Money – Not being given any additional money for this leg of the race is tough, even though the only money you needed was for fairly small cab fares. With this only being the 3rd leg of the race you can bet that most teams have been very cautious in spending their money to this point – teams normally get a little looser with their cash as the race goes on and they feel they have accumulated a reserve.
Drama at the ticket counter / finding cabs at the airport – Part of a long list of situations that are extremely stressful at the time they happen but you later look back on and realize they had no impact on the race due to bunching.
Hanoi Hilton – Maybe due to my age I may have a little different perspective, but having teams search the Hanoi Hilton for a clue didn’t hit me the right way. Gee, when we were in Washington D.C. they could have had a “go to the Holocaust Museum and search for the room filled with shoes to find your next clue”. When you have a stop at a place that requires reverence it would be better to have a task outside the building and then given them an allotted time to just tour and reflect within the building. Hats off to the Cho brothers for taking time out to reflect on where they were and pay their respects – very tough to do when you are in race mode.
Time Penalty – Nothing against Tom & Terry, but what good television it would be to have someone eliminated due to their time penalty and watching the last team come onto the mat. The enhancement I would suggest is having a large hour-glass available to turn over and have the teams watch the sands slowly pour through as the other teams keep arriving. Time penalties are tricky things – I’m sure everyone who has raced has seen teems do things that were clearly against the instructions/rules that they are never called on (this one seemed pretty obvious though).
Duke & Lauren – I was sorry to see them go. They seemed like solid racers and I’m partial to father/daughter teams. I’m sure they thought they had lucked out when they stumbled on to the bird cage detour, but the task seemed to be much more time-consuming than the coal. My only criticism is their finished product looked too good (Note for future racers: Don’t worry about how bad whatever you have to make looks – you get no extra time for doing a neat job). I was also glad to see the show did not overplay the “coming to grips with my lesbian daughter” storyline.
Product Placement – Down significantly so far compared to prior seasons – a prize of a home entertainment system with no mention of who makes it?
Locations – I was told this was probably one of the most physically demanding races ever, and the opening locations of China, Mongolia and Vietnam have lived up to that reputation. A great opening sequence to this race.