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Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 7, "Speed dating is the worst"
Film date: 22-23/6

The last pit stop was at Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria. Contrary to what Phil says teams are not released from here but rather from the Stadpark in central Vienna. They are released in the following order:

1.Nicole & Travis12:032.Nicky & Kim    12:09(+0:06)3.Leo & Jamal    12:10(+0:07)4.Tim & Marie    12:23(+0:20)5.Jason & Amy    12:28(+0:25)6.Ally & Ashley  13:00(+0:57)
Teams must now fly to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Once they land they should make their way to the Sheikh Zayed mosque where they will receive their next clue.

 "We definitely could be a little bit more on", Nicky think they could race faster

All teams head for the airport. That is all except Leo & Jamal who instead head into the nearby Hilton to book a flight online.

 "Leo & I should have an advantage going to Abu Dhabi. I mean just the fact that we are form the middle east, we speak a little bit Arabic", Jamal is excited
 "We're still a little frustrated that Tim & Marie stole our cab the last leg", Jason

At the ticketing counter Nick & Kim tease Tim & Marie, who are right behind them in line, buy taking plenty of time with the agent asking if the plane is a nice one and which kinds of meals are available.

Teams end up on two different flights to Abu Dhabi

Leo & Jamal seem to fly via Dusseldorf on:
 VO155  VIE-DSL 17:52 - 19:23   (scheduled 17:35 - 19:10)
 AB7460 DSL-AUH 21:29 - 05:51+1 (scheduled 21:30 - 05:50)

While the rest of the teams went via Berlin on
 AB8359 VIE-TXL 16:07 - 17:45   (scheduled 15:05 - 16:20)
 AB7494 TXL-AUH 22:06 - 06:12+1 (scheduled 21:50 - 06:00)

On arrival there isn't the usual rush to the taxis. Instead teams calmly walk out to the taxi stands (I wonder what instructions they were given). They get into taxis and head for the Sheik zayed mosque (21km 0:17), which is one of the largest in the world. Here the women have to cover themselves. And teams are not allowed to run. They have to walk through the compound, the outer courtyard and into the big chamber where they are given their next clue.

 "That was truly a sight to see", Leo is impressed by the mosque
 "The mosque is absolutely gorgeous", Ashley
 "It's one of the craziest things I've ever seen in my life", Tim
 "She couldn't run, she'd take her shoes off, she couldn't yell. As a matter of fact, could we continue the race in a mosque only?", Tim sees the advantages of the situation
 "Muslim people get like a bad rep. You can't categorize a whole group of people based on one person's actions", Nicky & Kim are insightful

They get the clue at the mosque in the following order:
  1. Leo & Jamal, are leaving as #2 arrives
  2. Jason & Amy
  3. Ally & Ashley
  4. Nicky & Kim
  5. Tim & Marie
  6. Nicole & Travis

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to the
Irani Souk.

--- End quote ---

At the Irani Souk (21km 0:20) teams find the next clue box outside the Jaberkhoory store. They reach this in the following order:
  1(+0) Leo & Jamal
  2(+1) Ally & Ashley
  3(-1) Jason & Amy
  4(+2) Nicole & Travis
  5(+0) Tim & Marie, less than a minuter after #2
  6(-2) Nicky & Kim

--- Quote ---DETOUR

Detour: "Sort It out" or "Sew It

Sort It Out: Do some speed
dating! Each oasis on the
Arabian Peninsula grows its
own variety of dates. Collect
an assortment of dates in the
Date market and use them to
create a gift arrangement.
When the Date Merchant
approves your work you will
receive your next clue.

Sew It Up:...

--- End quote ---

In sew it up teams must go to the harbor and assemble a traditional finishing net. This work is tedious and takes place out in the hot sun.

In sort it out teams must go to Amber Dates Trading in the Date market and look at an example plate of dates. They must then use dates from the marked tables to recreate this. This task requires an eye for detail and is harder than it looks. Many teams are rejected for not having the correct dates.

 "It's just a matter of looking at the texture and color", Leo & Jamal make it sound easy

A confounding factor at the date task is that one kind of dates can only be found on a marked table which stands a bit apart from the others. Nicky & Kim see this early on but do not tell the others.
 "Let's not go over there until we know, like, no one's looking, right?", Kim
Leo & Jamal flat out asks them where they found those dates but Nicky & Kim don't help them.
 "Guys, we're in the middle of counting", Kim politely declines to help them
Nicky & Kim think that if they told Leo & Jamal the latter would be really loud about it and all the others would notice. And they are soon proven right when Leo & Jamal finally find the missing dates, they can't contain themselves and everybody rushes over.
 "Speed dating is the worst", Ally & Ashley get the title when they finally manage to recreate the plate of dates

Tim & Marie argue constantly during the task and this annoys the other teams a lot. This is the opposite of Jason & Amy over at sewing who work efficiently next to each other and hardly say a word to each other.

Travis is not as calm as Jason. He is hot and he finds that Nicole has made an error which he has to correct.
 "Travis, this is probably not the time. You can tell me how careless I was later", Nicole defuses the situation
They do of course wonder if they should use the express pass, but in the end they decide to not do it.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
  1(+2) Jason & Amy, sew
  2(-1) Leo & Jamal, sort
  3(+1) Nicole & Travis, sew
  4(+1) Tim & Marie, sort
  5(-3) Ally & Ashley, sort
  6(+0) Nicky & Kim, sort, about 5 minutes after #5

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to the Al
Bandar Marina. Once
there, take a luxury
cruise on one of the
marked yachts to the
Yas Marina and search
for your next clue.

--- End quote ---

Teams now travel by taxi to the Al Bandar marina (32km 0:26) where the yachts leave every 15 minutes.

