Amazing Race

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Screw U -- and U, Too!

After all this time-shifting, it's morning in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The first flight, carrying Jill and Thomas, arrives. She's "shocked" at being the only team there. It's almost like they gave themselves a Fast Forward. They get a taxi and join the mad traffic, which Jill says is like rush hour even though it's only six in the morning. And it's already hot, so we will be seeing some very sweaty racers, y'all. Jill points out a "wheelbarrow" in the road, and Thomas corrects her -- "That's a rickshaw." He's not obnoxious about it, though. They make it to the supermarket, and find where a guy is cranking sugar cane stalks through the hand-cranked press. After watching this little demonstration, Thomas starts pressing, and thus begins a veritable flurry of That's What She Saids, with Thomas saying things like "It shoots everywhere" and "Right in my eye," which by themselves wouldn't be so innuendorrific, but we're also getting close-ups of long, stiff stalks of sugar cane thrusting ardently toward the camera. After filling a glass, Thomas shotguns it, and doesn't bother to take the time to tell us how it tastes before opening their clue. "Hey, Jill?" he says mildly while she pours herself a shot to try it herself. Well, maybe he could have described it to her. Although I'm sure he used to have raw sugar cane juice all the time at the Notre Dame cafeteria.

The clue is for a Detour, and here's Phil, walking along a gangplank from a longboat to the flotsam-littered shore, talking about "which time-tested tradition they'd like to tackle." Going with alliteration this week rather than a tortured theme -- good call. The first choice is "Balanced Meal." For that, teams have to collect stacks of interlocking metal food containers called tiffins -- thirty stacks, to be exact, at four containers apiece. Then they'll have to be rowed across the harbor to a ship, where one of them will have to climb aboard and lift the containers up to the deck. Then they have to bring ten empty containers back to the shore to get their next clue. "Balanced Bricks" is a bit more straightforward; they'll need to balance baskets of bricks on their heads to carry them from a supply barge to a shop, until they've delivered a hundred of them unbroken.

Thomas decides they're doing Balanced Bricks, overriding Jill's doubts -- and also her doubts about getting onto a rickshaw, with their giant backpacks on their laps. She's rather terrified as they merge into traffic, but Thomas happily raises an arm to keep his elbow from getting clipped by a bus they're passing. "Just keep your extremities in," he advises. She thinks "extremities" means her yelling, so he defines it for her as "Your arms and your legs." Which are limbs, Notre Dame, but far be it from me to point an extremity or step on one of Thomas's when it comes to correcting people. Jill complains about the ambient smell, and keeps wondering whether various animals they spot on the walk from the rickshaw to the docks are dead or not, but they soon find the barge, which is low and wide and not much bigger than my dad's fishing boat. Jill's already sweating as she gets a fully-laden basket hoisted up to her head (which is protected by a thickly padded headscarf for the task), and then drops all the bricks on the gangplank before even stepping off the barge. A lighter basket seems to serve her better, although she's still worried about falling into the water -- or, as she puts it, "this water," which is pretty nasty-looking. Thomas is being uncharacteristically patient and encouraging, which I guess he can afford to be when they have a seven-hour lead .He remarks on the guys half his size carrying two to three times the number of bricks and "barely breaking a sweat." They make it through some worrisome traffic and make it into an alley yard to dump their bricks before going back for more.

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Amazing Race

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