I have come to be a fan of “The Amazing Race” fairly recently, and I have wondered about some aspects of the game that veteran fans may already know:
1/ Are the actual rules for the race contestants published anywhere? I have read, for example, that players are required to be within a certain distance of the producer and photographer at all times. What else is there?
2/ Contestants are clearly limited to spending only the money that they are given at the beginning of each leg. Can they save the excess and carry it over from leg to leg, or do they have to start each leg from scratch? Can two or more teams pool some of their money to share a pizza, buy a guide book etc.?
3/ They can’t use their own money or credit cards, but can they barter their stuff? Could they trade a wristwatch or a sweater, say, for a meal or a ride? If that’s permitted, is there a rule that says they can’t bring, say, a dozen watches with them? For that matter, are they told what they may and may not bring? I understand that money and cell phones are no-nos. What else?
4/ Is there any rule that says they can’t ask for favors? Could they approach a driver and say something like “We can’t pay you, but if you drive us to Mount Fuji you’ll be on international TV”? Could they go into a restaurant and say “We don’t have any money, but if you feed us travelers around the world will know about your fine dining establishment”? “Amazing Race” has been on for several seasons. If people haven’t actually seen it they’ve probably heard about it. Can contestants mention the show to get that kind of informal benefit?
5/ Apparently they can’t make collect phone calls. But many businesses have international toll-free numbers. Is there any rule which would prevent a team from calling a travel agency back home to set up their flights as long as the call was free? For that matter, what are the rules about using pay phones? I have been astonished sometimes to see teams racing to the airport or waiting for sales counters to open when, at least in some countries, everything could be handled by phone. On the other hand, sometimes teams go to phones while others stand in line. Why wouldn’t everybody call 1-800-AIR-LINE?
6/ What happens if a team faces a roadblock or detour that neither member can accomplish? Suppose a task requires, say, swimming, and neither member can swim? Can they be assessed a time penalty and move on, or are they just stuck while everyone else passes them? Or are teams required to have certain skills as part of the selection process? I am a tremendous admirer of Charla, but there are some things that she just couldn’t do. Suppose a task required the teams to, say, ride bicycles up a mountain, or climb over a six-foot wall without help? Would she be eliminated automatically, or just lose some time?