Wade on Birmingham

Simply Amazing: Heading to Hanoi


Vietnam was the setting for nine teams racing around the world in tonight’s installment of “The Amazing Race.” Karlyn Harris and Lyn Turk, moms and friends from Birmingham, started in last place in Mongolia.

But Team Birmingham was in the thick of it, as teams battled with no cash, no motorbikes and plenty of drama. Could they bounce back, or would they fall like dominos?

amazing race

Brick house: Lyn, left, and Karlyn make coal bricks at the Detour just before the Pit Stop in Vietnam.

Highlights from the third leg of the series …

Route: Ulan Bator, Mongolia, to Vác, Vietnam.

Mongolian beef: Before leaving Mongolia, teams race from the Pit Stop to a travel agency, where the blondies Dustin and Kandice earn the ire of boyfriends “T ‘n’ T,” Tom and Terry, by supposedly cutting in line. Tom says, “They are not gonna win a beauty pageant of kindness.” Oh, snap. Wait, that was totally lame. Tom, you’re not gonna win a beauty pageant of zingers.

Karlyn and Lyn, who start out two hours behind the first team, catch up at the agency. Lyn likens the race to “childbirth,” except that the fastest delivery doesn’t win you a cool million. And all teams share the same kiss-your-sister flight to Hanoi.

Soldier on: The teams bunch up again at the first stop, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” or Hoa Lo Prison which held American POWs during the Vietnam War. Competitors race to find the flight suit of Sen. John McCain, who spent five years there. David, the coal miner from Kentucky, has weird flashbacks, even though his dad’s the war vet. Korean bros Erwin and Godwin take a moment to pay tribute to all soldiers everywhere, while the other teams race ahead.

amazing race

Karlyn pushes pedals and petals at the Roadblock.

Petals to the mettle: Usually, teams receive money at the start of each leg, but in a “Race” first, all teams got zip, zilch, zero. Whatever cash they had before would have to last — and they aren’t allowed to beg from strangers or sell their stuff.

As eight teams race in cabs from the prison to a flower shop, daddy/daughter team Duke and Lauren have to hoof it 1.5 miles (having spent all their money and stiffing their cab driver a few bucks the night before). But they catch up at this Roadblock, in which one team member sells flowers.

Buddha wept: The bus ride to the village of Vác takes a harried Peter and Sarah from first to last, as her broken hydraulic leg continues to slow her down. Meanwhile, six teams end up sharing a bus, behind the Cho bros and T ‘n’ T.

They end up at a Buddhist temple to choose their Detour: fuel or fowl. Fuel means packing 30 coal bricks, while fowl means building a birdcage. Most teams choose fuel, but Duke and Lauren lose their way and end up fowl.

Limp to the finish: Tom and Terry are second to the Pit Stop, but incur a 30-minute penalty for using motorbikes, a safety no-no for this leg. (Butch!) Meanwhile, Karlyn and Lyn are hanging in there, sprinting to the Pit Stop past their buddies David and Mary, who’s slowed by a sprained ankle. Lyn says, “We always keep working with our friends,” and Mary reveals that these two teams, plus the Chos and T ‘n’ T are the “back packers” who stick together.

Pit check: Karlyn and Lyn finish sixth out of eight teams remaining. Brothers Erwin and Godwin are first. And lesbian Lauren and her non-lesbian dad Duke are in the “L word”: last.

“The Amazing Race” airs at 7 p.m. Sundays on CBS 42.

Next episode: It’s Peter and Sarah versus Rob and Kimberly in the beauty pageant of bitchiness.

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Pit stop: more “Amazing Race” coverage.

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