennifer, also means they are the last to arrive at the Mat and hear the words, “I’m sorry, you’ve been eliminated from the race.”

Jennifer says that she will carry this guilt for some time, though Justin says that their relationship has definitely been strengthened by the race and they are a team.

Jeremy and Sandy

5:40 A.M.

We learn when they open their envelope that they have $1.00 for this leg of the race. When they arrive in Salima, Sandy takes on the Road Block and teams up with Laurence as they are taking their riders to the same shop. After starting off in the wrong direction, they turn around, find their shop and return to the terminal. Jeremy and Sandy leave for the Detour in 5th place.

Hitting the water in the narrow dugout, Jeremy grunts a lot telling Sandy she has to steer from the back of the canoe. She catches on and, after more Jeremy loud grunts and struggle with steering, they see Bill and Cathi heading back toward the shore and they haven’t even reached the turning point in the race. Jeremy says, “This is embarrassing.” Sandy tells us that once again, 60 year olds Bill and Cathi put them to shame. Once they make the turn and head back toward shore, Jeremy compliments Sandy on her steering.

They leave the Detour in 6th place, choose not to U-Turn anyone and arrive on the Mat in 6th place.

Laurence and Zac

5:41 A.M.

As they are both competitive, Laurence says they will be happy to use the U-Turn if it would do them some good. They board the same 7:00 bus leaving at 7:21 A. M. from Lilongwe to Salima.

At the Road Block Laurence rips the cardboard tag with the shop name off the stringer of fish then teams up with Sandy and, after finding the correct directions to the shop, tells her, “Okay, Tour de France, here you go,” as they have to travel another two kilometers to the shop. Laurence hands over his earned money in 5th place and rips open the clue to the Detour.

They choose Dugout and, once again, a water challenge seems to be too much of a challenge for these sailors. Laurence yells at Zac every stroke of the paddle he makes. They get their clue in 5th place and run to the village and the Jamaica shop where the U-Turn is located. Laurence states, “We’ve got to U-Turn somebody.” On the way through the fence gate to the village they pass Amani and Marcus coming out. In their zeal and panic, they choose to U-Turn a team that is ahead of them and not eligible. They also think of Justin and Jennifer who are behind them, but go with the last faces they see. We have now learned that Laurence is not only a chauvinist dictator with a foul mouth, but a stupid one.

Anyway, they take off for the Mat and hit it in 5th place, about which a winded Laurence says, “Ouch.”

Ernie and Cindy

5:44 A.M.

In the taxi to the bus station, Ernie speaks about Andy and Tommy coming in first and thinks that someday they will run into a bad day, but they may have to use their Express Pass to jump ahead. Once seated on the bus carrying all the teams plus as many other people as can jam the aisle, Cindy says that it stinks in there, but it is busy, noisy, and aggressive and that is Africa.

Cindy takes on the Road Block bike taxi and along the route to the shop notices how the people live in poor housing with children not in school. She says that Malawi is much more primitive than other African countries she has seen. Also, though English is the official language of Malawi, no one seems to speak it or only a little. Even with that handicap, she is first to drop off her passenger and get paid then return to the bus terminal and receive the clue for the Detour.

They arrive at the Detour in 1st place and choose to paddle a dugout canoe out into the lake which they will then need to turn around at a race point marked by other canoes and head back to shore. Once on the water, they have a hard time figuring out how to paddle and steer and with Andy and Tommy also on the lake and doing well, they decide to us the Express Pass in order to put some more space and time between them. It is a good idea except that they can’t find the village where the Jamaica shop holds the next clue and waste time running around all over the place.

When they do find the shop and the U-Turn, they make a mistake not using it as Andy and Tommy are now right behind them. Trotting and walking up the road to the Pit Stop, they realize this and try to turn on some speed. But, even with Ernie carrying both packs, they can’t out-run Andy and Tommy. Exhausted, they fall into 2nd place. Tommy tells them that he feels bad, well not really, for beating them, but states the obvious in that it is a race and they would have done the same if they could. Ernie and Cindy are frustrated because they really thought the Express Pass would place them first.

