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Amazing Race Recap: Turkish Delight

There are leaders. There are followers. And then there's Rob.

By Kerri Fleming

While the Amazing Race is, essentially, a tour around the world, most legs succeed in putting the teams through some amount of misery. After all, they need to earn their free trips, if not the $1 million prize at the end. Take spending two straight legs in chaotic Bangladesh, for example, where they had to build a Boy Scout-esque scale device to weigh logs or transport ridiculously long bamboo polls in 100-degree heat. I'll stick to my couch, thanks.

But really, this leg of the race was pretty easy-peasy for the contestants. Among their "challenges": Take a scenic ferry ride. Have someone bathe and massage you. Eat ice cream. Hand out tasty beverages to intrigued locals. Not exactly pushing the limits of their physical or mental prowess, especially in a clean and organized city.

Still, the leg had its own challenges. For James and Abba, that started early. First, Abba's knees are still acting up after his trip in the Bangladeshi sewer. Then, they accidentally dropped the $100 they received for the leg in the travel agency while booking a trip to their next destination: Istanbul. While James and Abba figured the money was lost in the cab ride and was nobody's fault but their own, we all knew better: the twinnies found the money, then split it with good Christians Trey and Lexi. At the least, the finders knew the American money, found in a travel agency that had been filled with several teams, belonged to one of their opponents. At the most, they knew who those opponents were, as they guessed later on that it belonged to the rockers. Does that mean they called out, "Hey, whose money is this?" Did they stop the rockers in the airport and hand the wad over? Nah, of course not! Losers weepers, my friend!

Fortunately for James and Abba, the morals and ethics lacked Amazing Race teams were made up for by the locals in Bangladesh, who took care of these "guests" to their country by giving them back what they lost: exactly $100. Enjoyment of the twinnies: lessened. Faith in humanity: restored.

All of the teams wound up on the same flight to Istanbul, so the divide happened when Jaymes and James and Rob and Kelley opted for the subway while the rest of the teams took cabs to the ferry station that held their next clue. Apparently, there was some logic to this. Cabs are slower if there's a lot of traffic, but since it was early in the morning, the roads were clear and all of the cab teams got to the ferry station early. The rockers, none the worse for wear after regaining their money, got there first and took the ferry to the side of Istanbul located in Asia.

The twins, divorcees, Texas couple and farmers were all together on a later ferry. Realizing their mistake midway through the train ride, Jaymes and James hopped off and took a cab the rest of the way, putting some breathing room between them and Rob and Kelley. Rob, thankfully, still had his unfounded overconfidence flowing, calling the Chippendales dancers "followers" and believing, right up until they were the last team to get their clue at the ferry station, that they were somehow in the lead. I'd love to live on Planet Rob for a day. What a wonderful place that must be.

From there, teams had to face a detour. "Simit" had teams carry Turkish bagels on their heads while delivering them to three different addresses in the city. "Scrub it" involved going to a Turkish bath and having people bathe you in cold water and then violently massage you. Most - the rockers, the divorcees, the Texas couple, the twins and Chippendales - opted for the scrub, and the first four teams completed it all at the same time.

Before Josh and Brent could even begin their simit delivery trip, they had to complete a speed bump as punishment for coming in last in last week's non-elimination leg. In the Amazing Race tradition of tame speed bumps (which include "spend time in a party bus" and "sit on a block of ice for 10 minutes"), the goat farmers had to...eat ice cream. More difficult than it sounds like, apparently, as they first went to the wrong vendor and then had to sit through two performances by the guys serving it. Josh and Brent seemed kind of amused during the first song-and-dance, but just seemed annoyed during the second one. I don't blame them. I get pretty grouchy when I have to wait for ice cream, too. (Plus, the second vendor was getting a little awkward when he kept putting the cone near Brent's nether regions. I'm pretty sure he didn't ask for two scoops of THAT.)

Still, despite the extra challenge, Josh and Brent were STILL ahead of Rob and Kelley going into the simit option of the detour. The goat farmers had a little bit of a communication issue when they got lost and couldn't find an English-speaker to help them out, but they corrected themselves and finished shortly before the truckers.

From there, teams went on to the road block, where one person had to dress like Abu and sell 40 cups of Turkish sherbert, which kind of looked like Hawaiian Punch. This was a task made for former cheerleader and perky young blonde Lexi. The girl couldn't serve those drinks fast enough, and even got money from a guy to make her go away. (I'm guessing he's not a big "Bring it On" fan.) Ryan and Abba were much worse off, awkwardly dropping parts of their sherbert-dispenser and the cups to serve it in, until Ryan put some of his entrepreneurial skills to work by hiring a local guy to help draw in customers.

Lexi, unsurprisingly, finished first, prompting Nadiya, from the sidelines, to note that she hopes the Texas couple beats the divorcees during this leg. The twins are just not making any friends this week, as Abbie was RIGHT THERE when she said it and heard everything. Her and Ryan's annoyance was kind of funny - after all, the couple has spent every part of their alone-time with the camera cattily talking about the other teams, none moreso than the twins. But, hey, high school drama can be rough.

Eventually, Ryan, Abba and Natalie all finish, opening things up for the bottom half of the teams. The Chippendales made a poor decision on who should complete this task, as the more mild James did it instead of crazy flamboyant Jaymes. You know - the James that made this video. For a professional stripper who works in Las Vegas, James is pretty meek and looked pretty uncomfortable engaging with strangers. Maybe it was all those clothes he was wearing? Or going up against the studly Brent and Kelley? Of course, what Brent lacks in pecs, he makes up for in confidence: "I may not be a Chippendale, but I can work a costume," he noted. Indeed he could, and he had the salesmanship to finish the job.

In the end, James relied on his old standby - attracting young women - and finished the task followed by Brent, and then Kelley.

And that's how the teams finished up: Trey and Lexi took first, winning a trip to Australia, and were followed by Abbie and Ryan; James and Abba; Nadiya and Natalie (whose rallying cry for next week is "No more Mrs. Nice Twinnies"); Jaymes and James; and Josh and Brent. With last week's non-elimination leg, Rob and Kelley were taken out.

A lot of people on the interwebs don't like the monster truckers. I can sort of see why - Rob does come off as extremely cocky, especially for someone whose pretty dense and doesn't have a ton to back it up. When he gets excited, he looks like this guy. But he was not a bad guy, he enjoyed himself (breaking into not just one but TWO SEPARATE dance parties in Turkey) and he obviously loves his wife an awful lot. Compared with the thieving twinnies and catty Ryan, I'd say he'd be someone to miss.

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