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Amazing Race began this week with the teams having to fly 2300 miles to Hanoi, Vietnam and find Hoa Lo Prison, AKA the “Hanoi Hilton“. All teams must travel to a downtown hotel first to book their tickets to Hanoi. As there is some time until the agent opens, and they can see there will only be four agents, the teams agree to form a line based on time of arrival. When the door opens, the teams file in and Tom & Terry, who were in fourth place, walk past the last available agent, while they are gone, Dustin & Kandice step up and use the agent. I can see both sides of the argument over who should get to use the agent, but they both argued about it for far too long.
The teams were also informed in their opening clue that they had $0 for this leg and were not allowed to beg for money or sell their items, they had to get by on what they had. I liked this new twist ALOT! Making them be resourceful on their own was a great idea. Once the teams arrived in Hanoi they jumped in cabs to the prison and Duke & Lauren made the first of several mistakes on this leg. Duke wanted a local to go with them to help, she agreed, but she took forever to get her checked luggage and then took them out of their way so she could be dropped off at her brother’s house. They then only had $11 left, which was less than the cab fare, but the driver agreed to accept only the $11. They also were last to the prison, but luckily it didn’t open until 8 AM, so the teams were evened up.
Once the prison opened, the teams were told to locate Sen. John McCain’s flight suit as he was a prisoner of the Hanoi Hilton for 5 years. Once located, they would receive their next clue. A tip of the hat to Tom & Terry and Erwin & Godwin for being the only teams to pause and pay their respects to the display. Yes, this is a race, but there are times where you should pause and take in the place you are.
The prison clue instructed the teams to travel one and a half miles to Hanoi’s Old Quarter and locate a marked flower shop. All of the teams took taxis to the interection, except for Duke & Lauren, who had no money, again putting them in last place. At the flower shop, teams received their Roadblock for this leg of the race:
In this Roadblock, one team member has to choose a bicycle with a basket of flowers and sell enough to make 80,000 Vietnamese dong, roughly five U.S. dollars. Whatever money Teams earn, they can keep.
Really not that exciting, and it went far easier than I thought it would. I liked the teams having to earn some money though. The next clue told teams to travel 30 miles by public bus to a tiny village named Vac and locate a Buddhist temple. As everyone rushed for the buses, Peter & Sarah got on the wrong bus in their hurry to get a leap on everyone else, this ended up putting them in last place. Once in Vac, the teams were told they could not ride on motorcycles from the bus station to the temple due to safety concerns…somehow Tom & Terry missed that part and accepted a ride, more on this later. Once at the temple, the teams found their Detour:
In Fuel, Teams had to travel to a nearby work station, take wet coal from a communal pile, and use a traditional press to create 30 coal bricks which are a common fuel source in Vietnam. In Fowl, Teams had to travel to a nearby courtyard and use traditional materials and local methods to build one birdcage.
Everyone opted for Fuel, but in another blunder, Duke & Lauren couldn’t find the site for Fuel, but found the site for Fowl. Erwin & Godwin did one unacceptable set of bricks, but figured out how to do better the second time and ended up coming in first. Tom & Terry were hot on their heels and came in second…kinda. Due to the motorcycle ride, they were penalized 30 minutes and were not allowed to check in. While they waited, 6 more teams check in meaning their 30 minute mistake put them in last place for the next leg. Duke & Lauren came in last and were eliminated.