Slickdrums Chronicles

AvatarSwim Against The Grain..

Applying Paradiddles & Triplets to Hands & Feet (Double bass)

This old drum lesson video by Simon Philips is really incredible. Now you know how many world class drummers play with super independence & agility!

And really, the best part is, it’s not really out of the world. It just takes practice and starting slow at first!

The Trip To Phnom Penh City

Slickdrum’s notes:

Wow.. I just got motivated to finish off our Cambodian adventure. I got a little behind after completing the time we had in Siem Reap. I was rushing a project and right after that, my wife took leave off work for a few days (I must also confess, I have been spending time trying out Flickr and Picasa too!).

But my motivation came in today when I checked my email (yes, left that a little behind too!). A comment by Andres Orta, Revenue Manager at Le Meridien Angkor got me encouraged to get my story moving (before them grey cells starts depleting and I start forgetting!).

So, starting off where we last ended.. after a long day at Sisophon.

The next day, 17th Nov (Tues), we had to start our journey to Phnom Penh. So after a sumptuous breakfast at Royal Angkor Cafe (and sad to leave such a beautiful hotel with excellent service!), we got ready to leave early for Irene’s last appointment in Siem Reap before catching our flight to Phnom Penh.

We were at the domestic terminal about 11am and  to our surprise, no one had “checked in” for work at the check-in counters yet!

The empty check-in lanes Hey, where’s everybody?

Eventually, one person arrived and a lane opened up.  After checking in, we had about 1.5 hrs to spend, so it was a really good thing we found a Blue Pumpkin cafe inside. So we had drinks & sandwiches for lunch.

It came for time to board the plane. And it was a first time for me to board a propeller-powered plane!

Our cool propeller plane! Like, how awesome is this?

All in all, it only took 45 mins to travel to Phnom Penh from Siam Reap. After getting our luggage from an open luggage area (not air-conditioned as we were used to), we went to meet our driver from Inter-Continental Hotel. Yes, my wife is very efficient and she had thought about the arrangements ahead of time.

The open luggage area The simple open luggage area

However, as we came into the arrival area scanning the displayed cards, we didn’t see anyone holding a card with her name on it. Frustration started to seep in since she had paid for the service and booked very early.

After a few failed attempts (and nerves getting shot) in trying to call the hotel, we finally managed to call Inter-Continental hotel (with the help of a local, we figured out how to call locally). Apparently, the concierge head completely forgot our arrangement! So we decided to grab a taxi while fuming inside!

But reflecting on how the concierge head had apologized profusely over the phone for the blunder, we had somewhat calmed down. When we arrived at the hotel, the concierge head came out to greet us personally and started apoligizing. Knowing he very well didn’t  intentionally make that mistake, we gave a big broad smile as he helped us the bags from the cab and told him it was okay. Only a very minor thing, which it really was.

Inter-Continental Hotel lobby The lobby of Inter-Continental Hotel.. quite a nice hotel.

The room at Inter-Continental cannot really be compared to Le Meridien Angkor. At Le Meridien, we were superbly impressed. At Inter-Continental, we were happy it was nice. I guess it could be that Inter-Continental catered towards the business people where Le Meridien Angkor catered to tourists.

Now, curiosly, one thing I discovered during our drive to the hotel was that there weren’t many tall buildings in Phnom Penh. True enough, as I viewed the city’s landscape from room window, it was quite a flat country. Perhaps, it is growing in development.

Rather flat landscape A flat landscape.. not many tall buildings

After Irene had gone out with her colleague from Belgium for an appointment, I decided to check out the city life at night. Unfortunately, at where I was, there weren’t much. My hopes of finding a cafe to hangout in came up zilch! That, plus the fact that I was starting to sweat a little, made me decide to head back to the hotel and laze until Irene and her colleague gets back so we can all head for dinner.

We decided to check out the chinese restaurant, Xiang Palace, at Inter-Continental Hotel. It was ok, not as great as back home, but plenty of food (mental note: never assume there’s not enough food!).

After a very, VERY filling meal, it was nice to plop into a cool bed with a nice cool room! Awesome!

Coming up: A Day in Phnom Penh City

A Long Drive & Day At Sisophon

After visiting the Temples on Sunday, it was work for Irene on Monday. She was heading out to Sisophon city and I decided to tag along to learn about the people now that I’ve checked out the Temples.

