A Dose of Reality: The Amazing Race: All Stars - Episode 8
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: April 9, 2007
After a two-hour episode last week, The Amazing Race returns to its standard one-hour format this week. Departing from Pieskowa Skala Castle in Poland, the teams left at the following times:
Baldies: Uchenna and Joyce left at 9;48 p.m.
Cha Cha Cha: Danny and Oswald left at 9:48 p.m.
Beauty Queens: Dustin and Kandice left at 2:52 a.m.
Schmirna: Charla and Mirna left at 3:15 a.m.
Dysfunctional Duo: Eric and Danielle left at 3:22 a.m.
The teams were told to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, more than 5,500 miles away. Of course, the first order of business was making plane reservations. At the hotel's concierge desk, Uchenna and Joyce got tickets via Frankfurt, arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 6:40 a.m. The drawback was that would only give them one hour in Frankfurt, which, for an international flight, did not give them much time. Uchenna and Joyce decided to risk it. Team Cha Cha Cha, working the phones from their hotel room, was offered that flight but decided against it. Instead, they went with a flight through Paris that would get them in at 7:25 a.m. -- they figured the difference in arrival time wouldn't make a difference. Eric and Danielle and Dustin and Kandice also ended up on the flight via Paris. Charla and Mirna, using the internet (and hogging both the hotel's computers so the Dysfunctional Duo couldn't use either of them) somehow came up with a flight through Warsaw and Vienna that would get them in at 4:45 a.m.
An amusing interplay came at the airport, when Mirna asked the Dysfunctional Duo and the Beauty Queens if she could ask their ticket agent a quick question. Eric said no, because Team Schmirna had not freed up a computer for him. Mirna, to her credit, didn't argue, and even admitted in interview that there was nothing to say -- "You know, touche! He has a point."
And heck, she could afford to be gracious -- she and Charla had a couple hours advantage in their flight. Their multi-stage travel worked out fine. The three teams traveling through Paris also had a smooth trip. However, Joyce and Uchenna, with the tight connection, arrived ten minutes late into Frankfurt and unable to make their connection. They were told the next flight they could get would be the next day.
Those teams who made it to Kuala Lumpur had to travel via train and bus to the Batu Caves. There were a couple of different train/bus combinations, but the teams all made it. You'd think upon reaching the caves, the teams would head down, but instead they had to travel up a long flight of stairs to reach the next clue box. This clue told them to take a cab 10 miles to the Kampung Baru Mosque and look in the area for the next clue. The teams were also told that a "Yield" was ahead -- an opportunity for one team to force a team behind them to stop racing during the time it takes for the sand in the hourglass to run out.
Schmirna, maintaining their lead, were first to face the choice of whether or not to yield. They chose not to. But next up, the Beauty Queens decided to yield the Dysfunctional Duo. Team Cha Cha Cha was next, and then came the blow-up when Eric and Danielle saw they'd been yielded. "Those dirty, dirty hookers," Eric fumed. "Why would they yield us?" Danielle wondered -- showing, as I'd suspected, that she doesn't get the concept of the race. "Because they're dirty pirate hookers," answered Eric, showing that he doesn't get the concept of pirates or hookers. The Beauty Queens explained themselves in voiceover by saying that they'd regret not having used the Yield when they had the chance if they were eliminated.
Detour - "Artistic Expression" or "Cookie Confection"
In addition to the yield, this clue also had the Detour, which was a choice between "Artistic Expression" or "Cookie Confection." In "Artistic Expression," the teams would have to walk one-third of a mile, where they would use traditional batik techniques on a 45-square foot piece of material. In "Cookie Confection," teams had to walk half a mile to a market area. At the designated cookie stall, they would choose a table and search through 600 boxes of traditional Malaysian cookies, looking for one with a licorice center.
Team Schmirna cheerfully chose "Cookie Confection," chortling, "Cookies with licorice -- can't get better than this!" Their mood was lifted even more by the people who recognized them and cheered them on. They had to have been true fans, because Charla and Mirna were less than adorable as cookies dribbled from their mouths. (Apparently the rules mandated biting the cookies.) However, the charm wore off this challenge, and Schmirna headed to the other option.
