Azaria and Hendekea Azene, <EM>The Amazing Race</EM> Azaria and Hendekea Azene, The Amazing Race

Brother and sister engineers Azaria and Hendekea Azene seemed like a final-three team for sure. They won three of the first five legs and often operated like a well-oiled genetically linked machine. But they showed up at an airport gate with a forbidden business-class ticket and it was back to start. Just goes to show you can never get too comfortable on The Amazing Race 12 (Sundays, 8 pm/ET, CBS). Once more for the record: Please explain how you ended up with the wrong type of ticket to Dubrovnik.
Luck. The ticketing agent ended up giving us business class even though Azaria said economy. Did you do any "Hey it wasn't our fault" begging that they didn't show on camera?
No. I don't even know if we remembered that we'd said economy.
Everything happened so quickly.
We got our tickets at 6:15 am. The flight was leaving at 6:30. They were actually holding up the plane for us. So I can't fault Polish Airlines. I can maybe fault the travel agent a little. But the responsibility to check the ticket is on our own shoulders.
In the end, we should have been the ones to double-check before we left the ticketing agent to make sure it was right. How many languages do you speak?
Azaria: We're both pretty good at English.
Hendekea: But, it's funny, people thought Azaria could speak French. They were like, "We heard him speak French in Burkina Faso." But that was the only three French words we know.
Azaria: And Hendekea actually makes fun of the way I talk to foreign people because I talk with an accent. Plus my hand movements and body gestures just got much more animated.
Hendekea: I did it too, though. When you spend so much time outside of the U.S., you start talking with the same accent of the people you're hanging around. So I can't judge. Well, how was that ill-fated flight?
Hendekea: It was the most depressing time of my life. First of all, we had to wait in Vilnius for three or four hours. And then we had a layover in Frankfurt, and Azaria was moping around all depressed.
Azaria: That was because of all the cigarette smoke around in that airport! [Laughs] It was terrible. [That, plus] we ended up landing four or five hours after the first team. At least you made out pretty well before you were eliminated. You won three legs.
Yeah, we did. We won a trip to Whistler in Alberta, Canada, to go skiing. Then Bermuda… and scooters. Which was your favorite leg?
Azaria: The first leg of Burkina Faso where I had to drink the crunchy camel's milk while she was yelling at me. But Croatia would have been [our favorite]. Had we won.
Hendekea: Winning's always great. But our goal was to stay in it as long as possible. Did being Ethiopian ever give you an advantage? Were locals like, "She's not from here but she's a fellow African?"
Hendekea: We told people that we were Ethiopian and they didn't care. The only advantage was the fact that we had been to Africa before. I think that, maybe, with some of the other teams like The Blondes or Kynt and Vyxsin, [the poverty] they saw surprised them and they got very emotional. What did you think when Jennifer complained that you were winning too much.
Hendekea: That was funny. But they didn't show part of it. We got there first and when they were second, I put my hand on Jen's shoulder [as if to say], "We're still in the game. That's what counts." And she turned to me and snapped, "Don't touch me!" But Jen and I are good friends and I totally understood where she was coming from. She apologized afterwards and it was no big deal. In general, how did you all handle finding food and timing potty breaks?
I don't know why people complain about food, because I was never really hungry. We were on airplanes half the time and, maybe it wasn't fine dining, but it was food. With bathrooms, I just didn't drink so I wouldn't have to go much. I was probably dehydrated half the time.
You do learn to hold it in. But when it comes to food, I looked at it like this: The first leg of the race was so physically demanding I felt like if I could get through that, then everything else was cake. It was funny when you called Nick and Gramps out for trying to get the ticket agent to screw over the other teams. How often did you overhear things you shouldn't have?
Azaria: A lot of times you're in close proximity to other people — especially in the ticketing office. That's partially why we ended up sharing a lot of info. We felt like they would get it anyway. In your CBS bio you say you were setting out to make friends along the way. Which teams will you see again? And who would like to never see again?
Hendekea: A lot of the teams live in Southern California. So I see them all the time — Nate and Jen, TK and Rachel, Julia. I don't really have anyone that I super dislike except for maybe Kynt and Vyxsin. Why are they not on your favorite-people list?
Hendekea: For several reasons. I feel like they put up a bit of a show. I could care less if somebody's walking around with a pink afro and a tutu. What seemed phony about them?
Hendekea: I can't believe we're getting into this. [Laughs] But Kynt really catered to the camera. The second it was on… Kynt was dynamic and exciting. But when it came to interacting with other teams, they wanted nothing to do with any of us. In this week's episode it just looked like their strategy was to not go along with the crowd.
That is the biggest joke ever. I don't want to bad-mouth them, but every single leg of the race they followed people.
In Ireland and in Amsterdam they followed us. They would try to be your friend when it was advantageous to them. But then they would go and backstab you. If that's how you want to play, that's fine, but don't walk around with this high and mighty attitude like, "Oh, we have so much integrity. We would never lie. We're such respectful people." OK. Changing the subject, what happens to your backpacks sometimes? During this last leg, especially, they disappeared.
Azaria: The production guys picked up our backpacks at the airport because they knew that we'd be repelling and doing other things. Is that how you'd be tipped off that a tough leg was coming?
Azaria: No, because the toughest leg was the first one and we had our backpacks for that. In this last leg it was just about logistics. You're not going to be able to carry a backpack down a zipline or when you're dropping into the water. See, some of us — meaning me — would have been worried about not being strong enough. And falling. And killing ourselves.
Hendekea: I guess you could have fallen. But you can't think about it. You just do it. Like before we left for the race, I was thinking about how Joyce [of Season 7] shaved her head in India. I was like, "I would totally not cut my hair." But then when I got on the race I realized I would do many things I otherwise would never expect myself to do.

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