'Race' brothers go out in style
Leg 7: Xua Xarra, Botswana to Khwai River, Botswana
By PATRICIA OCAMPO and MARTIN KUEBLER
For JAM! TV
Brothers bounced from 'Amazing Race'
They were funny, positive, and easygoing, but their good attitudes and wacky fashion sense weren’t enough to keep brothers Brian & Greg from last place and elimination last night on “The Amazing Race.”
After spending a night on moon-like terrain, teams ripped open their clue to discover their next task: drive 141 miles (227 kilometres) to Sankuyo Village and find the next clue under a water tower. Oh, and one minor little detail: drive through the town of Maun on the way.
On their way off the mat, most teams took a moment to talk about their relationships and their various strengths and weaknesses, except Uchenna, who brought up his African heritage. Oh, and Lynn & Alex, who (gasp!) harped on other teams.
Kelly said she had been reading the love chapter of the Bible. Ron said he has been reading maps of Iraq. Rob said he has been reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. Guess which one of the last three sentences is true. Hard, isn't it? They all sound so plausible.
On the way to the water tower, some teams were delayed by the usual road animals. You know, cows and ostriches. And surprise, surprise, some teams didn’t read their clue carefully: Meredith & Gretchen and Brian & Greg neglected to drive through Maun. The brothers wasted valuable time puttering around and even climbing up the wrong water tower.
DESTINATION: SANKUYO VILLAGE, BOTSWANA
At the correct water tower, teams found a Detour: Carry It or Milk It.
In Carry It, teams crossed 70 yards (64 metres)while balancing three items (one at a time) on their heads. The items included a plastic bucket of water, a basket of corn cobs, and a bundle of firewood. To imitate the African village women who do this every day, racers had to complete the task without using their hands to hold the items in place. In Milk It, teams milked a goat until they had filled a 10-ounce cup.
This Detour was good because it incorporated local culture and neither task was an obvious better choice. The tasks on this Detour were different enough so that teams had a tough time deciding which was more advantageous for them: a task that didn’t look too hard but required balance and patience, or a task that was tedious and involved an animal—an uncontrollable factor. This was the first Detour this season that resulted in numerous teams switching back and forth between tasks.
Ron & Kelly, Rob & Amber, and Lynn & Alex all initially chose to milk, changed their minds to carry, and then finally settled on milking when they realized how unbalanced they were. Heh, unbalanced.
The milkers showed their teamwork skills: Rob held the cup as Amber pulled, Meredith & Gretchen milked simultaneously into their team cup, and Lynn held the goat’s leg up as Alex milked.
Amber noted that she and Rob consistently use teamwork, in contrast to Ron & Kelly. Rob added that Kelly didn’t want to get her “pretty little hands dirty” while “my girl [Amber] got in there and got the job done.”
After finishing the task, Ron & Kelly received the next clue: drive 21 miles (about 34 kilometres) to the Khwai River. Rob & Amber were close behind, followed by Uchenna & Joyce, Meredith & Gretchen, Lynn & Alex, and some time later, Brian & Greg. On the drive to the riverbank, teams saw wild elephants, zebras, hippos, giraffes, and even a warthog running across the Botswana terrain, making this leg one of the most fascinating to watch—if only the racers got out of the way.
On the way to the river, Lynn & Alex’s car sputtered to a stop. Stranded in the middle of the savannah, they called for a replacement car. Some bad luck there, but at least something like that can’t happen more than once a leg, right?
DESTINATION: KHWAI RIVER, BOTSWANA
Teams pulled up to the muddy, crocodile-infested river to find the Roadblock: Who’s ready for a real roadblock?
Time for a little off-road racing. One team member had to drive the team’s vehicle straight through the river. Once on the other side, each team had to drive down a separate path, encountering two trees apparently knocked down by some elephants (at least, that’s what host Phil would like us to believe). The trees had to be cleared with the help of the vehicle. Only then would teams be free to continue the race.
Excellent Roadblock—and possibly the first time on “The Amazing Race” where the Roadblock involved actual road obstructions. The task featured the Botswana terrain and involved some hard work—plus, teams got to drive straight through a river. Definitely one of the better tasks.
