Teams leave Calgary for Vietnam, more specifically, the Mekong Delta. Surprise location cause before the season started, I was expecting some place in Europe. Vietnam is cool, though. Lots of opportunity for unusual tasks, language difficulties, heat, humidity and jet lag recovery. All these things can add up so teams commit more mistakes than usual. And boy does that happen.
All on the same flight (Hey Air Canada, we missed you) and it's dash out of the airport to find the water taxi but it's late at night so I was pretty sure it was going to be closed till morning, sign up as you arrive. And it was, although in all the excitement, I forgot who was in the lead and who was at the back of the pack. Still, it was fun hearing teams at the viewing party laugh at themselves as they said and did various things. Next task was to get on a water taxi, hit the water market and using a list written in Vietnamese, figure out the 4 things you need to get and bring to the Clue Giver. Sure he had a name but I watched the show in bar with a bunch of people.
Stephane and Antoine figure out the system very quickly and power through. Kelly and Kate are right behind them. I saw a bunch of other teams but they were all wearing silly hats. Maybe traditional hats but some teams looked silly. Joel told me they wore the hats for awhile but it seemed to get hotter while doing so. It was not only hot, he noted but very humid. Dripping with sweat, he said.
So yeah, Stephane and Antoine are done first, and they have to take a public ferry to get to the Roadblock. Kelly and Kate are on the same ferry. At the Roadblock, they have to herd 20 ducks into a pen. Seems pretty basic although Kelly (or Kate, sorry girls can't tell you apart yet. I have very bad visual memory), doesn't like ducks. It's a nightmare come true, she says. That's an unusual nightmare, mine normally involve some dude in my house and I can't move and then there are leprechauns and dancing bears, olive oil and... I digress. Back to the ducks. Kelly or Kate (again sorry, visual memory thingy, feel free to clue me in cause I need it sometimes), is happy they don't have touch the ducks and starts herding those things. Oh yeah, this is definitely a Gord task. As a train conductor at Fort Edmonton this summer, he's good at herding unruly crowds.
Meanwhile, four more teams take the water taxi task to task (say that fast 3 times) and grab the next clue. However, instead of jumping on the public ferry, teams jump back into the water taxi and head across the river. Several classic mistakes made in this moment. First, none of the teams read the clue. And that's the first rule of Amazing Race Canada: Read the Clue. Second rule: Read the Damn Clue! I'm not sure who set off this chain of events but the next mistake is that instead of reading the clue and doing what they were supposed to do, teams just follow another team and do what they do. Another classic mistake. Race your own race; just cause one team is doing one thing one way, it doesn't mean you have to follow them. If you had read the clue Jillian and Emmett, Rita and Yvette, Joel and Ashley, and Anne and Tanya, you wouldn't get that 30 minute penalty. Yep that's coming. You'll see when you jump on the mat.
Steph and Kristen start to follow the other teams in this mistake but then decide "Hey we should read the clue". And discover that bit about the ferry. Turnaround taxi and take us to the ferry. Sure, it might seem like going the long way around but it's the right way around. And it will pay off in the end.
So then we got a bunch of teams at the ducks, some getting them in fast, some forgetting to close the gate (Well done producers showing the number of ducks counting down as they came running out) and one racer, Stephane, being way to helpful. He may have forgotten that it's a race. Or maybe he's a dad and he likes to help people out. Either way, their first place is slowly drifting away as team after team finish the task, a good number of them getting help from Stephane. Antoine is a bit livid on the sidelines seeing this happen. But there's little he can do about it. If you're gonna help, do it like Amy and whomever that other racer, Steph or Kristen, to work together. "I'll help you get your 20 and then you help to get mine." That's how Gord probably would have done it.
So it's Kelly and Kate done first, Or was it Joel and Ashley? Never mind. And they have to carry two of the ducks to a market to get the next clue. More nightmares come true (Really? ducks are your worst nightmare? Oh well). And then Kelly and Kate's speed bump and the nightmare becomes even more intense since they have to carry 20 frogs to another stall. One in each hand will take awhile but at least they don't have to eat them. Other teams are hitting a Detour. Don't recall the titles but one involved dancing, the other involving the collection of 60 coconuts in a sampan, row the sampan down the river and carry them down the path. If you followed Gord and Wayne long enough you'll know we don't do dance tasks. Only if we have too. And the coconuts seemed easier cause we can canoe and carry.
But Ashley and Joel, Rita and Yvette, Kate and Kelly (after transporting nightmarish frogs), Amy and Frankie take the dance task. Ashley's got a lot of experience dancing but dad, not so much. But teams practice and watch, practice and watch. Meanwhile, on the other side of the task we got Jillian and Emmett, and Julie and Lowell. Steph and Kristine watch dance for a second but boom, they're out of there. Same with Anne and Tanya. Jillian and Emmett struggle a bit with Jillian yelling at Emmett wondering why he doesn't listen to her. And here, I try to help a team. Like I did for Matt and Dana for the most recent US versions. Based on how Emmett doesn't listen to Jillian's comments, there's a strong possibility he has trouble processing auditory information. I mean, his ears hear the words but the brain doesn't process them that quickly. And to someone on the other end, that's frustrating cause you're talking and they don't seem to be listening. And then you yell so they do listen but that only frustrates them and then get stressed and their difficulty process auditory information becomes worse. That could be it. When I mentioned it in the blog about Matt and Dana, and then she read it, something clicked and she agreed that could be the problem. The trick is to be patient and wait for them to process. But during a stressful race, that's hard to do. Okay, I'm done with my therapy session.
Anyway, Joel and Ashley get the dance task done first and it's off to the pitstop. And Jon says the words you never really want to hear: "You are the xxx team to arrive." That means something happened and you can't check in. Yes, they didn't read the clue about the ferry and have to wait 30 minutes. But luckily, no team arrives and they are in first. Big cheer at the viewing party when this happened. Although Ashley admitted that was a long 30 minutes, especially since her watch was broken. They win a trip to Tokyo.
In second are Steph and Kristen, with Kate and Kelly in third. Good job reading the clues and great job Kelly and Kate from coming up from last in the previous leg and burning through to third. I'm pretty sure that if they didn't have to do the Speed Bump, they would have gotten first. A great leg by these two. Kudos also must go to Anne, who did the majority of the coconut task when Tanya got hit by dehydration and possibly heat stroke. First, she made sure there was a medic to take care of her teammate and then went to complete the task while Tanya recovered. Also, nice job (I'm being sarcastic) to Julie who in her haste to get to the mat, guided Lowell into a pole. Ouch! Sorry Joel, I hope you're okay but it was some nice slapstick. We all laughed at the viewing party, yes we did all of us, but we all felt bad that we did.
Despite Anne's heroics, I'm pretty sure they thought they were out. There they were, sitting out a penalty when Stephane and Antoine comes up. But no doubt a sigh of bittersweet relief when Jon tells them the Quebeckers have a 4 hour penalty. So the Father and Son team, the only remaining all-male team, is out. Sad to see them go but that's how it works.
Next week, teams are in Ho Ch Minh City, Gord may go to the viewing party, but I will be in South Africa for a family holiday. I'm gone for two weeks, which is why there is no interview this week (gotta finish packing), or for the following two weeks. We'll have our video recap tomorrow but nothing from me about TAR Canada until the first week of August. So enjoy the race and I'll see you all when I get back.