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Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 1, "We're not in Oklahoma no more"
Film date: 9-10/6 - 2013

This race starts in a Western town movie set at Santa Clarita Melody Ranch. The teams arrive by stage coach and are:

* Chester & Ephraim, former NFL team mates from Houston, Texas
* Rowan & Shane, theater performers from Charlotte, North Carolina
* Tim & Marie, exes from Morristown, New Jersey
* Leo & Jamal, cousins from southern California. Call themselves the Afghanimals since they are Afghan by birth
* Ally & Ashley, NHL ice-crew teammates from Long Beach, California
* Nicole & Travis, married ER-physicians from Atlanta, Georgia
* Hoskote & Naina, father and daughter from Laguna nical, California
* Tim & Danny, oil plant workers from Cordell, Oklahoma
* Brandon & Adam, childhood friends from Chico, California
* Nicky & Kim, major league baseball wives from the midwest
* Jason & Amy, dating from New England
Choice quotes:
 "I don't feel threatened by it. Your opinion is usually a waste of time" Marie sets the tone of their relationship

In his starting line spiel Phil mentions that the winners of this leg will get an express pass. Plus a second express pass which they must give to another team before the end of the 5th leg. The start probably happens around 08:35.

The first clue is only a phone call away. That is teams must run to their cars and call a specified number from the voice-activated in-car phone. They are given a sheet of instructions which reads:

--- Quote ---               {BLURRED OUT NUMBER}
* Locate the VOICE button on the right side of the steering wheel
* Pull the VOICE button towards you.
* You'll hear a tone and this prompt, "SYNC. Please say a command."
* When prompted, say the number at the top of this sheet. For the Plus...
  "PLUS", then the rest of the number. Be sure to speak clearly.
* The car will repeat the number to you.
* When prompted say "DIAL".
* Since this is an international...

--- End quote ---

When connected they heard a message: "Hola, you are now heading to Iquique. Drive yourselves to the Los Angeles international airport. There are only seats for a limited number of teams on the first flight. Don't get left behind.".

Teams must now drive themselves to the Los Angeles airport (62km 0:45).

 "I didn't know they made people's voices as shrill as yours", Tim starts bickering with Marie
 "I didn't know they make them as dumb as you", and Marie shoots back

I have a feeling it will quickly grow pretty tedious to listen to these two so I won't quote any more of their bickering, unless somebody gets really creative.

Tim & Danny have trouble finding their way and the lady they ask for directions doesn't speak English. Flapping their arms like birds surprisingly fails to elicit clear directions to the airport.

The first flight is probably:
  AA232  LAX-MIA Jun-9  14:25-22:54 (landed 0:44 late)
  AA957  MIA-SCL Jun-9  23:10-07:37+1
  LU360  SCL-IQQ Jun-10 09:50-12:15 (probably)
It carries:
  1. Leo & Jamal, arrived at the check in desk at 10:31
  2. Chester & Ephraim, 4 minutes later
  3. Rowan & Shane
  4. Tim & Marie
  5. Ally & Ashley
  6. Nicky & Kim
  7. Nicole & Travis

The second flight is probably:
  AA2456 LAX-DFW Jun-9  16:51-22:08 (landed 1:28 late)
  AA945  DFW-SCL Jun-9  22:50-09:36+1 (landed 1:26 late)
  LA968  SCL-IQQ Jun-10 12:15-14:40 (probably)
It carries:
  8. Brandon & Adam
  9. Jason & Amy
 10. Hoskote & Naina
 11. Tim & Danny

At the airport we get to see the teams socializing while they wait for their flights.

When teams land they must travel by taxi to Alto Hospicio (46km 0:58) and search for the Zone de parapentes where they must find Javier, who will hand them their next clue. Teams reach him in the following order:
  1. Nicole & Travis
  2. Chester & Ephraim
  3. Ally & Ashley
  4. Leo & Jamal
  5. Nicky & Kim
  6. Rowan & Shane
  7. Tim & Marie
  8. Brandon & Adam
  9. Jason & Amy
 10. Hoskote & Naina
 11. Tim & Danny

The location is stunning on a high ridge with a view out over the city and the ocean behind it. This first clue is a road block.

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Who's' good at follow the

--- End quote ---

The clue inside the envelope reads:

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Find your partner! They
will be paragliding to one
of Iquique's Beaches
and they will have to be
"Brave" to get there.
Meet them at the beach
to receive your next clue.

