"Bust Me Right in the Head With It": ART & JJ DOMINATE IN PARAGUAYIn a leg that saw Rachel & Dave use their Express Pass and multiple teams switch Detours, Border Patrol Agents Art & JJ simply to win their first leg of the race while twins Elliot & Andrew were eliminated in an epic finish.
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 12:22am, Army wife and combat pilot Rachel & Dave ripped open their clue discovering they had to fly to "Corazon de America," Paraguay. When they landed in Asuncion, they had to travel by taxi to Metalurgica Punta de Rieles, an equipment supplier, to search for their next clue.
Arriving at the airport just ahead of their alliance partners, Border Patrol Agents Art & JJ, Rachel & Dave walked up to the board displaying flights, finding two heading to Asuncion in the morning: a TAM flight departing at 8:45am and a Pluna flight departing at 10:45am. Investigating further at the TAM counter, the two teams More...placed their names on a standby list for the 8:45am flight because it currently was fully booked up.
With the arrival of the other seven teams, everyone buzzed around the airport, trying to find a way to secure tickets on the earlier TAM flight. Federal Agents Nary & Jamie, who continued to tell teams they were kindergarten teachers, called over best friends Bopper & Mark to put all their names on the standby list, a move that incensed onlooker JJ. Seeing even more teams come over and put their names on the growing standby list, JJ fumed, "This should be a two team race. Makes no sense." He later added, "We’re getting to the point now where we just don’t want to help anyone else…If we’re gonna basically run the race for you, that’s not gonna happen anymore."
When the dust settled and the boarding time neared, four teams made it onto the 8:45 TAM flight: Border Patrol agents Art & JJ, Army wife and combat pilot Rachel & Dave, Federal Agents Nary & Jamie, and best friends Bopper & Mark. The remaining five teams, twins Elliot & Andrew, cousins Kerri & Stacy, trainer and club promoter Joey "Fitness" & Danny, PhD student and event hostess Brendon & Rachel, and dating divorcees Vanessa & Ralph had to take the 10:45am Pluna flight. Faced with being hours behind, twin Elliot said, "It’s very frustrating. I want to be in the top position. We really, really have to do better." Vanessa added, "The rug was pulled out from under us. Our hearts dropped to the floor."
Landing in Asuncion, Border Patrol Agents Art & JJ took an early lead out of the airport, saying, "We are the team to beat." Arriving at Metalurgica Punta de Rieles, the Border Patrol agents had no choice but to use a playground slide to enter the lot filled to the brim with barbeque grills and colorful children’s playground equipment. Searching through the grills by lifting the covers, Art & JJ found a clue in one of them and ripped it open to discover a Detour, having to choose between Stacked Up and Strung Out. In Stacked Up, teams traveled to the largest fruit market in Paraguay and joined the work force during the busy watermelon season by stacking a perfectly formed 10x10 pyramid of watermelons, just like the local vendors. In Strung Out, teams traveled to an auditorium where they had to attach 36 strings to a harp, the national instrument of Paraguay.
At La Estrella Deposito de Frutas, the largest fruit market in Paraguay, all four teams from the first plane, still led by Art & JJ, began unloading watermelons from a truck and stacking them on a wood palette while roastingd under the hot summer sun. Wisely placing watermelons on their sides instead of on their ends as Bopper & Mark did, Art & JJ completed their 10x10 base first and continued their methodical stacking to build on an early lead. Meanwhile, Army wife and combat pilot Rachel & Dave could not get on the same page, as they seemed to bicker more than build. Both Rachel & Dave, hoping the Race would help them reconnect, chalked up their disagreements to Dave’s one-year deployment to Iraq. Dave snapped to his wife, "Help me out. Don’t stand and supervise." Rachel snapped back, "You’re the least encouraging person I have ever met in my entire life."
While teams on the second flight landed and reached Metalurgica Punta de Rieles, Art & JJ, Nary & Jamie, Rachel & Dave, and Bopper & Mark all neared completion of their pyramids as they gently and carefully stacked watermelons on the seventh and eighth levels of their fragile creations. With Nary & Jamie looking on in anticipation, Art & JJ placed the last watermelon at the top of their pyramid with no sign of it toppling over. As the crowd cheered in delight, the Border Patrol Agents ripped open their next clue sending them to Plaza de la Democracia. Riding away from the market, JJ gloated, "We dominated. I love being on the Race. I love it."
SWITCHING IT UP
After Art & JJ’s success, watermelon pyramids came crashing down - first Nary & Jamie’s and followed closely by Bopper & Mark’s. In the crowing achievement, Dave, about to put the last few watermelons on top, watched an entire side of his pyramid collapse. Immediately, Rachel informed Dave they were switching tasks and heading to the harp stringing. Dave suggested their Express Pass, but she quickly shot down the idea. Seeing Rachel & Dave leave prompted Nary & Jamie and Bopper & Mark to switch Detour tasks as well.