Yacht #1 carries
  Leo & Jamal
  Jason & Amy

Thatch #2 carries
  Nicole & Travis

Watch #3 carries
  Tim & Marie
  Ally & Ashley

Patch #4 carries
  Nicky & Kim, missed #3 by about 10 seconds

 "You never know what's next", Nicky still has hope

The clue box at the Yas marina is easy to find and teams reach it in
the following order:
  1(+1) Leo & Jamal
  2(-1) Jason & Amy, a few seconds after #1
  3(+0) Nicole & Travis
  4(+0) Tim & Marie
  5(+0) Ally & Ashley, a few seconds after #4
  6(+0) Nicky & Kim

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Who wants to drop in on
a hot lap?

--- End quote ---

In this road block teams must first drop 200 feet off a local building. They must then get into a race-car with a professional driver. The driver will then drive a lap around the racecourse. Along the way there are 8 signs with F1-racers and their fastest lap times (all times are Contestants must memorize the fastest lap (time and name of driver) and tell this to the pit crew chief. If they fail they are sent on another lap.

The actual drop is fairly easy. They are first released down a zip line. When it stops they just have to pull out a pin and they will be lowered to the ground 200' down.

 "We made an agreement before the race, Amy was going to do anything with heights. And lo and behold, I've done everything with heights", Jason
 "I never want to do that again, it was so scary", Ally uses her high pitched voice up in the air

Ally is a strong contender but Kim is the outstanding winner of the screaming while dropping down competition.

The cars are being driven quite fast so racers have a hard time to concentrate and read the signs.
 "I love to drive fast, I've got some speeding tickets in my life. But there were no speeding tickets on this track.", Leo find that the car is fast
 "I saw the first sign and was 'my, I've got it'. Then I see a second sign...", for a moment Jason thought it was going to be easy
 "Shoot, I want to go again", Travis want to ride more in the race car
 "Oh my god, I'm like terrified by these things", Kim flinches as she approaches the race car

Spotting and remembering the fastest lap time and name turns out to be fairly difficult. Travis seem to be the one finishing that part the fastest.

On the other end of the spectrum we having Ally who seems to have forgotten the instructions so to start with she doesn't even know what she's supposed to be doing. Eventually she figures out that the signs may be the key and start reciting them one by one. This is time consuming so Nicky & Kim catch up and they both struggle to beat each other.
 "Oh my god. What am I looking for again?", Ally while being tossed around in the race car
 "I'm getting really nervous", Ashley find it nerve wrecking when Ally & Kim both struggle with the task
 "Oh god, I'm about to get sick in here", Ally is happy when she get the right answer
 "I'm getting a little nervous that we are the last team, and we really don't wanna go home", Nicky after Ally & Ashley have left

Teams complete this road block in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+0)Leo* & Jamal      (4-4)2(+0)Jason* & Amy      (4-4)3(+0)Nicole & Travis*  (3-5)4(+0)Tim & Marie*      (4-4)5(+0)Ally* & Ashley    (4-4)6(+0)Nicky & Kim*      (4-4)         

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Go find Phil on the
Champions Podium!!!!

Warning: The last team to
check in may be

--- End quote ---

The champions podium is nearby and the way is marked so teams arrive in the same order the completed the road block:
  1(+0) Leo & Jamal, win a trip to Paris, France
  2(+0) Jason & Amy
  3(+0) Nicole & Travis
  4(+0) Tim & Marie
  5(+0) Ally & Ashley
  6(+0) Nicky & Kim, are saved by a non-elimination

 "We're the Vegas losers on this", Jason comments on their fourth second place finish
 "I totally let us down as a team and I take full responsibility", Nicole is hard on herself
 "We need to get a little more fire in our butts", Nicky know what they need to survive the next leg

Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 8, "One hot camel"
Film date: 24/6

The last pit stop was at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Teams seem to start just outside this in the following order:

1.Leo & Jamal    07:102.Jason & Amy    07:15(+0:05)3.Nicole & Travis07:23(+0:13)4.Tim & Marie    07:44(+0:34)5.Ally & Ashley  07:53(+0:43)6.Nicky & Kim    08:02(+0:52)
Route info: "Drive yourselves to into the dunes. The satchel of Viking coins you have carried from earlier is your is your personal key to a Ford Explorer. You will find your Ford Explorer in garage 14 at at pit road. Caution U-turn ahead." Teams are given $1 for this leg.

The key to this puzzle is to place the coins in the order they are depicted on the satchel. Then turn them over a look at the numbers on the back side, which is their code. If they fail to solve this, or have lost their coins, they can ask for help and wait 20 minutes.

 "We have to stay ahead of the pack because there's another U-turn coming up and a lot of teams are gunning for us", Leo knows what's ahead
 "Babe, we know the code already", Amy has cracked the code long before this leg
 "How do you unlock it with coins", Ally & Ashley are stumped
 "We're not bunnies anymore. We're ninjas", Nicky think they need to step it up on this leg
 "Babe, we were supposed to make that left", Amy & Jason have navigational issues

Teams must now drive themselves to Al-Kathim north on the E22 (83km 1:00). Here they will find sand buggies parked next to the highway. Teams reach these in the following order:
 1(+0) Leo & Jamal
 2(+1) Nicole & Travis, a few seconds after #1
 3(-1) Jason & Amy, as team #1 leaves
 4(+0) Tim & Marie, a couple of minuter after #3
 5(+1) Nicky & Kim
 6(-1) Ally & Ashley, shortly after #5

Route info: "Follow the flags into the dessert to find your next clue". Teams must now drive sand buggies along some flags into the dessert. The flags will lead them to their next clue box. The course doesn't seem long but there are some challenging hills. The key seems to be to keep your speed.

 "Gotta get enough momentum", Nicole gives instructions to Travis when they get stuck on a slope

Jason & Amy leave in their sand buggy as Tim & Marie step out of their car. And just as they return we see Tim & Marie start their buggy. So the drive was fairly quick. That is assuming you don't get stuck in the sand as Nicky & Kim do. They get stuck good and burn out their clutch so they have to get a new vehicle.

