Monica Cayce, Joseph Meadows eliminated from 'Amazing Race 9'
By Andrea Sellers, 05/11/2006
Unlike the popular '80s pop song, Bangkok was not the scene of cerebral fitness when The Amazing Race 9 came to town, with multiple mistakes by racers Monica Cayce and Joseph Meadows proving costly and leading to their elimination from the penultimate leg of the race around the world competition.
The Amazing Race 9's tenth episode began with the four remaining teams departing the Lake Bennett Wilderness Resort, a Darwin, Australia location that had served as the previous episode's Pit Stop. As they left the Pit Stop, the teams received instructions telling them to travel to Bangkok, Thailand.
Although they had been stripped of everything but the clothes on their back after finishing last in the previous episode's non-elimination leg, no shoes and no pants turned out to be no problem for hippies BJ Averell and Tyler Macniven. As they departed the Pit Stop in first place, Yolanda Brown-Moore left her "other" pair of pants behind for BJ. "Frat boys" Eric Sanchez and Jeremy Ryan then followed through with a similar gesture, tossing an extra pair of sandals they were carrying onto the hood of hippies' parked vehicle. The charitable nature of the moves surprised third place team Monica and Joseph who, realizing that less than ten minutes had separated all check-in times of four teams, recognized that any team still could be the next to be eliminated.
After arriving at the airport and learning that the first available flight wouldn't be leaving until morning, BJ and Tyler decided to head into the city -- without having yet booked any flight reservations -- and beg Darwin's late night crowd for money. Meanwhile, Monica attempted to criticize allies Eric and Jeremy for their decision to leave a pair of scandals for BJ, only to be cut off abruptly when Eric -- clearly tired of her "fairness" lectures -- lied and stated that they hadn't been the team to give him the shoes.
When BJ and Tyler returned from their successful late night begging session, they discovered that their decision had almost backfired. While they were gone, the Sydney-connecting flight that all three other teams had booked had filled up, leaving them unable to get on the same flight as the other teams. However in a last minute stroke of luck, space on a previously full Perth-connecting flight suddenly became available. But the hippies' luck didn't last for long -- although their flight was originally scheduled to arrive fifteen minutes before that of the other teams, flight changes ultimately resulted in them arriving in Bangkok about 45 minutes after everyone else.
Once the teams arrived in Thailand, they had to take a taxi to the Mo Chit bus terminal and then board a bus to the Three Spire Pagoda. Benefiting from speedy taxi drivers, Eric and Jeremy and Yolanda and Ray Whitty managed to board the station's final midnight-departing bus. Meanwhile although Monica and Joseph had arrived in Thailand on the same flight as the two other teams, they received faulty information after arriving the bus station, with a station employee with limited English skills telling them that the next bus wouldn't leave until 4:50AM. While "MoJo" left to spend a few hours at a hotel, BJ and Tyler decided to sleep at the bus station -- a decision that proved important when it turned out that there apparently was no 4:50AM bus and the first bus actually left at 4:20AM. In the end, Monica and Joseph ended up leaving the bus station more than five hours after the lead teams and were the only team not waiting at the temple's gates when they opened at 8:00AM the following morning.
At the pagoda, teams were given the option of trying for the Race's final Fast Forward, which would allow one team to bypass the remaining tasks and go straight to the Pit Stop. In addition, each team received a sealed envelope that they were instructed to bring with them to the Pit Stop. Both BJ and Tyler and Ray and Yolanda decided to go for the Fast Forward and "take part in a favorite after-school activity commonly enjoyed in Thailand." Once they arrived at Fast Forward's designated restaurant, they learned that the favorite was stir-fried crickets and grasshoppers. After a few bites, Ray and Yolanda decided that they could not eat the large bowls put in front of them, and decided to head back to the temple.
Although it was a struggle, the hippies were ultimately able to fight -- and vomit -- their way through the task and claim the Fast Forward. Once they arrived at the Marble Temple, a 19th-century Buddhist shrine that served as the leg's Pit Stop, they were delighted to learn that not only would they be one of the three teams competing in The Amazing Race 9's final sprint to the finish line, but they'd still managed to finish in first place despite their insect-eating struggles.
Back at the temple, the other teams were given a Roadblock task in which one team member had to prepare a feast for the monkeys residing at the temple. "Chef Boy-a-Eric," Joseph, and Yolanda sliced fruit and decorated the tables as they dodged the hungry monkeys stealing their handiwork. After transporting the completed feast across the grounds, the teams were given their next clue: to take a ferry to Koh Kret Island and search the Buddha Garden for their next clue box. Joseph and Monica arrived on the island before Ray and Yolanda but fell into last place when they mistakenly headed into a temple instead of searching the gardens.
After finding the clue box, the teams were given presented with their Detour options: "Move It" or "Altar It." Teams that chose to "Move It" would have to transport 72 clay pots from the Jom Jam Pottery Factory by balancing them on a wooden board. "Altar It" teams would have to create their own Buddhist shrine, complete with gold plating a Buddha statue. During the prior leg, Eric and Jeremy had learned that the more physical Detour option was not always the quickest, so they opted for the altar option, as did Ray and Yolanda.
Monica and Joseph also initially chose "Altar It" it but switched to "Move It" after discovering that the other teams had beaten them to temple and already began work on their shrines. After they began dropping pots during their first run, they began to question the wisdom of their decision. During their second pot run, Joseph counted the number of pots needed and added a few more in case some were broken along the way. However unfortunately for him, Monica got discouraged as her pots began falling off and ended up losing most of her load as she sulked her way through the trip. Instead of ending their second run with four more pots than they needed, they were still seven pots short and had to go back yet again.
After completing the Detour, teams were received clues instructing them to make their way to the Pit Stop at the Marble Temple. As the teams checked in, Phil opened their envelopes in search of the golden Travelocity gnome. While BJ and Tyler and Eric and Jeremy were delighted to learn that they were in the competition's final three, neither team had the elusive gnome. Ray and Yolanda were briefly detained on their way to the Pit Stop, as the monks required Yolanda to cover her arms before entering the temple. The short delay did not keep the team from their desired destination -- in the final three. After checking in, Ray and Yolanda were also delighted to learn that they had the golden gnome, which meant that they won a trip to Australia and would be given the use of a luxury hotel room during their Pit Stop layover.
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When Monica and Joseph checked in last at the Pit Stop, Phil informed them that they had been eliminated from The Amazing Race 9. Monica insisted that her tears were tears of joy, thanking Phil for the "amazing" experience.
Next week will see the broadcast of The Amazing Race 9's special two-hour finale, with the teams racing from the exotic Far East to frigid North America and one of the team's winning the competition's $1,000,000 grand prize.