THE AMAZING RACE 18 “You Don’t Get Paid Unless you Win (Varanasi, India)” Recap

THE AMAZING RACE 18 “You Don’t Get Paid Unless You Win (Varanasi, India)” Episode 7 – We stay in India, heading to the banks of the Ganges as teams play in traffic and with buffalo manure in the Varanasi leg of THE AMAZING RACE 18 where Ron wanders through a task and Vixsyn takes an unexpected dive into the river.

Leaving the Fountain of Joy in the Kolkata Maidan park:

Leaving last leg’s Pit Stop, Gary/Mallory are the first to get their clue at 1:18pm telling them to fly to Varanasi and find a Tonga Stand to get the next clue. We see a little footage of their yummy feast from the night before and Mallory is, as always, thrilled. That Snapple has yet to show up in my grocery store, by the way. Has anyone tried it? Anyway, the bunching of Jet/Cord, Ron/Christina, Zev/Justin, and Kent/Vixsyn are next, each one minute apart, followed by Kisha/Jen a half hour later. Flight Time/Big Easy are the last to leave at 3:45pm.

All the teams except Kent/Vixsyn head to the airport, who stop at a travel agency first. While six of the teams get a Kingfisher flight scheduled to land in Varanasi at 10:45am, Jet/Cord go to Jet Airways and end up on a flight getting in an hour later. As Jet says, “It’s gonna be a long day.”

Tonga Stand:

Getting to the Tonga stand means it’s time for cab wars. Zev/Justin’s has to stop for gas while Flight Time/Big Easy’s very much gets into the spirit of racing and zooms along, horn blaring. Kent/Vixsyn still get to the clue box first, though and learn it’s Roadblock time.

Roadblock:

Who is ready to search for the meaning of life? The streets of India are filled with Sadhus-holy men who , according to Justin, look like “anorexic Santa Claus”-and using only six pictures as reference, racers must roam the street to find six Sadhus who will each give them a clue that consists of a word/pair of words. When the six clues are unscrambled, the meaning of life will be revealed. “Once you’re over the hill you pick up speed.” I’m not sure that’s the meaning of life, but it sounds true to me.

Kent, Big Easy, Jen, Ron, Justin, Gary, and Cord do this task with Big Easy helping first Jen, then Justin. Gary and Kent work together until they find the last clue when Kent bolts away, even though he told Gary he would get him to the last Sadhu. Love that when Kent gets back to the waiting racers, Mallory knows exactly why Gary isn’t with him. Zev has a tough time listening to the incredibly loud traffic, but Mallory gives him earplugs that help. Nothing can help Ron, who has some sort of mental block about this task and roams, lost, far away from the street. I have no idea how much time he loses here, but wow, it’s awful.

Jen finishes first to get the clue saying racers must go to Tulsi Ghat and find the Swaminath Akhara, a wrestling strength and conditioning club. There the next clue is near the strong man. Justin is second, then Big Easy, Kent, Gary, Cord, and finally, eventually, Ron.

Swaminath Akhara:

Zev/Justin and Flight Time/Big Easy arrive first because Kisha/Jen get lost and end up the third team to get their clue telling them it’s Detour time. Kent/Vixsyn get there fourth, followed by Gary/Mallory, Jet/Cord, and Ron/Christina.

Feed the Fire or Feed the Buffalo Detour:

In Feed the Fire, teams travel the Ganges and then follow a path to a milkman’s home where they must make fifty traditional buffalo manure fuel patties, slapping them onto a wall to dry in the sun. They then must load a stove with fuel patties and light a fire to boil milk for kids. In Feed the Buffalo, teams must cross the Ganges to get bales of hay, then cross back over to bring the hay through the narrow streets to the address attached to their bundles. When they properly deliver the hay to the milk farm, they get their next clue.

Feed the Fire:

Kisha/Jen, Kent/Vixsyn, and Gary/Mallory choose this task and go to Sakkha Ghat to find the right house. While it’s made clear to us manure is involved, the racers apparently didn’t know, but as far as I’m concerned, The Amazing Race should always involve poop. “The crap you do for a million dollars,” indeed. Gloves are provided, but not nose plugs, so Kisha/Jen do a little gagging and retching while Mallory takes a walk down memory lane because she’s wearing the same outfit as when she stood in the Russian manure pile in The Amazing Race 17. I wonder if she did burn the clothes. Hee. The local woman judging the patties is tough, which I love, so all the teams have to remake at least a few.

Kisha/Jen finish this task first and are third overall out of the roadblock. Kent/Vixsyn finish next and are fourth overall, followed by Gary/Mallory in fifth.

Feed the Buffalo:

Zev/Justin, Flight Time/Big Easy, Jet/Cord, Ron/Christina head to Kameshwar Ghat to complete this seemingly easier task, which is especially right up the Cowboys’ alley, though I doubt they have ever had to cross a river to get hay. Anyway, it’s very straightforward with Zev/Justin finishing first. They are also the first overall to get the next clue telling them to go across the Ganges to Ramnagar where they will find the next Pit Stop, Ramagar Fort. Flight Time/Big Easy are right behind them with visions of going from worst to first. Jet/Cord finish next and are sixth overall leaving the roadblock.

Pit Stop:

All the teams except Kent/Vixsyn and Ron/Christina take regular taxis to the fort. Kent/Vixsyn get into a water taxi, but Vixsyn quickly thinks it was a mistake and jumps into the water to pull the boat back to dock with Kent screeching at her the entire time. These two are becoming more dysfunctional by the minute. Ron/Christina take a water taxi and stay in it, hoping the quicker ride will keep them in the race.

Alas, it is not to be because Flight Time/Big Easy do indeed take the leg and win a trip to Hawaii. Zev/Justin land in second, followed by Kisha/Jen in third, Gary and the perpetually sunny Mallory in fourth, Jet/Cord in fifth, and Kent/Vixsyn are sixth. Ron/Christina finish last and are eliminated.

Notes:

I’m sorry Christina was eliminated and while Ron has been less annoying the last couple of legs, watching him get so lost was painful and I think their ousting is for the best. Now Ron can be fed more regularly.

This feels like a faster leg than we’ve had lately, probably because the clues are easy to find and there are no extra tasks. Feed the fire is the most entertaining task because I’m ten, and I’m glad I don’t have to drive in Indian traffic because at least in Boston you don’t generally have to contend with elephants, etc. along with the aggressive drivers.

I have officially had it with Kent/Vixsyn. It’s strange because while they are exponentially more annoying than their first race what with the sniping at each other and the locals, not to mention pushing the guy out of the cab, they’re still far from being one of the worst all-time teams. Still, they’re grating on my nerves in a way few teams have. It’s weird and visceral and I can’t quite explain it, but I want these two gone as soon as possible.

I love that all the teams are a bit uneasy when the Cowboys arrive at the Roadblock. Vixsyn’s’s right: they (excluding the first couple of legs) are efficient and should always be considered a threat. It also makes me happy to see racers helping each other. Big Easy is especially good about that this leg, so it’s nice to see him and Flight Time finish first.

What did you think of the leg and Ron/Christina’s elimination? Who do you think is racing strongest right now? Who are you rooting for? Are Kent/Vixsyn annoying anyone else or is that just me? Let me know in the comments.

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