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Google Fi. Same price everywhere. Not the absolute cheapest in the US tho.

 

Until I get a Fi compatible phone I'm doing mintsim in the US, Mineo in Japan, and Glocalme elsewhere. It is an extra device but it really works and costs at most $10/gb.  

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The reality is once you are willing to swap Sims and add devices to your bag you can always get a better deal. Simply because US data prices are stubbornly high. I think Jio in India was offering unlimited data including a native TV streaming app for your phone and set top box for <5 dollars a month.

 

It just becomes an issue of hassle vs cost. But the cost has come down a lot in the last five years. I still have a box of Sims taped to transit passes but I never use them anymore.

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since nobody is ever trying to call me and anyone who needs to (family) will do so via whatsapp anyway, i can see no reason to not get a local sim on arrival. the only issue is that it's harder to do this in some places than others. very easy in hong kong (you can buy a sim/plan at the airport); a little more annoying in the u.k (you have to find a carphone warehouse or similar on the high street); very annoying in india (foreigners can buy a sim while leaving the bombay airport, but indian passport holders cannot).

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The reality is once you are willing to swap Sims and add devices to your bag you can always get a better deal. Simply because US data prices are stubbornly high. I think Jio in India was offering unlimited data including a native TV streaming app for your phone and set top box for <5 dollars a month.

 

It just becomes an issue of hassle vs cost. But the cost has come down a lot in the last five years. I still have a box of Sims taped to transit passes but I never use them anymore.

 

Right, a compromise of annoyances. 

 

Another annoyance - US carriers are simply letting their 3G networks go into disrepair, so if you're in an area with no 4G (like, amazingly, anywhere slightly off the beaten track in California for T-mobile) you end up needing to manually tell your phone to use 2.5G.

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The ungodly pain that comes with getting an injection in the heel. (Splinter removal)  I actually screamed a few times, no doubt scaring all of the people in the waiting room.

My father used to take those out with a sterilized sewing needle and tweezers...he sterilized the sewing needle with a match. I got a lot of splinters walking barefoot on the Rockaways boardwalk.

 

On to aggravating things - last week, I had an interview for the global entry thing.  And there, right in front of the lovely Customs and Border Patrol agent, was a record of an arrest (okay, 2 arrests) over 40 years ago. No convictions, and both records were allegedly "sealed." One of them was for cultivation, when I first moved to Santa Barbara; my roommates and I were experimenting, just not with tomatoes. She didn't exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling about getting the approval. Nothing is safe from DHS and CBP.

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On to aggravating things - last week, I had an interview for the global entry thing.  And there, right in front of the lovely Customs and Border Patrol agent, was a record of an arrest (okay, 2 arrests) over 40 years ago. No convictions, and both records were allegedly "sealed." One of them was for cultivation, when I first moved to Santa Barbara; my roommates and I were experimenting, just not with tomatoes. She didn't exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling about getting the approval. Nothing is safe from DHS and CBP.

 

 

I imagine these Global Entry agents share some pretty funny stories when they sit around with a glass.    Mine was fairly dumbstruck when he couldn't snag a print from me.    "You have NO fingerprints!    Not ONE on either hand."    Me, "I've done a lot of dishes in my day."     After a half dozen tries, he said he requested a variance for me.    I got my card in the mail a couple of weeks later.

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Jeffrey Steingarten's "Cheese Crise" chapter celebrated that full disclosure. Though he thought he was taking advantage of Customs lazily refusing to follow petty FDA rules. Since then, the TSA seems to have proved that no pettiness is below enforcement.

 

I don't go nuts for raw-milk young cheeses as he and many others have. Even though I've enjoyed helping to smuggle into NYC unpasteurized dairy (I love the tangy kefir that bubbles at room temperature). 

 

I'd rather plead with agents over letting me bring in mangosteen.

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RIGHT! Our agent emphasized that you could usually bring in most anything you wanted (to negotiate) with customs agents. But FAILURE TO REPORT anything, a chocolate bar, could get you instantly booted.

 

I would report all the "okay" stuff like candy, cookies, etc. so that they'd think I was being thorough and as such wouldn't bother checking my bag.  That allowed me to bring in vacuum-packaged kippers one time and alcohol amounts over the limit another time.

 

Didn't even try to bring biltong back from SA (meat jerky--big no-no) because the agents on both sides are super-aware of biltong smuggling attempts.

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Food stylists drive me nuts.    It's bad enough when they diddle around with the finished dish so that it has no resemblance to what the instructions will produce, but when they show completely different ingredients it must be very confusing to novice cooks.     Case in point, this photo of shank accompanying an oxtail recipe.

 

47549357031_fbf42bf62b_z.jpg

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