Amazing Race 19: ep01: Kindness of Strangers (Taiwan)

Amazing Race is back! Teams are in Los Angeles and we get to meet the players.. former Olympic snowboarders, Ethan and Jenna from Survivor!, the youngest person to sail around the world and his dad, recently engaged couple, a brother and sister team from Georgia, married grandparents who live on a farm, twin blondes from Illinois, a dating couple from SF, a gay couple who are both flight attendants, married couple including a former NFL player, former Las Vegas showgirls.

Phil’s got all the teams bussed into some crazy looking temple building near Los Angeles and we’re ready to go. Express Pass is in play for the first team to win this leg which they can use later on. We’re playing for $1million. And by we I mean they.

First challenge is on and there’s a new penalty called a “hazard” which needy to be completed this leg of the race. Phil’s one raised eyebrow signals the start. Teams have to guess which umbrella out of thousands have the correct letters. The snowboarders look for ones with vowels and get it right and get the early lead. Impressive boys. There are two flights 20 minutes apart.

Teams are battling it out to not get the hazard penalty and the Vegas showgirls end up with it. All teams head to the airport now. One of the showgirls has dropped her passport at the gas station!!!! She realizes it’s gone while still driving luckily, they have to go back to get it. Not looking good for them. They go back to the gas station and it’s not there! They are s to the c to the r to the e to the w to the e to the d screwed. They are yelling at each other in the airport and it’s looking like game over before it even began.

The other contestants realize that Ethan and Jenna are from Survivor. And they both won the million. Uh-oh. Some dude found the passport at the gas station, tweeted that he found it, and was told by some other twatter to bring it to the airport and it’s returned! Showgirls are back in it to win it- viva las vegas baby!

All teams are in Taipei now. Marcus isn’t revealing that he played in the NFL- smart move. Teams have to get on buses and find the next clue which is a billboard. All teams have no idea they are looking for an electronic billboard and all seem to walk right by it. The brother/sister combo is fighting like crazy.

Some teams start to figure it out and head to the Confucius Temple. It’s a roadblock! They have to dial a phone number and remember a Confucius phrase to recite back. They are all having trouble remember the phrase- Jennifer gets it first. Confucius say the longer the phrase, the harder it is to remember.

Teams have to travel to a park and look under a bridge for their next clue. The brother/sister team finishes next. The grandparents Bill and Cathi are in danger of being sent back to the farm, they are wandering all over the town looking at buildings instead of billboards. Get a clue! Oh wait they have a clue- read the clue!

Teams that have found the bridge have to compete in a dragon boat competition- cool!!! One person beats the drum, and one paddles. That’s so freaking cool. Seems pretty easy. After that teams go to the Pit Stop which is the Martyr’s Shrine. The last team to check in may receive an extended raised eyebrow from Phil…and be eliminated.

The showgirls now have to do their hazard penalty and go to the mall to get their clue. The Hazard is an indoor bungee jump! Cool. The blond twins are having trouble remembering the phrase. No worries because the grandparents are still lost at he previous clue.

Ernie and Cindy make it to the Pit Stop first and get the Express Pass to use at any point during the race. Congrats! Jeremy and Sandy next, brother/sister Justin and Jennifer follow.

FINALLY the grandparents get the clue to go to the temple. The blondes are still there and acting…well… blonde. But finally they get it. They seems to imply that the grandmother gets the telephone clue in one shot, but somehow I doubt it. Props to her if she did though but I’m going with “editing” on that one.

Team after team rolls in to the Pit Stop and it’s the old people in last place by far. For some reason older people never do well on the Race and this didn’t even have anything to do with age. Bill and Cathi finish last….BUT… it’s a non-elimination leg! They have a penalty for the next leg which is for the first time ever- a double elimination leg!

So far this season looks great- some very strong competitors and not too many fighting couples or super annoying people (yet). Should be super competitive. Amazing Race rules.

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