Good afternoon! My name is Ludmila. I’m 35 years old. For four months, I’ve been living in Phnom Penh, the Kingdom of Cambodia. I live with my six-year old son Max.
It’s going to be a regular Monday in Cambodia. I admire people who manage to photograph while travelling throughout the country with a kid, a few suitcases, etc. I can’t do that.
Let me put it clear: there is no night shooting, mines and malaria here in Cambodia.
Sleeping Max is the first one I saw as I woke up.
I was in a bad temper when I woke up. And I looked terrible. So I decided not to show you my face in the morning.
Cooking lunch for Max.
I mixed some rice, eggs and sausages. He likes it.
This is the lunch I prepared for Max to take to school. He doesn’t like fruits. It is probably the rice that gives Max all necessary vitamins and microelements.
I had to go wake him up because he didn’t hear me shouting, “Wake up!”.
My poor little thing! I know it looks like his mother’s kept him awake for the last three days!
I had to be persistent.
I made sure he brushed his teeth.
I had to pack his school stuff. Don’t worry! It’s Monday and they give us blankets, pillows and towels for the weekend to do the laundry. Sometimes my son comes from school cleaner than he was when he left home.
I looked through the window and saw another traffic jam. By the way, DiGi is a Kazakhstan Internet provider.
My driver’s name is Tach Sokom but he asks me to call him Sukhumi because 25 years ago he graduated from Sukhumi’s techical college. He understands Russian well and knows the city so he’s my savior.
Sukhumi said he would be by my place in 5 minutes so I had some time to put some makeup on my face.
It’s so hot and dusty in Cambodia that women stop taking care of their faces and hair and look terrible. I don’t want to become one of them!
Max is a pedant and he likes everything to be in good order. He hates when I put his main course (rice) under his dessert.
I took an elevator down and Max took the stairs and hid. He likes playing hide-and-seek in the morning.
That’s our driver. Motorcycles and bicycles are very popular here in Cambodia.
Sometimes Cambodia reminds me of the USSR of the 90s.
I believe monks bring good luck so I make a wish every time I see one.
Some people think it’s Ok walking outdoors wearing their pijamas. Who told them so?
Max loves riding a bike!
People eating their what? Second breakfast?
Actually, the school opens at 7 a.m. but classes start at 9.
Teachers and nannies meet their pupils personally. They will help them get out of your car too and take their rucksacks.
Max goes to primary school. There are between 6-15 pupils in each class, 1 teacher and 3 nannies. Classes are held in English. They also teach Chinese and Khmer if you wish.
I decided to walk home on foot.
I liked this house when I just moved here. But it is situated in a neighborhood where foreigners live so it was very expensive for me. I rent a similar apartment for twice as little.
There is Pasteur Street in Almaty too!
That’s the house I live in. I love it!
That’s the cafe I would go for like three months but then I found another one.
It’s not the one I wanted either. I don’t like coffee that mich but I like all those cozy cafes scattered around the city.
This is a Philippine cafe with a beautiful Italian name Lorenzo.
It’s cozy and not very crowded. This is a perfect place to “wake up”.
I had an ice vanilla latte and smoked a cigarette.
I waited for Valentina. I needed her because she speaks English well, knows the city and has a bike.
I always ask for an ashtray and milk and it was pleasant to learn servers were aware of that.
In this photo Valentina looks like she’s still sleeping.
We talked enjoying our coffee for about an hour.
This is a place where they give bikes for rent. I needed one. But they said it was closed.
This street is my reference point. I’m sure I’d get lost without it!
I wonder how these poles manage not to fall.
Even on a bike, it is possible to get into a traffic jam in Cambodia.
Our next destination.
It’s an old pagoda.
And one of its monks.
This one was too young.
We talked to the young monk (he speaks English well) while waiting for an older one.
That’s the one I looked for! It’s a long story… In short, I came to pick up a talisman he made for me.
See that red thread on my neck? I try to look like a local.
The pagoda is really beautiful.
This is Zhenya’s bike. It’s a rocket! Zhenya is Valentina’s husband. He brought some fruits to the monk.
You can often see this lady with a plait in Cambodia’s pagodas. She’s quite popular.
Then I had to go get my present.
My house. It is mostly foreigners who live in this house. Those are people from France, China, Korea, Kazakhstan… For some reason, Kazakhstan people are not really happy to see each other. I haven’t figured out why yet.
My neighbor’s bikes.
It was time to have some food.
I’m too shy to show you what’s inside my fridge. It’s full of tasty stuff!
I had some miso soup, pepper, salad with spinach and tuna and rice of course for breakfast-lunch.
By the way, it was my birthday so I talked on the phone to my friends and relatives.
This is a present from my husband.
I thought I had to work for a while. I’ve been unemployed for about a month. Now I’m a freelancer. I didn’t feel like working so I just read LiveJournal and talked to more friends on Skype.
I worked for some time and then I had to go get Max from school.
Another good sign!
That’s Max and his girlfriend.
The kids posed for my camera.
Posing all together.
We left school when it was…
This is the widest street in the city.
Once I saw a bike with 7 people on it!
There were 4 of us on Valentina’s bike – Valentina, her son Max, me and my son Max.
We came to this restaurant. It is a Kazakhstan restaurant by the way.
I love its interior.
It’s a national thing.
If you happen to be in the area, don’t hesitate to visit this place. I promise you’ll like it!
Valentina’s ready to celebrate!
This is Zhanna. She’s the owner of the restaurant.
Rinat, Zhanna’s husband.
Valentina and her husband Zhenya. He’s such a bore! I don’t know why!
There is a great children’s room in this restaurant so I hadn’t heard from Max for about two hours. Then he came down to play with Zhenya’s bike. He loves it!
He’s just like his mother!
Tequila makes everybody think she’s a model.
We took this photo for a reason. My husband is in Almaty now and he can’t come to Cambodia yet. Max misses him so much and he once asked Rinat to be his father. When his real father learnt about it, he started looking for a way to get out of Almaty like crazy. That photo is intended for him.
Valentina and Zhanna didn’t know it was my birthday but I blurted out this secret and they gave me this.
Max looked tired and we headed home.
On our way.
People around stared at the two women with a child and a bunch of flowers.
He was very tired but he still washed his hands and put a glass of water on his bedside table.
We are used to going to bed early.
My son sleeping.
It was March, 12th. Thanks for spending this day with me!
Location: Phnom Penh
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