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FiveRinger
10-11-2010, 04:41 PM
It is a shame that most of us can't identify the countries of Africa on a map, but we could for Europe and most of Asia. It really reflects on American political interests as to what we learned in school in what we did not. In high school history class, we were required to learn the official names of all of the countries in Europe and Asia, as well as their capitals. We were not required to do so for Africa or South America. Interesting, no?

I was really glad that this was a non-elimination leg, at least for Michael and Kevin's sake. They were really touching and I am glad to see that they will race another day. But, there wasn't any "punishment" doled out for being allowed to stay in the race, was there? Did I miss something?

Really glad that Father & Son weren't eliminated for the sake of my picks.

Nick has got to be one of the biggest pricks to participate on the race. Vicky should have kicked his ass to the moon.

Beefcake
10-11-2010, 04:46 PM
But, there wasn't any "punishment" doled out for being allowed to stay in the race, was there? Did I miss something?
Yes, they've got the Speedbump upcoming, ala the prior few seasons. Methinks this will be a challenge ... as they're likely at least an hour behind already. (Of course, airport bunching may alleviate that deficit outright.)

Despite the editors' laughable attempt to make that 8th/9th place finish look close, Kevin & Michael "had" to be pretty far behind. K&M were already ~15 minutes behind, and then Michael took a medical break, let's say at least a 1/2 hour. The pitstop seemed to be pretty close and not confusing enough for the docs to be lost for an hour.

kedrin
10-11-2010, 06:17 PM
I would have WON that African geography task (I mean, I can literally draw a country-by-country world map in my sleep)

my inner geography geek in terribly impressed. I'm good at geography, but not that good. :cool:

Indra486
10-11-2010, 08:27 PM
I would be sunk if someone walked up to me right now and told me to find certain countries on the African continent. However... If you were going to Ghana as part of the race, wouldn't you buy a guide book at the airport to get some ideas about the country? And wouldn't that guide book probably have a picture of Africa and Ghana in it? Or wouldn't you at least try to look it up online while you were waiting for your flight? I don't know... I like to know where things are visually before I go there.

See that's what I get confused about with the rules. I thought teams were not allowed to buy guide books in airports. :huh:

I'm going to be honest that other than sub-Saharan Africa, I'd probably fail at locating Ghana.

Skittl1321
10-11-2010, 08:59 PM
See that's what I get confused about with the rules. I thought teams were not allowed to buy guide books in airports. :huh:


They are usually allowed to do whatever they want with the race provided money. (Like buy shoes when they leave them at detours...) Many racers have been shown buying guidebooks- but less so in current seasons (probably because they are so spoonfed)

Lilia A
10-11-2010, 09:24 PM
See that's what I get confused about with the rules. I thought teams were not allowed to buy guide books in airports. :huh:



They are. They're not allowed to BRING any maps, guide books, cash, etc, with them to the race. But once the race begins they can do whatever they want with the money that's provided to them.

jl
10-11-2010, 10:11 PM
This. Though 1) Ghana really is a badly poverty stricken country; and 2) I don't recall anyone but Mallory :glamor: outright pitying the nation and the kids, she laid it on thick enough to paint the whole bunch as pandering Americans. .

I like your perspective, Beefcake. It's realistic but it's also respectful of them, because pity isn't what they want. And in reflection, they have a lot that should be celebrated.

Having lived in Ghana with a host family for 5 months, and having made visits to neighboring countries, it's quite noteworthy as to what Ghana has maintained (relative political stability within a democratic structure, GDP per capita above the poverty level, relative religious harmony between a 60/30/10 Christian/Muslim/traditional religion mix) compared to its neighbors, most noteworthy being Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso.

It's also remarkable as to their progress politically and socially. Their Domestic Violence Act is one of the more ambitious in the world (they don't have the requisite infrastructure to make sure it gets perfectly implemented, but I worked on that and believe that it is something taken seriously at the higher political levels) and is one of the few acts in the world where economic and psychological violence are codified and can be equated to physical and sexual, which is important when taking into account the full range of symptoms that could encompass domestic violence. Additionally, they have managed to have a peaceful democratic election (2008) where the vote was split by *40,000* out of a total 8,000,000 in a run-off (and no one contested the results, and there was minimal electoral violence, and the *incumbent didn't win*), and they have managed to maintain social harmony in a country which has no majority tribe, and *11* distinct tribes carrying 2% or more of the population. I was there during what could've potentially been a very tough 5 months, but it was their business as usual. Slower than our standards, but their business as usual.

