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HaMerotz LaMillion (The Amazing Race Israel) Season 3: HaRecaps (The Recaps)

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GB:
This season's tasks and teams are just as Amazing as the previous seasons of HaMerotz LaMillion. It's still really good and really entertaining with engaging and unique tasks.

However, it's this goddamn 3-episode-per-leg structure that's really hurting it. They're showing off waaaaay too much and overstaying their welcome, leading viewers like me and Jai Ho to get bored more often.

(Also, the tasks in Cuba sucked. There were four dull ones almost in a row)

Jai Ho:
It's been a very busy week for me, but over the past 48 hours, I've managed to recap 2 of the 3 episodes I'm behind on (and the other I'm not really going to recap, but you'll understand why when I post it).

Meanwhile, tonight begins the much anticipated HaMerotz trip to the USA!!!!

Granted, it's to Las Vegas, which is probably the most artificial and least historic place in the country, but let's hope they do tasks that actually feature American culture rather than useless filler stuff that could happen in any big city.

When I first heard that the race was coming to America, I had some unique/interesting ideas for places for them to go/tasks to do:

1) Come here to Houston (so I could have found them). Tasks: Rodeo (trick riding/roping/being rodeo clowns/selling stuff/betting on pig race or muttin' bustin); getting a pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream and having to find the location of the Girl and Cow Statue depicted on the cartoon, in nearby Brenham, Texas, and make or sell ice cream; learning two-stepping and doing country-line dancing; teaching some local kids Hebrew words; going to the Art Car Museum and decorating art cars; play baseball with the Astros at Minute Maid Park; go to NASA and do astronaut training tasks/virtual moon walk; eat chili, cactus, steak, or roadkill or other Texas treats. Pit Stop: Reliant Stadium or Water Wall or on an oil rig :)

2) Go to Miami (a TAR USA favorite city) and do some of the tasks TAR's done there, like the tricycles or the trailer park decorating; learn the Golden Girls theme song and perform all the words correctly for the judge, Betty White; ride through the Everglades on a fan boat; club-hop in South Beach to find a specific clubber with their clue; go to Cape Canaveral and do astronaut tasks/fire model rocketsl go up to Orlando to do Disney World tasks. Pit Stop could be the Florida Keys, Disney, or maybe some retirement home where they have to win at bingo in order to check in :)

3) A Midwest leg: Find Monowi, Nebraska and gather the entire population of the town for a group picture (actual population, 1 lady named Elsie Eiler  :funny:); play baseball at the Field of Dreams in Iowa; make or eat cheese in Wisconsin.

4) A New England leg: Boston tasks like drinking at Cheers or delivering mail (like Cliff in Cheers); reenact a Revolutionary War battle; dump tea into the harbor; do some intelligence-related task at Harvard or Boston Latin; do a Paul Revere task "the British are coming!"  :funny: ; witch trial tasks in nearby Salem; bake chocolate chip cookies (Toll House, invented in Massachusetts); Dr. Seuss tasks (Dr. Seuss is very popular in Israel). Pit Stop could be the Green Monster or Faneuil Hall, or the battlefields at Concord/Lexington.

5) A leg in Pennsylvania like Family Edition, with encounters with the Amish/Mennonites, Gettysburg or Valley Forge tasks, Benjamin Franklin tasks in Philly, eating Philly cream cheese or cheesesteaks, going to Hershey and doing chocolate-themed tasks. Pit Stop at Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell. Or Intercourse, Pennsylvania for the laffos  :funny:

6) A leg in Seattle/Washington state with visits to Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market, Space Needle. Ultimate Needle-In-A-Haystack Task: find a specific Starbucks and drink venti mocha cookie crumble Frappuccinos with a clue hidden on the inside bottom of the cup, there are more than 300 Starbucks in Seattle and I could imagine multiple teams breaking down after drinking Frappuccino after Frappuccino, and then asking clueless and overworked baristas where their clue is :funny: Pit Stop: Gas Works Park (because it's TAR).

7) A leg in Alaska (when I told Israelis I'd been to Alaska once, they were like "wtf how did you get there? did you stay in an igloo with Eskimos?") Alaska is on the clear opposite side of the world from Israel, and the distance is incomprehensible (like us Americans and India/China). Tasks like dog-sledding, igloo-building, glacier-trekking, polar bear plunge, learning words in a language native to Alaska. Pit Stop Greeter: a very confused Sarah Palin  :funny:


...but of course, I'll probably be disappointed.

Where in America would you like to seem them go to/do?

Jai Ho:
Let me preface this episode by saying:

This episode highlights some of the biggest differences between the American and Israeli versions of the race. On TAR USA, we rarely see/hear outside people mentioned (family/friends/people from home), yet here, we have a whole episode basically devoted to people who we don't even know.

As an American, I'm used to traveling. I took my first plane ride at age three. When I graduated high school, like many if not most Americans, I went away to college and lived in a dorm. Since then, I've lived in varying states and countries, and have been on my own for the majority of the last decade. Sure, I talk to my parents all the time, but I've gone weeks and even months without seeing them (currently, it's July, and I haven't seen anyone in my family since March since we live so far apart). When I do want to see my parents, I have to either a) book plane tickets and fly across the country, or b) get in my car and drive for a few days. I've also been fortunate enough in my life to have traveled both inside and outside these here United States and am used to having disruptions in my routine. In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually had a routine.