Bill and Cathi

5:47 A.M.

As a beautiful sunrise starts to peek over the landscape, a shivering Bill and Cathi read their clue and hold onto their dollar. They find seats on the bus and Bill notes that it is getting packed in there like sardines.

Cathi signs on as a bike taxi driver and uses her bell and a beep, beep to warn a huge semi-truck as well as people lining the road that she is coming through and means business. At an intersection, she asks for directions and can’t get quite steady when re-mounting the bike almost sending her and her passenger into the dust. This doesn’t deter her as they take off for the shop. She drops off her passenger and must have zipped back to the terminal to hand over her cash and receive the clue in 3rd place.

They choose to race a dugout canoe at the Detour. Cathi sits in front to paddle while Bill sits in back and steers. As they cross the start line, Bill says, “Okay, let’s rock it, babe.” There isn’t any drama with them paddling as they set their parameters at the start and follow through. They receive the clue still in 3rd place and when they find the Jamaica shop and the U-Turn, they choose not to use it and take the clue for the Pit Stop where they hit the mat still in 3rd place.

Phil marvels at them. Once again they have jumped up placement at the mat. He tells the spike-hair greeter that they have been married almost 50 years, but that is after Cathi wants to know where he gets his hair done.

Amani and Marcus

6:07 A.M.

The sun is higher in the sky when they jump in their taxi with squeaky sounds and that worries Amani since they had a taxi breakdown the last leg. However, they arrive at the bus station in one piece and Marcus pays their way with local currency to the head of the line. All the other teams have boarded, but Amani and Marcus manage to find seats. Riding along, Marcus finds the moment magical – just to realize they are in Africa and to be able to see it. Taking inventory of the shacks and how people are, he notes how fortunate we are in the U.S.

When they descend from the bus at the Selima terminal they see a man holding a sign on a stick with the words, Speed Bump and their pictures plastered next to them. They take the envelope from the man and discover they must put together a sliding puzzle made of painted wood to form the new Malawi flag. With a crowd of onlookers, Amani begins to slide the pieces around. It is kind of like a two dimensional Rubik cube in that you have to slide a piece to the open spot in some sort of order to get the puzzle correct. Marcus takes a short turn then turns it back to Amani who, to the cheers of the crowd, completes it. They receive the Road Block clue and Marcus takes off on a bike with passenger and fish.

He finishes the task ahead of Justin and Jennifer and, with the new clue in hand, they take off in a taxi for Lake Malawi. They get slowed down by animals crossing the road, and Marcus yells out the episode title, “Move, goats!” When the driver hits the horn and barrels through, Marcus says that is just like in football.

Arriving at the Detour they choose Lug Out and begin wading out to the loaded ferry. What they don’t realize is that the water is thigh and waist deep and difficult to walk through. Marcus takes the required number of people off the boat, grimacing and grunting all the way, while Amani carries the required goods from the ferry to the shore.

For all Marcus’ grunting and complaining, they finish ahead of Laurence and Zac and make their way to the Jamaica shop deciding not to U-Turn anyone. They head for the Pit Stop as Laurence and Zac are entering the village where the shop is located.

From the back of the pack with a Speed Bump, they hit the mat in 4th place. After a compliment from Phil, Marcus tells us in a PI that to come from last to 4th is a great improvement, but now they have to figure out how to come in at a higher placement.

The Mat

1.Andy and Tommy
2.Ernie and Cindy
3.Bill and Cathi
4.Amani and Marcus
5.Laurence and Zac
6.Jeremy and Sandy
7.Justin and Jennifer – ELIMINATED

Previews show that next week they travel to Denmark and participate in a traditional dance as well as something that looks like trying to get rabbits (?) to steeplechase. Oh, it also appears as though Ernie and Cindy learned their lesson and will U-Turn someone on this leg.