 "All those years at Pismo Dunes paid off", Ally & Ashley have experience driving a sand buggy
 "We have not driven Dune Buggies before, as you probably might have figured by now", Kim

Teams reach the clue box in the following order:
 1(+0) Leo & Jamal
 2(+0) Nicole & Travis, probably a couple of minutes after #1
 3(+0) Jason & Amy
 4(+0) Tim & Marie
 5(+1) Ally & Ashley
 6(-1) Nicky & Kim
Route info: "Return to your Ford Explorer end drive yourself to Al Ain Oasis. Once there find a date palm with a clue hanging high above".

At the oasis (91km 1:04) teams have to find the date palms with clues hanging from them. Below them is a group of men who will climb up and retrieve the clues for the racers when they arrive. Teams get the clue here in the following order:
 1(+1) Nicole & Travis
 2(-1) Leo & Jamal, arrive as #1 are leaving
 3(+1) Tim & Marie, just before 11:00
 4(-1) Jason & Amy
 5(+0) Ally & Ashley
 6(+0) Nicky & Kim, as #5 are getting directions

--- Quote ---DETOUR

Detour: "Wedding Guests" or
"Beauty Contest"

Wedding Guests: Help
prepare a traditional Emirati
wedding dish! Prepare the
ingredients according to the
recipe and deliver them to the
cooking station. Then serve a
platter of food to the Wedding
Party to receive your next

Beauty Contest: Who is the
fairest of them all? Pick a
winner in a beauty contest.
Dress up your beauty and
walk them down the runway.
If the Judges approve they
will hand you your next clue.

Caution: U-Turn ahead!

--- End quote ---

In wedding guests the ingredients they have to prepare are:
 5 Chickens cut into 8 pieces
 10 finely chopped onions 10 garlic cloves minced
 2½ tbsp. crushed pepper
 10 tomatoes chopped
 10 potatoes cut into chunks
 5 carrots finely chopped
 5 tsp turmeric
 1¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
 ½ cup lemon juice

Once they have prepared the ingredients, and if the judge approves, they can put them in a big bowl and deliver to the cooking station. They are then give a precooked plate of food which they must bring to the wedding party.

Beauty contest: what the clue doesn't say is that the beauty is a camel. Teams are given a sheet with instructions on how to judge the beauty of a camel. It states things like "FRONT PART, Neck Width, Shoulder". They must then walk into a corral which contains a bunch of camels and select one. The selected camel will be caught and they must then dress and prepare it. Finally they may present their beauty to the judges. If the judges disapprove they have to start over with another camel.

Both detour options take place in the Al-Jahili Fort (3km 0:07).

 "I've competed in beauty pageants for 13 years, so if I can't dress up my contestant I've got some serious issues", Amy thinks she has experience
 "I own a restaurant bar so, and I love cooking and I'm great with knives", Leo think they can do the wedding side quickly
 "He knows he's hot", Tim spots a promising camel
 "Got me", The camel later hits Tim with a well-placed kick
 "The head, taller", A judge explains to Tim & Marie why their camel isn't good enough
 "We picked a bad camel I think", Jason has his doubts about their uncooperative camel

While Leo & Jamal are slicing onions Tim & Marie rush in asking about a tower. Leo & Jamal realize Tim & Marie have completed the beauty thing and that it must be a lot faster so they immediately switch.

Later on when Leo & Jamal have been U-turned they are back at chopping their ingredients when Nicky & Kim arrive. They decide to lie about how long they have been working.
 "Like 15 minutes", Leo & Jamal lie about how long they've been working
 "A lot more appreciation for my butcher, that's for sure", Nicky learn how hard it is to gut a chicken
 "There's no way they did all that in fifteen minutes", Kim realize they have been lied to

 "You're one hot camel", Ally gets the title

It probably took Tim & Marie 25-30 minutes to perform this detour, and they had their first camel rejected.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis, use their express pass
 2(+1) Tim & Marie, beauty
 3(+1) Jason & Amy, beauty
 4(-2) Leo & Jamal, started wedding but switched to beauty
 5(+0) Ally & Ashley, beauty
 6(-3) Leo & Jamal, wedding
 7(+0) Nicky & Kim, started beauty but switched to wedding
 8(+0) Nicky & Kim, beauty

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Search on foot for your
next clue in Al Jahil

--- End quote ---

The Al Jahil tower is the largest tower in this fort and is fairly easy to find. That is for all teams except Tim & Marie. They miss it completely and instead grab their backpacks from the car and take off running. They waste about 20 minutes before they finally find the tower at 11:50.

 "I don't wanna do what we normally do, run 45 minutes in the wrong direction when it was 2 feet from where we were supposed to be", Marie, who is about to do just that
 "Let's not let them see us", Amy when she and Jason drive past Tim & Marie half a mile down the road

In the tower teams encounter a double U-Turn sign. They reach it in
the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis, U-turns Leo & Jamal
 2(+1) Jason & Amy
 3(+1) Leo & Jamal
 3(-1) Tim & Marie, U-turns Nicky & Kim
 4(+1) Ally & Ashley
 5(+0) Leo & Jamal
 6(+0) Nicky & Kim

 "They told a lie", Travis on why they U-turn Leo & Jamal
 "Sorry Bunnies, but your little stunt at the airport cost you a U-turn", Marie

Marie hasn't forgotten nor realized how Nicky & Kim managed to get to the top of the standby list when going to Lisbon. SO she uses this as her excuse to U-turn them.

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Drive yourselves to
Wadi Adventure,
opposite Ain Al Fayda
Resort, and search for
your next clue.

