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The Amazing Race, Nov. 6 – “I Guess This Is Africa”

Is it just me or is The Amazing Race having a lot of non-elimination legs? It seems like they’re having them every other week. I was glad to see it last week, though, as Amani and Marcus have been running a good race and mostly just had bad luck last week. It seemed like there were only minutes between them and the first place finishers, Andy and Tommy. If that’s the case, even with a Speed Bump, Amani and Marcus have a good shot at staying in the Race if they run a good leg.

The teams were required to sleep on the beds they transported to the pit stop. Ernie, in particular, didn’t seem to enjoy the accommodations. Andy and Tommy leave the Kumbali Village in Malawi at 5:28 AM. Their clue tells them to take a bus to Salima to get their next clue. They are also informed there is a double U-Turn ahead. This could easily kill Amani and Marcus if the other teams want to get rid of them. Or, they could ostracize a different team as well. The snowboarders mention that after the first couple of legs they were under the radar, but there is no doubt now they’re on everyone’s radar after four first-place finishes.

Justin and Jennifer are the next team to leave at 5:39 PM. Justin mentions that he came out to Jennifer a few years ago. She was someone he knew he could count on, and he now feels they’re closer becuase of it. It made her feel good that he trusted her enough to come out to her, even though they do butt heads every once in awhile. She thinks he’s amazing and strong.

Jeremy and Sandy leave one minute after Justin and Jennifer, and Laurence and Zac one minute after Jeremy and Sandy. Laurence talks about being competitive, and knows they need to do whatever it takes to stay in the Race. Andy and Tommy are the first to arrive at Lilongwe Bus Station.

Ernie and Cindy leave at 5:44 AM, and know Andy and Tommy are definitely the team to beat. The couple know they keep making mistakes, but figure the snowboarders will see their mistakes as well. Ernie thinks they might need to use their Express Pass here just to jump ahead of the others.

Bill and Cathi leave three minutes later, and Amani and Marcus at 6:07 AM. This means they’re under a half hour behind the first place team. He’s shocked that they only get $1 for this leg. He wonders if they’ll be riding on a pachyderm. Their cab has a squeak in it, and she wants to make sure it’s not a big deal. They can’t afford another setback. He reflects back on his NFL career and always being advised to pay attention to the details, and when the big things come, they’ll take care of themeslves. He hopes they can apply that here.

All of the teams, save for Amani and Marcus, board the same bus that leaves at 7 AM. Cindy notes the crowd and smell, saying, “I guess this is Africa.” Bill talks about being packed in there like sardines. Amani and Marcus arrive, but are waiting in line outside, hoping the bus isn’t too full yet. Marcus tells the driver his friends are on the bus, and he and Amani are allowed to board. However, they’re at the very back of the bus, meaning they’ll still be a few moments behind the others. He enjoys watching the countryside as they drive through it, and realizes how fortunate they are.

The bus hits Salima at 9:28 AM. Andy and Tommy are the first to find the clue, a Roadblock. One person from each team must use a local bicycle taxi and deliver a passenger carrying a fish to one of three specific addresses. After they drop off their passenger and the fish, they must return to the bus station, where they will get their next clue. Andy, Laurence, Cindy, Jennifer, Cathi, and Sandy do this task. Jennifer notes that she’s horrible on bikes.

Once they finally get off the bus, Amani and Marcus must complete a Speed Bump. They will need to configure the new Malawian flag using a slide puzzle. Once it’s complete, they can move on. They don’t seem to have used slide puzzles before.

Andy is used to giving people rides on a bike, as when he was younger, he’d ride people on his bike both in back and in front. Sandy asks Laurence if he knows where he’s going, and he admits he doesn’t. He compares it to finding a hair on an elephant’s butt and doesn’t find the bike seat very comfy, talking about crushing something that the show bleeps out, making it pretty obvious what he’s talking about. Jennifer asks for directions, as does Cathi, right before she nearly dumps her passenger.

Cindy sees kids running all over the place and wants to know why they’re not in school. She finds the area more primitive and less developed than the other African countries she’s been to. She stops for directions, and notes that despite English being the official language of Malawi, no one seems to speak it, or just speaks it in bits and pieces.

Amani and Marcus are still working on the puzzle. Andy loses a pin in the pedaling system on his bike and announces the bike is “done.” Cindy is the first to get her passenger and fish delivered, and her passenger pays her. She now needs to find her way back. Amani and Marcus are still struggling with the puzzle, knowing that every moment that passes puts them further and further behind. Marcus takes over for Amani and tries to talk himself through it.

