PAX Aust 2017: Refuel

PAX is huge. Not just as a global convention, but in Melbourne it takes up every corner of the Convention Centre. A three-day-pass feels essential to be able to see everything.

That level of “walking” takes some serious refuelling. And you don’t want to gorge yourself on any convention-centre-collection. You are in The Zone; The Geeky-Gaming Zone. Respect the zone.

Melbourne has an amazing array of food options. Downstairs from my accomodation is a 24-hour pizza shop that tastes a LOT better than I expected. Two blocks up is a beautiful health store with a plethora of muesli choices for breakfast. But none of these really feed my geeky mood. So I went a-hunting!!

Dinner: 8Bit

Geek burgers for PAX

231 Swanson Street, Melbourne

This is a corner-store burger joint, with all the atmosphere of quaint burger joint and the bonus points for geeky references.

Geek burgers for pax
Every burger is gaming related. It’s PAX-paradise!! The prices are a little daunting at first but these burgers are high value. I ordered the 1Up mushroom (with added bacon), with a side of sweet potato chips and a Nutella milkshake. It filled me from early dinner right through to late breakfast the next morning.

Geek burger for pax in Melbourne

Dessert: Nitro Lab

188 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Around the corner from 8Bit, Nitro Lab is located on Bourke Street. A small store front with street-side seating, the real highlight comes from watching them make it.

They use liquid nitrogen to chill the ice cream!!

Geek dessert for PAX in Melbourne
They have a very friendly selection from the menu: gluten-free, dairy-free, and chocolate-free… Wait. Why would you even DO that?!?

The added charm comes from the syringe of sauce you can add. A syringe! This place was made for me!! I ordered the passionfruit cheesecake with chocolate syringe.

Geek dessert for PAX in Melbourne
It was soooooooo good. I am fighting the urge to go back.

Geek dessert for PAX in Melbourne
Let me know of other geeky haunts around Melbourne, or your local geek-meet. We all need to refuel for these events.

BTW: my PAX Highlights will be over on GeekMom in a week or so. Stay tuned for updates!

Tram travel around Melbourne for PAX

Essential tram travel around Melbourne: The EG Mum Special

One Dodgy Travel Agent at a Time

Travel is very important in world domination.

If you really want to take over a world, you need to know the world you are taking over.

Take the Romans for example. Forget about Nero (though, we’ll come back to him another day – he is useful to our story-telling in world leaders). Not only did they build an enormous empire – they did it in such a way as to absorb those they were conquering.

Don’t get me wrong; we still lost a bucket-load of cultural history and significance because of the narrow-minded views of an elite religious few. But really. They had the right approach to taking over the place.

And then they got greedy. And things burned. And people went a little crazy. Kind of like the US right now.

But I digress. Travel = Good.

So why do Travel Agents make it so hard?!?!

Oh yeah. Greed.

Have you ever tried to complain about a Travel Agent? Their “itineraries” are so ambiguous, they tend to scare most people off complaining through all the correct channels. Seriously, they flip more often than the Flying Graysons Death Defying Act – but we all know how that ended.

See, most businesses assume that Stay At Home Parents are the same today as they were 50 years ago. Sweet little wives with no experience in the wily ways of the world. Poor little women who don’t want to fuss or complain, so you just point out the little tiny mistake they made, and they will go away – ever so grateful that you saved them from the embarrassment of complaining.

Not anymore. These days, Stay-at-Home-Parents can be a Dad as much as a Mum. They can be parents taking it in turns with shared care. They can be on extended parental leave – they can be doctors, teachers, engineers, military personnel. They can be 25 with retail experience; 35 with travel experience; 45 with legal experience.

Oh yeah – Legal experience. Let that just sink in for a minute.

That’s one point every business should consider. It is very easy to scare most people away from complaining or even taking legal action. The legal process is a very lengthy and expensive path to tread. Especially if you need to seek legal advice from a lawyer to simply know where to start.

But what if the Complainant IS a lawyer? What if they already KNOW the legal process? And what if they have about 2 hours free while the toddler sleeps – time enough to contact Fair Trading groups, social media groups, complaint departments, Small Claims Tribunal?

It is time businesses stop seeing their clients/customers as dumb cash cows, and realise the ‘manure’ they are stepping into instead. Not every person is going to just sit and take it for your convenience. Travel Agents are already twisting the market with their pressure to “make a deposit now and lock in the price!!” or “deal with our experts today”, and of course the “oh, you need this extra service because there is such a high risk of … in that area.”

Little known fact – I am used to taking up a fight on behalf of the masses. I have no problem being the instigator, the initiator and the head of a class action, if I KNOW you are screwing around with people.

Travel is a fantastic thing to share with the spawnlings. There is so much to share from our recent holiday (how to feed kids in foreign countries; comparative review of playgrounds; what type of travel insurance you require with a 6yo scientist) and I plan to share that with you.

But most important I believe is to learn how to manage a Travel Agent both before AND after your travels. And I can tell you right now – their tune changed drastically when I mentioned the legal avenues I am already aware of.

Stay tuned for the next development!!



They are giving back our money. Yay me. But a tad anti-climatic.

But seriously, the manager of the agency called me – and I refused the call. I sent an email instead, requesting all further communication to be in writing. Clearly this would be in both our interests since they think I am lying and I am a former lawyer who knows how to document and collate evidence.

And those are the trigger words, minions. Lawyer and Evidence.

The reply was very courteous, thanking me for the feedback and as a valued customer they would like to reimburse me for the fee in question. Today.

For anyone out there ever planning to deal with travel agents, my advice (after asking WHY?!?!?!) would be to maintain the paper-trail. It may seem painful, but have EVERYTHING in writing. This can be hard, because often they will answer your email request with a phone call. You still need to push for written confirmation.

And do not be afraid to call them on it. Almost everybody is too poor (time and money) to follow up with complaints, and business knows this. They rely on it. Don’t let them.

Feel free to email me if you ever need a bit of guidance: