Amazing Race

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Going, Going, Goths

Only fifteen minutes later (or 8:15, according to the subtitle), Kent and Vyxsin are landing in Li Jiang. I have to admit that their plane got them there faster than the other teams' trains did. They'd be in good shape if all the other teams had also missed the flight. The Goths find a cab, and while riding to the mountain, Vyxsin says, "Maybe once we get up there we'll see some other teams...It's been days since we've seen anyone," she adds with a demented grin. And she's not even exaggerating. They force themselves to act cheerful, because they are the worst Goths ever.

"Jade Dragon Mountain, Elevation - 10,629 feet" reads the subtitle. After some picturesque shots of flags and a stone arch bridge, the re-racers look out the window of the shuttle bus to see hat looks like a community of yak herders and their charges congregated around a part of the river marked by...well, you can't really call it a waterfall, because the water is flowing so smoothly over a series of terraced, flat-topped rocks that it looks completely fake. "We about to go in that water," Big Easy guesses. Justin agrees, "Zev's getting ready to get wet and cold." Zev says, "No, he's not," trying to keep his cool and almost succeeding. They spot yaks with saddles, and when they see the clue box, a communal cheer goes up. Don't ask me how eight teams are all on one bus together without any of the camera operators getting each other in the shot. The bus lets them off, and they all run along what looks like a long footpath before they get to the clue box they spotted from the road. Ron gives a theatrical moan so we all know how hard this is for him. Everyone gets the clue at so close to the same time the subtitles don't even bother putting them into ranks.

While standing in the middle of the shallow part of the river, Phil tells us, "The yak is an indispensable part of life in this part of China. Every day, hundreds of Chinese tourists come from the big cities to ride the yaks and take pictures with them." I assume that's not why they're indispensable. Darwin never took tourism into account. Phil does his part by posing dorkily next to a yak for a photo of his own. All the teams have to do here is saddle a yak (hello, Cowboys) and ride it across what Phil claims is a "precarious section of the river" (precarious for a bug, maybe, but not for a couple of tons of wooly alpine mammal) to get their next clue from someone standing on the far bank. Everyone gets to work throwing blankets and saddles over the backs of yaks, assisted by the yak herders. Cord seems to get done first, unsurprisingly, and heads across the river. There's a handler on foot leading each yak by a short rope, so it's even less demanding that it sounds. Cord goofs around like he's at a rodeo, smacking his hat against his yak's flanks. "Don't hit the yak!" Jet hollers from the bank. That does seem like poor yak etiquette.

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Amazing Race

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