--- End quote ---

The second batch of teams get a different clue:

--- Quote ---BLOCK

Find your partner!
They will be paragliding
to Huayquique Beach.
Meet them there to
receive your next clue.

--- End quote ---

This is a tricky roadblock clue. Everybody has realized that there will be some paragliding when they arrive, but it is the team member who does NOT perform the road block who will go paragliding. The task is to follow them in a taxi. This is basically a way for the producers to get the most scared contestants to do the paragliding.

The clue also contains a hint as to which beach they are headed. The beach is named "Brava" which translates as "Brave", which in turn is in the clue. The second batch of teams go to a different beach, but they get a different clue.

The only contestant having a problem with this is Brandon who miss-understood his instructor and they therefore fail to take off on their first attempt. Kim is very scared but she performs the flight without much, shown, hesitation.

 "I wanted to jump off the cliff", Ephraim feel cheated
 "I'm so scared", Kim is scared as they realize what the task will be while still riding their taxi
 "It's like hitting me right now", Kim is scared when she realize she must jump off the cliff
 "Look mom, no hands", Chester demonstrates flying
 "Paragliding was an unbelievable experience. We're not in Oklahoma no more", Tim gets the title

Here we learn that Nicole speaks fluent Spanish. Which helps when communicating with the taxi driver. We also learn that some teams make the rookie mistake of releasing their taxis. Namely Jamal, Ashley, Marie and Nicky. Jamal borrows a phone and order taxis for himself and Ashley. Then they all run along the road to catch the taxis as soon as possible. In the end it is Marie who jumps into Jamal's taxi.

 "I don't want Marie to get in there, because she's annoying', Jamal see that Marie has stopped "his" taxi further down the road
 "What happened here was straight out robbery", Jamal as Marie leave in the taxi

Teams reunite at the beach in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock, i.e. who traveled by taxi)
1(+5)Rowan & Shane*    (0-1) 2(-1)Nicole* & Travis  (1-0) 3(-1)Chester & Ephraim*(0-1) 4(+3)Tim & Marie*      (0-1) 5(-1)Leo & Jamal*      (0-1) 6(-1)Nicky* & Kim      (1-0) 7(-4)Ally & Ashley*    (0-1) 8(+1)Jason & Amy*      (0-1) 9(+2)Tim & Danny*      (0-1)10(-3)Brandon & Adam*   (0-1)11(-1)Hoskote & Naina*  (0-1)Her taxi took the scenic route         

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO
Make your way to Muelle
Prat and search for your
next clue.

--- End quote ---

Teams must now make their way to Muelle Prat. They reach the clue box here in the following order:
  1(+1) Nicole & Travis
  2(+3) Leo & Jamal
  3(-1) Rowan & Shane
  4(+0) Tim & Marie
  5(-2) Chester & Ephraim
  6(+0) Nicky & Kim
  7(+0) Ally & Ashley
  8(+1) Tim & Danny
  9(+1) Brandon & Adam
 10(-2) Jason & Amy     
 11(+0) Hoskote & Naina, as team #8 is leaving

Road block: "Who's got both oars in the water?". In this road block team members must choose a heavy rowing boat and explore the harbor. They must collect 5 fish from any of three named fishing boats ("Scarleth", "Dona Hilda", "San Francisco"). Each fishing boat has a limited number of fish to give out.

The clue also states "If you paraglided while your partner searched in the first road block, you must perform this road block". The extra information also states that teams must travel on foot to the next pit stop.

Leo & Jamal misread the clue and Jamal jumps into the boat. The girls eventually point this out to Leo who recalls Jamal and switches places.

Hoskote & Naina are pretty sure they will be eliminated since the other teams are finishing up as they arrive. They read the clue correctly but even so they decide that Naina should do this challenge. This is so that she at least gets to do something. But rowing the boat is too heavy for her and after a while they switch (around 17:32).

Choice quotes:
 "I'm a little nervous since there are a lot of boats out there", Nicole does not want to lose their lead
 "We let girls beat us", Jamal is not happy with their standing
 "I've never rowed a boat before", Tim is having troubles
 "I know that even if I mess up he's gonna be proud of me", Brandon trusts Adam

Teams complete this road in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+0)Nicole & Travis*  (1-1) 2(+2)Tim* & Marie      (1-1) 3(+0)Rowan* & Shane    (1-1) ?(+?)Chester* & Ephraim(1-1) ?(+?)Nicky & Kim*      (1-1) 6(+1)Ally* & Ashley    (1-1) 7(-5)Leo* & Jamal      (1-1) 8(+2)Jason* & Amy      (1-1) 9(-1)Tim* & Danny      (1-1)10(-1)Brandon* & Adam   (1-1)11(+0)Hoskote* & Naina  (1-1)after 18:30         

The next clue is a picture of the municipal theater of Iquique. But is of course not labeled. Teams are now supposed to make their way there by foot (400m).

