October 26 2005

Amazing Race 8, Episode 5

It was time to leave New Orleans very first thing on this week’s Amazing Race:Family Edition. The first clue told everyone they needed to fly 2,000 miles to Panama City in…PANAMA! The road side attractions of the USA are over, for now, and we are back where Amazing Race belongs, on international soil! YES! Once in Panama City they were to travel 31 miles to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, take a boat across the Panama Canal to the island home of the Institute and find a scientist named Ricardo Diaz who would give them their next clue.

The teams first were instructed to take one of two flights, a Continental or an American Airlines flight. The Bransen family called ahead and learned the Continental flight would arrive at 6:40 PM and the American would land at 9:10 PM. It was an obvious choice which plane everyone would prefer to be on. Once at the airport, the teams learned they couldn’t buy tickets until the morning, but they all waited at the Continental desk, not knowing how many seats there were. The Bransens, Linzs and Paolos all got seats. This left the Godlewski, Gaghan and Weaver families to take the later American flight.

Once they all arrived at the boat dock, they were all hit with an equalizer as the boats wouldn’t be leaving until 7 AM the next morning. The families all took seperate boats with the Paolos leading the way, the Linzs ended up with a slow boat that slipped them from second to fifth place, and the Gaghans got a scare when their boat driver wanted to stop for more passangers, but the parents talked him out of it.

Once at the Institute, the families all searched for the hammock-swinging Ricardo Diaz. This clue led to the Detour for this leg of the race and as always, here is the official sites explanation:

“In this Detour, Teams had to choose between Rhythm and Coos. In Rhythm, Teams had to travel by red devil bus to the Casco Viejo neighborhood and visit several locations to collect four musical instruments: a trumpet, a trombone, a saxophone and a congo drum. After Teams had all four instruments, they had to deliver them on foot to a club called Take Five Jazz and Wine where the bandleader would hand them their next clue. In Coos, Teams needed to travel by red devil bus to El Parque Metropolitano and use binoculars to search the rainforest canopy for wooden replicas of five local birds, then circle their discoveries on an aviary chart to present to the bird expert. If they circled the wrong birds, they had to repeat the task until they got it right.”

Before the teams could decide anything, they also learned their clue contained the only Fast Forward for the entire race. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is a special task that, if completed, allows the team to race ahead to the pit stop and skip all tasks. The task was to make their way to the Pacific side of the Panama Canal and find the crane at Pier 14. Once there, teams would split into pairs and make a 140 foot tandem bungee jump. Two teams went for it, the Paolos and the Gaghans. Sadly, the Paolos got there first, and after some initial fear, completed the task, meaning the Gaghans had to go one of the Detour tasks. The Paolos went straight to the Mira Flores Locks, the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, which was the pit stop for this leg, allowing them to come in first.

The Bransens and Weavers decided to spot birds, while the Godlewski and Linz families teamed up over their dislike of the Weavers to help each other deliver instruments. I was a little disgusted with just how much work the Linz boys did compared to the Godlewski sisters, but to each their own. Once the Gaghans were back in the area, they also went for the instruments.

Receivng the next clue, the teams were instructed to find a baseball stadium, Estadio Juan Demostenes Arosemena, for their next clue. Once there, they were instructed in the Roadblock for this leg. One member of each team would take a turn at bat trying to get a base run or a home run off of a champion little league pitcher. Each batter would get three tries and then have to wait in line to try again.

This led to one of the most intesting moments of the night. While Rolly Weaver was at bat, Alex Linz was taunting him to miss. Linda Weaver took exception to this and told him to be quiet and that they were cheering everyone on. Now mind you, earlier in the episode, Linda had told the Linz’s bus driver to slow down, not that he listened, so she is just as guilty as wishing ill on another team as anyone. I am so looking forward to the Weavers coming in last at some point.

As the teams worked their way through the batting, the battle for last place got down to the Gaghans and the Godlewskis. The Gaghans got out of there with only one pitch, leaving the sister team in last place. As they both raced to the pit stop, the Godlewskis decided to put on as many clothes as possible in case this was a non-elimination round. I will admit, they looked funny, but it was rather smart. Non-elimination round rules say you lose all your money and all your possesions except the clothes on your back…well…if you are wearing nearly all your clothes, what can they do? Sure, they looked silly, but it paid off as they came in last and it did turn out to be a non-elimination leg. I applaud them for thinking ahead. It also gave us the great line from the host, Phil Keoghan: “Did you know it was illegal in Panama to wear underpants on top of underpants on top of your pants?”

I love Phil.

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