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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The Amazing Race, My Pal Ermo

The first players to leave are the Frat Boys, at 2:15 AM. The next leg is to Palermo, Sicily and an opera house. The Hippies and Lake & Michelle depart next around 3:04-3:05 or so. We get some scenes of the Hippies & the Frat Boys clowning around in wheelchairs, while Lake & Michelle diligently check out the internet. Unfortunately the Hippies prove much more adept at surfing, dudes, and so they get the last ticket on an early flight and will arrive in Palermo at like 9:30. Lake & Michelle settle for a later flight getting in at 2:00 (!). The Frat Boys manage to get on standbye for the first leg of the Hippie's trip, but they are left behind in Rome. Meanwhile, the other couples get an earlier flight into Palermo arriving at 1:30. Amazingly, Lake & Michelle are now in last place despite starting out over four hours ahead of Team Pink.

The Hippies arrive easily at the Opera House. They visit Castellammare, where they find a detour. They must choose between Foundry or Laundry. In Foundry they must carry a heavy bell to a golf-cart-type vehicle, then deliver it to a church. In Laundry they must search through 2400 pieces of laundry for one of 16 different items with a special clue-box like label sewn into them. Here's a pic of Castellammare:

The Hippies and most of the others choose Laundry. The two teams that choose Foundry seem to benefit from the choice as the men manage to muscle the bells without much help from the female partner. Still the Hippies are well ahead by this point, and we never see the other teams while they are performing their task. The next goal is the ancient town of Segesta, which features an amphitheater:

Caution, Yield Ahead! Okay, this puts the game into overdrive as now everybody must consider whether to yield another team. The Hippies appear to be thinking of yielding the Frat Boys, but they decide the better of it. The next task is a roadblock. One of the players must assemble a statue. What they don't know at the time is that there are two extra pieces to throw the players off.

The Hippies breeze through and as the Frat Boys are arriving they reach the mat, which is at this Parthenon-like structure:

The Frat Boys decline to yield as well, and at this point I begin to see the strategies involved. Last season the yield was used spitefully against the Weavers by the first teams to arrive. This season they are holding back, which does seem smarter. After all, the yield is only really effective near the back of the pack since there is always something like an airport or a train or an opening time that serves to bunch the teams up regularly. Thus the Hippies gaining an hour on the Frat Boys now probably doesn't mean a thing.

Most of the teams have no trouble with the two extra pieces but Team Ordinary Couple freak out. Lake & Michelle arrive at the route to the Teatro, but mistakenly run towards the Parthenon, only to realize they must turn around. They are now barely ahead of Team Pink, and undoubtedly think they are facing elimination. They don't realize that the black couple have gotten lost and are way behind.

As a result, Lake & Michelle choose to yield Team Pink. Amazingly, the gals, manage to overcome the hour penalty and are still ahead of Ray & Yolanda. But the Pink gal turns out to be mediocre at the puzzle, getting the thighs wrong, while Ray breezes through it. There is some supposed drama at the end, but in the end Team Pink is Phil-Liminated. Kind of a classless comment from Phil about how quickly they'd "hooked up" with the Frat Boys, I thought.

I hadn't realized the gals were New Yawkers but it came out in their speeches at the end.

As always, Viking Pundit is the place to go for the details that I missed.
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