Walking out of the market and needing a taxi, Bopper & Mark crossed paths with cousins Kerri & Stacy, who just pulled up. Seeing a golden opportunity, Bopper bent the truth slightly and downplayed how difficult watermelon stacking was so Kerri & Stacy would go inside the market and give up their taxi. Driving off in the taxi, Bopper said, "They’re going kill us." Once inside, Kerri & Stacy saw the wasteland of crumbled pyramids and knew they had been tricked by the Kentucky best friends. Running back out and hunting down a new taxi, Kerri fumed, "They stole our cab!"
Back inside the market, while Joey "Fitness" & Danny quietly set to work building their watermelon pyramid, Vanessa, over Ralph’s protests, made plenty of noise about Brendon & Rachel. First, Vanessa wanted Ralph to block in Brendon & Rachel’s cart so they could not move watermelons to their palette, which Ralph refused. Then, seeing Rachel bend over to pick up watermelons, Vanessa laughed loudly at being able to see Rachel’s backside. Ralph snapped at Vanessa, "Mind what we’re doing." Having had enough of Vanessa’s insults, Rachel told Brendon they needed to switch tasks. A gleefully Vanessa told Ralph, "They’re quitting!" In the taxi heading to the auditorium, Brendon & Rachel fumed about Vanessa, saying, "She is disgusting. Vanessa is one of those girls who tries to be all sweet…[but] her disgusting smile is painted on just like her overdone makeup."
Running into Plaza de la Democracia in first place, Art & JJ ripped open their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to take part in a Paraguayan tradition, the bottle dance. Balancing a bottle on top of their heads, teams had to perform a choreographed routine without dropping their bottle. During the routine, if all the provided bottles were broken, a 2-hour penalty would be given. If they could complete the routine, the lead dancer would hand them their next clue.
With a brass band providing the soundtrack for his dancing, Art immediately dropped bottle after bottle as he could not find a way to balance one on his head long enough to complete the intricate routine that even required him to lay down on the ground. Feeling the frustration grow, Art told a laughing JJ, "You owe me!" Eventually, Art found his center of gravity and kept the bottle balanced on his head as he dropped to his knees. Then, with the bottle barely moving, Art lowered himself onto his stomach and did the last move, a swimming motion, without breaking the bottle. Opening the next clue, the Border Patrol Agents discovered they had to make their way on foot to the Pit Stop at the renowned monument, Escalinata de Antequera.
Taking a quick walk through the streets of Asuncion, Art & JJ found Phil waiting on the beautiful staircase of Escalinata de Antequera. After two legs of near misses, the Border Patrol Agents finally finished on top, winning a trip for two from Travelocity to the Bahamas. On their impressive performance, Art said, "It was a perfect day for us today. We smoked everybody." JJ added, "We don’t think we should be anything but number one every leg."
A FREE PASS
With so many teams quitting the watermelon stacking, twins Elliot & Andrew, best friends Bopper & Mark, Federal Agents Nary & Jamie, cousins Kerri & Stacy, and PhD student and event hostess Brendon & Rachel all descended upon the auditorium within minutes of each other to string harps. Seeing the majority of teams already ahead of them when they arrived, Army wife and combat pilot Rachel & Dave barely hesitated before whipping out their Express Pass, later saying, "We wanted to make sure that we were staying in the Race."
As Rachel & Dave headed to Plaza de la Democracia and Joey "Fitness" & Danny and Vanessa & Ralph kept stacking watermelons, the five teams in the auditorium tackled their knotted messes of strings, trying to untangle the 36 separate strings so they could begin stringing the harp. Musician Elliot had strung guitars before and hoped his experience would translate to the harp, but he quickly found that was not the case and began arguing with twin brother, Andrew. Meanwhile, event hostess Rachel, with no apparent musical background, still appeared confident that she and Brendon could knock out this task quickly to jump ahead. Bopper also showed skills at harp stringing, later admitting he wished he and Mark had quit watermelon stacking much sooner.
Arriving at Plaza de la Democracia in second place, combat pilot Dave chose to perform the Roadblock, but declared, "I have an odd shaped head which is not conducive to this." Both Rachel & Dave quickly realized Dave would not finish dance correctly before breaking all his bottles and incurring a penalty. When the final bottle smashed on the ground, the Army wife and combat pilot ran to the Pit Stop, saying, "Today was not our day." Once Rachel & Dave reached Escalinata de Antequera, Phil imposed a two-hour penalty on the disappointed team and they sat on the stairs to begin waiting it out. Dave commented, "Today was a complete failure on us as a team."
Inside the auditorium, twins Elliot & Andrew continued their bickering on how to string the harp as they watched Brendon & Rachel, Bopper & Mark, Kerri & Stacy, and Nary & Jamie all leave ahead of them. When the twins discovered they missed a hole for one of the strings forcing them to start over, they walked out of the auditorium in disgust planning to stack watermelons instead, but could not find a taxi to take them to the market. After taking a minute to cool down, Andrew said, "I’m not going to quit. I’m going to get it done. I don’t care if it takes me all day."
