by Lyn Jensen
Warning: double blind U-turn ahead! On the third leg of The Amazing Race, Season 29, the first opportunity for teams to U-turn other teams comes into play. It’s usually used by one team who’s unhappy with another, or else by a team that needs to avoid being in last place. Sometimes the team that gets U-turned stays out of last place, sometimes not.
Viewers get a lesson in world geography thanks to the complicated route this leg follows: the nine teams receive clues in Sao Paulo, Brazil, instructing them to fly to Dar Es Salaam, a coastal city in the east African nation of Tanzania. Everyone gets the same flight. When teams arrive in Africa, they take taxis to a war memorial, and pick up a newspaper from a nearby stand. The newspaper contains an ad that will provide the next clue. The ad says to take a ferry to Zanzibar, an island some distance off the coast.
As the nine teams get to the ferry, no running order has transpired yet: Vanck/Ashton, Tara/Joey, Olive/Seth, Matt/Redmond, Floyd/Becca, Sara/Shamir, Liz/Michael, Scott/Brooke, and London/Logan are all bunched up.
Matt/Redmond cut in the ferry ticket line. Vanck/Ashton are already considering U-turning the male team because they reneged on an agreement during the previous leg. Now the other teams aren’t happy with them, either.
Everyone gets the same ferry, but once teams disembark, they catch taxis to a marketplace, and everyone knows a double blind U-turn board is waiting. Ashton/Vanck already want to U-turn Matt/Redmond. Tara/Joey and Liz/Michael discuss U-turning someone, too.
As teams reach the U-turn board they pick up the clues for the detour: after taking a traditional African sailboat to another location, they can weave two baskets from palm fronds, or they can build two desks and deliver them to a school. Tara/Joey reach the U-turn board first. They U-turn Seth/Olive, the policeman-firefighter team. Joey says he wants to give them a taste of what it’s like to be at the back of the pack for a change.
Ashton/Vanck are 2nd and take their chance to U-turn Matt/Redmond. U-turned teams must perform both detours.
The front-running teams are running to the sailboats as several more teams arrive. Matt/Redmond–in 6th place–discover they’ve been U-turned. The U-turn is blind but Matt/Redmond easily guess who U-turned them. Redmond yells some unsportsmanlike trash-talk at Vanck/Ashton.
Since Matt/Redmond have to do both detours, they decide to weave the baskets first. London/Logan (in 7th place) are the only other team that initially tries the basket-weaving. London reasons since she’s a crochet artist, she should be able to weave the baskets quickly. She quickly gets frustrated–too quickly, I think–and persuades her teammate to switch to the desks.
Everyone else starts the desks immediately, including Seth/Olive, who were at the back of the pack–ahead of only Sara/Shamir–when they discovered they were U-turned. Teams have to put together the type of school desks that have benches attached, using pegs and dowels instead of nails or screws, and then carry them into a nearby classroom.
Seth/Olive beat Liz/Michael by a peg. However, that makes Liz/Michael first, since Olive/Seth still have to go weave baskets. At the classroom teams try out the desks and learn a few words of Swahili, then get the next clue, which directs them to a marketplace, the site of this leg’s roadblock.
Tara/Joey are 2nd to finish the detour and move on to the RB. Brooke/Scott are 3rd, Ashton/Vanck are 4th. By this time Matt/Redmond have finished their baskets and joined the remaining teams building desks.
Tara/Joey are 1st to reach the RB, Liz/Michael, 2nd, Vanck/Ashton, 3rd. Each team gets a shopping basket and a shopping list that’s in both English and Swahili. Once they’ve done the shopping for one of the local women, she gives them the next clue, which is for this leg’s pit stop. Racers must use the money they’ve got–what they’re given at the start of each leg–for the shopping.
Mike has an advantage for this RB. He’s a butcher, and he recognizes that the word “halah” on his list means he has to get a live chicken and have it slaughtered. Joey, on the other hand, takes a while to understand. That enables Liz/Mike to move into 1st place. They get the clue for this leg’s pit stop.
Four more teams finish building the desks and start for the RB: Becca/Floyd, Brooke/Scott, London/Logan, and Matt/Redmond. That leaves Sara/Shamir building desks and Olive/Seth weaving baskets.
Liz/Michael take a taxi to the pit stop, which is at the rooftop plaza of a local hotel. Teams have to run up several flights of stairs to reach the mat and host Phil Keoghan. Liz/Michael are 1st and they win a trip to Amsterdam. Joey/Tara are 2nd.
Vanck was able to get most of his shopping list in one place, so he completes the RB quickly. He and Ashton come to the mat, and Phil tells them they’re in 3rd place.
Although Matt/Redmond were 7th to arrive at the RB, Matt’s able to get most of his list in one place, too. The male team jumps into 4th place and head for the pit stop. Scott, who’s waiting for Brooke, comments to some of the other racers, “They did two detours and a roadblock before all of us did one each.”
Matt/Redmond come up the stairs to the mat within two minutes of Vanck/Ashton. Redmond and Ashton (two of this season’s more aggressive personalities) talk more smack until they agree they’re even. Becca/Floyd, who’ve also finished the RB, join the other two teams on the mat. That puts them in 5th place–for now.
About this time Sara/Shamir finish their desks, putting them in 8th place, and Olive/Seth finish their baskets. When they reach the RB most of the other teams are gone. London/Logan and Brooke/Scott finish the RB, and arrive at the mat almost at the same time.
Wait! Floyd can’t find his passport and a team can’t be checked in without their passports. That moves London/Logan into 5th place and Brooke/Scott into 6th place.
Phil tells Becca/Floyd they need to find Floyd’s passport or they can’t continue. They go downstairs and ask at the front desk if it was turned in. It wasn’t, so they use a hotel phone to call their cabbie. (He gave them his phone number.) He has the passport and returns it–but did he bring it in time?
Sara/Shamir and Seth/Olive are struggling at the RB. Sara has run out of money–several teams were complaining they thought they were being overcharged. She has the nerve to go back to some vendors and argue with them about how she wants some money back. She finally persuades them to give her a few dollars back, and that covers the remainder of her list.
Olive has money problems, too. She runs out of US dollars, so she pays with some Brazilian money left from the Sao Paulo leg. The vendors don’t know if it’s the correct amount or not. They follow her and argue with her and Seth, but he’s finally able to persuade them to accept it.
Sara/Shamir get a taxi to the pit stop but it looks like it didn’t take them very far because they still have to run a long way. Seth/Olive run the entire distance to the pit stop.
Sara/Shamir climb the stairs to the pit stop, and Phil checks them in, putting them in 7th place. Another team’s coming up the stairs–it’s Becca/Floyd, with Floyd’s passport. They take 8th place.
So a missing passport almost saved Olive/Seth, but not quite. When they come to the mat, Phil tells them they’re eliminated and says, “The U-turn took you down.” Now one of this season’s more dominant teams is out, and two teams can’t use a U-turn when the next one happens. How will this affect the rest of the race?