|Posted on Dec 5, 2011 11:30am|
SHOCKER IN PANAMA
Professional snowboarders Andy & Tommy, front runners and winners of six legs, stumbled in Panama City, Panama and fell short of the final three as dating couple Jeremy & Sandy win their first leg of the race.
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 3:46am, professional snowboarders Andy & Tommy ripped open their clue instructing them to dress up as two characters from the famed Tintin comic and must figure out that they are notorious detectives known by one of three names: Dupont & Dupond, Johnson & Johnson, and Thompson & Thompson. Then, from looking at a photograph, they had to locate a mural of Tintin somewhere in the city of Brussels and tell Tintin what they learned to receive their next clue.
After putting on black suits, white shirts, black ties, black derby hats, and black moustaches to complete the dashing outfits, Andy & Tommy explored the streets of Brussels at 4:00am, hoping to find someone coherent enough to tell them who they were dressed as. Striking out with everyone they encountered, the professional snowboarders eventually got a response from one man who suggested they had something to do with Charlie Chaplin. Armed with this piece of information, Andy & Tommy scampered off to an internet cafÃ© where they looked up the name Charlie Chaplin and believed they confirmed their identity along with Tintin from their picture.
A SMALL STUMBLE
Meanwhile, as Andy & Tommy took their incorrect information and headed to the mural of Tintin, the other three teams independently uncovered their true identities as the notorious bumbling detectives, Dupont & Dupond (known also as Johnson & Johnson and Thompson & Thompson in other languages), from the Tintin comic series. Dating couple Jeremy & Sandy reached a real life Tintin clad in his traditional blue sweater standing under a mural of his likeness and told him they were detectives Johnson & Johnson and he was Tintin. Now in first place, Jeremy & Sandy ripped open their clue instructing them to travel by train and plane across the Atlantic Ocean over 4,000 miles to Panama City, Panama. When they landed, they had to take a boat up the Chagres River to the village of Parara Puru.
In second place, Ernie & Cindy correctly told Tintin their identity and, before walking off to the train station, the engaged couple overhead Andy & Tommy incorrectly guess that they were Charlie Chaplin. As the professional snowboarders ran back to the internet cafÃ© to search out the correct answer, Ernie & Cindy met up with Amani & Marcus who also correctly told Tintin their identities. The two teams celebrated the small stumble by Andy & Tommy, hoping for more mistakes by them in Panama. Marcus said, "We need them to slip up and we got them. It just shows they're not invincible after all." Once Andy & Tommy returned to Tintin with their proper identity, the professional snowboarders met the other three teams at the train station. With all four teams on the same train and plane, Sandy remarked, "We can't make mistakes so we just have to make sure we're perfect from here on out or we're going home."
Landing in Panama City, Panama just as night fell over the city, Andy & Tommy took an early lead out of the airport, just ahead of dating couple Jeremy & Sandy. Arriving at the shore of the Chagres River, both teams jumped out of their taxis and ran down the embankment into waiting boats, where Jeremy & Sandy got a small jump on Andy & Tommy. As local villagers navigated the two boats through the waters in pitch black darkness, Jeremy said, "This is awesome. Can't see anything." Jeremy's excitement soon turned to frustration though when his & Sandy's boat hit a sandbar. As Andy & Tommy rode past in their boat, Jeremy jumped out of his and helped the local driver dislodge the boat from the sandbar and get it operating again.
Arriving at Parara Puru in first place, Andy & Tommy were greeted by the villagers, who serenaded the professional snowboarders with music. Andy said, "This is what makes Amazing Race so special"¦where you come in a tribal village and you experience a culture you never get to experience before." Being first, Andy & Tommy signed up a 7:00am tattoo appointment for the next morning, giving them a lead over the remaining teams who would receive 7:20am or 7:40am appointments.
After dislodging his boat from the sandbar, Jeremy along with Sandy, reached the village to take the only 7:20am appointment, leaving Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy a pair of 7:40am appointments, 40 minutes behinds behind leaders Andy & Tommy. As teams bedded down for the night in the village, the impending elimination loomed large in their thoughts. Sandy noted, "Andy & Tommy do have luck on their side. I don't know what it is about them." Marcus said, "We got our work cut out for us. It's an uphill climb, but I think we're suited for the challenge." Cindy added, "I'm stressed. I do not like to be in last place."
