Here is this week’s exclusive report from ASRAB member Lowell Taylor on what happened “behind the scenes” during stage four of the Amazing Race Canada. Lowell is the first legally blind contestant on either the Canadian or American version of The Amazing Race.
This leg of our Amazing journey went very well. It went as smooth as possible for us and we were able to make up a lot of ground on the competition. We didn’t know how close we actually came to the front of the pack though! It was hot, and very busy, but it was a wonderful day and we had a blast together.
We then found the best taxi driver in the city who stayed with us the whole time and got us exactly where we needed to be without any issues. Taxi drivers can really make or break a journey on The Amazing Race, and ours was fantastic. He helped us with our bags and helped us get across busy streets at night – a helpful asset for someone completely night blind!
Julie was able to fly through the scooter challenge as well. It was fun to see her get through this, as she doesn’t have a lot of experience in the scooter repair business. I grew up on a farm near Carstairs Alberta and am much more comfortable with mechanical tasks, but we had made a deal that Julie would take the roadblocks in Vietnam if we were not convinced it was something I could do easily. It was getting dark and the risks of getting caught in a challenge were too high. We chose right.
I know there is a section of this episode that ‘bugged’ some people. It is a race and we were presented with a challenge, so we powered through. We were at the eating challenge for a very short time. We put our bags down, ate the bugs, ate the bat, received our clue, and were headed off to Karaoke in a flash. Actually there is something to be said about the bat challenge that might drive some batty, so move to the next paragraph if you have a weak stomach. There was an example bat sitting beside us on a plate (that I didn’t see) to show us what we were supposed to eat on the bat… just the meat apparently. When I picked up the bat, all I remember hearing was that I was not supposed to eat the head or the wings. So, I removed the head and the wings and I ate the entire rest of the bat (the entire rest of the bat… the bats insides… use your imagination). Oops. Oh well, it was much quicker than picking off the small bits of rubbery bat meat.
We had hoped it would have been a mandatory roadblock that the other partner who didn’t do the scooter needed to complete. This would have set Amy and Ashley up for the challenge, and both may have taken penalties… we like them, but we were trying to get ahead! No such luck. They are making us work for it each episode!
I need to apologize for the Karaoke. I had a bug in my throat. Also, I know dancing will never become my day job, though I was Gilbert Blythe in our High School’s musical production of Anne of Green Gables. Julie and I had a blast in the practice for the song – we were dancing and laughing a lot. We over rehearsed it as we wanted to do it on our first attempt (if we would have known how close we were to the front of the pack, we would have tried it before Frankie and Amy’s second attempt, which put them onto the mat in fourth). The preparation paid off though… well, we received our clue anyways, it was awkward, but effective! I can normally keep a tune and stay on pitch, but the sound system in the room, the people cheering, or for whatever reason, I started off key… but I had to commit and didn’t want to stop and have to redo it! So I tried to distract from my singing with some amazing dance moves. Julie has a beautiful voice and she carried us through! We were happy to Shine the Light in Vietnam! I think our Karaoke outings in Canada will be limited.
Our amazing taxi driver took us to the busy square and did not accept our large tip (we still never really understood the conversion of US dollars to Vietnamese Dong and he only accepted what the meter said! A very honest cabbie!)
I held onto the dog leash mounted on the back of Julie’s backpack and we ran through the crowds. The good thing about being night blind, was that I was able to clearly see the huge light stands set up in the square and I was able to tell Julie to head in that direction as it seemed logical to me that they would have lots of light at the pit stop. And we came in 6th! Actually beating the powerful and competitive Jillian and Emmett!
We continued to love life and love each other. Seeing Vietnam was a wonderful experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for the experience we were given.
Next episode we fly to an area of Canada very few Canadians have visited – Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in Beautiful British Columbia. There are more challenges to come for us next week. Thanks for all the support and words of encouragement.