--- End quote ---

 "The stoplights are different and there are roundabouts everywhere", Ally find it frustrating to drive
 "We don't do well when we have to drive ourselves, she's not a very good navigator", Ally about Ashley
 "We keep on getting great information, but we don't know how to follow it", Ally

Once teams reaches Wadi Adventure (20km 0:22) the clue box is easy to spot at the main entrance. They reach it in the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis
 2(+0) Jason & Amy
 3(+0) Tim & Marie
 4(+1) Leo & Jamal
 5(-1) Ally & Ashley, while #4 are doing the task
 6(+0) Nicky & Kim

Here Nicky & Kim encounter their speed bump. They must jump into a wave pool and swim across it and climb a rope ladder at the other side. The pool creates a 6ft wave every 90 seconds and the edges are high so the task seems rather tough.

 "At first we thought, well this is easy, but then I forgot that Kim is afraid of heights", Nicky
 "Oh my god. It's really hard to climb", Nicky & Kim realize that climbing a rope ladder is hard

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Who likes rapid transit?

--- End quote ---

In this road block contestants must navigate, together with a guide, the worlds largest man made rapids (class 4). Along the way they must collect three flags hanging above the water course. If they fail to collect all flags they must go again to catch the remaining flags.

 "I was really proud of Nicole and how she got through the White Water rafting", Travis
 "It was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be", Tim

Teams complete this road block in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+0)Nicole* & Travis  (4-5)2(+0)Jason* & Amy      (5-4)3(+0)Tim* & Marie      (5-4)4(+0)Leo & Jamal*      (4-5)5(+0)Ally & Ashley*    (4-5)6(+0)Nicky* & Kim      (5-4)         

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Drive yourselves up
Jebel Hafeet and search
for your next pit stop.

Warning: The last team
to check in may be

--- End quote ---

Team must now drive a beautiful winding road up a big ridge (4000 feet) to Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet hotel on top (15km 0:21).

Once they reach the hotel the route seems to be marked so nobody have any navigational issues. They reach Phil in the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis, each win a car of their choosing
 2(+0) Jason & Amy
 3(+0) Tim & Marie
 4(+0) Leo & Jamal
 5(+0) Ally & Ashley, a couple of minutes after #4
 6(+0) Nicky & Kim, are eliminated

 "The U-turn did feel good", Travis
 "Today was pure torture", Amy didn't like this leg (navigation troubles?)

 "Thank you for everything tough. We had such an amazing time", Kim to Phil
 "I think I take away that I faced so many fears and it does make me feel like I can do anything", Nicky has grown

Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 9, "Part like the Red sea"
Film date: 26-27/6

All distances and driving times in this report come from Google. But specially the times need to be taken with a big bag of Chilean salt given what we see of the local traffic chaos in the episode.

The last pit stop was at the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet hotel. Phil also says that this is the start of the next leg, but in reality teams start from the Yas Viceroy Hotel which is right where the previous leg started, 186km away. This is probably the same hotel which was used during the last pit stop as well. Teams are released in the following order:

1.Nicole & Travis00:382.Jason & Amy    00:52(+0:14)3.Tim & Marie    01:15(+0:37)4.Leo & Jamal    02:06(+1:28), were supposed to start at 01:595.Ally & Ashley  02:06(+1:28)

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Fly to Bandung,

Once there, make your
way to the village of
Cikandar in Cileunyi
and search for the
Lapangawh Kelangkasan

You have $31 for this
leg of the race.

--- End quote ---

Once in Cikandar teams must search for the Ram arena to get their next clue.

 "Our faith is why we're here", Travis gives some background on themselves
 "We slept in a little bit", Leo & Jamal miss their start time by a few minutes

At the airport Leo & Jamal speak with Travis & Nicole about the U-turn on the last leg. We get the distinct feeling those teams do not like each other.
 "Jamal & Leo, you just can't believe them. It's tough for us since we live our lives differently.", Travis consider himself morally superior

All teams end up on the same flight:
 EY408  AUH-BKK 08:40   - 18:38   (scheduled 08:40   - 18:05)
 SQ981  BKK-SIN 20:56   - 00:06+1 (scheduled 21:00   - 00:25+1)
 QA8366 SIN-BDO 08:53+1 - 10:09+1 (scheduled 09:00+1 - 09:40+1)

Once in Bandung teams enter the marked taxis in the following order:
 1. Nicole & Travis
 2. Ally & Ashley
 3. Leo & Jamal
 4. Tim & Marie
 5. Jason & Amy

 "Traffic is a mess", Jamal on their taxis lack of progress
 "Why are we going 2 miles and hour?", Marie has the same experience

Teams reach the clue box by the Ram arena in Cikandar in the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis
 2(+0) Ally & Ashley
 3(+0) Leo & Jamal, as team #1 leave
 4(+0) Tim & Marie, shortly after #3
 5(+0) Jason & Amy, after #2 are done

Teams must now pick up two rams from a marked truck nearby. Then lead them to the arena where they will but heads. Once done the team must load them back on the same truck to get their next clue.

None of the teams seem to have any major problem with this task. Even though the rams are feisty. There are lots of people watching and the mood is festive.

Teams complete this task in the same order as they arrived here.

The next clue is a route info which tells them to make their way to Rancaekek station and then travel by train back to Bandung. They will find their next clue on the platform in Bandung.

Tim & Marie continue their bad luck with taxis when theirs break down.

At the station the first two teams, Ally & Ashley and Travis & Nicole, learn that the train leaves in 12 minutes. They hope that no other team will arrive before the train leaves.

 "Damn", Nicole when Leo & Jamal boards the train

Train #1 departs at 11:50 carries:
  Nicole & Travis
  Ally & Ashley
  Leo & Jamal

 "I can't believe we missed it by two minutes", Amy is not happy after just missing the train

Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy realize they will have to battle it out for last place. But both teams are confident that they can beat the other team.