For Israelis, this is not the case. Israel is about the size of New Jersey. Picture all your friends, family, and everything you know and love within a three-hour drive, max. And, not only that, but you don't even have to drive - you take a bus, train, or taxi. Distances that we find relatively short (for example, 2 hours between Houston and Austin, or 3 hours between Houston and San Antonio) are impossible to conceive for them. One weekend, I stayed with some family in Ashkelon, a small town right near Ashdod (where David and Eliran come from). I had recently graduated college, and one of family's friends was grilling me about what going to college in America was like. When I told her that it was about a ten-hour drive from my parents' home to where I went to school, she was shell-shocked at a) what 10 hours in a car would be like, b) why I chose to live so far away from home, and c) why I would drive that distance regularly (well, on winter and summer breaks).

When I lived there, most people I knew either didn't have licenses or had licenses but no car. Almost all of them disliked driving and would take public transit, given the option. Notice that some racers, (Batel and Debby, in particular), are rarely seen behind the wheel. People in Israel thought that it was bizarre, when asked what I missed most, replied "my car." My family could come visit me (and they did) but as I'm not from a place like New York City, Boston, or Chicago, public transportation was a bit of a nuisance and I missed the freedom I had to go anywhere, any time, on my own schedule.

When Israelis travel, they tend to go on short 'tiyulim,' or trips within their own country, either to visit family in another city or to visit a natural park or a kibbutz. Leaving the country is a very big deal, and for most Israelis, it's very hard and culture shock sets in pretty quickly because there really is no place like Israel. I have Israeli friends who are grown adults who cry every time they leave the country even if it's just for a few days. Except for Talia and Koby, who went to school abroad, for the racers this is probably the longest and furthest they've ever been from home. Those racers who attended university in Israel probably all lived at home. Ma'Ayan and Batel even admit in this episode that they've always lived at home, and never anywhere else. Romi is a soldier and probably lives on a base somewhere, but in the Israeli Army, it's not inconceivable that Romi's mother or father would call her unit leader on the phone and ask her what the hell's taking their daughter so long to get home for Shabbat. In America, we tend to be more comforted by material possessions - for me, it's my car and my apartment - but in Israel, family is more important than anything (even friends, sometimes) and being without them for an extended period of time with no contact is like having all your arms and legs cut off.

Jai Ho:
Episode 18: “The Seinfeld Episode”

This episode was basically the show about nothing. No tasks featured. Teams pick up locals and spend some time at their homes with them and are presented with gift boxes sent to them from Israel. It’s very nice for them and very touching and emotional, but also very unexciting. Then they go to a completely arbitrary pit stop in the same order they were in the beginning of the episode. Romi/Michele are last, but not eliminated, in what should’ve been a TBC leg/superleg.

The highlights (what few there are)
•   Talia/Koby get a lady named Marlene. Her house is gorgeous and they clearly lucked out. She’s a dress designer with a huge closet. They play dominoes around the table. Their box includes Talia’s white teddy bear, which bears the creative name of “White Teddy Bear.” They get their cat’s collar as well.
•   Blue Collar pick up a chick named Amber. Eliran is super cute with a little baby girl. Their box include David’s mother’s scarf and a letter.
•   D/D get a guy about Debby’s age named Jorge. She flirts with him of course. Jorge’s house is lovely and pink. Their box includes pictures of Debby’s two other children, and Dana’s wedding picture and a letter from her husband.
•   LiMor choose a girl who looks about twelve. We learn her name is Amarilis. They get their package and much emotion all around. Apropos of nothing, either Mor’s makeup is smeared or she has a bruise on the right side of her face. Their box contains baby clothes.
•   Cousins pick up a guy named Lazaro. Ma’Ayan proposes marriage to Lazaro in front of his mother, who either doesn’t understand or does understand and thinks that Ma’Ayan is insane. Both of which would be true. They call him about 12 different names, all of which wrong. They get a photo album.
•   Falafel chooses a lady named Diamelix, and of course they botch up her name. At her home, they look at photos and postmodern-looking wall art. They also take advantage of the free booze. Their box contains a large jar of sand from the beach back home. Well, that’ll be useful, especially in a “build a sandcastle with your own sand” challenge.
•   Romi/Michele get an older man named Eddie and this would be creepier with producers not around. Romi jokes that they’re going to get eliminated today so their guy should come with them to visit Israel. They also play dominos. Their box has a letter from their parents – only one letter for the team, because they’re sisters.

Pit Stop: Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

Arrival Order:
1.   TaKo
2.   Blue Collar
3.   D/D
4.   LiMor
5.   Cousins
6.   Falafel
7.   Sisters

More to come later!

omeroz:
Hi,
I don't usually write on forums but I had to correct a few things you said about Israel.
first off it takes 9 hours to cross Israel from north to south (not 3).
In Israel life starts a bit later then in the united states. After the army service Israelis usually save some money and then travel the world for a few months. In fact Israelis like to travel a LOT.   
After that they start university and usually can't afford to buy a car (which is more expensive then in the US). Most people buy a car at the end of their schooling.

However I will agree that in Israel the most important thing is your family  :)

~omer

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