• We assume the race got underway on Friday October 31
thanks to various
• Timeline Timetables
can be found here
• All the great speculation and sightings
can be found in this thread
• Contestants * based on photo and eyewitness evidence
•Jennifer Hopka & Preston McCamy no evidence beyond leg 1
•Linda & Steve Cole no evidence beyond leg 1
•Victoria & Brad Hunt no further evidence
•Amanda Blackledge & Kris Klicka no further evidence
•Jodi Wincheski & Christie Volkmer no further evidence
•Mel & Michael White Two older men/ on flight Bangkok to Phuket (leg 7) **
•Mark Michael Munoz last witnessed in Romania (leg 3) & "maybe" China/airport heading to Guilin (leg 9)
•LaKisha & Jennifer Hoffman
(Daily News Interview: "Siberia was cold, and I don't care for the cold at all" (leg 4 and or 5)
•Margie & Luke Adams eyewitness reports spotted in China airport heading to Hawaii (final leg)
•Cara Rosenthal & Jaime Edmondson eyewitness reports spotted in China airport heading to Hawaii (final leg)
•Tamara & Victor Jih eyewitness reports spotted in China airport heading to Hawaii (final leg) Update thanks to peach:**The two older men have now been confirmed as MEL AND MIKE. ( on flight Bangkok to phuket (leg 7)
• BVM TVGuide article:
Amazing Race (returns on Feb 15, 2009 at 8/7c PM CBS)
Whats so amazing about season 14 of the Amazing Race?
The first episode opens with a death-defying
challenge. But even better: "less airports" says co-creator and exec
producer, Bertram van Munster. "Very often the contestants already know
what plane they're going on, so there's very little drama there."
Expect plenty of other drama, though and even the first ever deaf
contestant. Players will also suffer through blizzards in Central
Siberia and go for the gold with Olympic-themed challenges in Beijing.
Beginning at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base near Long Beach, Calif., the Emmy-winning CBS reality competition (premiering Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. EST) will follow the teams for 12 episodes as they travel over 40,000 miles in 22 days to nine countries, including — for the first time — Romania as well as Switzerland, India and Russia.
"We shot in the city of Krasnoyarsk and the city of Novosibirsk," said "Amazing Race" executive producer Bertram van Munster. "The teams get from one city to another via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Of course, it started off nice, but we got into this Siberian snowstorm with below-zero temperatures, which we weren't used to. It was pretty exciting.
Teams will be faced with a multitude of extremes, including the world's second tallest bungee jump, bone-chilling Siberian temperatures followed by the suffocating heat of India, and an Olympic-sized challenge that leaves teams gasping for air. For the first time in the history of the Race, teams will travel to Romania and Siberia.
In all, this 12-episode season travels 40,000 miles in just 22 days, a week shorter than past editions. Racers begin in Los Angeles..
Then they traipse across Europe and Asia, stopping in India, China and Thailand, before hitting the finish line on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Along the way, the show treks for the first time to Romania and Siberia, where contestants endure a 13-hour ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad and face a major snowstorm.
• Now Confirmed: (thanks TARAsiafan and Slowhatch)futurecontestnat sucks posts
: tar 14 started in los alamitos, california at the military base 100% correct my friends dad works at the military base Frankfurt Airport, team sightings (Nov 1) Mrs Shrek's blog find
Saturday, November 1, 2008
• I decided just to walk to my gate and hang out there and read until my flight boarded, but to my surprise I had the Amazing Race in my waiting room and on my flight. There were 7 teams of two hanging around being interviewed by the crew with their huge cameras and all. Lucky me I was the only one in the whole crowd they decided to interview! So I had two teams come up to me with their camera crew and talk to me about who I am, where I'm from, and a ton of other random questions. I had to fill out a release form so they could put me on TV and everything! Pretty crazy, right? Locarno & Interlaken, Switzerland (November 1-2) SwissMiss08 posted Nov 1 2008Is the Amazing Race in Locarno, Ticino?
posted Nov 1 2008
• I live in Ticino, the southern part of Switzerland. Today I saw two separate groups of two people with backpacks running around town, followed by a cameraman and a 4th person. I noticed they were speaking American English.
This was especially strange because I normally hear American-accented English perhaps once or twice a month, even though this place is pretty touristy. Additionally, I saw these Americans talking to a PRIEST outside of church and being filmed doing so. Seriously, what tourists talk to a priest (on camera)?
Short of waiting for season 14 to air, is there any way to find out if this was, in fact, the Amazing Race.
More from SwissMiss08 in reply to some questions.
From: SwissMiss08• I first approached the plaza piazza sant'antonio around 6pm (it gets dark here around 5:30pm now). It is a little plaza in the old city (citta vecchia) which has some parking spots. I tried to park my car and was waved away. And there was a priest standing in front of the church, outside. They did not appear to have been standing there for long. It looked like they were just getting set up.
I drove past, parked, and walked back past around 6:15. I saw a team, a short woman and a tall man with backpacks, frantically talking to the priest (or perhaps frantically talking to each other near the priest). The woman was the one talking. They may have been middle aged, not sure, I was never very close.
The restaurant I was heading to was closed until 7pm, so I turned around and walked past the church/plaza again, this time only the priest and a few others were standing around. I went down to the Piazza Grande and sat in a bar waiting for the restaurant to open.
