Amazing Race
This is Wicked Strange

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M. Giant: B+ | Grade It Now!
Digging Out

The temple is something to see, an ancient stone structure lit by bonfires that actually make it look more dramatic than daylight would. There's a folk band and dancers there, because there's always a folk band and dancers, but this one is extra loud and includes a drummer who's got a bright lamp burning inside his instrument so that in the darkness it looks like he's beating on a spotlight. There's also a pair of guys doing a choreographed routine with clashing swords over one of the fire pits. I hope this temple doesn't have neighbors who have to work in the morning. Other Rachel and Dave arrive first on the racket-filled scene in the courtyard and find no clue, but the building has a locked door with a sign reading "Open at Sunrise." "Well, let's look around and see what else is here," Dave says, which is a wise suggestion even though it will prove futile. As Team Jersey is arriving, Dave asks the folk dancers if they have their next clue, and the only response they get is to be swept up into the dance around the fire pit. "Get in on this, fist-pumpers!" Dave calls when Joey "Fitness" and Danny show up. "This place is like an ancient rave." Nary and Jamie arrive, then the Border Patrol, then Brendon and Rachel, then Vanessa and Ralph, all of whom join the dancing while waiting for sunrise. "It's like a hoedown for you, right?" Dave asks Bopper. Judging from Bopper's normal speaking voice, this is actually probably a little quieter than what he's used to.

They party till the sun comes up (which only takes an hour, so it's not like they're a bunch of college students or something) and then the drummer unlocks that door to let them into a tiny room off the courtyard to grab clues. They all seem to be entering in the order in which they arrived, with no apparent discussion. Remember the old days of people fighting about that crap? Don't miss that. Anyway, this clue includes another Fast Forward, which as we all know is the privilege of skipping the rest of the leg and going straight to the Pit Stop. To win it, Phil says they'll have to go to a local hay market, where they'll have to unload 150 bales of hay off a truck and stack them in a block ten bales long, three bales wide, and five bales high. Whoever does it first wins the Fast Forward. The first two teams who arrived earlier, and thus were also the first to get their clues, both decide to go for it. That's Other Rachel and Dave, and Joey "Fitness" and Danny, in case you forgot. But Nary and Jamie, in third place, skip on ahead to the other part of the clue, a Route Marker. That one is sending them to a place called "Occupational Training International" to find their next clue, which is in a red-and-yellow metal crate in the middle of a parking lot. Impossible to miss, really. Or so you'd think. Reading their clue in fourth place, Art blinds us with his headlamp while JJ says they're doing Route Marker. Brendon word-salads something unintelligible but clearly to the same effect, and Team Kentucky and the Divorcees are also skipping it. Now Other Rachel and Dave and Team Jersey are back in their cabs and racing each other to the Fast Forward, while Nary says they didn't want to take the chance of losing the Fast Forward and having to start over. JJ points out that they've already done one during this race and thus, according to the rules, couldn't do another one even if they wanted to. As for Team Jersey and Other Rachel & Dave, the latter team gets to the hay market first and are nearly flattened by a bus blaring by as they get out of their taxi. They head over to the truck and read the sign on a preexisting haystack: "The first team to unload and stack 150 bales of hay will receive the Fast Forward award. There are three trucks available. First come, first served." Which would suck if you were the fourth team to show up for a Fast Forward, but on the other hand, when would it not? Team Jersey is here as well, and all four racers run over to the parked hay trucks, which are so heavily laden that their loads hang over their sides and someone from each team will have to use a ladder to climb up on top to start throwing down bales to their partner. Dave and Joey "Fitness" climb for their respective teams and Dave is already tossing bales while Rachel stacks. That seems backwards to me. "Remember, a solid base," Dave says. Danny's already got a big stack going as he boasts that he never looks at the instructions. Yeah, that seems smart. Other Rachel tells Dave to stop throwing bales directly onto the stack she's building. "They're not getting a solid base!" Then he nearly drops one on her head instead. Meanwhile, Joey "Fitness" and Danny are saying, "We're not gonna let a girl beat us." I don't think it's a question of "letting."

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Amazing Race




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