Little by little, things are falling into place. I now have a bank account here, although it will be 42 days until I am given debit card and cheque book so I cannot actually use the account yet. I also have a mobile phone (because no matter how many times Vodafone assured me that my UK phone should work here, it didn't). &, best of all, my house is nearly ready for me to move in to.
One of the first things I did when I arrived here was to view two potential places to live that the office had found for me - a dark, dingy, ground floor apartment with barred windows looking onto a walled-in car park, and a sunny little bungalow in a quiet sandy street. It is a traditional old-style house, apparently not so common now, with the kitchen separate from the rest of the house - so requiring a walk through the small paved yard (with its lime and mango trees)to get to the kitchen. &, most importantly, less than five minutes' walk from the office!
I rather like the idea of a 'traditional' style house - my only real concern was the rather horrid blue-tiled floor to the main bedroom, but I'm sure I can learn to live with that! So I said yes to the bungalow, and the lease was signed soon after. Now it contains two beds, a three piece suite, a coffee table, a bookcase and a fridge. Soon to come is a cooker and washing machine, and mattresses, and hopefully some curtain rails so then I can go and buy some curtains (so the 24-hour patrolling guards can't look in the bedroom window at me!). They are optimistic that I can move in by the end of this week, though from the little experience I have of things here I would think that unlikely. But I shall keep my fingers crossed. I am fed up with hotel food and want my own home.
Of course once I have my own home I shall have to buy my own food, cleaning products, etc. So there is another voyage of discovery for me. I will also need to buy bed linen, crockery, kitchen equipment, and so on. All the expats here seem to buy their stuff in the expensive 'Score' supermarket, whilst the local staff buy in the markets. I am keen to shop in the markets but wonder how easy it will be in my faltering French (French for bathroom tiles cleaning solution, anyone?) and whether I will be charged anything like the prices the locals pay.