The next morning, after the sun rose over the lush, green, Panamanian landscape, local villagers escorted Andy & Tommy to a pair of tree stumps where they took a seat in preparation for their tattoos. Then, two village women took Andy & Tommy's arms and began to paint the next clue on their arms. From the writing on the tattoo, teams had to figure out they needed to travel back to Panama City and find the San Francisco Bay Towers. After their tattoo was completed, the professional snowboarders jumped into their boats, trying to maintain the 20 minute lead they held over Jeremy & Sandy.
Reaching the San Francisco Bay Towers in first place, Andy & Tommy ripped open their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to walk across a tightrope 35-stories above the ground between the two towers, pick up a clue, and then complete a roundtrip by facing the tightrope one more time. In order to keep the number of performed Roadblocks equal between team members, Andy, Sandy, Cindy, and Amani all had walk the tightrope.
As an excited Andy geared up on the rooftop for the potentially terrifying high wire walk, a much more frightened Sandy followed behind, watching the numbers in the elevator slowly climb to the 35th floor. Waiting on the opposite tower, Jeremy shouted his one piece of advice to the nervous Sandy, "Don't look down." Watching Andy deftly and nimbly cross the wire in blazing speed did not help calm Sandy's nerves as Tommy noted, "Sandy doesn't look happy right now." Just as Andy returned from walking across and back between the towers, Sandy climbed onto her wire, saying, "I'm scared to death, but I gotta do it." Now watching Sandy do her best to remain calm as she inched across the wire, Andy could not resist poking fun at his terrified competitor, shouting, "Check out the view, Sandy. Cable's a little wobbly." Returning to the solid ground below, Andy & Tommy ripped open their clue sending them to the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps.
With steely determination, Sandy overcame her fears and completed her journey 35-stories above the ground. Reaching the platform, she broke out in a smile, saying, "It went well. I did it. I'm so proud of myself." As Cindy and Amani prepared for their tightrope walk high above the city, down below Jeremy & Sandy asked their driver how to find the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps. The driver then conferred with the taxi drivers of Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus until all three figured out where the statue was. Getting into the taxi, a frustrated Jeremy said, "All these teams know exactly where we're going."
FILET OR SOLE
Spotting a shaved ice vendor near the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps with a cart full of clues, Andy & Tommy ripped open one to discover a Detour with the choice of Filet or Sole. Filet required teams to travel to the largest fish market in Panama and deliver exact amounts of assorted seafood to different vendors scattered throughout the market. Once they delivered all their fish, the fishmonger would hand them their next clue. Sole required teams to work with a single piece of leather for a sole and straps to make a pair of sandals. When the cobbler felt they had the perfect fit, he would hand teams their next clue.
Reaching the Salsipuedes Market, Andy & Tommy got to work making a pair of sandals by first cutting their piece of leather into the shape of a foot and sizing it on their customer who sat patiently in a chair. Then, the professional snowboarders used tools to bole holes in the leather for the straps to go through. With Jeremy & Sandy and Ernie & Cindy joining them at the market, Andy & Tommy tried to work fast to maintain their lead.
In last place, Amani & Marcus chose to deliver fish at El Mercado de Mariscos, but because all the taxi drivers communicated at the Roadblock, the married couple were taken by their driver to the Salsipuedes Market where the other three teams already had a sizable lead on sandal making. With a big decision to make, Amani & Marcus chose to run out of the market and travel to El Mercado de Mariscos instead of staying and making the sandals.
As Andy & Tommy moved on to lacing their sandals, Amani & Marcus arrived at El Mercado de Mariscos and began deliver seafood to the various vendors. Because each vendor would only accept a certain poundage of the shrimp, squid, and barracuda, Amani & Marcus benefited from being the only team there. Being the only delivery team gave them total run of the market, allowing them to deliver to any and all open vendors without having to compete against the other teams.