Train #2 departs around 12:50 carries:
  Tim & Marie
  Jason & Amy

In Bandung teams reach to the clue box in the following order:
 1. Nicole & Travis
 2. Leo & Jamal
 3. Ally & Ashley, a couple of seconds after #1
 4. Jason & Amy,
 5. Tim & Marie, seconds after #4

--- Quote ---DETOUR

Detour: "For the Elephants"
or "For the Birds"

For the Elephants: Pick up
a snack for the elephants in
the Pasar Simpang Dago
and bring it to Kebun
Binatang Bandung. Feed
the elephants to receive
your next clue.

For the Birds: Pick up two
birds from Kios Pak Dedi,
and take them to a bird
song Grand Prix. Encourage
your birds while they sing in
the competition to receive
your next clue.

--- End quote ---

In for the Elephants teams must first make their way to the market (5.5km 0:14) and pick up:
 8 water melons
 2 stocks of bananas
 1 dozen sweet potatoes
 5 stalks of sugarcane
After that they must head for the zoo (2.5km 0:06). Here they must transport the food on a hand trolley to the elephants and feed them. This is trickier than it sounds. The stalks of sugarcane are long and hard to transport in the taxi. And at the zoo the trolley is flat so stuff tends to fall off. And the distance in the zoo is fairly large. But the elephants are cool.

In for the Birds teams must first make their way to a market (3.7km 0:11) and pick up two birds. Then deliver them to a bird song grand prix at the Sumber Sari arena. Once the birds have been scored the judge will give them their next clue.

The bird singing grand prix is an awesome local events. There are lots of spectators pressing against the railings and a lot of excitement in the air.
 "We are super energized", Nicole after the grand pix atmosphere

Ally & Ashley have the mother of a bad day here at the detour. For starters they go directly to the zoo. They run around there for a while to find the marked entrance. Once they find the entrance they notice that there is no big market outside. After scratching their heads and reading their clue for a while they realize that they have to go to the market first.
 "I feel like we lost a whole lot of time right there", Ashley

Once they reach the market they release their cab. Only to soon realize they need a new cab, which is hard to get. Once they get that they start loading up, but the taxi refuses to take the sugarcane. They argue a while about switching but eventually keep doing this detour, they leave the sugarcane and go to the zoo!!!
 "I need to calm down? Ally, we're so screwed right now", Ashley is not happy to be told to calm down

They travel to the zoo and transport their fruits to the elephants before going back for the sugarcane. When they are running back through the zoo they meet Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie who are all arriving with all of their fruits. Ally & Ashley go back and load their sugarcane into their new taxi.
 "Alright people, part like the red sea", Ashley get the title when she wishes the traffic jams away
 "This is actually really cool", Ashley finally get to feed the elephant

Leo & Jamal are smart and tie a scarf around the water melons to keep them from falling off the trolley. When they leave they run into Ally & Ashley, who just arrived with their first load, and give them a scarf and some good advice.

Jason & Amy put all their fruits in a blanket they had. This saves a lot of time.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
 1(+0) Nicole & Travis, birds
 2(+0) Leo & Jamal, elephants
 3(+1) Jason & Amy, elephants
 4(+1) Tim & Marie, elephants
 5(-2) Ally & Ashley, elephants

Route info: Make your way to Saung Angklung Udjo and search for your next clue.

Once teams arrive (6.8km 0:13), in the same order, they find the next clue box outside.

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Who has an inkling for

--- End quote ---

An anklung is a traditional Indonesian instrument made of bamboo. In this road block contestants must each assemble one anklung. The task is made harder by the fact that there is no sample to look at, only the ones being played by the local kids. And all the parts are tossed together in a big pile on the floor. The place is also a riot in color and music with lots of kids playing music on anklungs and other instruments. Once done teams must bring their anklung to a panel of kids who will check if it is assembled correctly.

 "I felt like Gladiator in the Colosseum", Leo describe how it felt to arrive

Nicole struggles a lot. She seems stressed and have a hard time figuring out what she needs to do.
 "Nooo", The judging kids in chorus to Nicole on her first attempt
 "I don't understand this concept, what am I missing?", Nicole is baffled

Leo is almost correct on his first try. He has the right notes, but one girl points out that the stand is not correct.

When Tim & Marie arrive Marie has a hunch that the task is about music so she has Tim do this one even though it really is her turn.
 "I was in chorus in high-school, which I don't like to admit", Tim

Leo is the first contestant to get approved. The judging area is outside, but his shouts of joy lets everybody know he got it.
 "Leo, destroy yours. The instrument. Don't let no one see.", Jamal shouts

Nicole seizes the moment and runs over to where the judges are and try to peek at Leo's instrument.

Here Travis & Nicole are made to look very bad because as Nicole is trying to peek at Leo's instrument, which he doesn't want to let her see. The editors cut in fragments from an interview where she and Travis talk about how honest they want to run their race and how they want to be a good example for others.
 "We're running this race in a honest way", Nicole

Nicole has lost her cool and seems unable to concentrate on the task. Meanwhile Travis shout in frustration from the stands. Things are only getting worse until finally Amy, after being approved, helps her. While Amy is helping Nicole the pressure rises with the arrival of Ally & Ashley.

Helping Nicole might not be the best strategic move, but Amy seems to value their friendship more so she spends 5 minutes helping Nicole. This help is enough to enable Nicole to assemble it correctly and she is soon approved.

Ally & Ashley are the last one left and defeat hangs in the air. Ashley at least gets a big round of applause from the kids when she completes the anklung. According to interviews after the race she completed the task fairly quickly.

