I decided to tune into tonight's premiere of the new season not for Survivor's Amber and Rob, but because I thought I saw a llama in the previews. And sure enough, the show did what I've been waiting for them to do all this time: The Amazing Race's first stop was Peru!!
It was actually fun to watch all these silly Americans run all around the only other country I'm pretty familiar with. Here's my take on the episode:
- Note how they didn't show them arriving in Lima until after they got out of the airport. That's because they're just finishing up a massive reconstruction project on the international arrivals portion, where they'll finally have flyways to disembark from the plane directly into the airport. (In Spanish, these things are apparently called "sleeves.")
- Their first clue was in the Plaza Mayor in the center of Lima. Gorgeous -- and surrounded by one of the most dangerous parts of Lima! And all these Americans are running through them! I want to know how many cameras got stolen.
- They took buses from the airport to central Lima and then to Ancón. My family found out that Angela and I was riding these buses to work instead of taking a taxi and were shocked. Usually, they're packed to the gills with at least eight people over capacity. The people on this show got lucky. I was a little bummed, however, that they didn't show the guys leaning out of the windows yelling the destinations.
- I'm so thrilled they went to Ancón! A cute beach area a little to the north of Lima, that's where my parents used to court. Angela's never been there, so it was neat to show her. I love the bicycle taxis used by the beach.
- I assumed that once the teams got to Cuzco, they would stop immediately because you're really not supposed to do too much strenuous stuff because of the altitude. When I realized they were going to continue on, I thought, "Wow, this should be really good. I can't wait for someone to pass out." Of course, they gave them ample mate de coca to alleviate altitude sickness. (See, Dan? It's not just me...)
- The teams then went to a gorge, ziplined down, and then had to decide between roping a llama or carrying a basket 2/3 of a mile. If I were on this show, I would know that llamas are testy and would have opted for the baskets. But it was hilarious to see the persnickety llamas spitting like mad at being forced to move by one of the teams. Angela and I were dying of laughter. And she was thrilled because she had wanted to see the llamas spit when we were down there. (I refused to annoy them to be spat on -- it's gross.) It was worth watching the whole thing just to see the llamas spit at the Americans.
I have to say that what most impressed me with the episode was that the teams didn't say anything nasty about Peru and kinda realized the situation there. (The producers probably edited it out, but still...) Most of the contestants just marveled at the scenery once they got to the Andes, but they seemed to even enjoy being in downtown Lima. Considering some of the ugly Americans I've seen go to Peru without camera crews or the need to get to a location that quickly, I'm so thrilled that both the country and the Americans were shown in a positive light. At some point during the show, we called my sister-in-law (who came down to Lima while we were there) and we were all reliving our own adventures down there. (I've been everywhere they've shown -- and a couple of those places aren't exactly on the beaten tourist path.) I have to say I'm tickled they chose to showcase Peru for the two-hour premiere -- and made it exciting to boot.
Hey Jenny, I'm sure you didn't watch this -- but if you did, I'm wondering if you were as amused as I was.