MONDO EXTRAS

TARcon XIV

I hear someone asking Amanda how she felt about the U-Turn. She answers that yes, it was annoying, but Luke and Margie had no choice. "Did you see this guy?" she asks, reaching back to wrap a hand halfway around Kris's suited left gun. "He was the only one carrying a cheese down that hill in each arm." Later, when I tell her that I was sorry to see them go so soon, she chirps, "Yeah, so were we!" I tell her the one problem I had with them: they got along so well that they didn't give me much to work with as a recapper. She laughs and says she's really happy with how they were portrayed.

I have a similar conversation with Brad and Victoria. After I tell them that happy, functional couples like them make my job harder, Brad says something unexpected: they fought and got mad at each other just like anyone else, but it just didn't get shown. It's a rare reality show contestant who claims the editing makes them look nicer than they are. I tell Brad I felt bad about the way they went out, and he says, "Hey, it could have been worse." "Right, at least Phil didn't have to come find you," I agree. He says they worried about that happening for much of the leg, but all they could do was stay positive and hope another team had as much of a setback as they did. Which is basically what we saw them doing. I remark that Tammy and Victor came pretty close, and Brad agrees that would have changed the whole dynamic of the race. Indeed.

During another fresh air break, I run into Steve, looking jaunty and cheerful in a suit jacket and straw porkpie hat, and now moving from place to place under his own steam. Linda's around somewhere, he says, but I don't meet her until later, when I show them both the way to the stairs. I don't know what's going on up there, but I'm happy to help. Otherwise they might have ended up in New Jersey.

I flag down Sarah again, having remembered a question I wanted to ask her: "How many languages do you speak, anyway?" She tells me she's fluent in three, including Spanish and Portuguese, which, given that they spent, like, half that season in South America, came in pretty damn handy. So how was she always busting out the Khmer in Cambodia and what not? As she tells me, what she did was that on the plane to every destination, she would find fellow passengers who looked local, and pick their brains. She would put together a sort of mental mini-phrase book of terms like "fast, please" and "we're in a race" and "do you understand," and her natural facility for languages did the rest. What's more, she would also quiz them about popular activities where they were going. She admitted to me that none of those activities ever actually happened as part of the Race, but I heartily respect the effort. She wondered why none of the other teams seemed to do that -- not only this season (although she didn't want to name names, Jaime) but on her own season -- on her own plane. "They could see what I was doing, why didn't they do that?" she honestly wonders. As for their ultimate loss, she blames it on "overthinking." Somehow, something in the way the clue was phrased gave them the idea that the Fast Forward they attempted to won would require them to be branded rather than eat a big plate of meat, and that's what did them in. Quietly, to myself, I continue to blame Terence.

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