Teams complete this road block in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+1)Leo* & Jamal      (5-5)2(+2)Tim* & Marie      (6-4)One minute after team #13(+0)Jason & Amy*      (5-5)4(-3)Nicole* & Travis  (5-5)Probably after about 40 minutes5(+0)Ally & Ashley*    (4-6)         

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to your
next pit stop, the
Bosscha Observatory in

Warning !! The last Team
to check-in may be

--- End quote ---

 "I'm embarrassed", In the taxi Travis is not happy with Nicole's performance at the road block

Teams reach Phil at the observatory (16km 0:34) in the following order:
 1(+0) Leo & Jamal, win $7500 each
 2(+0) Tim & Marie, less than a minute after #1
 3(+0) Jason & Amy
 4(+0) Nicole & Travis, shortly after #3
 5(+0) Ally & Ashley, are eliminated

 "I love you forever, forever", Nicole is very grateful to Amy

 "We've been to seven countries. It's a dream come true for us", Ally
 "We had a blast", Ashley

Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 10, "Cobra in my teeth"
Film date: 28/6

The last pit stop was at the Bossca observatory. And this is also where teams start the next morning in the following order:

1.Leo & Jamal    07:252.Tim & Marie    07:26(+0:01)3.Jason & Amy    07:40(+0:15)4.Nicole & Travis07:42(+0:17)

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Start yourselves off right
on this leg of the Race
with a hearty snack.
Make your way to
Ciwangun Indah Camp
(CIC) and try an
Indonesian delicacy
before continuing on
your way.

You have $27 for this leg
of the Race.

--- End quote ---

Production has thoughtfully arranged for taxis to be waiting. Each taxi also seem to be followed by a big black van, probably for security.

 "Marie is the toughest girl I know, but there's some food issues", Tim dreads the upcoming challenge
 "'You must each finish your own serving', Nooooooo", Marie reads the extra info
 "I love eating challenges, let's go", Amy is firing on all cylinders

 "What if it's snake?", Leo speculates in the taxi
 "They don't eat snakes here", Jamal don't think so

Teams must make their way to the CIC north entrance. Tim & Marie are driven to the south entrance and they waste a lot of time looking for any markers. When they finally find the right entrance all other teams have already left.

Once they arrive at the north entrance teams find that the street stall they are headed for is called "King Cobra House" and they will have to eat some grilled king cobra. The meal must be eaten in front of a glass cage filled with live cobras.

 "Hoo hoo", Leo literally jumps backwards when he realizes the glass cage is filled with live snakes
 "Very chewy and rubbery", Jamal doesn't like eating cobra
 "I didn't really like it, at all", Jason (while Amy laughs)
 "That was actually better than I though it was gonna be", Nicole had no problem

 "I just can't eat gross stuff", Marie

Marie has serious issues eating the snake. But she overcomes her fobies and eats it.

Leo & Jamal lie to Jason & Amy and Travis & Nicole by saying that Tim & Marie already left. But at the next task Jamal admits they were just messing with them.

Teams complete this challenge in the following order:
 1(+0) Leo & Jamal
 2(+1) Jason & Amy
 3(+1) Nicole & Travis
 4(-2) Tim & Marie

 "I have cobra in my teeth", Tim gets the title

Route info: Make your way to the main entrance of the Kawah Domas Crater. Teams reach the entrance in the following order:

 1(+0) Leo & Jamal, think they have a 5-10 minute lead
 2(+1) Nicole & Travis, about 1 minute after #1
 3(-1) Jason & Amy, seconds after #2
 4(+0) Tim & Marie, possibly almost an hour later

--- Quote ---ROAD BLOCK

Who's feeling Hard-

Note: Marie must
perform this Road Block.

--- End quote ---

Teams must pick up 60 eggs from the food stand. Then take an 8 minute ride on the back of a local taxi (motorbike) to a crater. Here they must descend into the crater, pick up a basket-on-a-stick and use this and a boiling pool of water to hard boil 12 eggs. Once they think they are done they must head back up out of the crater and back on the motorcycle. When they reach the entrance the judge slowly and methodically will cut open all their to and check if they are hard boiled. If not they have to go back and try again.

The track into the crater is treacherous and teams try to hurry without breaking any eggs.

 "This road block was clearly about patience", Travis

Travis and Jason let their eggs boil for 8 minutes before they leave. Jamal gives his an extra 2 minutes. This leads to some tense moments by the judge where both Travis and Jason are found to have non-hard-boiled eggs. Jamal looks good, but in the end the judge rejects some of his eggs as well.

 "Sorry man, I blew that for you", Travis takes the blame
 "When you see Marie you can tell her it only takes 8 minutes", Jason to Jamal

While Leo, Amy and Nicole wait Tim & Marie show up.
 "Marie, she eats healthy, and she goes 'I don't know how to hard boil an egg'", Tim tells the others while waiting

On her way down on the motorcycle Marie meets the other teams as they are on their way back for the second time.
 "It's quick", Jason gives Marie some misleading advice

The first three teams are approved on their second attempt and promptly leave. This lets Tim be philosophical in his solitude while waiting for Marie.
 "This's gonna be a problem because Marie lack a little thing called patience", Tim expects Marie to fail

It looks like Tim is right because Marie doesn't seem to have a clue. She holds her eggs over the water instead of in.
 "I'm 29 years old and I have not boiled an egg before", Marie
 "This sucks, it smells and it's hot and I hate eggs and I just ate a snake. So far today blows", Marie is miserable
 "The good news is though, is that everything she does cook is always well done, no matter what, like hockey puck style", Tim on Marie's cooking skills

Despite Tim's misgivings Marie comes back with hard-boiled eggs on her first try.

Teams complete this road block in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+1)Jason* & Amy      (6-5)On his second attempt2(+2)Nicole & Travis*  (5-6)On his second attempt3(-2)Leo & Jamal*      (5-6)On his second attempt4(+0)Tim & Marie*      (6-5)On her first attempt
After completing this challenge teams are mysteriously transported to a parking lot up on the mountain where they open a detour clue. This transport is probably just courtesy of a route info which was cut.

--- Quote ---DETOUR

Detour: "Paint Your Partner"
or "Turn Over a New Leaf"

Paint Your Partner: Working
simultaneously, make each
other up as traditional
Javanese brides. When the
Javanese beautician
approves, you will receive
your next clue.

Turn Over a New Leaf: Dress
and equip yourselves as
Indonesian tea workers.
While carrying traditional tea
baskets, search the steep
terraced tea fields for a pair of
workers ???.

