Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tips for all of you Amazing Race Wannabes

This week found me traveling for work and afforded me precious hours of airport time to do nothing but observe (and worry…but we won’t talk about the worrying). I found myself playing virtual Amazing Race to keep me entertained and determined there are some obvious dos and don’ts that might help* all future Amazing Race contestants.

(1) Learn to pack appropriately. Mobility is a key element in getting ahead, and you shouldn’t load yourself down with a cumbersome pack. Your partner won’t be your pack mule, so don’t rely on them.
(2) Appropriate clothing is important. Think neutral, comfortable and stylish. Both over- and underdressing will only call negative attention to you and your partner. Sweat pants scrunched up under your knees or gauchos aren’t really appropriate. In that same vein, think in terms of layers and combinations. Packing lightly is important (see #1), so loading your pack with clothes is counterproductive.
(3) Find that happy medium between killing people with kindness and being you. Acting like an ass just because you don’t understand the language or the culture doesn’t give you the right to yell, curse, call people stupid, or otherwise get angry. At the same time, being so disgustingly sweet that everyone wants to throw up may backfire, too. This rule applies to everyone from how you treat others in the service industry, nice citizens who stop to offer assistance and even your travel partner.
(4) Abuse modern day technology. Not sure if it’s legal, but, if so, buy one of those fancy pocket PCs and find a way to finagle international service. Talk about making your fellow competitors jealous.
(5) Train. People who really want something practice and train for it. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon or play at Carnegie Hall the next day. Hell, you might do this but probably won’t fair very well. The same holds true for Amazing Race.
a. Run. The thing that might stand between you coming in last place may be a footrace with another team. You might as well get used to running now.
b. Study a couple of languages and cultures. You probably won’t have time to memorize everything about every country, but even boning up on a few of the big ones and learn some key phrases in several languages could give you a leg up or at least make you more comfortable.
c. Row a boat.
d. Climb a wall.
(I’m sure there are many more ways to train. Help me out with ideas.)
(6) Get a clue. Being a dumb blonde is not considered an asset when you can’t figure out which gate is yours even though you’re sitting at it. It’s not cute for the gate attendant to have to page you to board.

Edit (11:46 pm 10/18/06): I won my own Amazing Race tonight and scored major karma points in the process. Flying into BWI, I had booked a train ticket to DC with a super tight turn around time. I needed desperately to make that last train home. Booking it out of baggage claim, I held my tongue and didn’t curse the old people slowly making their way onto the airport shuttle to the train station. A ragtag** set of the old folks latched onto me and declared they would be following me to the train station since I apparently knew what I was doing. I didn’t mention to them that I would hurdle any of them in order to make it on the train it was becoming apparent I would miss. Turns out luck was already on my side and the Amtrak train was running 25 minutes behind. Luck must have been on the side of the old folks, too, because they acquired a tour guide (*cough* me). They pumped me for info on how to get to Pentagon City while waiting for the train and declared they would be following me. A younger guy overheard us talking and decided to tag along, since he was also headed to Vienna and had never taken the train. I began referring to the group as my ducklings since from that point on they trailed me like I was their mama leading them to water. Major karma points for making all of my connections all the while leading the ducklings through the intricacies of Amtrak and the metro system.

*This advice truly won’t help you since one of my future Amazing Race partners and I are sure to win.
**The leader fixed and installed air conditioners in Palm Beach. He was coming to visit his sister and escort “Ed”, a man somewhere between 80 and 90 years of age, to a reunion of retired United pilots. Also along for the ride was the hard-ridden female sidekick who I later learned worked safety at some desert casino in Palm Springs. The leader informed me she came along for her EMT skills. I secretly think the leader wanted a chance to bone her.


  1. Ali and I are winning it. Suri!

  2. I got my Sahara pants already packed...

  3. Dude, we're SO going to kick ass!! We need to start practicing RIGHT NOW!!!

    I've already decided that I will eat any and everything offered to me in training!

    Let's go to that sushi place and I'll eat any of it, so long as I've got my chipotle tabasco with me. I'm SURE they'll let me bring that on TAR.

    Also, I don't think they let you bring pocket PCs, let alone cell phones.


  4. OK, Let me tell you my secret weapon:


  5. hey sorri to leave un-related blog comments, but i tried caling you this morning and i got "subscriber unavailable" message... did you want to meet up to eat? if you do contact me! ;) i was thinking 12:30/1 ish