Last night's Amazing Race kept our teams in Asia, sending them on their way to Lijiang, China, via a required, pre-booked flight. Ron and Christina were very excited, since they speak Chinese, while Kisha and Jen reminisced about their time in China during their first race, including when they called Luke a bitch. Whoops. They are sorry about that. Kent and Vyxsin, meanwhile, headed into the leg with a theme of PMA, or "positive mental attitude," an attitude Vyxsin immediately forgot as the team struggled to even find and open their car to get the leg started. If they want to get better at PMA, they should probably look to Mallory for advice — girl is having a fantastic time with her dad.
Kent was definitely into the PMA thing, totally calm as he turned on the windshield wipers instead of his turn signal. Vyxsin, on the other hand, was a mess, struggling to navigate to the airport while the producers reminded us that a failure to navigate cost them their first race. Even with maps and a compass, they missed the required 9:50 a.m. flight, despite leaving the pit stop at 11:30. A Google maps search shows that a drive from Yokosuka to Narita Airport should only take two hours, so we can't even begin to imagine how many wrong turns they must have taken. Meanwhile, has anyone ever missed a required flight before? Will they get a time penalty in addition to the one they brought on themselves?
While Kent and Vyxsin were leaving their passports around the airport (yes, that happened too), the rest of the teams landed in China and hopped aboard overnight trains to Lijiang. Ron and Christina got there early, so Ron took the time to get some steamed buns for breakfast. We can't blame him — the prospect of time to enjoy local street food would have us hustling to get places first. Christina, however, was not so thrilled.
Once in Lijiang, the teams set about their series of touristy tasks. We know the Races have traveled to landmarks before, but it just seemed like every task in this leg was in an area filled with tourists — we like the Race for the slices of hidden, traditional, or just plain ridiculous (cheese wheel races, anyone?). Not that the tasks were bad: Touristy task No. 1 had the teams saddle yaks and ride them over a very pretty stretch of river. Naturally, the cowboys were right at home, though the yak handlers didn't seem too pleased with them hitting the yaks with their cowboy hats. The teams, who were all in a clump except for Kent and Vyxsin, then headed even further up the mountain to the roadblock at Spruce Meadow.
The roadblock in the sky had teams collect charms showing the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac and put them in the proper order, which they memorized from a mobile. Producers, wouldn't it have been a much more interesting task if they'd had to figure out the order on their own? Time constraints, we suppose, as it took the teams a while to find all the charms. The cowboys made rooster noises at tourists by way of asking for help, but they didn't do any better than the Globetrotters, who asked a passing yak for advice.
Only Zev and Justin really struggled with the task, though Justin provided a great example of how to encourage your teammate without screaming at him/her. Unfortunately, they took so long that Kent and Vyxsin were able to catch up to them (having taken a later flight followed by a flight to Lijiang). Kent lied and told Justin that they had car trouble and that's why they missed the flight, but Justin didn't look like he believed him (after all, they did have ten hours to get to the airport), and reminded him that he had missed a required flight. So, there will be a time penalty? Meanwhile, the rest of the teams headed to old town Lijiang via marked buses. Ron and Christina, on the other hand, hopped on a trolley by mistake, where Ron screamed until the driver stopped and Christina fell off it while it was moving. They could definitely go into the next leg using PMA, since they spent this entire one bitching at each other. They managed to flag down a proper bus, as the onboard Globetrotters were nice enough to have the driver stop. What are the chances that Ron and Christina repay them this favor later on in the race?
In town, the teams stopped for a nice, quick task of making a wish at their respective Chinese zodiac symbols. Cord wished for world happiness, Mallory wished to have a fun time with her dad, Zev wished for a long life and Christina wished to beat everyone. We missed Flight Time and Big Easy's wishes, as they were just naming all the signs until they guessed correctly which was theirs. Next, at the detour, most of the teams chose to hammer out a traditional candy (a great way to relieve race stress), but Zev/Justin and the Globetrotters instead chose to lead a procession of dancers down the streets while playing a giant horn. For reasons we will never understand, the editors chose to show us about ten shots of Ron eating the candy instead of making it, rather than shots of the gigantic Globetrotters leading dancers PMA-ly through the town. In the meantime, Vyxsin cried on the mountain (what happened to PMA?) and then left their fanny pack on the gondola. New PMA: Passports Missing Alert!
Margie and Luke battled the altitude sickness the best and made it to the pit stop first, where they won a trip to Aruba and another clue, as Phil informed them that they were still racing. Is this a new thing now? Does it have a name? Maybe Fuck-You-Phil, since that's clearly what Margie wanted to say. We're fans of the pit stops not being resting points, especially in legs like these where most of the teams are so close together, but they'll probably work better if they don't happen constantly.
Next week we're picking up where we left off. Kent and Vyxsin will have to find their bag, cabs will have neon scrolling lights, and Margie and Luke will be the first to hit the Double U-Turn.