Around 7, I was again heading up towards the plaza AGAIN when we were passed by a team heading down the street, towards the vicinity of the Piazza Grande or the castle, we thought. This team was two younger people (early to mid 20s). I think the woman I saw was blond, but not sure. She was definitely pretty and tall - guessing 5'9 or more. The "producer" (ie 4th person in group, not carrying a backpack or camera) stopped her to adjust her shirt or necklace as they walked down the street.
After this second encounter we figured out it was the amazing race, so we walked back to the plaza, yet AGAIN after dinner around 8:45. The plaza was empty, no priest. But all the parking spots were cordoned off. This was not the case previously. So we wondered if more teams were coming, and the "priest" had just gone inside to get warm.
We then walked down to the Piazza Grande and the Castle, but neither of those locations was in use.
• venzin77 RE: Is the Amazing Race in Locarno, Ticino?
Yes the amazing race is in Switzerland y help one couple, y make police man job.
Mornig in Locarno, train Station, y help the couple Dustin & Kandice to go in Verzasca Valley. You see the the show and you see my ..... Wiki/Wetpaint
• Thanks for your e-mail and excitement and I'm glad to be able to help
patching some of your Amazing Race puzzle!
We were on a train on Nov 2 to Spiez, Switzerland (and then transferring to
another train to Interlaken) when flocks of cameras and people got on in
Domodossola, Italy. I thought some sort of Italian celebrities were getting on
or something, but apparently they were Americans. They came around in our car
asking a few people 'around' us who were the locals from Italy (we boarded in
Milan) talking in a quiet manner, telling them that they are doing a travel show
without saying what it is. But it was obvious from their questions that for
people doing a travel show they had done NO research about where they were
filming (that's when we figured out what show it really was.)
We overheard they were quizzing people on the train for a certain name or place
in Interlaken, including talking to the Italian couple (both of whom spoke good
English and were well-traveled) sitting next to us. The team in on our car was
the ones in the photo, wearing orange shirts. We all rode to Spiez, and got off
and transferred to the train to Interlaken. It was probably a little after noon
when they boarded and it was about 2.30-3pm when we all got off in Interlaken. I
took photos of them at the train station when they were rushing into taxis and
heading somewhere. Each team seems to have a cameraman and a sound engineer
assigned and closely followed.
I also saw other 3 teams that got off (I don't really know how many are there in
total though). One older couple looking less agitated than the rest, another one
of looking-like sisters wearing green shirts, and the other team with an African
American lady. It's kind of funny that when we got off at Spiez awaiting quietly
to get on the next train, these teams all seemed scrambled and almost 'acted'
like they were going to miss a train and ran all over to get to the right
platform.. which was the one right next to where we got off. It was a tiny
I'm attaching you another non-zoomed photo at the station too, taking at the
same time. I'm guessing that the older guy in there was the taxi driver. thanks to NijjyRuhpolding & Schönau am Königsee, Germany -- Salzburg, Austria (Nov 3) Mrs Shrek's blog find:
• I also have to say that one of the most exciting points of the day was when we saw signs for the show "The Amazing Race." It was being filmed at the palace where the famous Sound of Music gazebo now is. I took a picture of one of the signs that I saw, but there also were about 15 matching white Mercedes out front that were supposed to belong to the people in the amazing race. After I took a picture, an angry man came and put a garbage bag over the sign.
Michael's blog find:
• The driver pulled down the window and asked a young Austrian man for directions. I recognized right away that the driver spoke American English, so being the helpful American I am, I pulled around the front of the car to see if I could help. The Austrian man was fishing for his English vocabulary. Both the front and rear driver's side windows were down. A young man was driving, what I guess was his wife or girlfriend was behind him.
"How do you get to Schloss Hellbrunn?" the man asked me. He and the woman were frazzled, amazingly desperate! And they were covered in what looked like an amazing amount blood, guts, and pumpkin rot. But it all looked fake. Plus they had tons of make-up on.
I explained that they needed to turn back onto the major road they had just left, Alpenstraße, and head straight down until they passed underneath and underpass. Then they should take the very next right which would lead them down a wooded country lane.
By the time I had finished my first sentence, out of the car from the front and back passenger seats raced the camera man and the boom (sound) man, and they were both on me. I was good. Amazingly enough, I didn't look into the camera! I put a foot on my peddle to push off and ride away when the boom man caught my eye. He shook his head quickly as if to say, "Don't race off!"
The camera man turned off his camera and the boom man, an American, explained to the Austrian and me that we had to sign a release or this footage couldn't be used.
While we signed the paperwork, the woman in the backseat swore. They were in an amazing rush! The boom man turned to her and said, "Look, I told you. If you ask people questions, we have to do this. If you don't like it, don't ask for help."
"What kind of show is this?" I asked.
"A travel show," he replied.
"What channel?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," he said. Amazing, if that were true!
"What's the show called?" I asked.
Then he (sort of) came clean. He said, "I can only tell you that it's a pretty popular one!"
Off into the car they went. I wave and they raced off.
So this was some sort of race! Amazing, I thought, that I was caught in the middle of it.
