Amazing Race Recap: It’s Wild On Phuket

03/30/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT



The Amazing Racers tested their animal instincts in Thailand while cheerleader Jaime’s impatience and bad attitude tested just about every local she came across. And that was before things really heated up with sabotage, time penalties, a malfunctioning bionic woman and the fall of a fan favorite team.

Thai One On: Teams seemed excited to be jetting 2,000 miles away from India to Phuket, Thailand, especially Jaime who was so tired of the “noise, honking and talking in a foreign language” that she started the leg by screaming at the taxi driver to “let them in” and make his “little thing go fast” and making her teammate Cara check his gas level. Even her own teammate accused her of talking to like they were are children and called her a “witch with a B.” Everyone made the same flight and were given the same photo of a mystery gorilla statue to find. The cabbies in Phuket weren’t much help in identifying Kong so most teams stopped in town and asked the natives. In fact, the only driver who was sure about where it was wound up taking Mike & Mel way out of the way to Patong Beach instead of the city’s zoo. While he did sound sure of himself, it was disappointing to watch a smart team trust so completely even after seeing the herd going in a different direction. (Even with time-manipulation editing, we got that sick feeling in our guts that they were already at a point of no return.) Wild On Phuket: The stuntmen were the first to complete the zoo challenge, which involved taking a photo with a live tiger and participating in an elephant show. After the pachyderms walked over contestants, patted the junk in their trunk and then squatted over the last participant as if they needed to go No. 2, teams could collect their photos that contained the next clue. The sisters figured if the tiger didn’t eat the “bite-sized” stuntmen then they would probably leave to see the next roadblock. Meanwhile, Mike & Mel finally asked around and figured out they were in the wrong stop. They arrived at the zoo after everyone had left.

Spice Up Your Life: Teams had to taxi into Old Town and find the oldest herb shop in Phuket, Nguan Choon Tong. They had to ask the owner to open one of 99 drawers behind the counter to find one with a clue inside. They could guess over and over but if another team was there they had to rotate turns. The cheerleaders were first through the door but were unlucky guessers. And apparently sore ones as well as Jaime immediately went into ugly American mode, screeching at a little old man, and making an a-- out of herself by commenting, “The guy was most frustrating because I don’t think he spoke a lick of English.” (The karmic retribution that they were the last of the wave to find a clue was fitting being that they were in a Buddhist country.) Meanwhile Mike & Mel arrived much later and couldn’t have been more opposite in their treatment of the herbalist. They still managed to joke around even.



By Land or By Sea: Teams had to chose between two forms of physical labor for the detour. Most teams chose 100 barrels, in which they made their way to the harbor and prepared a boat for a 10-day fishing trip by filling 47 barrels with water and moving 53 fish buckets from the deck to the top patio. But only Mike & Mel and the sisters completed that challenge because the others couldn’t find the docks. So the cheerleaders and Margie & Luke joined the stuntmen and the legal team in a two-mile rickshaw race from a temple to a park. One team member had to pull the other at all times, but they could switch off. All carts appeared to have a flat tire, but the stuntmen who were the first to arrive at the temple gathered the pumps and hid them in a box in order to slow the others down so the other teams ran the rickshaws on a wonky tire. The stuntmen also asked their cabbie to lead the way in his car to the park.

Cheaters Never Prosper: Turns out sabotage is frowned upon and hiring directional help was illegal per the clue, so the stuntmen received an hour penalty from Phil instead of a trip to Hawaii for coming in first. The legal team got around the rule by asking their driver to show them the way on the map, which helped them come in first despite a premature rickshaw dump, while Jaime yelled at along the way. (Guess her mom never taught her that you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar!) Margie had communication complications when was Luke running with his back to her so she ran most of the way and it lead to her overheating, going numb and fainting on the mat. Phil caught her, gave her water and talked her through breathing. Despite staying level-headed and despite the sisters' taxi dropping them off at the wrong temple (and despite the penalty hour giving us false hope), the much loved Mike & Mel were the last to high-five Phil and were eliminated from the race. Mike summed up the experience, “We’ve been father and son my whole life, but I don’t think we have ever been teammates and that brings a whole different camaraderie. – Carrie Bell



Craig Sjodin/ABC

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