Let me begin by admitting that I missed writing about last week's episode. The FP Gal and I didn't even watch it until Monday night and by Tuesday it was so late that it didn't seem worthwhile. I won't do a full recap but there is one thing that I want to say: the bunching point at the train leaving Lijiang made the entire first half of the leg unnecessary. For competitive reasons that sucks. Still made for good TV but it undermined the idea that the race was important in and of itself.
And now, on to this week's episode! Each team had one small task to perform before leaving China. They had to find a tea shop and drink some tea. What they didn't know was that they would later have to identify that one specific tea out of a multitude of others. They all flew to Calcutta, India on the same flight.
They were all amazed at the crowds at the airport at midnight. For some reason that's when the international flights arrive in India, in the middle of the night. Then followed frantic taxi rides to the town hall. Once they got there they discovered that it didn't open until 10a the next morning.
Then came the tea tasting. This may have been the most brutal task in the show's history. There were 400 tea cups on sets of tables and one member of each team had to find one that matched what they had tasted the day before. The ones that got it quickly didn't taste much tea, instead they smelled it. The others got through with brute force, simply drinking tea and hoping it was the correct choice. By the time it was finished it looked like at least three quarters of the cups had been drunk. That's 300 cups of tea spread unevenly between eight people. As I said, brutal.
The rest of the tasks had more to do with simply getting a good taxi and finding the right location than anything else. Luck of the draw with cab drivers was the main force with this leg. Sometimes this bugs me in the show but it worked this time.
Margie and Luke were eliminated, mostly because Luke took the longest finding the right tea. It's hard to blame him since this really was a tough task. The most you can say is that he was really not good at handling adversity when things went against him.
One other thing, as the racers reached the mat they were awarded with a 'first taste' of a bottle of tea that Snapple had created specially for this occasion. They didn't show negative reactions but I can't imagine that people who had just drank dozens of cups of tea. I probably would have thrown up on his shoes.