Things accumulate. I had been surprisingly stressed about the state of my passport thanks to East Africa’s fondness of full-page visas. Canadians only have 24 pages to work with and we can’t add more unlike the lucky Americans. The trick is to have at least two pages free so as to not stress out any customs agents. South Africa is apparently very strict about this for instance and will send one away if they have any less free real estate than two pages.
Prior to this trip I had quite a bit of space. There were only two full-pagers prior to Africa: from Argentina and China:
Suddenly, I was hit by three consecutive full-pagers. This brought me down to three free pages. Two days in Kenya, on a three-day transit visa, wiped out more than 4% of my passport space. Brutal.
I got lucky in Uganda, South Africa and Singapore and Malaysia– they were just stamps. Indonesia however caused havoc with a small half-pager. Fortunately I just have Thailand and Japan left for my plans or else I’d be really sweating. Well, more than I have been literally sweating in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
So, that was the downside to accumulation — possibly having to get a new passport in the fly despite not stayong put for any great length of time.
On the plus side, I’d been using Trip Advisor for advice for most of the journey. I belatedly created an account and started putting reviews up to give back and help acknowledge some of the great people and organizations that I’ve run into. I logged on today and had a badge. A Senior Reviewer badge. Whoh!
I think it would be cooler if they called it “Señor Reviwer” but gamification is a work in progress. Yet, I was fascinated as I am taking an Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on gamification now. It’s hosted through Coursera. Well, it’s sort of been on hold because as much as it’s interesting it’s nowhere near as spellbinding as Pinker’s Better Angels on our Nature book (see my South Africa post). Anyway though, Gamification is incenting certain behaviour by keeping score, providing feedback, giving, ahem, badges is quite interesting. It will never make a boring task less boring but it will leverage peoples’ inherent competitiveness.
So, I’ll keep hammering away with the Trip Advisor to get my next badge and keep watching my MOOC videos (to count them all down which fits with the rules of my own metal game.) Fun stuff all around.