Meanwhile, at the fruit market, dating divorcees Vanessa & Ralph helplessly watched their entire pyramid collapse just as Joey "Fitness" & Danny placed a final watermelon on their own masterpiece. Now forced to take the entire pyramid down and rebuild from scratch, Vanessa refused to quit, later saying, "[Ralph] has a 13-year old daughter and it was really important to us to set an example not to quit. We were going to finish this damn thing." After sharing a kiss of support, the dating divorcees began the slow stacking process all over again.
With 48 minutes remaining on Rachel & Dave’s penalty, five teams arrived at Plaza de la Democracia where event hostess Rachel, Joey "Fitness", Mark, Nary, and Kerri all learned to master the art of bottle dancing. Just down the street, Rachel & Dave continued to worry as the clock ticked down on their penalty. One by one, teams finished the Roadblock, threatening the Army wife and combat pilot’s standing in the race. In a close footrace, Brendon & Rachel edged out Joey "Fitness" & Danny to take second place with the trainer and club promoter taking third, as Rachel & Dave looked on. Then, with mere seconds left on their penalty, Rachel & Dave watched Bopper & Mark and Nary & Jamie step on the mat in fourth and fifth place respectively before the Army wife and combat pilot finally ended their freefall in sixth place. Dave summed his day up, commented, "This leg was a complete and utter failure."
FINAL SHOWDOWN As the sun set over Asuncion with Kerri & Stacy finishing in seventh place, twins Elliot & Andrew and dating divorcees Vanessa & Ralph remained determined to finish their chosen Detour tasks. With car headlights providing a light source at the fruit market, Ralph carefully added the last two watermelons to the rebuilt pyramid mere moments after Elliot & Andrew finally tightened the last string of their harp. Getting into their taxi heading to Plaza de la Democracia, the tired twins said, "That was disheartening." In their own taxi also heading to the plaza, Vanessa guessed, "I’m pretty sure we’re dead last. But we’re gonna finish."
The twins arrived first at Plaza de la Democracia where Elliot began breaking bottles in his failed attempts at learning the choreographed dance. When Vanessa & Ralph exited their taxi at the plaza, they could not believe their eyes. After their tortuous day stacking watermelon, the dating divorcees still had a shot to stay in the race. Volunteered by Vanessa to perform the Roadblock, Ralph stood in the square next to Elliot as both men continued to smash bottles. At one point, Elliot appeared to have Ralph beat, but the twin could not maintain control of his bottle when crouched to the ground. This mistake gave Ralph the opportunity he needed, finishing the dance on his stomach with the bottle firmly planted on his head. As Vanessa cheered in delight, the dating divorcees quickly kissed and then ran through the streets of Asuncion, barely edging out Elliot & Andrew, the athletic twins who made up time in the sprint after Elliot completed his bottle dance.
Stepping on the mat in last place next to Vanessa & Ralph, twins Elliot & Andrew received the bad news from Phil that they had been eliminated from the Race. After wishing the dating divorcees good luck, Andrew told Phil, "I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was devastated." He later added, "It’s been tough but it’s been amazing. Not too many people get a chance to do this and it was ours."
2003 ROUTE MARKERS Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks. In this Detour, teams had the choice of Stacked Up or Strung Out. In Stacked Up, teams traveled to the largest fruit marker in Paraguay and joined the work force in the busy watermelon season by stacking a perfectly formed 10x10 pyramid of watermelons, just like the local vendors. In Strung Out, teams traveled to an auditorium where they had to attach 36 strings to a harp, the national instrument of Paraguay.
Stacked Up: Art/ JJ, Vanessa/ Ralph, Joey"Fitness"/ Danny Strung Out: Rachel/ Dave (Express Pass used), Brendon/ Rachel, Bopper/ Mark, Nary/ Jamie, Elliot/ Andrew, Kerri/ Stacy
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one team member can perform. In this Roadblock, that team member had to take part in a Paraguayan tradition, the bottle dance. Balancing a bottle on top of their heads, teams had to perform a choreographed routine without dropping their bottle. During the routine, if all the provided bottles were broken, a 2-hour penalty would be given. If they could complete the routine, the lead dancer would hand them their next clue.
Performed Roadblock: Art, Dave (took penalty), Joey "Fitness," Rachel, Mark, Nary, Kerri, Ralph, Elliot
Order of Finish: 1. Art & JJ 2. Brendon & Rachel 3. Joey "Fitness" & Danny 4. Bopper & Mark 5. Nary & Jamie 6. Rachel & Dave 7. Kerri & Stacy 8. Vanessa & Ralph 9. Elliot & Andrew ...