Ron & Kelly were first to arrive at the banks of the Khwai, Ron taking the task for Team America. Close on their heels were Rob & Amber, with Rob at the wheel.
Amber noted that this task was perfect for Rob with his construction background. Proving her right, he wasted no time making short work of the fallen trees.
Nearby, Ron also got to work under the watchful, anxious, and critical eye of Kelly, who used every opportunity to keep Ron posted on Rob’s progress. Eventually Ron had enough of the Rob report, and he asked Kelly to “chill for a minute.” In Kelly-speak, this apparently means “shut the f*ck up.” Naturally, this set Kelly further on edge, and the preview-promised “You’re a piece of trash redneck” comment was fired at a confused Ron.
Soon, both teams were done and in a race for the Pit Stop, the Khwai River Lodge 9 miles (roughly 14 kilometres) away.
First to arrive at the mat, for the third time this season, were Rob & Amber. Waiting for them at the Pit Stop was, as always, host Phil, a friendly local greeter, and a fantastic vacation for two, this time on the French Riviera. Maybe Rob & Amber can swing by after they enjoy their previously-won tour of London.
Meanwhile, back at the Roadblock, Uchenna & Joyce and Meredith & Gretchen were tackling the obstacle course. Uchenna & Joyce finished first and arrived confidently at the Pit Stop, only to be sent back for not completing the Roadblock. Looking confused and hurt by Phil’s rejection, they headed back to the Roadblock and realized they’d forgotten the stick that had marked their course. They retrieved it and came back to the Pit Stop, still in third.
Meredith & Gretchen, on the other hand, had correctly completed the Roadblock but showed up at the Pit Stop missing their final clue. Phil, instead of being impressed with their brilliant navigation skills, asked “Now how did you guys know how to come here?” like mothers who ask questions to which they already know the answers. As in, “How did the mud get on my newly waxed linoleum?” Sheepishly, they admitted to simply following the road markers, and a stern Phil sent them back for the clue.
Back at the Roadblock, Lynn & Alex were waiting for yet another replacement car. Seems that Alex, by his own admission not much of a stick-shift driver, had driven his team to a flat tire. Soon, with a new car (and, presumably, the Botswana Auto Association not far behind) the couple was off to the Pit Stop. So, whatever happened to that rule for replacement cars only for teams who broke down through “no fault of their own”?
The boyfriends, fearing a non-elimination leg and a last-place finish, were surprised to come in fourth. Arriving soon after them were Meredith & Gretchen, still in the race at fifth.
Unable to escape last place, Brian & Greg finally arrived to start the Roadblock. Once done and anticipating a last-place finish, the brothers decided to go for a memorable exit (or, should they encounter a non-elimination round, risk running the rest of the race in scarves and swim trunks). If all else failed, they hoped to dazzle Phil with their excellent fashion sense and thus escape elimination.
Unfortunately for the brothers, Phil prefers guys with lots of clothes on--even gay ones--and their Icelandic-stripper look was not enough to change his mind. Brian & Greg, the final family pair left in the race, were sent packing. At least they were ready for the pool.
Rob & Amber—FIRST
Performance rating: A
Amber pronounced her and Rob the “two luckiest people in the world.” We second that emotion. They won a third trip, despite some first-place teams not winning anything this season. Top marks for their teamwork and giddy excitement at seeing all the African wildlife.
Ron & Kelly—Second
Performance rating: C+
Team Bland is finally starting to crack, though listening to Ron one would think that it’s no big deal. In fact, his “we’re starting to get up under each other’s skin—finally” comment seems to imply that he’s actually enjoying the rising tension. Must be a POW thing. One thing is certain: the bickering is starting to affect their race. They changed their minds twice at the Detour, wavering between both options. Not a good race strategy. Though Kelly offered to “squeeze” the goat and even pulled the goats to their milking station, she was generally a princess (or perhaps beauty queen?) on this leg. And though Ron wasn’t horrible to her, he was definitely dismissive. He couldn’t let go of her inability to balance the bucket. It’s the chicken and the egg thing. Would she be more aggressive if he weren’t so dismissive, or would he be less dismissive if she were more aggressive? Dr. Phil, we’re waiting to hear from you. The “chill for a minute”/shut the f*ck up” exchange shows how she feels he feels about her. She clearly sensed his lack of respect for her, even turning to the camera to point out how he pointed out everything she did wrong. Unfortunately, this immature act did nothing to help matters. She tried to make it look like she was the good one, the one who didn’t belittle her partner. Maybe calling someone a trash redneck is a compliment where she comes from.