I swore myself to secrecy--this was big stuff--I couldn't tell people about this! In two minutes I was home and spilling my guts to Jenny. Then one of my students came over 15 minutes later to pick up some soup, and I was telling her before she even sat down.
After my student left, Jenny suggested we head to Hellbrunn (only 5 minutes from our apartment) to see what we could see. There's a huge playground there and we promised Nikolas he could play there a bit (he said 40 minutes, and we said about 10--hey, it was getting dark!).
When we got to Hellbrunn, I noticed not one, but three cars that looked like the one I'd seen earlier. They each had numbers in the back window. The highest number I saw was 11.
When we tried to enter the castle grounds, we were immediately forced to make a U-Turn by a staff member. "Das Schloss ist zu wegen Dreharbeit." Closed due to filming...hmmm.
Just then, another white car pulled into the parking lot. A different set of people but with camera and boom men. They held each other's hands and headed right past us through a different door than the main entrance. I wanted to tell them that the path they were taking was a Detour, but I figured it wasn't my place.
In fact, a staff member came up to us a short time later and asked us in German if we'd said anything to the couple. "Nein," we answered. Dang, can't we be friendly?
Jenny decided to take Nikolas down that path to see where the couple was headed. I waited in case more white cars appeared in the parking lot. None did, and soon Jenny was back to tell me that she's seen "things." Well, I wanted to see things, too, so off I went along the path. The pathway was heavily wooded so it was even darker. Up ahead I could see huge lights, the kind you see on film sets. But there was a Roadblock between lights and me: a gate and a staff member. I spoke to the staff member for a moment. I asked him if they were filming an advertisement (playing dumb I was) and he spilled his guts. And while he spilled, I looked through the gate and saw "things."
Fast Forward to me catching up with Jenny and Nikolas in the park. We saw bobbing through the trees what looked like a TV camera light. Two women were running together. One was hobbling. The other said, "I'm going ahead a bit," and the other countered with, "OK, go ahead." Off into the park they went, clueless as the day was long.
Satisfied with the afternoon's excitement, we headed home and made a Pit Stop at Rossbräu, a local restaurant. No one recognized me from TV and I didn't tell anyone who I was.follow up
thanks to peach
• Yes, it was November 3. Whoever guessed the time of 4:45-5:15 was just about spot on. It was indeed a Pitstop because we could see through a side gate the check-in mat, a greeter dressed as Mozart (I'm assuming a man), and Phil. Phil was dressed in jacket, hat, and gloves and looked cold. It was chilly that night but it was a good chilly!
• The exact location of the Pitstop was just inside the inner courtyard on the left-hand side. In the Forum Hellbrun overview photo, you see four photo icons/squares in a line across the courtyard when you enter it from the long entry road. The Pitstop was located between the first and second icons on the left.
I'm including two more photos of the team of two women. Not very good ones, but then again, your photo people might have some fun. Finally, there's a photo of the cars the next morning. My wife went jogging out to Hellbrunn at about 6:30am. She said that they'd closed up shop, so it looks like there were no day-late stragglers like there sometimes are (which must drive them insane).
What else? I overheard camera/sound folks expressing frustrations about their teams not having a clue but nothing very specific. It seems after teams check in, their camera/sound folks are done for the day. At different times, crews climbed into a black van and were whisked off into the Hellbrunn grounds, I'm assuming to wherever there was a buffet for staff since it was dinner time, but I have no proof of that.
All the best and good luck with your research!
• Regarding the gory slime: at first, I thought they'd been involved in a Halloween event even though it was Nov. 3. Halloween is celebrated here but not like it is at home. They sell some "Scream" masks in the stores--that's about it. Anyway, my wife guessed that they could've been taking part in some local custom, maybe something with beer brewing or cheese making. BUT the woman in the car I first saw as well as the older man and woman whom we saw at Hellbrunn had the stuff on them in places you'd figure you would clean up right away, like on your face. It's almost as if they were made up like that and were expected to leave it on. But again, I have no proof. There was some slime on one of the cars that I passed by. I should've taken a sample! By the way, the team of two women appeared to have no slime on them whatsoever which would imply they had a choice in a previous activity. A Detour?
As I thought more about it today, I do remember a crew member saying something about climbing a mountain earlier in the day. Something how his team person saw arrows pointing downward, but she thought it was a trick, so she went back up the mountain. Again, that was a fleeting conversation and I may be messing up the details.
• The girls were nowhere near last! When we left Hellbrunn, there were only five or six white cars there. The next day, my wife took the photo with some dozen cars. No, I have a feeling that it was going to be a late night because we left at 6 p.m. or so and there had been no sign of anyone else arriving. Again, my wife is sure that by 6:30 a.m. the next day, all had been wrapped up. She ran through the courtyard where the Pitstop had been, and it was all cleaned up.
• They were definitely not African American. I would guess that they were mid- to late- twenties, but it was getting dark so I could be totally off. The one in the pink had brown hair, the other had lighter hair, but not blond. The one in the pink dropped her water bottle, which was white. The camera man got the drop and the pick up on film, then they all started off again. They were totally heading the wrong way, convinced that lights on a pond area must be lighting the Pitstop. It took them a good five minutes to figure out where they really needed to be.
