Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Get out of dodge - Leg 5

Welcome back to the Big Easy! In this, the 5th leg of the Amazing Race, we start out once again with the standard disclaimer that this episode was taped several weeks before the tragic hurricane devestated New Orleans.

And it's another late-night departure, but we're FINALLY heading out of the USA. Onto an airplane and off to Panama City, Panama. The first big international flight challenge. They apparently have the choice of two different flights, one arriving at about 6:30pm the other at 9:00pm. And now comes the battle to get the first flight... how many will make it? Once again, the Paolo family mother just keeps nagging. But the classic part is the ticket agent for Continental, who does nothing else but say "I'm sorry, the flight is full." At this point, I think the producers of the show have a hand in things again. I think they make very sure exactly how many seats are available on a flight, just to keep things interesting.

Now once we're in Panama, in one of the great ironies that the Amazing Race performs so well, all of the teams get stuck arriving somewhere 3 hours apart, in the middle of the night, only to have everyone wait until 7am to take a boat across the Panama Canal. Well everyone's even.

And oh yes, we're back in a Spanish-speaking country... and EVERYONE thinks they can speak the language. Vaminos, arriba, andele, rapido... you name it. Oh well, what can you expect? I guess it makes them feel festive like they're making a difference, though I fully expect that most of the people they encounter can speak perfectly decent English. Whatever.

And it's a commercial. I don't know how they pay the bills when there hasn't even been a corporate sponsor. OR HAS THERE?! How about American and Continental airlines? Could they be getting kickbacks for their shameless promotion? Hmmm...

HAHAHAHAHA. Now they're supposed to track down a scientist in a hammock named Ricardo Diaz. You'd think this is pretty easy... until you realize that there are about 50 guys in hammocks spotted all throughout the area.

Fast Forward: Tandem Bungee Jump 140ft over the Panama Canal. The only fast forward on the entire race. The Godlewski team is the first to have the chance, and they decide to skip over it. The Paolo family appears to want to get to the Fast Forward... but only one team can do it, so if you're the second team to get there, you've just made a whole mess of your chances. And the Paolo's arrive first. Now, I wouldn't expect them to chicken out on this... I mean, if I were there, I'd just push them. And the Gaghan family is right behind them... they're waiting, but I'd just turn around and get back to the detour and finish things up while you still have time. I'd bet on the Gaghan family to come in last right now. The Paolo family completed the FF and are off to the Miraflores Locks, gateway to the Pacific.

Or... the dreaded detour: Rhythm or Coos.
Find 4 musical instruments throughout this city and bring them to a jazz club... or... find 5 wooden bird replicas planted in the trees using binoculars, and circle them on a bird identification chart. Coos seems harder than Rhythm... which usually would mean I'd suggested Coos... but maybe for once I'll be wrong. The bird watching seems to be incredibly hard, but after a couple of detailed tries, they seem to have done it without too much trouble. And it turned out the hardest part of the musical instrument hunt was getting the instruments into the cases once they make it to the club. HA! Classic. Well I guess we can't all be musicians.

Paolo family... you're team number one! As winners of Leg 5, they get a vacation to none other than Panama courtesy of *** CORPORATE SPONSOR ALERT *** Travelocity! Panama? Well, I guess that's creative. :-P

Now back to the other teams taking the not-so regular route.. off to a baseball stadium. ROADBLOCK: Get a hit against a top little-league baseball team in Panama. Of course, it's one-two-three strikes you're out. And you're to the back of the line. OOOh, the Gaghan family slides into 5th place and in front of the Godlewski women, who are still trying to make a hit.

I should probably announce the fact that I have been predicting who I think will win each leg of the race, and each time except for once, my pick has come in dead last and been eliminated from the race. The one time I didn't come in last? The Linz family in the first leg, they came in 9th place out of 10. Why do I bring this up now? Because this week I predicted the Godlewski family would win... and it's quickly looking like they're going to end up in last place. Though mathematically speaking, it's just as hard to pick the last place team each week as it is to pick the first place team, so maybe I'm really good, just in the wrong way? Yeah, I'll think of it that way.

And everyone's made it out of the baseball stadium and is off to the pit stop at the Miraflora Locks. Weaver Family... team #2. Bransen Family... team #3. Linz Family... team #4 quickly after. Two teams remain... Gaghan and Godlewski. Will the team I predicted to win be eliminated? Well they're bracing for the worst... they're hoping for a non-elimination leg and are putting on all the clothes they can. Gaghan Family... team #5. That leaves the Godlewski family... and Phil's comment... "the good news is this is a non-elimination leg". The bad news is, they lose all their money, and Phil becomes repo man and takes all of their posessions except the 8 layers of clothes on their backs. On the more practical side, they've also got nothing to carry their clothes in since their backpacks were taken, and no money to buy anything to carry them in... so they're either going to be very warm, or very busy picking up their clothes that they keep dropping along the way. Well, that remains to be seen.

6 teams still remain... until next week.


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