After a couple of weeks hiatus, the original Amazing Race returned on April 1st and it was no April Fool’s prank, except on those of us who’d forgotten where they left off. Apparently we’re still in the French Alps when we began this episode and are reminded that Erin & Joslyn were eliminated from the race during the last leg. We get a quick recap of the conversation regarding Brody’s possible relationship with his competition Blair but for now Brody is just focusing on the race. Good plan for Brody. That leaves seven teams still racing around the globe and the first ones out for this leg were Tyler & Korey who are leaving the Pit Stop at 5:28am and are the first team to find out they’re heading to Armenia, where they’ll need to locate their next clue at the Yerevan Opera Theatre.
Right on their tail are Brody & Kurt as these two teams have been flip-flopping positions since the start. Leaving in third place are Scott & Blair at 6:08 with a little discussion of how her dad feels she’s become his equal . . . that’s always good for a daughter to hear. The rest of the teams are following suit and everyone looks happy to get out of the fresh falling snow. All teams make their way back to Geneva and then from Geneva to Yerevan, Armenia by way of Athens, Greece. Athens would be a great place for a leg but perhaps that’s just not in the plans for this season.
Armenia is another first for the Amazing Race and it looks like a pretty cool place to visit, but visiting is not on the agenda as all teams arrive and race out to grab a taxi and make their way to the Yerevan Opera House. Those were some pretty feeble attempts at opera, but maybe they’ll do better if they actually win the Express Pass that’s waiting for the winner of this leg. All teams need to pick up their tickets at the box office, which doesn’t open until 8:00am and it’s currently the middle of the night but everyone is excited about getting the Express Pass.
With the dawn comes the opening of the ticket office and everyone grabs their ticket and makes a run for the opera house to watch a special performance of a sabre dance, but not too closely as they’re supposed to be searching the opera house for their next clue while the performers play. I love that song so Wayne would have to make sure I stayed focused on this one, . . . while he’s searching low I’d be searching high. Speaking of searching, Kurt finds the first clue and hollers for Brody so they can get on with the race and make their way on foot to the Cascade, a staircase made from Armenian stone with 572 steps that rise almost 1,000 feet high. Teams will need to get all the way to the top to get their next clue and with my currently damaged knee that would be one hell of a climb.
Burnie & Ashley and Sherri & Cole find the next two clues and are hot on their tail, leaving the other teams behind. Not far behind though because Matt finds the clue in the janitor’s jacket and rather than drawing attention to himself he takes Dana aside and they head out before they open the clue. Good plan, because with everyone on top of each other you need whatever advantage you can create to stay ahead of the pack.
Which is where we find Kurt & Brody almost out of breath at the top of the Cascade where they grab the next clue and then start heading back down. I think I’d open it at the top just in case but they got lucky as it was time for this leg’s Detour and neither side took place at the top of the Cascade. Now all teams get to choose between making an Armenian rug, or their traditional bread, lavash.
In Thread, teams must complete a row of 200 stitches on one of the large carpets that are set up, . . . while in Bread, teams must toss and shape dough by hand and then slap it against the inside wall of an underground oven to create 15 lavash. The art guy in me would hope that Wayne and I would take Thread, but since both of us love to cook and Wayne pays no attention to tiny details we’d probably end up doing Bread, . . . which is just as well because I love a good lavash. Kurt & Brody choose Bread, while Sherri & Cole choose Thread.
Back at the opera house Blair is starting to inspect the musicians for clues, followed closely by the other two teams. You’d think they’d realize that all the other clues were found amongst the empty seats not on the stage but after awhile I guess you start thinking outside the box, or the janitor’s jacket. Burnie & Ashley choose Bread while Zach & Rachel find a clue and head to the Cascade. Only two teams left, Tyler & Korey and Scott & Blair, searching through the opera house for the remaining two clues. This is not looking good for either team, but the Detour looks like it’ll take awhile for everyone regardless of which side they choose.
Korey finally decides to ask the janitor if he’s seen a clue and the janitor just hands him one, and unlike Matt, Korey makes a scene about it and Blair notices that Korey just asked the janitor so as Korey & Tyler head out Blair and her Dad do the same thing and are right behind. Now to see which one has more stamina going up those steps, at the base of which we find Zach & Rachel choosing to do Thread even though their cab driver hasn’t a clue where the carpet shop is.