•Thanks to CBS's post race video release "Amazing Race Montage
The Amazing Race detectives have now confirmed:
Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany thanks to Chateau d if
Schönau am Königsee (or King's Lake), Bavaria, Germany thanks to Uncle Bill, DrRox, Slowhatch, Chateau d if Bucharest, Romania (Nov 5-7?) romaniafan brings us his own sightings!
• Yes, ROMANIA! Was at the arrivals area at the airport in Bucharest last night, at about 12:45am, waiting for a friend to come through baggage claim. Suddenly a man with a large videocamera appeared out of nowhere and stood waiting in front of the crowd at the automatic doors. I wondered if it would be someone important, but figured just a local soccer celebrity or something. A few seconds later an Asian couple with backpacks came running through the doors. They seemed to be looking for something and very rushed, and the cameraman followed them as they ran behind me and out the doors to the outside world. My very first thought was AMAZING RACE?!?! And then when I heard them talking to each other in English as they passed, with American accents, I thought it was an even greater chance it had been AR . . . but sadly, I'd never know the truth.
Or would I?!? Few minutes later two girls, looked to be in their 20s, came running out shouting at the crowd asking where the taxis were. Then suddenly they both stopped, looked around very confused-like like they were looking for someone, then stood off to the side a bit, literally about two feet from me. I noticed right away that they both had little yellow and red-striped markers on them, so I was getting even more convinced this was AR. Then while they were waiting, one of them took out an envelope and pulled out of it a blue pamphlet-sized type thing that had the AR symbol on the front, consulted it really quickly, then tucked it away. Now I'm 100% convinced it's AR!! All of a sudden there was a huge flurry of activity as their camerman came running up (apparently that's what the two girls had been waiting for), and then I saw at least two other teams and their camera crews come running through the doors - one was two slightly older African American ladies, and another was two rather short men. All four of them also had the yellow and red markers on their person (some were on fanny packs), and were being chased by cameras as they frantically ran for the taxis. I *think* there was another team arriving a little further down, but I couldn't get a good look in all the excitement. Then last but not least, a very frantic-looking cameraman and sound man ran out in the clearing outside the automatic doors, apparently having lost their team for the moment, and paused scanning the crowd for a good minute or two. Then they took off, so presumably spotted them. Phew.
It gets better. About a half hour later my friend finally came through the double-doors from baggage claim. I was giddy with excitment to tell her about my AR spotting, and her response? "So THAT'S who they were!!" Apparently they were on her flight from Munich! At least some of them were. She was sitting right next to one of the contestants, my friend said she was a Kelly Ripa lookalike. This contestant had another friend sitting up a few rows, who she kept referring to as Chrissy. My friend said they made small talk throughout the flight, and the lady had said she and her friend were making a travel documentary, going to places off the beaten path like Romania to try and generate interest for tourists to go to those countries. So THAT'S their cover! The lady also told the flight attendant that she and her friend Chrissy are Southwest Airlines flight attendants back home. She was also asking a Romanian passenger on the other side of her for advice, my friend didn't catch all of it but did hear them talking about the train station (how to get there, safety, etc). My friend said after the fact, knowing it was an AR team, a lot of the lady's mysterious behavior now made sense: Spending half an hour putting on makeup before they landed (after midnight?!?), asking the flight attendant for an extra sandwich (Chrissy had told her they might need it tomorrow!), etc. My friend said that by the time the plane was ready to deboard, the Kelly Ripa lookalike and her friend Chrissy (and their telltale backpacks) had already worked themselves up to the front of the plane to deboard. She said she also had noticed one other team of two girls with backpacks and camera crews, which I suspect *may* have been the pair I saw stalled outside baggage claim, but not sure.
Soooo, long and short of it: At least two teams were for sure spotted by my friend on the flight from Munich to Bucharest; I spotted at least four teams coming thru baggage claim at about that time, one of which might have overlapped with the ones my friend spotted. They were heading for taxis, so not sure if that means a task in Bucharest, or if they were taxing to the train station to venture elsewhere in the country. Making it at least five or six teams here in Romania today! How exciting!! I live not far from Dracula's Castle, which I'd suspect will be one of their stops, so I'll be keeping an eye out for any more sightings!
Sorry for the ramble, but I've been a huge AR fan since Season 1, Episode 1, and all this time I've been really pulling for them to come to Romania - what are the odds I'd see them arriving at the airport here, especially at 12:45am on a Wednesday?!? Can't wait for this season to air!!
• Friend was on Lufthansa flight 3424, arrived about 12:25am 11/5 from Munich. The flight arriving right before that was from Frankfort, arriving at 12:15am - both from Germany, so possibly some of the teams I saw had been on that flight? Not sure. Just because my friend only spotted two teams on the Munich flight doesn't mean they weren't all on that flight and she just didn't see them. She's still in bed and jet-lagged right now (she'd flown all the way from LA), but I'll grill her for more info later and see if there's any other tidbits I can report. This is all so exciting, I'm glad I've got people to share it with who can appreciate it!