This isn't to say Ghana is perfect. Groundwater has been polluted to the point that you can't drink from the tap, but at least bottled water (or rather, they drink it from sealed plastic sachets) is readily available and cheap. Economically, the country depends a great deal on remittances and I am not sure how the current global slowdown in growth has affected incomes, but they have sufficient agricultural infrastructure to sustain themselves at the very least. Mining, as it is in third world countries, has led to widespread environmental disasters where it is situated. However, there is peace, there is an attempt to be forward-looking (free education, government highly inclusive of both foreign and domestic NGOs, the development of a stock exchange to attract outside investment), and in that hope and a brighter future are fostered.

Ghana is quite inspirational to me, because it doesn't have the material wealth of neighbors like Nigeria (though they have discovered offshore oil recently), but it has the one thing that few of its neighbors has managed, and that is stability. From what people in the country have told me, though there were coups and uprisings, there has never been any conflict to the point that they feared for their lives due to politics. Also, people are friendly, outgoing, and highly open - I'm typically shy and reserved, but I found my experience to be so welcoming that I want to do the same for people who look lost in Vancouver (of course, it's like the blind leading the blind since I have problems following directions quite often ;) ).

:o sorry for going on for so long. I just think it's important to herald what a country has been able to accomplish instead of what they do not have.

skatesindreams
10-11-2010, 10:19 PM
jl:


entire post

:respec:

kedrin
10-11-2010, 10:21 PM
thanks- that's very intersting.

Beefcake
10-11-2010, 10:24 PM
:respec: as well, jl's entire post

AragornElessar
10-11-2010, 11:07 PM
Wow...What a post and thanks for all of the information jl!!

When you know all of that, it's very impressive what Ghana has achieved compared to several of the other African countries that have been torn apart due to coups and/or Civil War. Very, very impressive. :)

Skittl1321
10-11-2010, 11:28 PM
Thanks for the interesting post about Ghana.

The coffin task from the first Ghana episode really highlighted to me that there must be some people there who are living quite well. "Novelty coffin" really is about as far into "unnecessary expenditure" as I can imagine getting.

allezfred
10-12-2010, 12:06 AM
"Freedom, luxury and justice" PML :rofl:

I got a little sicky in my mouth when Phil started talking about giving back to the community though. :P

minuet
10-12-2010, 02:26 AM
I would have killed the geography bit. I'm another one of those who could take a map of Africa and just start filling it in. I guess it's all on experiences. If you have no need to know it why would you?

Thanks for the info on Ghana jl! Having been involved with Model UN for years, I knew Ghana has several positive things going for it which should be celebrated. Especially considering its location and what the countries surrounding it have been through.

jl
10-12-2010, 08:32 AM
Aw, well thanks guys! I'm just glad I didn't bore anyone to death. :)

In terms of death in Ghana, they really treat it as a lavish ceremony no matter the economic state of the survivors. The death of a young one is a tragedy no matter what, but anyone who is elder when they pass away is celebrated for their life, so they have a highly elaborate kind of party.

Firstly, they have to prepare the corpse, and then generally they dress it up in the very fancy casket. Then, they transport it to a place of their choice (usually the residence of the deceased) and there is a midnight wake and anyone is welcome to visit and make their respects. There is a custom of offering food to all visitors, and then in the morning the casket is moved with the large procession to the site of the official funeral. The purpose of the "novelty casket" really comes into effect when you consider just how many people end up coming to a funeral rite.

For instance, I went to a funeral of a person who was middle class in Ghana, where they had a very lavish weeping and transport ceremony to the embalmers, where there was an army of about 40 people ready to help clean and prepare the body, then they transported the body to the deceased's birthplace, had a midnight wake of about 500 visitors (and they brought out bottles upon bottles of beer, whiskey and even cognac... these aren't cheap anywhere and I was :eek: at how much some people were drinking! They seem to be of a mind that cognac and Coke make a great drink, though) and THEN the actual funeral had 1,000 people attend! And there was a reception afterwards, with 10+ feeding tents because people can't be "bad hosts" and refuse to feed all the people who decided to come!

I talked with the matriarch of my host family. She says that this is social custom and it's really hard to overcome, but the sheer reality is that people decide to have it and then they are paying for it for a long time. From this funeral, she estimated the survivors of the deceased might be making payments for over THREE years. I think the total cost was 10,000 Ghana cedi, which at the time was about 10,000 CDN $.

The sense of community and pulling together is remarkable in Ghana. Everyone knows one another... and it results in some customs which we might consider exceptionally large "social obligations", perhaps stretching credulity or reason.