No worries, Kurt & Brody managed to find the bakery and are the first to get started on the Detour. They put on their aprons and hair cover and then watch how to make lavash. Easy peasy, right? Not so much, but they’re getting the hang of it as Burnie & Ashley arrive. Meanwhile Sherri & Cole have located the carpet weavers. Those weavers are just flying through that task, a lot faster than any of the teams are going to be doing it, . . . and there will be more as both Tyler & Korey and Blair & Scott both decide try their hand at Thread.
Back in the lavash pits, for every lavash they get to stick to the side of the oven it seems like two more slide down into the hot coals below. At that rate they’re going to need to make 45 lavash to finish the task, which will allow everyone else to catch up. No worries, Cole has his own troubles when he realizes that the technique involved in weaving is a lot more complicated than it looks and while he tries to figure it out Dana & Matt have arrived to put the pressure on. I’m not sure which of these tasks would take longer as they both seem to have a fair learning curve, but Kurt & Brody think they’re good and present their 15 lavash for inspection. Well, 6 out of 15 ain’t bad, but it’s back to the oven for the boys as Burnie & Ashley gather their lavash for similar results, 8 out of 15.
Scott & Blair have arrived and then Tyler & Korey managed to pull in to the carpet weavers just ahead of Zach & Rachel, which puts all but two teams on Thread. This could be a great task for Scott with his surgeon’s hands which are used to the fine detail work, but it’s still going to take some time. Time which the other two teams are using to smack lavash against the oven wall. Kurt & Brody make their next presentation and they’re good to go.
The next clue tells them to travel by bus to the first stop after Hatsavan to search for their next clue beside the road. Meanwhile Sherri & Cole have finished their 200 stitches and get the next clue which puts them in the front of the pack for a change. It’s not a surprise that Korey made a lot of friendship bracelets in school and really took to the loom, but Blair seems to be enjoying herself even more. Probably not as much as Kurt & Brody who are on the first #13 bus out of Yerevan to Hatsavan while Sherri & Cole get on to the next #13 bus and Burnie & Ashley complete their lavash and race off to find the third #13 bus. That’s a lot of buses just sitting around waiting for these guys.
Returning to the looms Scott & Blair had set up a system of starting from the outside and working towards the middle and were just about to meet at the exact center, when Rachel & Zach completed their stitches and headed out ahead of them. Burnie & Ashley are on the bus as Tyler & Korey complete their stitches and that drops Scott & Blair near the back of the pack again, but not as near the back as Matt & Dana who are the last to complete their task. While the last three teams try to figure out how they’re supposed to locate the bus, Zach & Rachel are on the fourth #13. It doesn’t take long for the others to figure out they need to take a cab to Republic Square before they can find the bus, but for some reason Tyler & Korey seem afraid to do so and now they’ve dropped into last place.
Now they’re racing to find a cab as Dana & Matt board a bus. All of these buses look like party buses to the racers as they listen to music and dance with the locals, but none mores than Kurt & Brody who are the first to find the next clue. Not like they had to search for it or anything as the bus pulled up pretty much right to the roadside stand and they just jumped out and grabbed one.
Roadblock on Mount Ararat, at 16,945 feet it’s an odd place to perform an oil change but that’s exactly what one team member needs to do to get through this Roadblock and then take their trusty Lada (yeah, let’s go with that) to the Pit Stop. Kurt decides this one is his and Brody is pretty thankful for that. The stipulation is that only two cars can be on the ramp at one time so this will be based on who gets there first as to who gets to leave first. At least the instructions cards are in English.
While Kurt waits for the oil to change, Scott & Blair jump onto a bus as Korey & Tyler pull up behind them. For these two teams it’s all up to their bus driver at this point. Sherri & Cole arrive at the Roadblock and Sherri gets right in there to do her husband’s job. Unless they get lost on the way to the Pit Stop this should be Kurt & Brody’s leg, . . . or not if he keeps pumping the empty drum. Eventually he figures it out and gets the oil from the correct drum but while he’s finishing up his Roadblock, Sherri has run into one of her own as she can’t remove the old oil filter and asks for help. As Kurt & Brody point out afterwards, this is not the point where you want to take the time to help another team, not with an Express Pass in the wings.
