The final pit stop on a race around the world
When the competitors on The Amazing Race learned their final pit stop would be in Garrison, NY, I found it funny. I had just been in Garrison a few hours earlier, at a family party. But when Phil said it would be at St. Basil's Academy, my jaw literally dropped. Although I grew up only a few minutes from St. Basil's, almost no one where I am from has ever even heard of it. And it was the final pit stop on a race around the world?!
I am very familiar with St. Basil's. It is a boarding school for underprivileged children of Greek descent in Garrison, NY. Three of my cousins attended St. Basil's through the eighth grade and my grandmother worked (and for a time, lived) there as a dorm supervisor.
There is also a Greek Orthodox church on the grounds, which my family goes to every year for Easter services (and sometimes midnight mass on Christmas). As I said to Gobo, if we were in the final three on the Race last night, we would have totally won because I would have had zero problems getting us to Garrison. It was particularly cool when the cabbies were talking about directions and I knew whether they were going in the right direction (they were).
A few other thoughts on last night's race:
I was surprised to feel this way, but I was sad that (Kar)lyn didn't make that final plane. They didn't even get their chance to really compete for the prize. It was impressive that they were the first female team to complete the race, although "making history" might have been a bit of an overstatement.
Rob's fixation on not being able to skydive was incredibly annoying. Here's a thought: when you get home, sign up for a tandem skydive, and just do it. You can find companies that take you out in almost any city and it isn't that expensive. It's not like Rob missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity there. So just shut up.
I found the sewing challenge interesting, although it was unsurprising that two people who are often fitted and probably watch seamstresses do their work regularly and two moms who probably sew a good deal beat out Rob and Kimberly, who probably have very little experience with a needle and thread. I do think Rob and Kimberly would have been faster had Kimberly allowed Rob to help, but obviously she thought it was easier to do it her way. James and Tyler's reaction to finishing first ("we're models!") and Rob's reaction when Kimberly was shocked that they finished ("they're models!") was the most comedic moment of the night.
So much of this final leg of the Race came down to flights. I will never understand how (Kar)lyn passed Rob and Kimberly when their flight got into Paris an hour and a half later. Sure, Orly may be closer to the city than Charles de Gaulle, but it isn't that much closer. Of course, (Kar)lyn's travel inexperience was apparent when they returned to Orly to get an international flight and found out that de Gaulle was the way to go. Most travelers who have been to France know that de Gaulle is the international airport. And in the end, it might have been that mistake that cost them the ability to compete in New York, as they were the last team to get to the airport, the last on the waiting list, and the only team not to make the flight. Having said that, I do wonder how much pull the producers of the Race had in getting James and Tyler on that final flight. Had Rob and Kimberly been the only team to make it, the entire final leg of the race, from NYC to St. Basil's, would have been very anti-climactic.
I also think that this is the first time a long-distance run has ever really factored into the final leg(s) of the race. Running two miles from Times Square to Union Station isn't that easy, and it struck me that I had never seen teams do something similar in the past.
I know a lot of people thought that the final episode was boring, but I didn't. I was totally stressed the entire time, and the St. Basil's inclusion completely made my day. I hear that All-Stars will be premiering in February (I was so sad they didn't show any scenes from it at the end of the episode). I am so happy I only have to wait two months!