Andy gets some locals’ help, and they get the bike fixed. Laurence and Sandy are still working together to look for their address, but she feels it’s more like the blind leading the blind. They stop and get some directions. Andy gets his passenger and fish delivered, as does Cathi.

Cindy makes it back to the bus station and gets the next clue, a Detour – Dugout or Lug Out. In Dugout, teams will participate in a Lake Malawi Canoe Race. They must choose a traditional canoe and paddle out to drummers, then come back and get the next clue. In Lug Out, teams will unload cargo from a ferry boat, just like the locals. They will carry two boxes of cabbage, two bundles of sugar cane, two bundles of brooms, one chair, one fan, and eight passengers who expect to stay dry. When finished, they’ll receive the next clue. Ernie and Cindy decide to do Dugout.

Andy returns, and he and Tommy, by no surprise, decide to do the canoe race. Amani is now working on the puzzle again and finally gets it right. She lets Marcus takes off on the bike, as he explains that to get ready for the race, he trained by doing bike riding, putting an eighty-pound sandbag in a kid carrier and riding uphill, so for this, he’s just “zooming.” Assumably, though, the passenger weight more than eighty pounds.

Jennifer makes her delivery, but had left the clue with Justin, so doesn’t know what to do next. She knows after she is paid she’s supposed to do something with a “Bike Master,” but doesn’t know where that is. Laurence and Sandy finally find the right stop, as Cathi is arriving back at the bus station. She and Bill decide to do the canoe race.

Marcus is still looking for the address, and notes a language barrier exists, so for all he knows, he could be getting further and further away. A local ensures him he is headed in the right direction. Laurence arrives back at the bus station, as does Sandy. The only two who haven’t come back yet are Jennifer and Marcus. She’s just waiting where she delivered her passenger. She decides to go back to the main street to try and find another team. Marcus gets his fish and passenger delivered and heads back to the bus station.

Ernie/Cindy and Andy/Tommy arrive at the lake. They see monkeys everywhere. Ernie and Cindy struggle with rowing the canoe, while Andy and Tommy have no problems.

Marcus arrives back at the bus station, and he and Amani take off for the lake. Justin is still waiting for Jennifer and hoping she’s okay. She walks her bike asking the locals if they have seen any other Americans. She also watches the entrance to the village and waits, not knowing what else to try. Why doesn’t she just head back instead of waiting? She could wait there forever and never find anyone, or she can head back to the bus station and get the clue to find out where she needs to go, which will be right there. She eventually decides to do this, hoping she’ll see someone along the way with their clue.

Ernie and Cindy are still rowing around the Finish Line, not getting started yet. She asks if he wants to use the Express Pass, figuring it’s a good time since there is a Double U-Turn up ahead. They turn in the Express Pass and get a clue telling them to head to the Jamaica Shop, with the U-Turns looming ahead.

Andy and Tommy reach the drummers and turn around. Bill and Cathi arrive, and he announces, “Let’s rock this thing.” Jeremy and Sandy also arrive, as do Laurence and Zach, and all head out in the boats. Laurence yells at Zac, instructing him on how to row. Zac wants to be “frantic” with it, figuring that’s how to get it done, but his dad wants him to see they have to find a certain rhythm with it. Jeremy is yelling at Sandy as well, explaining that riding in the back, she’s responsible for the turning.

Ernie and Cindy are looking for the “Jamaica Shop.” Ernie mentions they wasted their lead while looking around for it. Marcus seems to be giving himself and possibly Amani a motivational speech, saying he doesn’t want to just barely finishing this; he wants to move up the game. Their time is now. The driver lays on the horn to get some goats out of the way, and Marcus tells him that’s what he did in the NFL. He just laid on the horn and said, “Get out of the way, Miami Dolphins. I am coming through.”

Bill and Cathi reach the drummers in the canoe. He notes they understand each other’s M.O. after so many years together, and she agrees, saying they don’t argue or blame, and that’s how they get it done quickly. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Sandy are arguing and blaming, and struggling. He’s embarrassed that the older couple is beating them once again.

Justin is still waiting for Jennifer, and at this point is just concerned that she might not be okay. She arrives and finds out this is where she needed to be all along. They get their next clue, and she apologizes and says she should have just rode back to the bus station, which is exactly what I said.

