“It Was Like a Nightmare” – Reality News Online’s Exclusive Interview with The Amazing Race 18's Jaime & Cara
by Teeuwynn Woodruff
Reality News Online: Hi, Jaime & Cara! Thanks for talking to Reality News Online today!
Jaime: Thank you.
RNO: What’s been going on with you since the last time you were on the race?
Jaime: Oh, real life?
Cara: A lot!
Jaime: Yeah. I mean, Cara and I lead active lives. Since the last race I have become a Playboy Playmate which entails a lot of travel and a lot of events, so its constantly go, go, go. I actually leave next week for Argentina for a month for work. It’s been like that since the last race. There really hasn’t been a break. It’s great, but it’s definitely fast-paced.
Cara: I carry a full time job in government relations – political consulting work. I also am a law school student, so I work all day and go to school at night – and I’m a newlywed since the last race. We both have had very full plates.
RNO: What did it feel like, given your busy schedules, to know you’d be going back on the race?
Cara: For me, it felt very exciting. In some ways it was nerve wracking because I was very nervous about how this was going to pan out with law school. But I think both of us were just truly excited at the idea of running another race and having this experience again.
RNO: Getting to the race itself, what did you think when you saw Kent & Vyxsin at the train station after they had been gone for days and missed the required flight to China?
Jaime: I was actually frustrated and disappointed to see them because I felt like they shouldn’t have been there. I felt like, with the super leg, we all literally busted our butts. After having run a full race the first time and now this race – truly one of the longest, most miserable, and exhausting days of my life – and for them to have been given the chance to take a different flight when the flight that we all took was a mandatory flight. It was the only option. And the next one available was not for 24 hours.
There was only one flight per day, and for them just to be able to take the next flight out… And they had 11 hours to make the flight. Cara and I actually left that Pit Stop in last place. Kent & Vyxsin left two teams before us. It was a two hour drive away, and they had 11 hours to make it. They still didn’t make it and we did, and for them to just take the next flight out and only receive a 30 minute penalty… It was truly just inadequate – in all the teams’ minds. Everyone was in agreeance that it just didn’t make sense to us.
Cara: Everyone thought that the penalty wasn’t enough when there was a 24 hour wait for the next flight to go out. I mean, that’s kind of a joke. It was actually offensive that they gave them 30 minutes – I’d rather they didn’t give them anything at all. I just thought that was a slap in the face.
RNO: That was also an extremely long leg to deal with.
Jaime: Four days.
RNO: This leg you got to the Double U-Turn just a second after Kent & Vyxsin. Did you think you could convince them to U-Turn the Globetrotters and not you?
Cara: We weren’t trying to convince them of anything. We didn’t realize at first that we were on the table as potential candidates for their U-Turn. So, for us, we were just harping on the Globetrotters only because they were the only team we knew were behind us. We didn’t know at that time that Ron & Christina, Jet & Cord, Justin & Zev, and whoever else were behind us.
There were a lot of teams behind us, but we didn’t know that at the time because we chose the physical task and it was so very physical – the solar tubes – exhausting and time consuming. So we had no thought other than, “Clearly, this task put us all in the bottom half of the Detour doers. We need to get there and make it up.”
So we said we know the Globetrotters are behind us. Vyxsin was like, “Yeah! The Globetrotters!” Then Kent was just sitting there fumbling around with the papers forever! Finally, he’s like, “I gotta do this to you, ladies.” And we were like, “Fine! Then just do it.” At that point, he had taken so long that we were, more than anything, aggravated that he had wasted time putting up our photo.
We did it to the Globetrotters only because they were, literally, the only team we knew was behind us.
RNO: Had you gotten to the U-Turn before Kent & Vyxsin who would you have U-Turned?
Jaime : We would have U-Turned the Globetrotters. We were thinking, “Why would you U-Turn the team who’s already right there?” God knows how long the Globetrotters are behind us. You want to send the team farther back even farther back.
Cara: And if we had known we were in fourth place, we wouldn’t have U-Turned anyone at all and wasted a U-Turn.
RNO: How much time did the U-Turn cost you? It looked like you did well with the doll task.
Cara: It cost us maybe 15 minutes.
Jaime: The doll task was actually – in both races we’ve done – the easiest task we faced. It was actually kind of a joke compared to the solar panels which were so heavy. [You had to] go up six flights of stairs numerous times. It was so exhausting I can’t believe they were considered comparable tasks.
RNO: So how much time do you think the solar tube Detour took you?
Cara: I don’t know. We did it fairly quickly. We did it on par with pretty much all the teams who did it. It had to have taken at least 45 minutes – at best – probably more. But I don’t think either of us were keeping track of time then.
RNO: So the U-Turn didn’t actually cost you much then?
Cara: Not in terms of time. Stopping for gas actually cost us more time – it actually ended up being about an hour stopping to get gas.
RNO: You two have a history of problems with travel on the race.
RNO: Why did it take so long for your driver to get gas for his taxi?
Jaime: For people who have not been to China, it’s difficult to get around once you’re in a city area. Traffic is very congested. It’s slow – and he had to get off the highway to get gas. So it ended up costing us another hour. It took longer than the actual Detour itself.