Nicole & Travis have already forgotten the information they got in the clue for this road block so they jump into a taxi.

Choice quotes:
 "Wait, wait wait", Nicole stops her husband from celebrating since she picked up that Phil only said they were the first team to arrive
 "This just proves it, it's all about yelling. Hello, it works", Marie, unfortunately, attributes the win to her yelling and nagging

Teams reach the pit stop in the following order:
        Nicole & Travis, around 14:27, are given a 30 minutes penalty for taking a taxi
  1(+1) Tim & Marie, win the two express passes
  2(-1) Nicole & Travis
  3(+0) Rowan & Shane
  4(+?) Chester & Ephraim, two seconds before #5
  5(+?) Nicky & Kim
  6(+0) Ally & Ashley, around 15:22
  7(+0) Leo & Jamal
  8(+0) Jason & Amy
  9(+0) Tim & Danny
 10(+0) Brandon & Adam
 11(+0) Hoskote & Naina, are eliminated

 "I'm feeling very devastated, finishing last on the first leg. What I wanted to show my dad was cut short", Naina

Thanks maf! They are always engaging to read and I appreciate a really good recap! :)

Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 2, "Zip it Bingo"
Film date: 11-12/6 - 2013

Teams are released from the square in front of Teatro de Municipal in Iquique in the following order:

1.Tim & Marie      02:52 2.Nicole & Travis  03:02(+0:10) 3.Rowan & Shane    03:08(+0:16) 4.Chester & Ephraim03:13(+0:21) 5.Nicky & Kim      03:14(+0:22) 6.Ally & Ashley    03:20(+0:28) 7.Leo & Jamal      04:00(+1:08) 8.Jason & Amy      05:17(+2:21) 9.Tim & Danny      05:28(+2:36)10.Brandon & Adam   05:34(+2:44)
Route info: "Make your way to the deck of the Museo Corbeta Esmeralda where the officer of the day will post your next clue". Teams receive $589 for this leg of the race. The Esmeralda is only about 700m from the pit start.

 "Alright ladies, I bet it's closed", Chester & Ephraim wait for Nicky & Kim, and use their brains
 "You wanna run there?", Ephraim even has the energy to make jokes

We learn that Ally & Ashley are in an alliance with Leo & Jamal. The latter even call the girls their race wives.

Unsurprisingly when teams arrive at the Esmeralda they find that it is closed and opens again at 07:15. While teams wait Travis tells Tim & Marie that today is Nicole's 40th birthday. An express pass would be an awesome gift. But Marie ignores this hint.

 "Let me instruct everybody about the rules", Marie Marie takes upon herself to organize the queue. She wants everybody to start again the next morning in the same order they arrived. Teams grudgingly oblige, for now. The start the next morning is however not as orderly as she had envisioned. Instead there is a mad dash to the entrance where Leo & Jamal jumps in from the side. People scurry around the boat like overenergized rabbits and eventually they all find a sign on the upper deck:

--- Quote ---   During the battle of Iquique
    in the war of the Pacific
      Chilean National Hero
           ARTURO PRAT
     uttered a famous phrase
  before the sinking of his ship
          the Esmeralda.
        Repeat the Phrase
          to the Officer,
    in Spanish to receive your
            next clue.

--- End quote ---

The ship is a museum and there are lots of signs with information. So teams start to run around some more to find the quote. Ally & Ashley is the first team to figure out the smart move to ask one of the nearby locals. Their Spanish is however lacking, Brandon & Adam have the same idea and arrive shortly thereafter. They interpret and learn that the captain said "Charge the ship, men!", and then get to hear it said in Spanish. Other teams see them coming back in a rush and realize what they have done so soon the poor local soon has a bunch of overexcited Americans asking him the same question.

 "Tell me where it is, I have an express pass", Marie is determined to get the most out of her express pass

Route info: "Make your way to Minas del Salpunta de Lobos. And as you get close search for your next clue near the Irlanda 3 road sign".

