The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Pam and Winnie

Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung
Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung

Fighting their way through a non-elimination leg last week, the Amazing Race headed back into Botswana and gave the teams a chance to brave crocodiles, goats, horses and donkeys. When faced with a pack of stubborn donkeys at the Detour, Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung attempted to complete the other Detour (a memory challenge on horseback), which caused them to fall further behind the pack and ultimately the last to reach the Pit Stop. The Yak recently had a chance to meet with the best friends from Southern California and discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: That was a rough elimination to watch. It must be difficult to get that many legs into the race and have a Detour take you out like it did.
Pam: I know, right?
Winnie: Word!

The Yak: With that Detour, at first you had difficulty with the donkeys, so you decided to switch tasks and then ultimately ended up going back. How long did you spend with the horses before going back to the donkeys?
Pam: Toward the end of the horse detour, we realized so much time was passing that we knew we must be in a bad place at that point. Especially after getting it wrong.
Winnie: We started to realize this might be it, so even though we didn’t know how long the donkeys were taking at that point, it just felt really long being on the horses.

The Yak: Did you attempt the memory (horse) task just the two times or were there additional times that we didn’t get to see?
Winnie: Yeah, we did it twice. It was more like getting Triple U-Turned! (laughs) We did 3 detours with the donkey one twice and the horse one once, so in total it was probably close to two and a half hours.

The Yak: Once you got back to the donkeys the second time, it seemed to work out much better for you. Was it really as quick as it looked?
Pam: No, when we went back, it took us another 30 minutes or so to get them moving again. 
Winnie: And then, they would stop along the course, as well, so we would have to get them moving again every time they stopped.
Pam: To be honest with you, I think the donkeys took us just as long the second time around as the horses.
Winnie: But, I think for teams where the donkeys moved, it went much faster.

Winnie & Pam Give a Goat a Boat Tour
Winnie & Pam Give a Goat a Boat Tour

The Yak: That had to be frustrating to know at that point, it’s really up to the feelings of the animal to decide if they’re going to help you out or not.
PamIt seriously was.

The Yak: When you found out you had been cast this season, did you do anything special to prepare for the race?
Winnie: Yeah, we spent a lot of time preparing for the race. On top of working out, we did situations that we thought we’d encounter, like ice skating and kayaking. We even did tasks where we knew we’d have to work together, so we tried to prepare as much as we could.

The Yak: What was your favorite part of the race?
PamThe whole race aspect, like doing the challenges, running from country to country. It was a lot of fun. In particular, going to Africa because of working with the bushmen and being with goats, but then we ran into donkey and … then it wasn’t fun anymore. (laughs) They’re such assholes.

The Yak: Did you get close with any of the other teams? Have you kept in touch since the race ended?
Pam: We’re definitely friends with everyone. It’s definitely an experience that bonds you, regardless of the stuff that happens on the race. We’ve kept in touch with everyone.

The Yak: What was the toughest challenge for you? Obviously, the donkey challenge wasn’t a favorite of yours, but beyond that, what really challenged you?
Pam: For me, it was the stilts. It was awful and it was just a bad day. We had trouble in the water, so I don’t know why I thought I could do stilts after taking Dramamine. We also realized it was tough to do when you’re shorter because there’s so much more of the stick going over your head, so it was probably a bad idea to have the shortest person in the race do that. (laughs)

The Yak: What surprised you the most about the race?
PamThe most interesting part was getting so immersed in the local culture. It’s something that’s really priceless. You would never be able to hang out with bushmen and drive them around in your car, so that was the most fun part of the race.

Pamela & Winnie Look for Animals in Botswana
Pamela & Winnie Look for Animals in Botswana

The Yak: What’s next for the both of you?
Winnie: Survivor!
Pam: Judge Judy!
Winnie: Yeah, we’re going to small claims court.
Pam: We’re going to hit all the reality shows. (Pam and Winnie laughs)
We’re actually just back to our normal lives, and we’re enjoying watching the show every Sunday.

The Yak: You definitely had fans pulling for you, so if given the chance, would you race again?
Winnie: Absolutely. In a heartbeat!

The Yak: Thanks for your time! It’s been a pleasure speaking with you!
Pam: Thank you!
Winnie: Thanks so much!

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