Amazing Race Recap: A Chaotic Passage Through India

03/23/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT



The Amazing Race’s remaining teams said dasvidaniya (goodbye) to the freezing climate of Siberia and jetted to India for a leg filled with camels, costumes, bad cabs and crying.

Poverty & The Pink City: Everyone made the same flight from New Delhi to Jaipur and started this leg essentially equal (good news for the stewardesses who had to complete an extra task for arriving last in the non-elimination round). The first directive was to taxi to the sacred Peepli Ka Pedh tree on the outskirts of town. Mike & Mel experienced the first of this leg’s many driver issues. Their cabbie didn’t know where the tree was so they intended to change cars, but he locked their stuff in the trunk when he ran off for directions. Fortunately, he caught them up to the group. The stewardesses’ driver stopped for gas, which landed them in last. The euphoria of warmer temperatures quickly wore off as the teams toured the slums. Seeing naked children eating trash, stray animals and substandard shelter reduced the cheerleaders and Luke to tears. The legal team made it to the shade first and quickly worked out that they had to dial the mystic’s phone for a clue. Their top-notch driver also listened to the heavily-accented message to figure out that the next stop was Amber Fort’s parking lot. When the next five teams arrived simultaneously, they turned over rocks, searched twisted roots and more before someone finally figured out they needed to phone it in. Busting Hump: The roadblock required one team member to water and feed a pack of royal camels using traditional tools. After a rough start, which included first using the wrong container for feed (instead of rake and basket), falling into the haystack and spilling food into his mouth, first-to-arrive Victor was first to finish. Tammy took a nasty spill but walked it off on the way to the taxi. Jaime got a tad ugly American when she got mad that the local herder didn’t speak English, but for the most part players remained respectful.

When a camel shin-kicked a keeper, everyone started to take the beasts very seriously. The task was physically demanding, especially for senior Mel who grunted and panted throughout. Mike worried that they’d be there at least 30 minutes later than the others and had a hard time watching his dad struggle, but Mel wound up smoking the twentysomethings by using the proper tools for each part. Many used their water pails for hay while some women tried stuffing their shirts.



Dancing in the Streets: The detour clue was at a puppet store. All teams but one chose to suit up in traditional costumes and makeup, join a dance troupe and shake their bon bons. Once they earned 100 rupees in tips, they could go to the next pit stop at Jaigarh Fort. The legal team finished this task first as well and Victor, who comes off as very buttoned-up, really enjoyed letting it all hang out. The siblings won two ocean kayaks for placing first. Mike remarked that despite “such poverty” in India there was also “such festivity.” He and his worn-out dad came in second. Unable to hear the music, Luke mimicked the actions but let mom do the heavy lifting. The cheerleaders freaked when they couldn’t find their taxi upon challenge completion. They accused their cabbie of getting coffee and stealing their stuff when it seemed to be a simple issue of having to park down the street.

Operation Dumbo-O: For a reason we can’t for the life of us figure out, the stuntmen, who consistently get lost and fail to find what they’re looking for, chose the other detour option, which required navigating a rickshaw piled high with barrels of hay 1.5 miles on the city’s chaotic streets, unloading the cargo and then searching it for an elephant trinket. They were very lucky that the stewardesses had to perform the speed bump (hand-painting an elephant for an upcoming festival) because we’re certain they would have come in last otherwise. As it was, Jodi & Christie were in Phil’s sights as the stuntmen touched his mat. And they would have deserved elimination for simply breaking a cardinal Race rule – never select search-for-small-hidden-object option.

It was sad to see the stewardesses go. While their early actions left us writing them off as dumb blondes, they showed tremendous tenacity, sportsmanship and heart on this leg. – Carrie Bell

Gerardo Mora/WireImage

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