As Sherri continues to struggle Kurt waits patiently for the mechanic to give his oil change the okay and hand him the next clue . . . and he does. Kurt & Brody are now on their way to the Pit Stop, a visit to the Temple of Garni, which is like stepping back in time 1,000s of years just to find Phil. As the boys drive off in their trusty Lada, Sherri keeps fighting with the filter as Burnie & Ashley arrive and Burnie chooses to do the Roadblock. When Burnie gets to the ramp Sherri asks him how to remove the filter and he tells her she needs to find a tool for that and she should go grab it but she can’t find the tool and we also learn that Burnie used to work on girls cars in school to get dates so this should be easy for Burnie.
With two cars already on the ramp Zach & Rachel arrive to discover that they’ll have to wait for the next available spot. Zach uses the time to watch what the others are doing so he has a step up when it comes to be his turn, which will be right before Matt as he and Dana arrive.
Nolonger concerned with oil changes, Brody & Kurt are Team Number 1 and have also won the Express Pass which they can use up to the end of the ninth leg. That can be extremely useful for a team if you run into trouble but Kurt & Brody have been at the front of the pack for so long I’m not sure they’ll actually need to use it. Not like they need another target on their back.
Burnie has no problem getting his oil filter off, despite Sherri still struggling with hers and that’s gotta be a bit depressing for both her and Cole to get stuck on something so simple. Scott & Blair and Korey & Tyler arrive and Scott and Korey decide to do the Roadblock, with Korey getting the unfortunate last position for the ramp. Zach was hoping that Blair had chosen to do the oil change but no such luck, and a good thing too since it took her awhile to figure out how to get her gas cap off. I still like Blair, but she’s special.
As Burnie’s cab pulls off the ramp he fist bumps the mechanic and then races back to give Sherri a quick hand with her filter but it’s really stuck and he can’t waste any time so he heads out wishing Scott good luck and racing off to the Pit Stop. I usually find Burnie a bit annoying but he’s moved up a notch with this leg . . . his attitude has been really good and he’s been getting along with everyone. Maybe Ashley had a word with him, that usually works. As he runs off Zach drops into the pit and Sherri continues to struggle. At least Scott takes the time to come to her rescue.
Burnie & Ashley are Team Number 2 as Zach gets his completed and they head out. Despite getting help from Scott Sherri has decided to tighten her oil filter rather than loosen it. That’ll work well. Zach & Rachel are Team Number 3. Dana completes his oil change and now Scott can get his car into place. Korey comes over to help Scott in an effort to get his car out of there quickly so that he can complete the Roadblock before Sherri does. It’s a good plan I suppose, especially since she’s almost at her breaking point with this one as she comes over to him for reassurance. Blair comes over and gives her a big hug despite all the oil and tells Sherri not to give up so Sherri goes back to try again. Maybe this should have been Cole’s task.
As Sherri nearly breaks down, Dana & Matt are Team Number 4 and Scott gets the okay on his car, so while his cab pulls off the ramp Scott goes back to try again with Sherri’s oil filter. He points out what she’s been doing wrong all along and Cole finds that a bit funny. I guess at this point he has no choice but to laugh. As Sherri gets going on her Roadblock Korey tries to catch up by moving ever so much slightly faster than Sherri.
Faster is what Scott & Blair where as they are Team Number 5. Korey gets the okay, then Sherri gets the okay and it’s going to be a footrace at the Temple of Garni to find Phil . . . as long as they’re both heading the right way. Apparently not as Tyler & Korey are Team Number 6 some time later Sherri & Cole arrive to be Team Number 7. The good news is . . . they’re still racing.
It was about time for a non-elimination leg, especially after the break, and now all teams are continuing their race with another thread task and a traditional folk dance in the next leg. That leg is coming up in just a few hours so I guess I should get this post up and get ready for the next one. See you all real soon. Until that time.