Taiwan was the first destination in the current season (season 19) of “The Amazing Race” on CBS. “The Amazing Race” is not a typical travel show. The contestants run through each country and must complete different tasks. So the teams did really run through Taiwan. The episode is available from CBS. There is also a recap from CBS. The wikipedia entry on “The Amazing Race” 19 also has specifics of the destinations.
I thought the flight to Taiwan was interesting. The first half of the teams got on a China Airlines flight, while the second group got on an Eva Air flight. Both airlines are based in Taiwan and both have post-midnight flights out of LAX. The arrival time in Taiwan is really early in the morning. The first task in Taiwan was to find the next destination on a billboard in 西門町 (xi ming ding). I thought the task was a bit ambiguous – there are billboards everywhere. The destination was written in Chinese and it seemed difficult for them to get a translation. The streets were deserted, so it must have been really early in the morning. Maybe in a couple of hours, they would have been in the midst of commuters and students who knew English.
One of the tasks was to take part in rowing a dragon boat. That part seemed really fun. Especially in the following clip, when some teams were bunched up and took part in the tasks together. It became a real race!
I find it interesting that this is the second time that Taiwan has appeared on U.S. reality television this year. It seems that the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is doing a good job getting the word out there that Taiwan is an amazing place to visit and travel. It is always the hope that Taiwan can get more exposure as a tourist destination and teach visitors about its history and current political climate.