• Yeah, it was 12:25am on Wed Nov 5th that they landed. So I'd bet money on them still flitting around the country as we speak, especially taking into account that like you said, they probably needed to wait for things to open first. It's 11:20am here at the moment, and we're 8 hours ahead of Chicago time (that's my hometown and point of reference!). And yes, I said finally because a. I'd left for the airport three hours before, b. Knew we'd have a 2+ hour drive home, and c. I wanted to talk to somebody about my AR sightings!!! In a perfect world my friend would've come through the doors at the same time as them and we could've tailed them! I guess it pays to travel with backpacks and not have to wait 20 minutes for your luggage to come through.
• Speculation: If they go to Dracula's Castle (which incidentally isn't that exciting at all and is barely tied to Dracula, but is Romania's Biggest Tourist Trap so something tells me they'll end up there, but I hope I'm wrong - there are so many more interesting things to choose from here!), it's a good three hours drive/train from Bucharest in daytime traffic, a bit shorter at night. So if they had an early morning task in Bucharest, had to wait for opening hours for something first and then complete the task, then get out here, it'd probably be lunchtime at the earliest.
• Oh, remembered one last tidbit: One of the girls my friend saw was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of her daughter on it. I'll check back in tonight with any other newsworthy news!
• One last little tidbit: My friend said the racer sitting next to her on the plane had mentioned that others "from our group" had been on an earlier flight that day. Maybe these were just the stragglers? And as I may have already mentioned, she was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of her daughter that said "I love you wherever I go". Think that's it for now!
• Yay!! More dirt!! Thought the well had run dry on info from here in Romania, but just got this email from a friend here in Brasov:
"So I sat next to a guy at the wedding yesterday who is a cop in brasov and was assigned as a driver to some of the supporting crew for the amazing race when it came through. from bucharest they had to take the train to brasov, and they went to the black church where they found out their road block. i don't remember what the first one was but the second was something to do with a gypsy village. he didn't know what else they did in brasov but from brasov they went to bran and he said he didn't think they went to Bran Castle but they did have their pit stop. in all he said they spent about 3 days in romania and from here they went to russia."
Seriously Romania Blog Amazing Race
November 6, 2008 in général
• At 4am on Wednesday morning, staying up all night in honor of the US Presidential Election, I found myself at Gara de Nord, Bucharest’s primary train station. Standing outside the locked building was a mix of travelers waiting with luggage, teenagers huffing from plastic bags, sanitation workers sweeping, and various hustlers trying to get money from the people who waited. I, myself, had to dodge a couple of leather-jacketed men who insisted they could put me on a bus to wherever I needed to go, Brasov by noon. Later I watched two nearby couples interact with a younger huffer, laughing uncomfortably as he half sang, half shouted something to them. Meanwhile, taxis kept pulling up periodically, and people with bags would try the locked glass doors without luck. Their attempts were understandable, though, because inside the glass doors were other travelers, miraculously inside the warm(er) building even though it was supposed to be closed until 4:30.
These other travelers were, in fact, the cast and crew of the 14th season of The Amazing Race, filming their way through Romania. I looked inside and watched the teams of two flanked by cameramen and production staff. They all seemed unaware of the motley crowd outside those doors. They talked to each other, milled around, and consulted maps. One particular team of young women looked too manicured for such a contest at such an hour. At 4:20am, the ticket counters opened early for them; the crowd outside moved closer to the locked doors. Ten minutes later, the station’s McDonald’s franchise let the cast and crew inside while keeping the public, now allowed in the building, locked outside. Soon these contestants would be headed out of the capital in search of adventure!
And for those of you who are fans of the show, the Romania episode will be full of classics: gymnasts, gypsies, and vampires. Through some connections of mine here, I found out that the cast travels to nearby Bran Castle, engages in a challenge that included coffins and stakes, and visits a gypsy village (possibly in search of a clue). Of course, some of it plays off of the cultural myths about Romania. There is no question that some Romanians are interested in selling vampire kitsch to spook-seeking tourists, regardless of the relative lack of native tradition actually concerning the monsters. Much of the rest of the population at least tolerates it. And The Amazing Race clearly aims to take advantage.
But the show exploits more than the vampire legend. The most intriguing element of The Amazing Race episode in Romania relates to the gypsy village, which was, strangely, a fake. Constructed specially for the show in an area with a relatively low gypsy population, the artificial village was “populated” with ethnic Romanians dressed up in gypsy attire. Yes, even the supposed gypsies were impostors, as authentic as their costumes may have appeared. All this was done for the benefit of a reality television show. And tourism, of course.
Because most countries try to export a symbolic and friendly image of native culture that will lure tourists into spending strong currencies in a bid to purchase access to it all. Australia has promoted koalas, kangaroos, happy indigenous people, and blonds with surfboards leading a laid back life along the beach. Scotland pushes kilts, bagpipes, and Mel-Gibson-as-William-Wallace (not to mention all things whiskey). Romania is certainly not exempt from these kinds of campaigns, and the gypsy village proves just to what lengths people are willing to go. By dressing up ethnic Romanians as gypsy villagers, The Amazing Race and its Romanian collaborators are presenting an idealized image of gypsy culture, one meant to dazzle foreigners with exoticism.