The Beauty Queens chose "Artistic Expression." Danny insisted, despite Oswald's doubts, on "Cookie Confection," where they had one of the few times Danny and Oswald didn't function as a smooth team. Danny thought that they only had to bite one cookie from each box (I guess assuming that all the cookies in one box would be the same). Oswald read the rules as requiring that each cookie in each box would need to be bitten -- that there was only one licorice-filled cookie and the others in the box would not have licorice. Danny agreed to switching tasks, but did not yield on his point. Even as they approached the batik area, Danny continued muttering that it wasn't that difficult, and the duo headed back to the cookies. Heaven knows how many cookies down, Team Cha Cha Cha once again went back to batik -- crossing paths with Eric and Danielle as their "yield" forfeit ended. Fortunately for Team Cha Cha Cha, Schmirna was still at work on the batik, and Eric and Danielle decided on the cookie challenge. Unfortunately for them, while they finished ahead of Charla and Mirna, they had put 16 blocks per row of pattern on their fabric and the cloth they were emulating only had 15 per row, so they had to start again .
The Beauty Queens were first to get the next clue, finishing shortly after Charla and Mirna arrived. This clue directed the teams to the neighborhood of Taman Sri Hartamas, six miles away by cab, where their next clue would be near a newspaper truck. Schmirna was second out, followed by Team Cha Cha Cha (still disgruntled). Eric and Danielle lucked out and managed to finish the cookie challenge, actually arriving at the Roadblock slightly ahead of Team Cha Cha Cha.
Roadblock: "Part-Time Job"
This Roadblock (a task that only one team member can perform) was an Al Gore-friendly challenge in which the racers had to participate in the Malaysian recycling industry. They had to take a bike with a side platform into a Malaysian neighborhood and find residents willing to sell them their old newspapers. The goal was to collect enough newspapers to collect a stack eight hands high. The racers were also supplied with the appropriate phrase to call: "Surat Khabar Lama" ("old newspapers").
Kandice got off to a good start for the Beauty Queens; a local assured her she'd have no problem getting free papers, the way she looked. She was just getting her tower of newspapers to the truck as Schmirna arrived, allowing the Beauty Queens to be the first to receive the clue leading to the Pit Stop.
Being a bicycle challenge, there was no doubt that Mirna would be the one to do it for Team Schmirna. She easily got enough papers, and received assistance from more young Malaysian Fans. (Back at the paper truck, she advised them each to "stay out off drugs, go to school, and be a professional.") Danielle did the honors for the Dysfunctional Duo (complaining how she always did the tasks meant for guys). Danny was the biker for Team Cha Cha Cha, which he agreed to do easily but later declared that he was "hating" Oswald. With him and Danielle both having to make second trips through the neighborhood, Danny was ultimately forced to buy new newspapers to make up the required allotment. (I don't think that's what Al Gore had in mind, but we won't tell him.) Fortunately, he and Oswald were reconciled in the cab on the way to the pit stop.
Pit Stop - Carcosa Seri Negara
To get to the Pit Stop, teams had to travel six miles by taxi to a 100-plus-year-old mansion named Carcosa Seri Negara -- traditionally used to host dignitaries.
Of course, the Beauty Queens were first to check in, and they each won a Retro Scooter as their reward. Schmirna arrived next. The Dysfunctional Duo arrived third, and Team Cha Cha Cha came in afterwards.
But have you noticed that there have been a couple of names conspicuously absent? All this time, through Cookies and Newspapers and what have you, Joyce and Uchenna have been stranded in travel limbo. When they reached Kuala Lumpur, they were instructed to head straight to the pit stop. In the darkness, after everyone else's daylight arrival at the Pit Stop, the team was instructed to "travel by taxi to the next Pit Stop." They were, of course, last to arrive and eliminated. As Joyce reflected philosophically. "I guess we can't win them all."
Well, they didn't win the race, but they did win me over all over again.
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