Amazing Race
Muscles (and Other Things) in Brussels

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Build Me Up, Buttercup
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"Copenhagen, Denmark has the cleanest urban waterfront in the world," Phil announces. Really? How have they proven that? I do have to admit that it looks pretty clean, but it also looks about three blocks long, which must make it easier to maintain. Phil's speaking to us from the rail of Havet Ship, the Pit Stop of the previous leg and the start of this one -- which happens right about now. Phil reminds us that Ernie and Cindy won the previous leg, so of course they're leaving first, at 9:01 AM. The clue is telling them to drive themselves to Copenhagen's statue of Hans Christian Andersen, "who many scholars consider the most prolific fairy tale writer in history," according to Phil. The photo of him looks more like your creepiest uncle, unfortunately. Except the statue of that uncle has yellow clue envelopes between its feet instead of candy in its pockets. Apparently the statue is outside City Hall, which I corroborated personally (using Google Street View, of course). ,/P>

As they get back into the same product-placed car they used during the previous leg, Cindy interviews that her parents came to the U.S. from China and were probably hoping she'd marry a Chinese man, but she figures they'll see that Ernie makes her happy. And if not, well, not to go all Lou Dobbs on you, but a good way to increase the odds that your daughter will marry a Chinese guy is to keep her in China. I believe they have some there. Ernie and Cindy drive right to the statue and grab a clue from next to its foot. "Who's ready to take a fairy tale ride?" asks the introductory Roadblock question. Then Phil's walking around the statue, which has a row of odd-looking bicycles parked next to it, as he says the racers will have to memorize a poem by Hans Christian Andersen, get on one of those bikes, and use the map printed on the front wheel to get to a place called Theater Museet, which sounds a lot to my monoglot ears like a theater museum. When they get there, they'll have to perform -- not just recite, but perform -- the poem from memory for a creepy-looking drama critic in period costume sitting in the second row of the tiny theater. If he's satisfied, he gives them their next clue; if not -- if he says something like "I need more performance" and then sends them all the way back to the statue to start all over.

Cindy gets right to work memorizing the poem engraved on the base of the statue: "To move, to breathe, to fly, to float/To gain all while you give/To roam the roads of lands remote/To travel is to live." A little on the nose, but okay. And let's hope it sticks in her head better than the Confucius proverb did back in Taiwan: Which could be tricky, because a whole tour group has shown up and are taking turns having themselves photographed while sitting on the statue's base, making the poem impossible to read. Something tells me Cindy wouldn't be able to get away with saying, "To move, to br--shin, other shin--float." Some slick splitscreen editing tricks later, Cindy walks around the corner of the building, finds the bikes, and soon spots the theater on the wheel-map. She helmets up and she's on her way, reciting the poem as she goes, and agreeing heartily with the sentiment. Like anyone who goes on the Amazing Race is going to say, "Travel, meh." Upon arriving at the theater, she tells the skinny, bespectacled dude in glasses, top hat, and frock coat how dapper he looks and takes the stage, launching into a "performance" that would embarrass a junior high school student. But he's looking for quantity of performance, not quality, so after a suspenseful pause he applauds and cries, "Bravo!" She gets her clue and while biking back, she says it felt like the audition of her life. It probably should be the last one.

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Amazing Race

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