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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Amazing Race, Mar. 4 – “Hotter Than New Love”

The second flight arrives and Team Big Brother are in the lead of this bunch. Kerri calls the weather here “hot like Mississippi mud.” Joey “FItness” says it isn’t a good feeling to be in the back of the pack.

Dave talks about being deployed in Iraq for one year and mentions how trying that is on a relationship. This is offered up as a way to explain him and Blonde Rachel arguing about their watermelon-stacking. She calls him the least encouraging person she’s met in her life when he asks her not to stand around and supervise. They haven’t spent this much time together in a long time, and when he comes down on her, it doesn’t make her want to comply.

Big Brother are the first team of the second bunch to arrive at the equipment supply, followed by Mississippi. Rachel finds the clue, and they decide to do Stacked Up, as do Mississippi. Elliot and Andrew arrive, followed by Vanessa/Ralph and Joey “Fitness” and Danny. Elliot finds a clue, and they oddly decide to do Strung Out. With two big strapping guys, you’d think they’d choose the more physical task. By no surprise, “Fitness” and partner decide to do Stacked Up. Vanessa and Ralph decide to do Stacked Up as well.

The teams that are already at the market are doing well. Border Patrol finishes first and get a clue instructing them to make their way to Plaza de la Democracia. Driving away, Art says he can now cross “stacking watermelons in Paraguay” off his bucket list. They know they are dominating, with the right flight and the right challenge, which they did perfectly. J.J. says there is no excuse to not finish first.

The “Teachers’” stack of watermelons falls, as do Kentucky’s. Apparently Bopper was right. Dave and Rachel’s falls as well. Meanwhile, J.J. is talking about how much he loves being on the Race. “I love it, I love it, I love it.” The “Teachers” and Kentucky start rebuilding, but Dave and Rachel decide to switch tasks. He wants to use the Express Pass, but she says, “Nope, nope, nope,” as they don’t even see the other teams yet. She has a point there. The “Teachers” decide to switch tasks as well. Kentucky starts to argue, then decide to switch tasks as well since they’re not even close.

Kentucky lucks out catching a taxi as Mississippi rolls into the challenge. Kerri asks if the task took very long, as Mark tells them it took about two hours, skipping by telling her that they gave up and are on their way to the other task. Walking in, Mississippi sees the abandoned watermelon pyramids and decides they should just head over to the other one right now, then realize that Kentucky just took their cab. Mark tells Bopper he finally played the game like he told him to. In a weird move, Stacy writes “BETS” on a piece of paper, tears it in half, and says, “All bets are off.” I get the sentiment, but what’s with ripping the paper?

Art and J.J. arrive at the next clue and find a Roadblock. One person from each team must dance with a bottle on top of their heads, doing a choreographed routine without breaking any bottles. If all of their provided bottles are broken, they’ll receive a two-hour penalty. Wow. I love this rule!

Art decides to do the task, as J.J. explains he has a big, fat head, so it’s good for him. Art watches the local women dance and says they’re dancing around with the bottles on their heads like they’re stapled there. At some point Art will even need to lie down on the ground still balancing the bottle on his head. He breaks his first couple of bottles.

Joey “Fitness”/Danny, Big Brother, and Vanessa/Ralph are beginning the watermelon challenge. Brendon explains he and Rachel aren’t fans of Vanessa and Ralph’s. All during the challenge, they can hear Vanessa talking smack about them. She mentions she can see Rachel’s whole ass. Ralph tells her to mind what they themselves are doing.

Rachel wants to cut their losses and go, realizing how difficult the task will be, and because she’s tired of listening to Vanessa. Vanessa still wants to talk about Rachel’s ass instead of doing the challenge. In the cab on their way to Strung Out, Rachel says Vanessa’s disgusting smile is painted on just like her overdone makeup.

Art is still trying to balance his bottle and gets to the part of lying down on the ground, and manages to do it without breaking the bottle. He finishes the challenge, and J.J. calls him “the man.” Their next clue tells them to head to the next pit stop, Escalinata de Antequera. They ask the police for directions and follow them on foot to the pit stop.

Border Patrol finds Phil, and Art tells the local on the mat with Phil that she’s very pretty, and indeed she is. They are named team number one and win a trip for two to the Bahamas. The two call this a perfect day for them, as they “smoked everybody.” They don’t think they should be anything but number one on every leg. Famous last words?

Elliot/Andrew, Bopper/Mark, and the “Teachers” arrive at the auditorium and find the harps in need of being strung. The strings aren’t just sitting there waiting. They’re all tied in knots. As a musician, Elliot has strung guitars before, so splits up the work, having Andrew untie while he restrings. Mississippi and Rachel and Dave arrive next. Rachel and Dave see the other teams and realize they need to use their Express Pass. They get the clue and head to the pit stop.

Brendon and Rachel arrive, feeling confident that this is the challenge they should be doing. She asks how you can be stressed with the harp music playing. Working in a nice cool atmosphere, it just isn’t as stressful as throwing watermelons back and forth. Vanessa/Dave and Joey/Danny are still stacking watermelons. Vanessa and Ralph’s pyramid begins to collapse, as he announces, “I ain’t quittin’, Angel!”

Mississippi explains they’re good at intricate stuff like this, and Kerri reminisces about playing the flute in the middle school band. Me too! Redhead Rachel also says she is good at this kind of stuff, and Brendon agrees. Bopper says you just have to hit the right spot. And once he does that and is in the air-conditioned room, he looks at Mark and says they should have done that a long time ago. While he works, he sings Folsom Prison Blues. It works out interestingly with the harp music. Elliot finds this much harder than stringing a guitar, although he and Andrew have a system down.

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