The reality is more fraught. Tensions toward and within the gypsy population in Romania remain strong; prejudices are performed daily in the most progressive communities; divides exist socially and within the government about how to work with this minority group. Debates flourish about how to even provide education for children in gypsy communities. The quaint, friendly, built-to-order gypsy village, with its cast of Romanians in gypsy costumes, couldn’t be more of an idealization of the situation here. It censors the poverty, the alienation, and even the violence that contribute to the gypsy reality in Romania, as well as elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Myself, I am unqualified to say anything truly meaningful regarding this subject. Except I can’t help but be intrigued by a reality show that not only employs cultural proxies and fakes, but helps to sell a glossy version of what makes up a country like Romania. For my money, I think showing the real Romania would make excellent television; but no, the producers want to keep the glue huffers locked outside and the gypsies lighter skinned. Maybe the danger is that if we, as viewers, saw the reality, we might lose interest in the contestants and the contest itself. After all, what’s amazing about it? People flying all over the world in competition for money? What’s amazing about that? Besides what it excludes.
Krasnoyarsk & Novosibirsk Siberia/ Russia (Nov 10-11?)Gman: According to an interview with BVM in TV Guide (for week of January 5) teams will be visiting fewer airports (rah rah) and will suffer through a blizzard in Central Siberia and will have "Olympic-themed challenges in Beijing Jaipur, India (Nov 13 --) A Phil sighting! thanks to ChristineC @ Twop:
• While waiting at the Delhi airport on Thursday night Nov.13, I spotted Phil sitting by himself at our boarding area.
He was on his way to Bangkok, but said he was scouting a location in Delhi.
We talked about the show, his career and family, and he asked us what we were doing in Delhi.
Told him we are real fans and he thanked us for that.
I was very impressed with how friendly he was. Got two great pictures with him.
We talked for about ten minutes, but his flight was leaving, so he had to return to his boarding area.
What a nice guy !!!!
Lucky ME !!!!!!! CBS TAR14 route mapPhuket, Thailand (Nov 15--)Blog: Sunday, November 16, 2008 posted at 10:15 AM
• Exciting news- on my domestic flight going Bangkok- Phuket, the Amazing Race contestents caught the same flight. And as I expected it's all a shame. Camera crews set up and take multiple shots of them running to the ticket counter, and then they got off the plane and ran down the stairs, only to get held up by customs. Stupid f'cking Americans.
Ahh they were wankers. They yelled at the Air stewardess because their large cameras didn't fit in the overhead lockers, they walked around the plane the whole flight to be sure no one was filming them and they were the biggest bunch of knobs.
But hey what do you really expect from American reality shows??follow up
thanks to peach:
• And I must admit it wasnt so much the contestants who were jerks, more the production crew. I spoke to one of the contestants, an asian looking man with his girlfriend.
Also two older men.
The camera guys and production bothered me though, they seemed very pretentious, roaming around the plane like they owned it. As an Australian I do not appreciate this, as i believe everyone is the same, regardless of their fame, wealth, etc.
They all had a picture of a monkey and were looking for that.
our flight details were:
flight TG203- 0730
Sorry no pictures the camera crew acted like body guards.
Yes they did do multiple takes, one funny incedent was when we arrived all the teams ran, just to be held up by crowds and customs..that made me laugh.
hope this helps,
Another Blog/News posted on Nov 15
• Two contestants in a TV production being filmed by foreigners in Phuket are on the verge of collapse after taking turns pulling each other around Phuket City as they raced against the clock in the midday heat.
PHUKET: At least four pairs of contestants taking part in a travel documentary are racing around Phuket using various forms of transport today.
One of the challenges that faced the contestants was to pull each other through Phuket City in the midday heat using rickshaws as they searched for “King Rama V Park”.
The contestants pictured here made “four wrong turns” and held up traffic while a camera man and a sound engineer followed them in a songtaew (wooden bus with benches). A policeman on a motorcycle also followed the contestants and crew to “ensure their safety”. The policeman told the reporter that even though he could easily have told them how to get to the park, he had been ordered not to give directions to the contestants.
The reporter caught up with production crew members at the park, but despite holding up traffic and creating quite a spectacle with brightly decorated rickshaws being pulled by very hot and stressed-looking farangs, they refused to make any comment on what they were doing, except to say that they were making a “random travel documentary”.
Our very own TAR Detective Neobie
does some amazing detective work around Phuket: post and photos here
• students, road sweepers... My three-day-old Thai wasn't very helpful, but this is what I found out:
Only about 5% of the conversations were in English, so there might have been quite some miscommunication...
According to the gardeners, a group arrived in the park at about 4pm. Production in the park went on for about two hours, until about 6pm. They gave me the *running motion* *around the lake motion*. Appearing frequently in the conversation was the English word "exercise".
A cyclist told me that production spent time in the Fitness Center - a tiny indoor public gym on the north side of the park. Normal opening hours are 6am to 9.30am and then 5pm to 8.30pm (for the working class), so there might have been an Hours of Operation. The guy who opened the shutters at 5pm couldn't, or wouldn't, communicate anything about what happened.
The Phuket Gazette photo was taken next to a police booth. Nothing from them. The shops along the road outside the park mostly don't know anything, and even those who said they knew, I think those were false positives. (My fault, my Thai sucks.)
I have absolutely no idea what they could have done in that gym. It's just weights machines and stuff. There were photos of a muay thai event on the notice board though, but it looked like a different location. Heading all the way to Phuket, to lift weights??