--- End quote ---

In turn over a new leaf teams must search through a marked portion of tea fields for a pair of clipping shears. On their way to the fields teams also pass a sign warning for snakes. This seems to be real since Leo & Jamal later do run into a snake among the tea bushes.

 "This is completely ridiculous, I'm so out of my element right now", Jason is not comfortable with makeup
 "My husband looks like the sexiest drag queen ever", Nicole

 "You look so pretty when you're complaining", Jamal while searching the tea fields

 "I have no idea what we're doing", Travis

In paint your partner teams can not use a mirror, but must rely on each other. This challenge is tedious and takes a long time. Most of the contestants are also not particularly well versed in the dark arts of makeup. The best shot is of the judge who stands there and just gapes in amazement as Nicole work on Travis. As soon as Travis looks over at him he switches to an encouraging smile. But I wonder what he was thinking.

After about 2 hours and searching the area couple of times for the shears Leo & Jamal decide to switch. Everybody is happy when they walk into the beauty parlor. Leo & Jamal are happy that the other teams are still there and the others are happy that Leo & Jamal haven't been able to find the shears.
 "Remember that little thing called karma?", Amy

Once Leo & Jamal realize that they have to shave to complete the makeup challenge they switch back to the tea detour.

Jason & Amy are doing really good at this challenge while Travis & Nicole struggles. Tim & Marie are making good progress but have a lot of catching up to do. Leo & Jamal are just miserable.

When Jamal finally find the shears it is in a row they have already searched. But Leo missed it since he was looking at the ground while the shears were on top of the tea bushes. They may have spent almost 5 hours on this detour.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
 1(+0) Jason & Amy, paint
 2(+2) Tim & Marie, paint
 3(-1) Nicole & Travis, paint
 4(-1) Leo & Jamal, started tea, switched to paint but immediately switched back to tea

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to your
next Pit Stop: the
Cascades of Curug

Warning: The last team
to check in may be

--- End quote ---

Teams must now make their way to the Cimahi waterfall and descend 500 steps to the bottom of it where Phil waits.

One the way to the pit stop we get to see a taxi race between Travis & Nicole and Tim & Marie. Nobody manages to pull ahead and it all comes down to a footrace down the stairs at the waterfall.

Teams reach Phil in the following order:
 1(+0) Jason & Amy, win a trip to Cancun
 2(+0) Tim & Marie
 3(+0) Nicole & Travis, after footrace against #2
 4(+0) Leo & Jamal, are saved by a non-elimination

 "You look like an angry showgirl", Phil to Travis (whose makeup is a wreck)

Racing report
Amazing Race Season 23, Episode 11 part 1, "Amazing 'Crazy' Race"
Film date: 30/6-1/7

The last pit stop was at the foot of the Cimahi waterfall in Bandung, Indonesia. This start seems to be in the gardens of the pit stop hotel. Teams are released in the following order:

1.Jason & Amy    01:252.Tim & Marie    02:25(+1:00)3.Nicole & Travis02:26(+1:01)4.Leo & Jamal    03:19(+1:54)
Route info: "Fly to Tokyo". Once they land teams must make their way to Gotokuji temple where they will find their next clue among hundreds of white cat figures.

Jason & Amy pop into a nearby hotel (probably the pit stop hotel) and do flight research on the computers there. They find two flights which lands 10 minutes apart. They want to make sure that all teams end up on the same flight.

 "Things come very easy to Travis. There's times when he's not always very patient if I don't get things at the same level as he does", Nicole knows her husband

All teams go to a travel agency called Universal holiday to get their tickets. Jason & Amy find that the first flight is full (from the screen we see that there are only 3 economy seats left and each team need 4). When Tim & Marie and Travis & Nicole arrive Nicole outlines a plan for the first tree teams to gang up and cooperate in order to eliminate Leo & Jamal. The other two teams seem to agree to this proposed alliance.

Nicole & Travis are still at the travel agency when Leo & Jamal arrive.
 "We just saw Travis & Nicole, and we acted as we didn't even see them", Jamal has frosty relations with Travis & Nicole

 "They lie, and they said that that's how doing the race", Nicole about Leo & Jamal
 "We just choose not to be those people", Travis feel morally superior to them

All teams seem buy tickets on:
 QZ8361 BDO-SIN 11:00 - 13:29   (scheduled 11:15 - 13:55)
 TG408  SIN-BKK 18:12 - 19:46   (scheduled 18:15 - 19:35)
 TG640  BKK-NRT 22:11 - 06:17+1 (scheduled 22:10 - 06:20+1)

Once in Singapore Leo & Jamal rush to the ticketing counter and now there are seats available on the earlier flight. So they split off and fly:
 CX734 SIN-HKG 16:14   - 19:52   (scheduled 16:05   - 20:05)
 CX524 HKG-NRT 00:56+1 - 06:12+1 (scheduled 01:00+1 - 06:10+1)

Once in Tokyo Leo & Jamal quickly find a taxi. The other teams have a harder time. There are only two taxis available, which are claimed by Jason & Amy and Travis & Nicole. Unfortunately the only ones who have been smart enough to actually look up the street address of the temple are Tim & Marie.

Travis doesn't want to wait for a third taxi so they try to leave. But the taxi driver insists of waiting for a third taxi.

 "They're so mad", Marie sums it up nicely
 "Not surprising that the plan to stick together kind of just disintegrated", Marie

Teams reach the clue box by the temple in the following order:
 1. Leo & Jamal
 2. Nicole & Travis
 3. Tim & Marie
 4. Jason & Amy, a second or so after #2

Detour: "Knock it down" or "Call it up"

In Knock it down teams make their way to Tokyo Media city and take part in a Japanese game show, human bowling. After dressing up they must alternate to slide down a slope and hit a bunch of giant bowling pins. Once they have hit a strike they will receive their next clue. Scoring a strike seems pretty hard to do.

