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Off With her Hair! We have a Bad Elephant! Trauma on Amazing Race 7

Posted by Fara Kearnes on April 20, 2005 3:52 PM |

In an exciting episode of elephant pushing, camel jockeying, 24-hour train rides, and a female racer getting her head shaved, the Amazing Racers give it their all in the India leg of the race around the world.

Last week, after each exhausted team hit the mat, host Phil handed them their next clue with that evil little smirk and a twinkle in his eye -- as only Phil can pour it on. The clue sent the shocked teams to the train station in Lucknow where they all arrived in early afternoon, only to find the train they needed didn't leave until 9 pm.

The teams hung out, then boarded the train and settled in for a comfy night in bunks, only to be woken up at 1 am to be given their next clue! Even though it was a 24-hour train ride to the next destination and they could have gotten the papers at any time, they get roused right in the middle of their slumber. Oh, these race organizers are such kidders!

Once teams arrived in Jodhpur, India, they went to the next clue at the Sardar Marker and found the clock tower was closed until 10:00 the next morning. (Natch.) This time they checked into a hotel, but Lynn & Alex went down to the street to join a street celebration for a wedding and danced the night away with other men.

At the tower, the teams snatched up their next clue and found a Detour: a choice between Truck or Dunk. Uchenna & Joyce grabbed the opportunity to try for the Fast Forward, which meant they had to travel 10 miles to a temple where they would have to participate in a good-fortune ritual: the shaving of the head. (The only problem was the clue didn't mention that last little nugget.)

Four teams chose the Trunk task: pushing a wooden tiki elephant weighing 600 pounds on rickety wheels half a mile through busy streets to a temple, where a priest would hand them their clue. For some ridiculous reason, Gretchen choose to ride ON TOP of the wooden elephant while Merideth huffed and puffed to push the enormous thing by himself. I honestly thought he was going to have a heart attack. Gretchen, with her screechy annoying voice kept shreiking "We've got a bad elephant!" Yeah, Gretch, that helps a lot! Get your ass down from there and help your husband push next time!

The old couple gets more help from the Luck God than any other team -- including "Ramber". They have been saved from 1) a non-elimination round 2) dead last to the mat for Part 1 of this leg last week and 3) barely finished 4th after being way behind everyone in the elephant push and camel race. It was only because Alex & Lynn got lost and went to the wrong palace were Merideth and Gretchen able to come in 4th and get to continue the race next week.

At the roadblock, the teams raced stubborn camels around a race course, where a couple of the beasts either stopped just feet from the finish line, or turned around and trotted off the other way. Some tension here but all the teams completed the task rather well (even though it looked like the Indian people helped them quite a bit. Too much in fact. The race is better when the teams can't recruit others to do the work for them.)

At the Fast Forward, Joyce's fears were confirmed: her hair would have to be completely shaved in order to earn the pass to the pitstop. But she didn't hesitate and did something remarkable that I doubt any of the other teams would be willing to do. She ripped off her bandana and ruffled her hair (and some obvious weaves) and said in the true Nike spirit: "Just do it." The already-bald Uchenna told his wife she didn't have to, but she was a trooper and let her hair be cut off in one of the most traumatic scenes ever seen on Amazing Race.

The ride out to the Fast Forward was too far out of the way to try and go back to the Detours, so did made a poignant sacrifice in order to win a million bucks.

And the best part? Even with a shaven head, she's still a beautiful woman! Uchenna later said: "It seemed like there was this blossoming happening with Joyce. The more the hair came off, she just got brave, and I was overwhelmed with pride." They got to the mat first because of Joyce's sacrifice of her long hair.

Alex &Lynn raced well and really helped each other but they were foiled by a driver who didn't know his local palaces. Still they thought they were ahead of the old couple and were shocked when Phil told them they were the last to arrive and were fini. Too bad, because as whiny as the boyfriends can be at times, they were more interesting to watch than the old couple who continue to bungle their way from one challenge to the next.

Rob & Amber, and Kelly & Ron who finished 2nd and 3rd, did some bonding and exchanged mutual respect -- but that won't last long. Because for one smart (or just damn lucky) team, one million bucks is getting very close . . .



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