Oh, by the way? Teams trying to get to "Rama Nine Park" will not get ANYTHING out of the locals. They know it as Seum Luang, and even then it's pronounced quite differently than the way we would...
Your foreign correspondent Neobie, reporting from Phuket.
• You know how astronomers find new stars by looking where there's a blank spot in the night sky? Yeah that's kind of the way it is with TAR.
Popped by the Phuket Zoo, and the staff there were very reluctant about saying anything to do with filming! There were some pretty lame excuses ("Oh there are many people." "Oh I forget."), so I can pretty much confirm that this is one of our racers' locations!
Which, sad to say, kind of means a monkey show is slated to appear on our TV screens soon.
• Alright one last bit from the streets of Phuket:
Met a group of elderly gentlemen in Rama IX Park who spoke Cantonese, and they told me that something had been going on along Thanon Thalang, in the historic core of town. And... that happens to be exactly where my hotel is!
So for two days I've been walking up and down the streets in the district, drawing pictures of boxes and envelopes... You get the picture! And yes, apart from the "sightings" of a certain Leonardo DiCaprio filming The Beach a couple of years back, there's TAR news!
At about 1-3pm on 15 November, various shopkeepers in the district saw farangs pulling rickshaws around the street. A shop on the western end of Th Thalang suggested that they might have started on Soi Romani (a little alley running off the north side of the street). However, shops on the alley know nothing about TAR filming, instead pointing me to another production there on the 27th. A traffic warden I talked to on Th Krabi told me about Wat Phuttha Mongkhon Nimit on the north end of Soi Romani (followed by communication breakdown), so I'm not sure if he was talking about TAR or rickshaws in general. No rickshaws when I went to the temple though.
Other sightings, that when plotted on a map, give a good sense of where teams would have gone:
East along Th Dibuk, between Soi Romani and Th Phuket
South along Th Phuket, between Th Dibuk and Th Thalang
West along Th Thalang, between Th Phuket and Th Yaowarat
The sightings then disappear. I'm really not sure how they made their way to Rama IX Park from there. Two shops also suggested the Thai-Chinese Museum on the north side of Th Krabi as a *Thai lost in translation*, but I didn't understand the significance. Staff there genuinely didn't seem to know much.
Somewhere in one of these conversations there was a mention of a woman pulling a man; but the man was "holding a camera", so I'm not sure what that means. There was also mention of a police escort going in front of the teams, about two or three motorcycles.
There remains one single hotspot that I have yet to talk about. Everyone within a 50m radius pointed me to a Chinese herbal shop on the south side of Th Thalang, touting itself to be the "Oldest Herbal Shop in Phuket". Another communication breakdown there (real or feigned), but there's one thing that made me very sure that TAR was here.
Coming right up with photos!
Bangkok, Thailand ( Nov 16 -)Neobie:•Post by Nickasingh, from Sucks (thanks hakushu8 for bringing it over!)
Had the incredible luck to connect in Bangkok for a couple of hours, and was able to gather that an "adventure company" was holding an event here at the Phayathai Palace on the 16th of November, and that the point of contact worked for... World Race Productions! (This is our race, guys!)
[/i]Guilin, China (Nov 17-) TARA
brings us info from a China forum:
• went to a local net-forum of TAR fans in china and someone posted saying TAR14 was visiting china. they saw Phil and the production crew. more than 40 people replied (that's a large number of population in the forum)
and more detailed information was post out
sorry, phil and Mr. Van Munster. I love your show so much, but people here just want to know more about it.
so here it is:
location: Guilin, Guangxi Province, China
a girl said her boyfriend helped the production, seemed like to be one of the local assistant.
she claimed that when her bf told her that, she instantly thought about TAR and could confirm that.
they lived in Sheraton and the pit top was Sun-Moon-Tower.
and a mountain named Di-Tsai was also visited.
They also have been to a steel factory.
It was also said teams had to go to a hair salon to wash their hair.
Phil was described very tall and handsome by her bf.
And for security reasons, all assistants have been asked to remain their position after everyone is on the plane, the left the same day.
so far, no photo evidence.
P.S some others said people see a lot of foreign people running in the subway in Shanghai days b4 that which the city was visited in season 6.
Neobie follows up here:
• Called up the Sheraton in Guilin, and they've been nice enough to tell us that production started arriving in dribs and drabs on the 10th, and they all left on the 20th. Remembering Salvador's whiteboard, that means teams would most likely have taken flights out on the 20th as well. How does that fit in?
Also called up the Sheraton and Meridien in Shanghai, but they have no record of WRP Group. Any other ideas we could try, or should we rule Shanghai out? Neobie:
•Got corroboration from various people that the Guilin leg took place on the 17th of November. Here are the various clues from the locals that help confirm the fact:
1. It was a Monday.
2. Production started serious work two days before, and on the third day (presumably the day the racers came by) it was drizzling.
With Phuket being filmed at least until the afternoon of the 15th, that would mean Phuket and Guilin are consecutive legs! Will discuss more in the timetables thread...
