Amazing Race
Taipei it Forward

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The second bus arrives in the district with the twins and the showgirls, and they agree to work together for now. And they immediately discount the correct billboard. "I think it would be more obvious," one of the twins says. Which is an understandable sentiment, given how the last few seasons have gone, even though she's entirely incorrect. Finally the last bus drops off Bill and Cathi, who repeats, "Look up for your next clue." Which they take as literally as possible while Bill makes a lame crack about ordering Chinese food. The snowboarders have met up with Team Survivor, back under the correct billboard. Ethan and Jenna go sprinting off wildly as soon as they hear "Confucius Temple" from a local, but Tommy's unwilling to actually act on a clue that comes in red-and-yellow balloons instead of red-and-yellow stripes. Okay, first of all, they're umbrellas, and second of all, this is a much more obvious clue than some dude's underwear.

Four lead teams -- Amani/Marcus, Justin/Jennifer, Jeremy/Sandy, and Ernie/Cindy -- take the train across town and run to the Taipei Confucius Temple. In the courtyard is a kiosk with clues hanging from it, and a monk in red-and-yellow robes (of course) overlooking the scene. Sandy and Jeremy, Team Pre-Owned, get to the clues first, and read that it's a Road Block: "Who's ready to play telephone?" it asks. Cut to Phil, telling us, "Although Confucius lived more than two thousand years ago, his words of wisdom live on today." And racers will get them via another relic of the past, namely a pay phone. They'll dial "1-800-CONFUCIUS" and a recorded voice will recite a proverb. They'll need to memorize it without taking notes, then run across the courtyard and repeat it verbatim to the monk to get their next clue.

Sandy, Cindy, Amani, and Jennifer are doing this for their respective teams. Now if they can just find the pay phone. It's in one of the many passageways leading off the courtyard, obviously, but Sandy goes and tries to talk to a touch-screen information kiosk, while Cindy asks the monk for directions to the payphone in Mandarin and gets nothing from him. Either he's not allowed to help her, or dude flew in from LAX with Phil and didn't understand a word she said. The flight attendant who wears glasses is taking this one for his team; I don't know yet if that's Ron or Bill. Ernie remarks on how the girls seem to be doing this one. "Yeah, 'cause they like telephones," Marcus agrees. Hilarious. Then Team Survivor arrives, and Jenna nominates Ethan to take it. Cindy is the first to find the pay phone, and when she dials the number, we hear the recording while the words appear along the bottom of the screen in a subtitle: "In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation, there is sure to be failure." Which is both ironic, in that the whole point of The Amazing Race is that teams never have any idea what's coming next and thus couldn't prepare if they wanted; and apt, in that Amazing Race teams have a high rate of failure. Seriously, it seems like ten teams lose this thing every season. Cindy hangs up, runs up to the monk, and attempts to recite the proverb, but forgets the second "previous" and gets it wrong. Too bad she couldn't do some previous preparation.

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Amazing Race

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