|Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like an inordinate amount of time since the end of the last Amazing Race. It seems like more than just having the summer off. I’m ready for some racing, some bad taxi rides, some arguing about tickets for flights, and for some of Phil Keoghan’s eyebrows.
The teams are departing from a temple in the foothills of Los Angeles. The teams include:
Andy and Tommy, former Olympic snowboarders from California. Tommy thinks they’ll be viewed as slackers, but promises they’ll get the job done.
Ethan and Jenna, former winners of Survivor and dating for seven years. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but it’s in remission, and he wants to prove there’s life after cancer.
Laurence and Zac, father and son adventurers from Thousand Oaks, California. In 2009, Zac set the record for the youngest person ever to sail around the world. Laurence points out that out there on the ocean, they’re not playing for a big sum of money, but it can be a life or death situation.
Ernie and Cindy, recently engaged from Chicago. She is definitely a control freak, and he is hoping this will put her out of her comfort zone so that she can see the side of life he likes.
Justin and Jennifer, brother and sister from Stone Mountain, Georgia. When they have an issue with each other, they talk it out, but he explains she’s a little bit of a hothead. He thinks it could be a challenge for them on the Race.
Bill and Cathi, married grandparents from Albany, Oregon. In forty years of farm living, they understand manual labor. And she thinks the extreme challenges on the race will have them feeling at home.
Liz and Marie, twin sisters from Deerfield, Illinois. They will be known forever after as LizMarie, no matter who’s talking, because I can’t tell the difference. They call it weird to have a twin, and note they have a different way of communicating being twins. Nothing new there.
Jeremy and Sandy, dating, from the San Francisco Bay area. They have both been married before, and don’t keep a house together, so this will be a lot of time for them to spend together. He compares it to taking a car out of the shop before you buy it. Nice.
Ron and Bill, domestic partners and flight attendants from Southern California. They hope their airline backgrounds will help them. Bill notes the other teams may be in better shape, and may be younger, but they know how to work together.
Amani and Marcus, married ten years from Pine Mountain, Georgia. He played for the Indianapolis Colts, and protected Peyton Manning. Out of the NFL now. he misses competing the most, so he’s in game mode.
Kaylani and Lisa, former showgirls from Las Vegas. Kaylani knows people look at them and think they’re pretty, so must be dumb, but she thinks people would be surprised how intelligent they are.
Phil welcomes the teams, and tells them the team that reaches the pit stop first on this leg will win the Express Pass that they can use on any challenge they don’t want to complete before the end of the eighth leg.
Their first challenge is behind Phil. It’s a word puzzle. There are letters that are posted above the umbrellas. There are looking for three specific letters they will find on the umbrellas, and they will use them twice, then combine them with the six letters that will appear above the umbrellas. Every umbrella won’t have the correct letters, though. Unscrambling the letters, they will come up with their first destination, TaiPei, Taiwan. The right answer will give them keys to a Ford Explorer. The last team to complete the challenge will get something new, the Hazard penalty, that they will have to complete sometime in this race. The six letters they will need are W A N P E I.