LOOKING FOR CLUES
Completing their pair of sandals, Andy & Tommy headed to Cathedral Square where the professional snowboarders had to figure out that the name of their next Pit Stop, Panama Viejo, was hidden on the dress of one of a group of pollera dancers and symbolized on their necklaces. Andy & Tommy began to slowly inspect each of the dancers as they twirled around the square to the beat of the Panamanian band behind them. The professional snowboarders failed to notice the large writing on the bottom of one of the dancer's dresses directing them to Panama Viejo, but instead honed in on a necklace with the word Balboa. Convinced they had the right answer, Andy & Tommy ran to a taxi and told the driver to take them to Balboa.
After delivering all of their seafood, Amani & Marcus vaulted into second place, but, like Andy & Tommy, the married couple was stumped at Cathedral Square. Watching the pollera dancers circle around them, Marcus asked, "We gotta dance or what?" When Jeremy & Sandy and Ernie & Cindy reached the square after finishing their sandals, all three teams inspected the dancers, but could not find the name of the Pit Stop. Frustrated, Marcus said to the lovely dancers, "Why do you all keep doing this to me?"
As the other three teams stood in confusion, Andy & Tommy believed they reached the Pit Stop when their driver pulled up to the Panama Canal. A confident Andy told Tommy, "This is it for sure dude." However, as they exited their taxi, the professional snowboarders felt something was not quite right. Asking a canal officer about the word Balboa, Andy & Tommy were told there was a statue of Balboa on Avenida Balboa. Returning to their taxi, they directed their driver to the statue of Balboa, hoping this would be the Pit Stop and a berth in the final three.
When Andy & Tommy found the statue of Balboa, they knew they had made another costly mistake. A confused Tommy said, "There's nothing there." With no other option, the professional snowboarders told their driver to return to Cathedral Square. An optimistic Andy said, "Everybody could have saw it. Everybody could have missed it. We missed it. All we can hope is someone else missed it too."
At Cathedral Square, the other three teams felt the pressure of the moment and began to make decisions on where to go. Making the same mistake as Andy & Tommy, Ernie & Cindy spotted the Balboa necklace and darted off to their taxi in search of it. Likewise, Amani & Marcus also noticed the Balboa necklace and asked their taxi driver to take them to the statue on Balboa Avenue. However, dating couple Jeremy & Sandy spotted a different piece of jewelry on one of the dancers. Noticing a belt that had an etching of a building, Jeremy decided to draw it in his notebook and show it to his driver who immediately recognized it as Panama Viejo.
Sitting nervously in their taxis, the three teams had no idea if their drivers knew where to take them. In an incredible stroke of luck, the relationship the three taxi drivers forged at the Roadblock paid off handsomely for Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy. With Jeremy & Sandy's driver knowing to drive to Panama Viejo, he called the other two drivers, who only knew about Balboa, and told them to take the teams to Panama Viejo as well. When her driver now expressed confidence about where to go, a surprised Cindy exclaimed, "Someone called him and now he knows something. We're going somewhere."
As the three teams headed to Panama Viejo, Andy & Tommy returned to Cathedral Square where this time the professional snowboarders spotted the words Panama Viejo emblazoned in bright red letters at the bottom of a dancer's dress. Jumping back in the taxi, Tommy said, "Semi-finals are tough." More pessimistic, Andy noted, "I think we were leading the pack and I'm sure we're not now."
Arriving within moments of each other at Panama Viejo, the three teams searched the sprawling grounds for Phil and the Pit Stop. Reaching the mat in first place, dating couple Jeremy & Sandy screamed in delight as they received a trip for two from Travelocity to Turks and Caicos. Joining the massive celebration on the mat were engaged couple Ernie & Cindy in second place and married couple Amani & Marcus in third place with no Andy & Tommy in sight. Marcus told Phil, "This is like David and Goliath. They're [Andy & Tommy] like giants. We're the Davids. We did enough today to make it to the finals. Unbelievable."
After Andy & Tommy stepped on the mat in last place, Phil delivered the shocking news that the professional snowboarders, winners of six legs, had been eliminated from the race. Phil told the disappointed pair, "I thought you'd be in the final three for sure." Tommy replied, "We did too." Later, Andy reflected, "I wouldn't chang