RNO: That’s pretty horrible. What did it feel like sitting in the cab for that?
Jaime: It was like a nightmare. I made the comment at the gas station, “It’s like Hawaii all over again.” Getting lost and stopping for gas when you’re on the end of a challenge is so frustrating because there’s nothing you can do. Your fate is out of your hands completely. I think that’s what’s so frustrating to me.
RNO: There was no way to get another cab then?
Jaime: At that point it was so hard to [get people] to understand that we wanted to go to a place called the Stone Forest… There was just no English whatsoever. It took so long to relay to [the taxi driver] that we wanted to go to the Stone Forest, to start over again with someone else… Who knew where they would end up taking us?
RNO: You also had driving problems in Japan when you clipped another car’s rear view mirror. How much time did that cost you?
Cara: Probably about two hours.
RNO: Jaime, putting that large dinosaur puzzle together looked grueling. How long were you working on it?
Jaime: Probably, as a whole, it took me about four hours to do it. The pieces were so heavy and so big, trying to lift them over my shoulders and lock them into place. Then, having to start all over and having to unlock them exerted so much energy – especially after the solar panels – I just didn’t have any strength left to take it apart and redo it. I was just utterly spent at that point.
RNO: How often did you go back to the sign to check your work?
Jaime: Oh, you’re looking constantly. The problem is the piece I had wrong – the hip – was the piece that held the whole dinosaur together, it could fit in either direction. I had it flipped, but it still worked either way you put it in, and I think that was obviously on purpose. So, you built your whole dinosaur, then the hips actually needed to be turned the other direction. And they won’t tell you that it’s wrong.
They would tell you if it was unsafe, meaning the pieces weren’t locked in, but they wouldn’t tell you if it was considered wrong. So you could build the whole dinosaur, because it was considered safe because my piece was still locked in… It was just backwards. I could have checked [the sign] a thousand times, but my piece fit, so I thought it was in correctly.
RNO: Do you know how far behind Ron & Christina and Zev & Justin you got to the Pit Stop?
Cara: About an hour.
RNO: So that gas stop –
Jaime: I think the gas stop did us in. I mean, between doing the extra Detour and the gas stop it was at least an hour to an hour and a half of our time. I feel it would have been close [if the gas stop hadn’t happened].
Going into it after stopping for gas and stopping for another Detour – mentally I was so frustrated at that point. Then starting that dinosaur all over again. Who knows if we would have finished the solar panel task quickly, like we ended up doing, and then getting to [the Roadblock] and realizing there were only three other teams there – that’s revitalizing, that’s motivating. “Wow! We’re actually in the front of the pack.” Your whole attitude changes.
Then having to stop for gas for an hour, doing the other Detour… It just really changes your mentality. I was already down.
RNO: The only sleep we saw you get on the leg was on the train. What was it like trying to sleep on those bunks?
Cara: We didn’t sleep at all – that’s what that was like! First of all, Jaime and I aren’t the best sleepers. We’ve always struggled – in our first race as well. We’re just not great at sleeping on planes and things of that sort. And it’s not leisurely travel where, perhaps, you might give yourself a little bit of a sleeping pill or something! With those long flights you don’t want to run that risk when you’re running a race around the world.
So we aren’t the best sleepers and that train was very busy. We were the third highest beds and every bed in the whole train was full. Imagine trying to get a good night’s sleep with a bunch of strangers who aren’t nearly as tired as you are – so they’re shuffling around, moving about, talking to each other.
I think at one point we had a lovely couple eating peanuts – ballpark style peanuts, and those are noisy. We’re like, “Oh, we really need to sleep. How much longer are they going to be eating those peanuts?” Not that they knew. They didn’t know what was going on. You can’t blame them.
Jaime: And, they’re eating food, and you’re hungry!
Cara: You’re like, “I wonder if they want to share some of those peanuts if we’re all going to be listening to them eat them.” It’s not like how it may appear where you just hop on a train and go right to sleep. Plus you have all your possessions, your passport and things of that sort, and you’re sleeping holding on to all of those – because if any of those go walking while you’re sleeping that wouldn’t be very good either.
We weren’t rested.
RNO: You’ve been on the race twice – what’s best and worst about going on it?
Jaime: The best thing about the race is truly, even in the points of utter misery doing it the second time, still it’s just an amazing life opportunity to be given. To be given it twice is amazing. It’s called The Amazing Race because it truly is.
The worst part will always be having come so close the first time and it being out of you’re control… Cara and I are okay with accepting something if we couldn’t compete – for example, if we didn’t finish the dinosaur task in time, that’s one thing. But when you’re living the whole, “What if we had taken a different taxi in Hawaii? What if he hadn’t stopped for gas? What if he hadn’t gotten lost?” Those what ifs are way harder to live with. That’s the bad part.
RNO: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about the race?
Jaime: Just that if people watch it at home and dream of doing it, that’s how we did it. We weren’t recruited. We actually sent in an application and a tape on the deadline day and we got picked. We did it fair and square. If they dream of doing it – they should.
RNO: Thank you so much for talking to me again!
Jaime: We appreciate it. http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=4&article=article12381.art&page=1