Nothing much to report at the South Gate, but just enough to confirm that teams were there. A girl in the Tourist Office (20m west of the gate) remembers seeing a team run past with a camera crew, eastwards towards the gate. A pair of tour guides told me they heard of filming on both sides of the twin bridges, just in front of the gates. Nobody at the gate, though, could tell me anything. There's a tea shop on top, but the manager there told me if there was any filming at or outside their shop, they would have been contacted. (Lie detector did not go off, I kind of believe her.)
Beijing, ChinaGman: According to an interview with BVM in TV Guide (for week of January 5) teams will be visiting fewer airports (rah rah) and will suffer through a blizzard in Central Siberia and will have "Olympic-themed challenges in Beijing Beijing, China to Maui, Hawaii (Nov 21)Blog thanks to peach:
• Three airlines, twelve “customer service” representatives and multiple people yelling at each other in Mandarin later we found ourselves on an Air China flight back to Tokyo. We’re still not sure why or what they were screaming but it seemed to be the norm for the airport. That said, it was a lovely airport.
During this ordeal we couldn’t help but notice two groups of travelers flashing American passports being flanked by their own teams of cameramen looking a little too giddy to be at the airport in Beijing at 8am. Oddly enough, it seems that we found ourselves in the middle of CBS’ “Amazing Race” with two teams on our flight. Without giving too much away, I can assure you that all of the panic and suspense of the actual show comes from some really great editing. On this particular day we found ourselves watching the double mint twins in matching sweatshirts, bleached teeth and badly dyed red hair preen the entire time for the cameras.
M had to remind me a few times that something are better thought than said aloud and that when calling people “twits” and such it’s best to do it at a volume they can’t hear you.
Forthunately the flight itself wasn’t bad as a nap and bag of M&Ms calmed me down considerable after being cut in front of by the camera crew multiple times had me rather annoyed.
Still we had quite a ways to go and even bumped into the host Phil Keoghan as he waited for his flight to film the finale in Hawaii. It’s important to note that the running, fighting and begging for seats that you see on TV didn’t really happen and oh yeah, Phil flies business class.Thanks to peach:
As you all know, RFF first brought you the info about C/J on the flight from Beijing on towards Hawaii.
Here is the rest of the story.
While we have had this information since well before the show aired, I personally felt that it wouldn't be fair to the first teams that would be eliminated or to all the fans enjoying speculating on their favorites to release this info too soon. But after tonight we will have our final five, so I think it is finally okay to share this with you all.
I have been fortunate enough to be in contact with someone who came across the race in Beijing, on the way to Tokyo. Thanks to an enormous amount of time and help from her, I am able to bring you a good bit of info. This would be the connecting flight Beijing>Tokyo>Hawaii.
This description has been edited by me in order to combine a series of email exchanges and in order to simplify the info, so any mistakes in the editing are mine. My inserts/edits have been italicized, the rest is in her words.
Most of this comes in response to questions I posed.
We were flying on an Air China/ANA code share from Beijing to Tokyo on the 21st of November, flight later IDd as CA925/NH5702 0930-1350
.All persons seen by her were confirmed by her matching photos.
At the terminal we discovered we had ended up on the same flight as the cheerleaders (Cara/Jaime)
and the Mom/son (Margie/Luke)
. To the annoyance of the airline ground staff the film crew kept trying to jump ahead in line and was filming other passengers boarding the plane. I pray my exhausted scowl does not make national television. It would not be an attractive moment to have aired.
Once we got on the plane, one sound man in particular seemed keen on climbing over seats to make sure he was involved.
Aside from the camera crew cutting in various lines and being a touch rude, I don't honestly remember much else aside from the fact that the cheerleaders were glad another team was fighting and said as much to the Mom/son team. I will say I was surprised at how open the crew was about needing to get certain shots like "the waiting for the plane door to close shot."
Those two teams split in a different direction once we left the plane in Tokyo as we went for our (personal info removed)
flight and they went to Hawaii (overheard them saying) and they went onward.
came across Phil at the JAL
transfer desk in Tokyo
. He was actually traveling with Tammy/Victor and BVM
They were ahead of us in line.
I do recall Victor was very nice to the crew and was trying to get the crew members window seats to sleep by to their next destination...Honolulu. They did film them at the counter if I recall.
I'm not sure if they were staying there or not as none of them mentioned anything beyond that. this group which included Phil, BVM (see below), and Tammy/Victor had NOT been seen by her on her flight.
Phil didn't really interact with anyone besides an older man who I would assume was a producer of some sort. Photo confirmation that this was Bertram Van Munsterinsert:
And it definitely was Bertram Van Munster that was with them, he and Phil didn't really interact with anyone but each other.
The crew and such traveling with Phil/BVM/Tammy/Victor
were considerably nicer than the ones on her flight
discussing how they had been celebrating someone's birthday a few days prior and someone had accidentally ruined the surprise cake by letting the secret slip.
Once past the transfer desk we had to go downstairs to the Bus station to transfer to another Terminal where we again came across Phil and Tammy/Victor. We rode the bus with them to the other terminal and then lost them in the chaos that is Narita airport.
I asked if she was able to get a feel for who might be in the lead at that point, or if these could be decoys: To be honest, none of the groups really seemed to be too excited or racing, so it would be hard to say as neither group we saw really seemed all that "race like."
Finish Line confirmed: THE KAHILI GOLF COURSE
more info here