Teams must now travel by taxi to this salt mine (87km 1:40). Actually they
go to a place near the mine, where they find their next clue box. They
reach it in the following order:
  1. Brandon & Adam
  2. Ally & Ashley, a couple of seconds after #1
  3. Leo & Jamal, a few minutes after #2
  4. Nicole & Travis
  5. Chester & Ephraim
  6. Jason & Amy, within a few minutes of #4
  7. Tim & Marie
  8. Nicky & Kim
  9. Tim & Danny, seconds after #8
 10. Rowan & Shane, after #1 has left

Rowan & Shane have bad luck and a taxi driver who doesn't know the way. They have to stop and ask for directions.
 "Mucho gracias", Shane thanks the local who helped them
 "Just get in, you can mucho him later", Rowan wants to get moving

--- Quote ---DETOUR

Detour: "Brining" or "Mining"

Brining: Add salt to a pool
of fresh water until you can
both float well enough to
read a newspaper to the
satisfaction of the mining


--- End quote ---

The catch with the brining is that they have to carry many heavy sacks of salt. And even though the clue doesn't say so most teams strips down to their swimsuits before they start carrying salt, barefoot.j

In mining teams must break open boulders of salt until they find one with a clue inside.

Both detours require teams to first ride bikes into the dessert to the actual salt mine (~3km).

 "We do look good in bathing suits, but we're much better and quicker at smashing stuff", Adam
 "Think about it, we're heavy", Chester on why they should do mining
 "We were afraid that the NFL guys was going to pick up the rock and just break it over their knee", Brandon has respect for Chester & Ephraim
 "I don't wanna talk, You're using my air", Rowan find the riding hard
 "I'm just glad they're gone. I don't want to have to listen to them anymore", Ally is happy when Tim & Marie are approved

Nicole is have trouble with her bike. Eventually Travis, who rides bikes a lot more, switches bikes with her and he also pushes her along as well as he can.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
  1(+0) Brandon & Adam, mining
  2(+1) Leo & Jamal, mining
  3(+2) Chester & Ephraim, mining
  4(+2) Jason & Amy, mining
  5(-1) Nicole & Travis, brining
  6(+1) Tim & Marie, brining
  7(-5) Ally & Ashley, start mining but fairly quickly switches to brining
  8(+1) Tim & Danny, brining
  9(+1) Rowan & Shane, mining
 10(-2) Nicky & Kim, brining

Route info: Teams must now go back to Iquique and make a 1000 miles bus trip to Santiago. Once in Santiago they must make their way to Plaza de Armas and search for their next clue. The bus trip takes more than 24 hours.

Teams end up on three different buses to Santiago:

Bus #1, which departs at 13:30 and arrives at 13:49, carries:
  Brandon & Adam
  Leo & Jamal
  Chester & Ephraim
  Jason & Amy
  Nicole & Travis

Bus #2, departs at 14:00 and arrives after dark at 18:44 and carries:
  Tim & Marie
  Ally & Ashley
  Tim & Danny
  Nicky & Kim

Rowan & Shane arrive in the nick of time but think they have found a faster bus so they just pretend to board bus #2. Only after it has left do they learn that there is a miss understanding, the later bus isn't faster after all, instead it is even slower. But they learn about another bus which maybe leaves in about an hour which should arrive between 19 and 20.

Bus #3, departs at 15:00 and arrives at 19:03 carries:
  Rowan & Shane

On bus #2 it turns out that Tim (of Tim & Marie) knows Kim's husband. Marie then says that they like Nicky & Kim and that the have no problem with giving them the express pass.

 "We want to take care of them because we can trust them", Tim on why they want to help Nicky & Kim
 "And we can beat them", Marie has a more pragmatic reason

In Santiago there is a mad dash to Plaza de Armas. Teams find the clue box here in the following order:
  1. Jason & Amy
  2. Chester & Ephraim
  3. Brandon & Adam
  4. Leo & Jamal
  5. Nicole & Travis
  6. Tim & Danny
  7. Tim & Marie
  8. Nicky & Kim
  9. Ally & Ashley
 10. Rowan & Shane

Road block: "Who's got the knack to pack". Inside the clue reads:

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK
Search the Paseo
Ahumada for one of the
marked "Lustrabotas"
stands and perform a
shoeshine. After the
customer pays for their
shine deliver the stand
and everything that goes
with it to Merced 738.

--- End quote ---

The easy part of this is the shoeshine (for all except Marie) since the customer is already waiting. The hard part is packing the stand and pushing it six blocks to the storage area. The stand must be packed correctly for them to receive their next clue. The Packing is hard and we get to see many stands open up and spill all their content as teams try to repack them. What is not shown is that multiple teams also drop stuff and when they can't find the missing things they have to buy replacements.

