Mumbai, India Report of what it's like to live there - 01/13/19
Personal Experiences from Mumbai, India
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Various postings in South America, Europe, and Asia
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
USA, direct flights to DC, nine hours.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Nice housing, spacious and close to the US Consulate.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Local stuff available, however all foreign items are priced very high, for example, local whipping cream has 2% fat and won't whip. You can find imported whipping cream for over $10 for a small carton.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Most items, other than Indian spices, seem to be expensive.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There are two levels only, the very high-ended places for expats priced like NYC prices or the basic local Indian places, cheap but with risks of falling sick.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Small cramped gyms at a high cost.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Yes, but most places will automatically charge you in your local currency with a high conversion rate.
4. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes, not designed for anyone with disabilities.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Uber is available, cheap but unreliable at times.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Expensive; for about $70 a month you can get good speed.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Very cheap and easily available.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Currently more options for EFMs.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Women need to be careful, specially foreign women.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Malaria, Dengue, and water borne illnesses.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Terrible, don't come here if you have respiratory issues.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Terrible air quality.
5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
The city does not seem clean, in my opinion, and seems to smell terrible most of the time; at times it can get to you as there is no respite unless you leave Mumbai
6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Very hot and humid, winters are coller, Dec to Feb but air quality is terrible.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
American School of Bombay but not really and American school culturally.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Some love it here and some hate it.
2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
3. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Yes, the caste system. Among locals, one seems to see a lot of discrimination.
4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
I managed to travel a lot in the region. Travel outside of India is cheaper.Within India, everything has an 18% tax, most decent hotels are about $250 per night and with the VAT is becomes quite expensive.
5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
Mumbai is very expensive.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?