Uchenna & Joyce—THIRD
Performance rating: B+
They were the only racers to complete the carrying Detour. More importantly, they rocked it. Uchenna and possibly even Lynn & Alex seemed to think the married couple’s African heritage had something to do with it; a better bet is Joyce’s huge hairdo and Uchenna’s huge…head. Also, Uchenna was incredibly encouraging to Joyce, who had a bit of trouble carrying the bucket. One problem: despite starting this leg 21 minutes ahead of Meredith & Gretchen, Uchenna & Joyce arrived at the Detour after the older couple, who had even driven off course for a short time. If this team does not learn how to navigate better, then they are going to find themselves navigating their way home. Also, minus points for failing to read their clue thoroughly, though kudos for not panicking. They didn’t even lose their third-place position after backtracking.
Alex tries to outwit Phil with layers. (Photo: courtesy CBS.com)
Lynn & Alex—FOURTH
Performance rating: B
Lynn was surprisingly supportive and positive on this leg. Even when it seemed that elimination was nigh, Lynn’s cup was half full (and not with goat’s milk). They even planned ahead: knowing that the new rule for last-place teams on a non-elimination leg is to have everything taken away but the clothes you’re wearing, Alex pulled on as many of his and Lynn’s clothes as he could manage. Their Pit Stop reaction was classic. As Phil told them the good news, they asked in the exact same incredulous tone at the exact same time while leaning forward in the exact same way, “What?!” And then they dissolved into giddy babbling about clothes.
Meredith & Gretchen—FIFTH
Performance rating: B
Gretchen continues to play the part of the embarrassing grandma you don’t want your friends to meet—you know, the one that’s always talking about threesomes and goats with “nice big teats.” Classy! The oldest couple left in the race is still hanging in there, barely escaping elimination yet again. They raced well this week, efficiently milking the goats and moving the trees, but they’re still prone to making those careless mistakes. This leg’s gaffe was not taking the time to carefully read the clues, leading to mistaken water towers and, well, missed clues. Maybe not critical mistakes on their own, but these things do add up.
Brian & Greg—LAST
Though they started the leg hopefully (“big bucks, big bucks, big bucks, no whammies!”) and only 10 minutes behind Meredith & Gretchen, the brothers simply couldn’t make up for their last-place finish in the previous leg. But if it hadn’t been for one avoidable mistake, they might have survived to race another leg. Sloppy clue-reading led to the water tower confusion—where did it say to climb the tower!? Plus, they wasted precious minutes at the end of the leg, dressing (or rather undressing) for their Pit Stop arrival. Sure, it was funny, and totally in character for these two, but who knows how far ahead the other teams were? They may have missed a chance to pass a team and avoid last place. Extra credit for rocking both the Detour and Roadblock, shooting out one-liners the entire time. And at least there’s an upside to their elimination: now that they’re out of the race, the brothers have plenty of time to hook up with those blondes from a few weeks back.
Next time on “The Amazing Race”:
Tonight: the always thrilling clip show!
Next week: Kelly fine-tunes her passive-aggressiveness by disagreeing with Ron but following anyway.
And Meredith & Gretchen become local heroes, cheered on by an entire town for no apparent reason.
Approximate distance travelled: 275 kilometres
Botswana: Sankuyo Village (after driving through the town of Maun), Khwai River
$ 85 US (about $104 Cdn.)
Ron & Kelly – 5:29 a.m.
Rob & Amber – 5:43 a.m.
Uchenna & Joyce – 5:51 a.m.
Lynn & Alex – 5:52 a.m.
Meredith & Gretchen – 6:12 a.m.
Brian & Greg – 6:22 a.m.
For start-to-finish coverage of the race, check out JAM! 'The Amazing Race 7'.http://jam.canoe.ca/Television/TV_Shows/A/Amazing_Race_7/2005/04/06/984923.html