EPISODE 9 starts from the Krabi Thailand area.
The departures are bunched to only 22 minutes apart:
Mardy/Marsio at 437am
Andy/Laura at 441am
Sandy/Francesca at 442am
Andrew/Syeon at 444am
Zabrina/JoeJer at 459am
Teams fly to Kolkata India, 2300 km via Bagkok. Sandy says "we should eat before we get to India because we probably are not going to be eating in India." Prophetic words; as they ways on Top Chef, "Watch What Happens". Several teams were grousing about Andy and Laura hiding secret maps in their luggage, giving them an unfair advantage.
On arrival they ask taxi driver's to take them to Mother Teresa's Church. They all except M/M went to the wrong church, not St. Teresa of Avila Church, so they have to go to a second place. The chaos of India's large city road traffic chaos is clear. Kolkata's metropolitan area is the 9th largest in the world. The M/M taxi gets a flat, but the driver is adept and fixes it quickly. Some teams light a candle in memory of Mother Teresa and some do not. The clue box is a Roadblock asking them "Who Wants to Shine?" and sends them to a railway station where shoeshine men are waiting to instruct them. Them must sell 7 shoeshines at 5 rupees each(which they get to keep) to get the next clue. The selectees and their order of finish are:
The clue sends them on to a traditional Bengali meal for each member of the team at Hakeli Restaurant at the Parak Lee Inn Hotel. Francesca said on the way that "she was hoping to not eat anything in India that didn't come in a packet." She did not get her wish, not remotely close. Everything has to be eaten. It includes lentils, dal, sheep's eyes, trays of vegetable and meat dishes to go with rice, a large mound of rice (Mardy/Marsio even asked for more) and dessert. It is a huge meal, but not as gross as caviar in Moscow or meat in Mendoza. Everyone was able to finish it, although what was surprising is that Mardy/Marsio did not gain any ground from their last position coming out of the shoeshine Roadblock; their statement was "it was too much for us". There was a lot of barfing off-camera and some loud farts on-camera. The finishing order was S/F, Z/JJ, A/L, A/S, and M/M. However, it was made meaningless by the Hours of Operation at the next task, Kamiskar's Sari Boutique, which were 9am to 7pm. Teams came back there in the morning and had to find their next clue among the saris. Sandy and Francesca had hired the same driver from the prior day This is the classic luck-based task. A/S finished first. A/L finished second and stole the taxi driver from S/F, who were upset when they finished 3rd and found out. This was classic Andy/Laura behavior that endeared them to the other teams to the extent that all wished them a quick opportunity to spend maximum time in Sequesterville.
Z/JJ finished 4th and M/M 5th.
Next was the DETOUR CARRY or COUNT. CARRY involved using top-of-the headpiece to stabilize jugs filled with milk to carry them a distance and empty them into a huge urn. When a line was reached, then the clue was released by a monitor. COUNT was devilish. More than 1000 betel nuts were in a basket. Teams had to successfully count them. If they missed the accurate number, then they had to recount as many times as it took. CARRY was the easy choice. Andy/Laura breezed through this. All the other teams COUNTed and, except for Andrew/Syeon, who finished fast, regretted it. It took the other 3 teams many laborious tries.
A/L got a clue to the B.P Gangooli St. Kolay Market on the Bank rooftop across from the Schiava train station. When they arrived there, Alan was alone and handed them a clue to CONTINUE. S/F and Z/JJ were on their way there, but M/M had not finished. Episode 10 will be the classic TBC.
This was a typical fascinating India leg. I loved it except for the bunching.