Dads Down Under
By Art Margolis
My wife, Susan (a pediatric oncologist/hematologist by training) works for a large pharmaceutical company. She travels a great deal and is out of town an average of one week per month.
While she travels all over the world for her company, I stay at home to care for the children, but every year or so I get to join her on one of her business trips.
(Thank you, frequent flier miles.) Susan’s latest excursion took her to Australia, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an adventure “Down Under.” The trip from Kinnelon, N.J., to Sydney took 26 hours from door to door.
Traveling was tedious with Zoe, our 5-month-old daughter, and Jake, our 2-and-a-half – year-old son.
(Unfortunately, my older children Elana and Dan could not accompany us.) Armed with advice from the seasoned travelers on the Dad-list, we brought along lots of new books, small toys and enough snacks for an entire troop of toddlers. All things considered, we made out very well.
Sydney is a wonderful city filled with friendly people. The museums are great and The Sydney Opera House may be the most awesome building in the world! Getting around the town is no problem on foot, and the city has water taxis for whenever those feet get tired.
Before we left for the trip I sent a message to the Dadlist asking if any of the Aussie dads wanted to meet a Yank dad and his family. Two of the dads from the list contacted me and we decided to meet in the beautiful Blue Mountains, about 40 miles north of Sydney.
My children and I took a train up into the mountains and were met by two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet, along with their wonderful families.
Peter Vogel and Martin Wolterding took us sightseeing in the Blue Mountains, which I would describe as a cross between the Grand Canyon and the Smokey Mountains. We spent the day talking, walking and getting to know one another. We all had so much in common, it seemed that we had been friends for years.
We then went back to Peter’s house, where he prepared a great barbecue dinner for us.
We spent the next four days in and around Sydney doing the usual tourist things — playing with kangaroos, Koala Bears, riding the Monorail and ferry boats, museum-hopping — and generally having the time of our lives.
But truly, the highlight of the trip was meeting and getting to know the “Down Under Dads.”
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