In call it up teams must become immersed in a popular art installation. One team member must dive down into an obsolete phone boot, which has been converted to a goldfish tank, and make a phone call. They must then climb out of the water and run over to their partner and tell them that they heard ("Welcome to Tokyo, Wasabi taberu"). Teams will receive their next clue once their partner has relayed the correct phrase to the judge.

Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy decide to go for Knock it down, but their drivers don't know where it is and since the drivers refuse to separate they follow Travis & Nicole to Kinuta park, where the call it up detour takes place. Tim & Marie does not realize where they have arrived. And Travis & Nicole and Jason & Amy do their best to not tip them off. They go so far as to calmly walking in the direction of the challenge (in another part of the park) so as to not let Tim & Marie know that they know where they are going.

The ruse works and Tim & Marie decide to take off for the Knock it down detour.
 "I don't know where they are going", Tim is baffled
 "They don't know where they are going either, apparently we might", Marie has just received directions

 "It is American love story", Game show host when he hears Tim & Marie have broken up
 "It's American horror story", Marie bites back

Leo & Jamal fold their protective clothes nicely when done in order to not tip off the other teams that they have already been here. This fools Tim & Marie.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:
 1(+0) Leo & Jamal, knock
 2(+2) Jason & Amy, call
 3(-1) Nicole & Travis, call
 4(-1) Tim & Marie, knock

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to the
fountain in Shinjuku Chuo
Koen and search for your
next clue.

--- End quote ---

Just before they reach the fountain Leo & Jamal encounter their speed bump. In this speed bump they must take part in an exercise where staff from the local zoo practices catching an escaped rhino. There is a mock rhino (with two men inside) and a bunch of people in bright green vests with nets.
 "Believe it or not, this is a real drill", Phil explains the surreal task

This speed bump takes Leo & Jamal about 12 minutes to complete.

Teams reach the clue box by the fountain in the following order:
 1(+2) Nicole & Travis
 2(+0) Jason & Amy, seconds after #1
 3(-2) Leo & Jamal
 4(+0) Tim & Marie, about 20 minutes after #1

Road block: "Pipe up or go home". In this road block teams must assemble something which looks like a robot. Their contraption is made out of big pipes and stands about 3 meters high. There is a model which shows what the final robot should look like. But the model is about 10 cm high, so it is a lot smaller than the real thing. Teams are not given any choice in who shall perform this task.

Nicole and Amy decide to work together.

 "Leo, you can do it. Dumb and dumber is helping each other out", Jamal see Nicole & Amy

 "Where is the thing I'm supposed to be looking at", Marie asks Amy and Nicole, who pretend not to hear her

Leo is kind and tells Marie what to look at.
 "Oh, this is ridiculous", Marie when she see the small model

 "I never knew there was a team road block", Jamal is irritated that Amy and Nicole cooperates

The robots are unwieldy and everybody struggles with joining the pipes.

 "For the most part I can pretty much copy and catch up", Initially Marie has it easy as she can look at the other teams
 "Don't look at her, it's gonna distract you", Nicole wants Amy to not look at Marie

This task is surprisingly intense. It might be because teams are neck and neck and all teams know that this is probably the last challenge before the pit stop and a spot in the final leg. The task is also harder than it looks. Not only is it surprisingly physical but there are also a number of subtle details which they have to get right.

Leo has for example one part on backwards, and it takes him a really long time to figure that one out.
 "Leo has the middle part on wrong", Amy see what Leos problem is, but doesn't say anything

Amy and Nicole has mistaken the hips for the shoulders and consequently need to disassemble and reassemble large parts of their robots once they realize what is wrong. Leo seem to see their problem immediately.

 "Hey, just get that thing done", Travis is supportive as usual

Eventually Amy figure out what the problem is and she and Nicole start tearing down their robots. By the time Amy has put her together again Nicole has just managed to disassemble hers. Amy helps her a bit before moving on.
 "This is where it gets tricky man", Tim to Travis when Amy is ready and he wants to move on
 "You have to do what you have to do, I can't beg for help", Travis
 "This is the only thing I can help you with sweetheart", Amy to Nicole
 "We lost 7-10 minutes because you helped them", Jason to Amy

In the end it is a race between Leo, who hasn't figured out what is wrong with his, and Nicole.
 "You can't get things done", Travis to Nicole after she has completed the road block

 "Damn you robot. You're what made us fall", Jamal talks to the model
Teams complete this road block in the following order (* denotes team member doing the roadblock)
1(+3)Tim & Marie*      (6-6)2(+0)Jason & Amy*      (6-6)3(-2)Nicole* & Travis  (6-6)4(-1)Leo* & Jamal      (6-6)About 10 minutes after #3

--- Quote ---ROUTE INFO

Make your way to
Shibuya Scramble
Crossing and search for
the roaming vending
machine to retrieve your
next clue.

NOTE: The vending
machine will not
dispense clues while in

--- End quote ---

The vending machine is painted in yellow and red and fairly easy to spot. It moves around a bit and then returns to one place where it stops and dispenses a clue. All teams get their clue at the same place.
 "Does anybody know where the roaming vending machine is" Marie asks the crowd when the machine is behind her back

Teams get the clue in the same order as they finished the road block.

Route info: "Make your way on foot to Konno Hachimangu shrine". the clue also points out that the last team to check in will be eliminated. This shrine may look familiar since it was used as a pit stop in season 15. The greeter is a human in a big robot suit. Teams reach him and Phil in the following order:
 1(+0) Tim & Marie, win a trip to Aruba
 2(+0) Jason & Amy
 3(+0) Nicole & Travis
 4(+0) Leo & Jamal, are eliminated

 "I don't like you", Nicole to the robot

 "So I'm really disappointed and really sad, but at the same time it was one of the best experiences I've had in my entire life", Leo
 "Amazing 'Crazy' Race", Jamal gets the title


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