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Sunday, October 22, 2006
The Amazing Race: Hurry Up & Kuwait

The race starts off with everybody getting a video clue: They have to find a set of towers in Kuwait City. Although there is some drama about an early plane to Bombay, as it works out all six teams are on the same flight into Kuwait. Somebody notes that this is where Saddam's downfall all started.

There does not seem to be a great deal of difficulty locating the Kuwait Towers, an imposing structure:

Everybody arrives within a few minutes of each other. They must take tags numbered from 1 to 7 and Team Cho gets the last number. There is a fast-forward in the cluebox, and for a moment several teams consider it. The Chos indicate to the Beauty Queens that they are going for it, but really they are trying to hold up to see if Team Coal Miner will take it. Of course, the Kentuckians must, because they have to finish first or incur a half-hour penalty, and the Chos bravely distract the others while they speed off.

The next task is a roadblock. Teams must climb a service ladder to the top of the tower. It looks exhilarating, but now it turns out that the Chos are both afraid of heights, so their sacrifice for Team Coal Miner looks even nobler than before. At the top, the teams receive a jigsaw puzzle that they must assemble for their next clue.

The teams finish the jigsaw puzzle in the same order that they started it. It's written in Arabic and tells them to go to Gharabelly street or something close. They must find a marked shop, which causes a great deal of anxiety as the teams seem to be having trouble locating it.

Meanwhile Team Coal Miner is forced to simulate fighting an oil fire. Although this appears to involve quite a bit of fireproof clothing, it does not seem overly difficult. David comments that he'd always wanted to be a fireman, and thus he's grateful to the show for helping him live out his dream. Please! They make it to the mat and are spared the penalty, receving a vacation in Jamaica instead.

All the teams eventually locate the shop with the next clue, but the Chos have slipped ahead of Team Gump and the Beauty Queens. Detour: Manual or Automatic. In Manual, teams must fill ten 110-lb bags of camel feed and stack it on a pallet. In Authomatic they must put a robotic jockey atop a camel, and then use it to whip the camel around a racetrack.

Surprisingly, most of the teams choose Manual, even though this seems difficult and laborious compared to Automatic. But in reality, the real challenge here is finding the way to the Detour locations. Everybody struggles, having difficulty finding anybody who knows either location. Eventually the Beauty Queens and Rob & Kimberley find the location of the camel feed. Unfortunately for the Beauty Queens, they fall victim to the "good enough" mentality and are told that they must fill up the bags more completely. Rob & Kimberley finish first, the Beauty Queens second and the Cho Brothers third. Pit stop!

Meanwhile, the other three teams (Gump, Recovery and Triathlon) are all hopelessly lost. Eventually Gump finds the racetrack and discovers that the camel-whipping is quite easy. Then Recovery locates it as well.

Team Triathlon experiences a momentary bit of hope as they see a marker, but it turns out to be the firefighting Fast Forward. It grows dark and they finally make it to the camel feed. Phil doesn't even have the heart to draw out the drama; he says "I'm sorry to say you're the last team to arrive. You've both been eliminated from the race." Of course, he's supposed to say "You're the last team to arrive. I'm sorry to tell you that you've both been eliminated from the race." So it doesn't count as a real Phil-Limination.

One last observation: Team Coal Miner appears to have gotten a pretty good lead on everybody with the fast forward. But you've gotta wonder about their chances at the end of this thing when we finally hit the puzzle. They don't seem smart enough to handle anything really challenging.

As always, check out the Viking Pundit's excellent recap for details I may have missed.
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