Ernie and Cindy are still looking for the Jamaica Shop, and are told it’s in Chigumukile Village. Andy and Tommy finally finish in their canoe race, and Tommy does a backflip off the canoe to the delight of the locals. They take off running for the Jamaica Shop and pass Ernie and Cindy. The couple end up finding it first and choose not to U-Turn anyone. This means they will proceed straight to the Pit Stop, Sunbird Livingstonia Beach. Andy and Tommy arrive just after and also decide not to use the U-Turn, and think they can overtake Ernie and Cindy running.

Amani and Marcus arrive at the Detour, deciding to do Lug Out. Amani carries the items while Marcus carries the people on his shoulders. Ernie and Cindy get directions to the beach, as do Andy and Tommy, who say it seems like a long way to run.

Jennifer and Justin are still on their way to the the beach, and know they have to be really quick with the Detour. She knows she should have done what she wanted to in the first place, and that was just head back to the bus station.

Bill and Cathi finish their canoe race, with Laurence and Zac getting into the good pace Laurence was talking about. Amani is moving the sugar cane as Marcus is dropping off a passenger. He says this is hard work today, and when he gets back to the boat, he asks if they have any babies for him to carry.

Ernie and Cindy are running, knowing Andy and Tommy are behind them somewhere, but don’t see them anywhere. Tbe snowboarders see the couple just ahead of them and start running faster. The four of them are just about even as they reach the beach. It’s a foot race, as they land in the order of Tommy, Ernie, Andy, and Cindy. This means Tommy and Andy get first place for the fifth time. They win $15,000 from Discover Card. Cindy thought their Express Pass would have gotten them first place. They feel they could have been in first place on three other legs if their decision-making was a little better. Tommy explains they weren’t going to give it to them and vice versa. “It’s a Race and the name of the game.”

Amani gets the last item delivered. as Marcus only has one more person to deliver. Laurence and Zac finish their canoe race. Jeremy and Sandy reach the drummers finally, as Bill and Cathi reach the pit stop to be named team number three. Phil tells the local on the mat with him that Bill and Cathi have nearly fifty years together. She thinks the secret is communication, and Phil thinks they’re inspiring others as they’re racing around the world and kicking some butt.

Justin and Jennifer are planning to do the canoe race when they get to the lake, and she knows she needs to give it everything she’s got. Marcus gets his last person delivered, and they’re done. Laurence and Zac are asking where the Jamaica Shop is, but Amani and Marcus get there first and decide not to U-Turn anyone, as there are others still in the water. They pass Laurence and Zac. The father and son decide to U-Turn Amani and Marcus, who they just passed. I don’t understand that. They think Amani and Marcus hadn’t been there yet and that they were going the wrong way. It’s all digital now, so they can’t tell who’s been there and who hasn’t.

Jeremy and Sandy finally finish canoeing and begin the search for the Jamaica Shop. Justin and Jennifer are just arriving at the beach. They don’t see any other teams and are very worried. He’s freaking out, but she tells him to relax, as they’re doing fine. Amani and Marcus land on the pit stop mat to be named team number four. Phil tells them they moved up from last place and completed the Speed Bump and did a terrific job. Marcus calls it a great improvement and thinks they’re figuring out what they need to do to get first place. Without his muscle, I don’t think they’d be there in fourth place.

Justin and Jennifer reach the drummers in the canoe, as Jeremy and Sandy reach the U-Turn. They choose not to U-Turn anyone once they see that Marcus and Amani have been U-Turned. Laurence and Zach land on Phil’s mat to be named team number five. Laurence says, “Ouch,” although I wonder if he means the run and not the placement, but it could easily be both.

Justin and Jennifer finish canoeing and search for the Jamaica Shop. Jeremy and Sandy land at the pit stop in sixth place. Jeremy says it’s been tough, but they’re doing the best they can. They’re trying to work together and not go around in circles.

Justin and Jennifer land on Phil’s mat and are Philiminated. She says they had a good time, but it would have been great to go all the way. It was a silly mistake on her part, and she’ll be feeling guilty about it for awhile. They’ve been talking about following their gut since the beginning, and it cost them the game. He knows she did her best and believes their relationship was strengthened by the race.

Jennifer is right. She should have followed her gut. In this race, the mistakes usually show up to bite you in the butt. And on a week where there is a Double U-Turn, you don’t want to be anywhere near the back of the pack. First place is even more important. Next week, it looks like they pull out another U-Turn, after this one had no affect, and Ernie and Cindy decide to U-Turn a team to ensure they stay in the Race. What will Laurence and Zac be thinking after they realize at the pit stop that Amani and Marcus were in fact in front of them and that their U-Turn had no affect?

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