Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Amazing Race 7 Reruns ~ Santiago Chile to Argentina

More cheap armchair travel via The Amazing Race (TAR) reruns on OLN in Ontario, Canada! And TAR 7, currently showing, is one of my all time favorites: Rob and Amber, of Survivor Marquesas fame. Boston Rob, as he was nicknamed, showed a surprising skill set, and a lot of common sense and people skills. With his good humour and cheekiness, he added a lot to both reality shows.

Last night's episode was the second leg of TAR 7, taking the teams from Cuzco, Peru, to Santiago, Chile by bus, a 10-hour trip. Rob bribes the bus driver, schemes to get an earlier arriving bus, and teases the stuffing out of the other teams, most of whom are gunning for him based on his Survivor reputation.

Santo Cerro San Cristobel Santiago Chile

And one of the landmarks encountered by the teams in Santiago is Santo Cerro, and San Cristobel. The teams took the funicular up the mountain. Lucky them! When I was there, the funicular hadn't opened yet for the day.

The Santiago Detour had the teams choose between shopping at Mercado Central for the chef at Donde Augusto restaurant, or heading to the Libreria Chilena, and packing and moving 180 books to the National Library, below.

National Library of Chile Santiago

Trust Rob to know to stack books onto a cart so they wouldn't fall over. He and Amber completed this task easily. The library is a truly wonderful building, with a great cafe. Worth a visit for sure!

Mercado Central ~ Donde Augusto Restaurant

This picture shows part of the market in Mercado Central, and Donde Augusto is also close by.

Cerro Santa Lucia Santiago Chile Park

Cerro Santa Lucia, a city park down the street from the National Library, was the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. Cerro Santa Lucia is also well worth exploring if you can spare the time. A winding trail and stairs lead to the top of the mountain, right in downtown Santiago. On clear days (good luck finding one!) the views are wonderful. Even on smoggy days, it's a lovely walk.

Tonight's episode (leg 3) will have the teams heading into Argentina, also a fave episode! Who could forget Rob balking at the roadblock when asked to eat 4 pounds of Argentine barbecued meat! No one should ever eat that quantity of food of any kind at one sitting. Ever! And early TAR episodes used this force feeding as a challenge way too many times. (Remember Charla et al eating 2 pounds of caviar?)

Traditional Argentina Barbecue

Using food as entertainment -- eating contests, challenges -- is not only bad for the eater but wasteful, disrespectful, and downright thoughtless, especially when performing these task/ contests in countries where hunger is a very real concern. One time, in a recent series, teams had to throw fabulous, elaborate, delicious looking cakes (Austria?) at one another to reveal the clue. These wonderful cakes would have taken a long time to prepare, using costly ingredients. And to simply waste food by having contestants throw them at each other while the bakers looked on was unforgiveable.

But, food wasting aside, what I loved about the Argentine barbecue episode was watching Rob convince a few other teams to join him in refusing to do the barbecue eating / gluttony roadblock. And since he was the first to balk, his hourglass penalty ended first, automatically guaranteeing that he and Amber would not finish last.

Argentina Gauchos Traditional Contests / Games

And tonight, as the teams head into Argentina, they encounter another detour that requires them to ride a horse and complete a traditional gaucho challenge. Who knew Rob, a rough and tumble Boston kid who worked in construction, would be such an able rider! Again, just a pleasure to watch. Go Rob! You highlight the lameness of the competitors on both Amazing Race 14 and Survivor Tocantins. Good audition pools must be tough to find these days.

More pictures of Chile and Argentina at my travel site.