 "It was hell", Amy had a hard time packing
 "I used to move furniture for a living", Danny has no problem pushing his stand

The really exciting part is when Rowan & Shane turn up as the four teams on bus #2 are still shining the shoes.

 "My blood was boiling when I saw Bingo roll in", Marie is not happy
Marie is having more problems because her customer is not satisfied. She makes another swipe with the brush and asks again, and he's still not happy. This repeats a few times and we get a feeling he is not happy with the way she is acting.

Rowan & Shane are really happy that they have caught up and they feel that they have a chance. But Rowan misses the part about a marked stand in the clue. Instead he finds a totally innocent and not involved shoe shiner where he takes over the customer, then packs up the stand and takes it to the storage shed. All while the local shoe shiner gets more and more confused and frustrated, the language barrier doesn't help.

Nicky forget her rug. And as she and Marie are talking to the judges Rowan rolls up.

 "She's the devil", Rowan in Spanish to his shoe shiner pointing at Marie as she tells him no

 "Can I please have the express pass please?", Nicky to Marie
 "I can't give it to you right now", Marie doesn't see any advantage to give to them right there

Meanwhile Rowan gets told that he has the wrong stand and he realize he have to go back and start over.
 "Very frustrating, I can tell you that", Rowan

As Rowan sits down at the correct stand we see Nicky run past behind him searching for her rug.
 "Oh rug, I hate you so much", Nicky finally find her rug

As Nicky exits the storage shed Rowan rolls up with the correct stand. So he is not far behind.

Teams complete this road in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+1)Chester* & Ephraim(2-1) 2(+2)Leo* & Jamal      (2-1) 3(+0)Brandon & Adam*   (1-2) 4(+1)Nicole* & Travis  (2-1) 5(-4)Jason & Amy*      (1-2) 6(+3)Ally & Ashley*    (1-2) 7(-1)Tim & Danny*      (1-2) 8(-1)Tim & Marie*      (1-2) 9(-1)Nicky* & Kim      (2-1)10(+0)Rowan* & Shane    (2-1)         

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Maker your way to
Cajon del Maipo and find
Cascada de Las Animas
in San Alfonso. Then zip
over the raging
Maipo River and find
Phil on the suspension

Warning, the last team
to check in may be

--- End quote ---

Teams must now make their way to Cascade de Las Animas (58km 1:32). Once here they must ride a zip line before finding Phil and the pit stop.

The zip line task is edited out of the episode. It was included in the previews so we know that at least some teams performed it. Probably only the five first teams performed it and then met Phil on a suspension bridge. It was dark when the final five teams arrived and the pit stop had moved to another location, so we assume those teams did not ride the zip line.

There is a tense race for first between Leo & Jamal and Chester & Ephraim. The Afghanimals manage to find a taxi first so they take the lead.

 "I gotta get the money", Jamal needs to pay the driver
 "We can be the first team", While Leo is focusing forward

Unfortunately for the Afghanimals they don't satisfy their driver so Phil can't check them in and team NFL get to finish first.

 "Zip it bingo" Marie gets the title as she vents in the taxi

Teams find Phil and check in in the following order:
        Leo & Jamal, are sent back to settle their taxi bill properly
   1(+0) Chester & Ephraim, win a trip to Turks & Caicos
   2(+0) Leo & Jamal
   3(+0) Brandon & Adam
   4(+0) Nicole & Travis
   5(+0) Jason & Amy
   6(+1) Tim & Danny
   7(-1) Ally & Ashley
   8(+0) Tim & Marie
   9(+0) Nicky & Kim
  10(+0) Rowan & Shane

When explaining what happened Leo & Jamal start bickering in earnest.
 "Are you my enemy or partner?", Jamal
 "Right now I'm your enemy", Leo
These two need to get their act together if they are going to stay in the race

 "You can't have great success without great failure", Shane

Terrific recaps, MAF!  I like your style and especially appreciate the completeness and detail.  You point out details that I had missed on watching and even re-watching the episode.

One of these was the pitstop mat.  I think though, watching Rowan and Shane approaching the mat, that it was simply moved off to one end of the bridge.  Then, watching it again, it seems that they crossed the bridge in the same direction as the early teams did (you can tell because the "close" side has the sign).  I was surprised at that, because I too would have readily assumed that the after-dark arrivals precluded ziplining.


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