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Welcome back to Morocco, The Amazing Race‘s home away from home (its first home is a crowded taxi where two sweaty people are trying to non-verbally tell a driver to take them to the water). Tangier, Morocco, is the perfect location for a leg of the Amazing Race: It’s crowded, it’s hot, and there are a handful of languages that the locals might speak. That it’s bustling with beauty and culture is completely beyond the point when there are Travelocity gnomes whizzing past your head in itty-bitty harnesses.
But the producers didn’t just count on the natural elements of Morocco to take their toll on the racers; they really tipped the scale into “tough” territory when they planned the third leg of TAR’s 30th season. This was one thrilling, brutal Road Block where, even though people were often working together, there were so many moving parts that the lineup was changing constantly. And the Detour was the opposite: There was very much a right choice and a wrong choice. If you chose to bare your belly and wiggle around a little bit while playing a live-action word search, no matter where you finished in the Road Block, you were going to be one of the first to get to Phil. If you chose to drag pumpkins and raw chicken up the hills of Tangier, well…
Thank goodness this was a Non-Elimination Leg. I am, admittedly, a fair-weather fan of the Non-Elimination Legs, completely dependent on how much I like the saved team, but even putting aside bias, I just felt like the Ballers deserved to make it through this leg. Cedric, the oldest (and tallest!) person in the competition, absolutely beasted a group of youngsters who were working together to find a tiny gnome two different times on the rooftops of Tangier while wearing his backpack. (Why, oh why, was he wearing his backpack?!) And, yes, he eventually fell behind trying to find his way back to yet two more destinations within the Road-Block-From-Hell, but later, he also causally mentioned that he’s had THREE HEART ATTACKS! We need to see more from this man and this team, so I’m glad we get to.
This week, the nine remaining teams fly on the same flight from Antwerp, Belgium, to Tangier, Morocco, where they take a taxi to The Fish Port. There, they’re to find the TAR-marked bins, sort through a fisherman’s daily catch, and stack one bin full of fish exactly as the fishermen show them. That means manhandling a lot of tiny, slippery fish into line, all facing the same direction vertically and horizontally. In the taxis on the way to the port, we learn that Cody of Team Big Brother speaks a little bit of Arabic from being deployed in both the Air Force and the Marines (and Jessica didn’t know!), and Evan of Team Yale speaks a little from studying abroad in Marrakesh.
That’s a definite advantage as other teams struggle to communicate with their taxi drivers, especially Team Xtreme, who arrive last after a long journey to the port, some of it on foot. And yet! Kristi and Jen continue to show that they are physical specimens, even in a niche sport like fish stackin’, because they manage to lap the Indy Boys who arrived well before them. Now it’s on to the Kisariate Jbala Souk, but first…
Let’s just take a quick moment of silence for how truly terrible these teams must smell right now.
At the souk, the teams must greet the merchant with “As-Salaam-Alaikum” to receive their Travelocity Roaming Gnome that will be accompanying them like the tiny little terror it is for the rest of the leg. From there, one person from each team competes in the ROAD BLOCK: WHO’S READY TO ROCK THE KASABAH?
ROAD BLOCK: WHO’S READY TO ROCK THE KASBAH? The Kasabah of Tangier is made up of narrow alleyways and rooftops that Phil thinks we might recognize “because you’ve probably seen Jason Bourne performing death-defying stunts here,” but I feel like that’s a little like saying, You might recognize the Space Needle from Frasier. I mean, sure, but also — other stuff! Anyway, while one team member relaxes at the souk, the other has to cart this damn gnome to the Tangier American Legion Museum, send the gnome out on a tiny li’l zipline from the roof, then go back down to the ground to find where he landed on foot. Then they have to do it all over again from the roof of the Kasbah Museum. (Recap continues on page 2)