If you’ve read many of my posts, you know that throughout much of my travels I am working and living on a cruise ship.  It’s great to see these places for free but a major downside to that is hearing complaints from guests.

This post is written to make future travelers aware of potential points of complaint.  Don’t be turned off by the differences – EMBRACE them!

  1. MUMBAI HAS THE FIFTH HIGHEST CITY POPULATION IN THE WORLD – It is crowded.  There are traffic jams.  Deal with it and give yourself enough time to get places.
  2. KNOW HOW TO READ A MENU – I’ve never been to an Indian restaurant (in any country) where the dishes are written in English and they sure as hell won’t be in India either.  Check out a guide to learn how to order what you will like before going, but whatever you do, don’t shy away from Indian food – it’s the BEST.
  3. BAREFOOT BUSBOYS – OK, so it’s a little different to look down in a restaurant and see that some of the busboys are shoeless.  And no, that wouldn’t happen in a lot of other countries, but as long as the cooking and food handling isn’t done with their feet, you’re in the clear.  Let it be, it’s been going on forever.  Definitely don’t make a big deal out of ANY cultural differences.
  4. HOLY COWS – Although not worshipped, STREET COWin Hinduism cows are revered as a symbol of life and treated as a member of the family.  You may see them wandering about or hanging out with their family on the side of the road.
  5. DON’T HATE THE HEAT – If you can’t take the heat, go somewhere else!  And definitely don’t make that the focus of your complaint (Dear cruise guests, no the captain cannot control the weather nor can he reroute our course so that your precious shirts don’t get sweaty).  Pack accordingly – I wore Birkenstocks, a tank top, and a skirt.  I was sweaty and dusty afterward but I’m a dirty hippy and know that I can always shower after a day out exploring.
  6. POVERTY – The class differences in Mumbai are quite severe.  More than 50% of the population are said to be living in the slums.  That said, be nice to people who drive taxis, sell crafts, and offer to shine your shoes.  You may think they are hassling you and you may not want to take part, but don’t be rude.  We’re all trying to make due in this world.  A simple ‘no thank you’ will suffice.

Thanks for reading.  One of my biggest pet peeves from traveling is hearing others complain about things that aren’t worth the complaint.  All it takes is a bit of research and knowledge to know what you’re getting yourself into.  If Mumbai’s not for you then it’s not Mumbai that is the problem.