Sounds like they last awhile?
Amazing China rush
By He Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-29 Eleven cities and villages in five weeks
is hardly a leisurely way for a pair of expatriate residents in Shanghai to see China. He Wei finds out what's the rush.
When Rachel Chen and Charlie Gale first came to China, they expected to stay long enough to enjoy traveling through the country at a leisurely pace. They certainly did not expect to have to rush through 11 places in just five weeks with no cellphone, limited money and a series of Mission Impossible tasks waiting for them. Nevertheless, they did. And thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
They were part of a team of 20 expatriates who gathered in Shanghai this April to take part in The Amazing Race: China Rush, produced by International Channel Shanghai (ICS).
ICS acquired the rights from Disney ABC International Television, owners of The Amazing Race, to produce a version of the reality show in China.
Chen says they signed up for the show out of pure curiosity.
"When I saw the advertisement on ICS, I thought, why can't it be me winning the final around-world trip prize? So I immediately called Charlie, and we decided to give it a try," Chen says.
Chen, 25, a Chinese-American, has a Chinese father and a grandmother living in Shanghai. Despite her Chinese heritage and Mandarin lessons at Fudan University in Shanghai, she admits she still doesn't know much about China, culturally or geographically.
Two years ago, Chen started Intern Asia to help foreign students in China. She said her busy job keeps her from traveling around but the show helped solve that.
She met Gale two years ago in Shanghai through a mutual friend. The 26-year-old American-Australian is also an entrepreneur and recently started a business with a friend designing and manufacturing electric products for the European, American and Australian markets.
Since the beginning, Chen and Gale have enjoyed their spontaneous adventures throughout the city, including go-karting, boating or dancing until dawn.
With their laidback yet adventurous personalities, the pair, calling themselves the "Flirtatious Friends", spent one lunch break completing their application video and submitted it just before the deadline. Luckily they were chosen to participate out of thousands of applicants.
Competing on the show was far from easy as teams had little money, 100 yuan ($15) to 800 yuan ($120),
with which to tackle different challenges, including traveling through a remote village with no English speakers, clambering up a mountain on hand and foot and even eating a turtle.
Teams had to work well together and Chen says she was detail-oriented but Gale was prone to "get-going" without deliberating. Even though they had disputes along the way, they managed to cope by "merging diversities and trying to strike a balance."
Allan Wu, the Chinese-American host for the show, said teams usually have two approaches: some teams are completely unwilling to help others while some teams are more friendly and helpful.
"On the producers' side, we hope they will act more competitively, of course, but it is often moving to see contestants lend a helping hand," Wu says.
Chen and Gale chose the latter approach from the first episode, as the pair gave directions to competitors to help them get train tickets. They say they also made peanut-butter sandwiches for the rest and bought everybody beer to celebrate the completion of some tasks.
Gale says their generosity paid off when they ran out of money one day and another team helped them
"Competition is only part of the race. We are here to enjoy the fun, not to just to get the medal," says Gale.
The most interesting but biggest obstacle was interacting with locals.
"At certain times, you have to entirely rely on others to help you out," Chen says. "But sometimes they simply don't understand you and you can get easily frustrated."
Both agreed their experience on the show was a fulfilling journey during which they got to know more about themselves and about China. And that the game totally changed their mentality on how to deal with people and how to spend money.
They were, above all, impressed with China's stunning scenery and every time they finished a task, they took time to stop and appreciate the beauty of the natural landscape.
Most challenges in the game were related to traditions, people and places in China. For the flirtatious friends, diversity is China's most charming aspect.
In this country, there are incredibly amazing forests, beaches, waterfalls, deserts and cosmopolitan cities such as Shanghai, they say.
And to appreciate it all better, both agreed they will have to work harder at learning Chinese.
They are going to work on that to get a deeper and more thorough understanding of China, but without the rush this time. http://www2.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010census/2010-08/29/content_11219703.htm