Amazing Race
Not Worth Their Salt

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B- | 58 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Zip It, Bingo

After the ads, Rowan is trying to do damage control, explaining how he and the young male agent misunderstood each other. In Rowan's defense, the agent's supervisor is also looking at her subordinate like he's an idiot. Meanwhile, Shane philosophizes to the camera, "You can't have great success without great failure." Well, you're halfway there, then. The young ticket agent tells Rowan that the next bus will leave in an hour; they can get on that one and arrive in Santiago some time between 7:00 and 8:00 the following evening. In other words, one to two hours after the bus they just passed up is scheduled to arrive. "What you gonna do? "Shane figures after they have their tickets. "Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. Just another challenge." But unlike most challenges in this race, this one was avoidable.

After a bit of time-lapse indicating the passage of night, we rejoin the first bus as it arrives in Santiago at 1:49 the following afternoon. Again, the teams disembarking are, in order: Brandon & Adam, Leo & Jamal, Chester & Ephraim, Jason & Amy and Nicole & Travis. They all hurry on foot to Plaza de Armas, which is a bustling, sunlit, public square filled with vendors, folk musicians, art kiosks and all manner of other activity that looks like it's going on even when the cameras aren't rolling. Teams burst into a sprint when they spot the clue box standing amid it all, but Jason & Amy are the first team to actually reach it. "Who's got the knack to pack?" asks the Roadblock clue inside. That's an interesting question, because I don't know any combination of two people who have the same level of packing skill. For instance, my wife routinely goes on five-day business trips carrying a small backpack, whereas I frequently need more luggage than that to go upstairs.

Phil explains, standing next to a shoeshine stand, that "This Roadblock requires teams to play the role of a Chilean lustrabotas -- a shoe shiner. First they must polish the shoes of a waiting customer, and then figure out the puzzle of how to put together this complicated stand." It does look tricky, as the customer's seat has self-contained compartments and drawers where all the brushes and polishes and various bits and pieces must be stowed correctly, after which the heavy mat that the stand is parked on, as well as the shoe shiner's chair, must be balanced on the customer's seat. The whole assembly is on wheels, which allows shoe shiners to roll it around -- and also requires the racers to "push it six blocks to the Central Depot Storage Area [a series of garage-style doors running down a narrow alley], where they'll get their next clue." Amy takes this one. So does Chester, who figures he's at least got experience bagging groceries. Adam takes this for the hairballs and Jamal drafts Leo for it and Nicole takes it for the ER docs. Because ladies are better at packing, amirite fellas? Amy is the first to actually find one of the actual shoeshine stands, which is "marked" with pairs of sneakers hanging from the pushbar by their thick red-and-yellow laces. Chester takes a seat in front of a customer, and Adam gets to use some more of his Spanish as he remarks on his customer's brand-new shoes. Leo seems to finish polishing first, then Nicole, then Amy. Then they all start packing up the crap, pretty haphazardly in most cases, and Amy starts asking around in Spanish for the address that is their destination: Merced 738. Leo, Adam and Chester also get directions, while Nicole's stuff falls off the seat of the stand where she has loosely and incorrectly piled it. "So tired, oh my gosh," she says as she tries to load it all up again. Well, at least she's not having a rotten time on her birthday any more.

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Amazing Race

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