We didn't get to visit much with any of the other teams before the race - we just all lined up and Phil told us, "The world is waiting for you, good luck, travel safe.....GO!" Everyone took off running to their luggage, but D... and I just walked. No need to spend up our energy right off the bat like that! Our first clue told us we were going to Salvador, Brazil!!
Thanx to my mad driving skilz and our research of L.A. streets before the race, we got to LAX in good time. We immediately saw the marked counter at American Airlines, and got on the first flight to Brazil. All the other teams went to the wrong counter, so we just sat back and laughed while they figured it out. Good times. The really slow teams had to get on the second flight - a United flight that arrived 3 hours after we did. Ha. I dosed up on Xanax for the flight (nervous flyer - heh heh) and we were off to Brazil!
Landing an hour and a half later than expected in Salvador, Brazil, a geeky team of best friends named Mark and Bill took an early lead out of the airport en route to the sandwich shop known as O Rei Do Pernil. D... and I snagged the second taxi, but our stupidass driver didn't know where to go, so we fell a bit behind.
At the sandwich shop, we opened our clue to discover we had to choose a local vending cart, wheel it through the narrow streets of Salvador to a popular plaza known as Praca Da Se, and deliver the cart to a guy named Indio in exchange for our next clue. Easy peasy. We worked together like champs, and even managed to snag a couple of pieces of candy off the cart to satisfy our sweet tooth. I love candy. Sigh...
Oh, back to the race. Indio, who had a cute little dog, gave us our next clue - travel by taxi to a Brazilian military base, where we would spend the night outdoors under mosquito nets. Once there, we had to sign in for one of three departure times the following morning: 9:00am, 9:30am, or 9:45am. Um...outdoors? Mosquito nets? Not exactly our cup of tea. But hey, it's the Amazing Race, so we'll do it. Big sigh. Off we went, and got on the list for the 9:00am departure. Boo ya!
At the military base we got to observe the other teams a little more. We decided that NYC couple Terence and Sarah are annoying - he's whiney and she's needy. This is not a race to make friends, Sarah! We're in it to win it! Also, siblings Nick and Starr seem to have formed an early alliance with separated couple Ken and Tina - even calling them "Mom and Dad" - but we're not feeling the love for Ken. He cheated on his wife. That's just wrong. He's a rat.
Let me just say it was NO FUN sleeping outside under that mosquito net! We were not comfy one bit, and someone in another tent was snoring, I think one of those hippies. I hope we get better accommodations soon.
9:00am came early, but we opened our clue and grabbed a taxi to go to the historic center of city known as Pelourinho. It was so early there were not many people on the streets.
There we found our first Detour on the race - a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. Our choices were Hard Way Up or Soft Way Down. In Hard Way Up, teams made their way to the staircase of a nearby cathedral called Escadaria do Passo where, knowing they would be asked a mystery question, they had climb the stone staircase on their hands and knees as locals do for a spiritual pledge. At the top, they'll be asked the mystery question to earn their next clue. If they're wrong, they had to climb the stairs again. In Soft Way Down, teams made their way to an outdoor elevator known as Elevador Lacerda and climb down a cargo net to the street 240-feet below. Knowing my fear of elevators - and heights - D... graciously let us choose Hard Way Up. Would you want to climb down a cargo net from this?
D... is really great about things like that. One time?
At band camp? When Hubby had a broken leg and had to go to a doctor's appointment on the 17th floor of a building downtown? D... went with us, took Hubby in his wheelchair up the elevator to the doctor's office, then came back down the elevator and walked up the stairs with me to the 17th floor. Afterwards she took Hubby back down the elevator, then came back up to walk down with me. Is she the bestest friend in the whole wide world or WHAT?
Here we are getting ready to climb the stone staircase. No prob, Bob!
Fortunately I have the OCD tendency to count steps as I go up them, so when our mystery question was "How many steps did you climb?" I immediately knew it was 53! Woot! We grabbed our clue and headed to the Pit Stop - Forte Sao Marcelo, a floating battlement that once defended the city from pirates!
Because we did choose the slower of the two Detours, we weren't in front of the pack, but we could still see teams on the cargo net when we got on the boat headed out to the forte. As it turned out, we were in the top half of the pack - 5th place! Not bad for our first leg! The hippies Anita and Arthur were the last team to arrive, and were eliminated from the race. Too bad so sad. They were nice, tho. Weird, but nice.
So that concluded the first leg of the race. Not too shabby, in our opinion! Altho our knees are a little sore, we think we handled it great, and we're ready for Leg Two! Bring it on, suckahs!