Week two of the Race begins in Iqueque, Chile, the city of eternal sunshine, situated on the edge of a desert and the Pacific Ocean. It’s pretty amazing. And it’s time to leave.
The teams depart around 3 in the morning, and they are sent to a historic ship. The ship doesn’t open until the morning, so they bunch up at the dock. Marie, the Ex with the pink hair, orders everyone to line up their backpacks in proper order. NFL mocks her authority, and one Afghan Cousin calls their team, “Pinky and No Brain.”
Express Pass Parts One and Two
While waiting, the Married team tells the Exes that it’s wife’s 40th birthday! Wouldn’t it be great if she got an Express Pass for her birthday? Marie is all, "No."
When the ship opens, the Afghans try to bypass the Exes, but the stairway is only so wide. Everyone finds the posted clue at the same time, and it tells them that they have to repeat a phrase in Spanish, but they don’t know the exact phrase.
Beards and Pink Ice leave the ship and ask a local on the street. He tells them the proper phrase, and they head back and repeat it to a crew member and get the clue. As they run past, Marie shouts, “Tell me where it is, I have an Express Pass!” Yeah, that promise loses potency if you never actually hand it over.
The teams taxi to a salt flat, which has the world’s largest supply of salt. The Detour is Mining or Brining: Mining means they break open boulders of salt with a sledgehammer until they find the clue inside. Brining means they add salt to tanks of water until they can float in it. Phil tweeted that each tank required thirty-three bags of salt to reach its saturation point, and each bag weighs sixty pounds!
The Beards say, “We do look good in bathing suits, but we’re much quicker at smashing stuff.” They choose Mining, and so does Pink Ice. The married couple chooses Brining, because, “what better way to start off your birthday than with a nice salt bath with your husband?” Team NFL chooses Mining because “it would take a lot of salt” to float them. Team Oklahoma chooses Brining because they carry sacks all day at their regular jobs.
Overachiever Amy quizzes her boyfriend, “Which floats faster, fat or muscle?” Jason: “Fat.” Amy: “Exactly. We’re all muscle.” Now, I’m no scientist, but I know that Phil mentioned the water reaching a saturation point, so I would guess that adding more salt after that wouldn’t make a difference. Ergo: it doesn’t matter what your fat/muscle density is, if the water is saturated. Am I right? Anyone? Also, “floats faster”? Really?
They have to bike to the Detour, which is notable because Pink Ice are slow on their bikes, and Birthday Wife falls over because she is not so good at biking. Oh, and while Bingo is biking, Shane keeps asking Rowan how he’s doing. Rowan: “I don’t want to talk, you’re using my air. If I want to talk I’ll ask.”
Both tasks are physically difficult. Ex Marie scoffs at girls with tiny arms who can only carry one bag of salt at a time. Scoffs! She carries 2-3 bags at once! Behold!
The Baseball Wives, possessors of the skinny arms, have to hug each other because they’re so cold. Their feeble arms are shaking!
The Bus Schedule of Deviousness — no, wait, The Bus Schedule of Confusion
After the salt mines, Teams head back into town to the bus station so that they can take a 1,000 mile bus ride to Santiago.
There’s a 1:30 express bus that holds the Daters, the Marrieds, Beards, Afghanimals, and NFL, and will take twenty-four hours. The next bus leaves at 2:00 and carries the Wives, Pink Ice, Team Oklahoma, and the Exes. The second bus is not express, so it takes about twenty-eight hours.
Team Bingo arrives at the bus station before 2:00, but they don’t want to take the slow bus. They’re told that there’s a 4:00 bus, and somehow they understand that it’s an express so they’ll get to Santiago ahead of the 2:00 bus. They get all tricky, then, telling the other teams that they couldn’t get other tickets, and they line up for the 2:00 bus. When everyone else is on, they tell the driver to close the doors and drive away, and you can imagine them screaming, “See ya, suckers!” while everyone inside wonders what’s happening.
Then, reality. When Bingo goes back to buy their tickets, they’re told that the 4:00 bus is still slow, and they wouldn’t get in until about 10 the next night. Not good. With sparse Spanish, they manage to get on a 3:00 bus that might not be super slow. Alas.
Express Pass Part Three