Bob wrote the following during April 2005 while touring with the Kingston Trio This is CHAPTER 3 of the April 2005 blog:
We hated to leave Australia, but our schedule called for us to pack up and head north on February 17th. We flew into the town of Cairns (pronounce “Cans”) where we spent the balance of our vacation. We actually stayed about 15 miles north of Cairns in an area called Palm Cove. Once again we were treated to special accommodations at the Outrigger Resort there. This is a fabulous property with a huge swimming pool that even has a sand beach sloping down into the pool. Here we enjoyed a penthouse suite with our own private rooftop terrace complete with a spa and barbecue facility.
There’s plenty to do in this area and we were especially looking forward to a trip to the Great Barrier Reef for some spectacular snorkeling. We booked a tour on a boat called “Calypso” out of Port Douglas, and I took my guitar along to regale the group with some calypso music during the one-hour cruise out to the Reef. Once there we enjoyed some of the most amazing underwater scenery you can imagine, including fish and coral of all shapes, sizes and colors. We had purchased some cheap disposable waterproof cameras and got some amazing pictures of Neptune’s world.
Back on dry land, we went into Cairns one evening and strolled around the waterfront. We stopped into a shop that sold didgeridoos and got a free concert/demonstration from the proprietor, an aborigine gentleman who makes these instruments. They are actually tree branches that have been hollowed out by termites. He paints them in bright colors, applies a “mouth-piece” of bees wax and turns out a work of art. The sound is somewhat akin to a jaw harp and it’s used primarily as a rhythm instrument.
Walking further we happened to notice a sign that boasted, “Home of the World Famous Toad Races.” This piqued our curiosity and we stopped in to see what it was all about. As a lead-in to the races, a fellow named Terry Doyle was performing with an acoustic guitar, doing a music/comedy act. He had his son with him playing electric guitar and melodica and they did a kind of sing-along show featuring mostly Australian music. I was playing harmonica along with them from my seat and before long they invited me up on stage to sit in. We did a few numbers and then it was time for the toad races. My appearance was later written up in the local Cairn's Entertainment Weekly Press Blurb.
Terry made a costume change, coming out in a jungle safari outfit. The toads were numbered on the back and the audience was invited to purchase a particular toad for each of three races. I bought #5 in the first race. Each “owner” is then required to handle his toad, placing him into a can with no bottom at the center of the ring. Once all the toads are in the can, it’s lifted up and the toads are off as Terry narrates the race like a sports announcer. First one to touch the edge of the ring is the winner. #5 hopped once and then just sat there. “Loser!!!
On February 21st it was time to head home. We really hated to leave, as we were having a great time and could have easily spent another month over there. But with a Kingston Trio concert tour starting on the 25th we had to get back. We were standing in line waiting to board our flight from Cairns to Sydney when a voice called out, “Bob – are you enjoying your vacation?” What!!!??? We’re in Cairns, Australia, for crying out loud! Who knows me here? Well, it turned out to be Dave and Irene Hanley from Calgary, B.C., who were taking the same flight back to Sydney. They had been on our Alaska cruise in 2001 and are big folk music fans. Dave is a professor at the University of Calgary and he’s in Sydney doing a sabbatical at the University of New South Wales. What an amazingly small world it really is!
Once in Sydney we transferred over to the international terminal and said goodbye to Australia. Our return trip took us through Seoul on Korean Air Lines, and as fate would have it, we flew into a snowstorm there. Our connecting flight to LA was delayed due to the de-icing procedure (where have we heard this story before?) so we missed our flight out of LA to Salt Lake City. Amazingly, the airline had already taken care of rebooking us on another flight (thanks again to Delta Airlines and their KAL partner!) so we made it home later that day.
We were exhausted from nearly two days of travel, but we were exhilarated from our trip and still riding the wave of excitement from all that we’d seen and done. But there was little time for reflection, as I had to unpack my bags and reorganize for a one-month concert tour. And that’s where we are right now – riding a bus from Bristol, TN up to Davenport, IA along with Glen Yarbrough and his Folk Reunion, The Brothers Four and us KT boys.
A footnote from the webmaster:"In August of 2005, Bob Haworth would depart from the Kingston Trio to the calling of his solo career and a desire to host concerts to raise money for charitable causes like the Parkinson Foundation and Hurricane Katrina Relief. All of us who have known Bob and Meri admire their desire to help others in need. People like Bob and Meri are what make the world a good place and they make the word friendship meaningful. Drop them a note anytime at email@example.com or drop a line on Bob's message board on this web site."
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