Sisophon (properly Serei Saophoan) is the capital city of Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia. The city separates Cambodia's National Highway 5 and National Highway 6. Serei Saophoan is difficult to pronounce, so often the area is written transliterated as "Sisophon", even on Cambodian signs.

- excerpted from Wikipedia

The drive was about an hour plus one way. And it was a long, straight highway with lots and lots (and lots!) of green because of the large number of paddy fields! According to Irene’s English translator, Cho, Cambodia has lots of land. Only problem is people are poor and cannot afford to buy land to grow crops. The roads have been tarred and made proper than it was last year.


.. more greens..

.. and more greens! Paddy greenery all along on either side of the highway to Sisophon

All the paddy fields greenery really reminded of my once-lush-green hometown.

Here in Cambodia, people don’t rush driving like either the road’s belong to them or like there’s no tomorrow, unlike back in our so-called “civilized” cities. Nope, they cruise along, they take their time. Naren, our driver, was probably pedaling it at 60 Kph, which is rather slow back at home! But we got to see lots of green, which was a plus!

Sisophon city, looks more like a very large town, is quite large and the area dispersed. When we arrived at Irene’s appointment, I took off trying to check out any cafe with wifi around (I read a traveller blogged from one) and wanted to take in the life here.

As soon as I started walking, barely a minute, I started to feel very hot! And  it didn’t help much that I was carry my knapsack notebook bag! Only the main road seems well kept and wide, while the smaller roads branching off the main, not very well maintained. I walked off in the main road, but couldn’t see any shops, so I turned back and took the road opposite where Irene’s appointment was.

Walked a fine distance but had no luck in finding any cafes. On top of that, it was quite a dusty small road, so I decided to turn back. Passed by a large primary school compound.

Primary school in Sisophon A very, VERY, simple primary school in Sisophon.. We are so pampered!

It was quite sad to see how backward these schools are, although it’s good to see children in them. But I bet they lack lots of current modern day facilities and materials!

I made my way back to the main road, only to be saved by Naren, who was probably driving about. Told him about looking for a cafe, and he offered to look one with me. He’s been in Sisophon once before and roughly knew a place for a cuppa.

The giant lady statue in town center The town center with the large statue in the middle of the roundabout

Passed by a large statue in a center which I guess was the city centre. We found a coffee shop. Not the one I was hoping for, but a relief nonetheless. We both had coffee and it was good to sit and cool down. And it was nice of Naren to buy me the coffee and drive me about.

After fetching Cho & Irene for her second appointment in Sisophon, Naren offered to drive me about again than to wait (on the hindsight, I should have waited..). We went to a place he wanted to introduce for lunch. It was like a park, with concrete figures of animals & huts for people to eat in and drink.  After walking around (I wasn’t keen, but just to oblige Naren since he gave a ride), we just sat at the restaurant in the park and had mineral water. Irene & Cho later joined us after their appointment (they were driven over). While food was so-so, the flies didn’t make it at all appetizing. We just wanted to get back soon. So after quick lunch, we made our way back home.

The solitary tree This solitary tree caught my eye on the way back!

Irene had another appointment in Siem Reap city itself and since we quite early in getting back, we decided to stop by the hotel to freshen up. I was too pooped to follow, so I opted to stay back and crashed (after a nice hot-bath, cooling down in an air-con room!).

Later that night, we decided to treat ourselves a little (after a hard day’s work and all!), so we decided to check out L’Angelo, an Italian restaurant at Le Meridien Angkor.

Food at L’Angelo was incredible! We were given the L’Angelo complementary drink, a red wine mixed with soda and lime and the traditional buns with dips.

Our complimentary wine and soda mix Our complimentary L’Angelo drink – red wine, soda and lime

Irene had huge tiger prawns as appetizers, I had the Vegetable Terrine (a bad mistake, sigh!). For main meals, Irene had the Risotto with Duck Breast and I had the Grouper meal which really blew me! And to top it off, for dessert,  Irene had creme brulee and me Pineapple Panacotta something. All this was for only $20 per person. Considering the food & the 5-star hotel, this was cheap.

See how huge them prawns are! Irene’s tiger prawns for appetizers!

Vegetable Terrine The Vegetable Terrine appetizer I had.. not my favorite dish!

The cozy L'Angelo The cozy L’Angelo Restaurant

After these incredible meals, we decided to walk about burn off the extra calories (yikes!) before heading back to the room.

Beautiful lanterns on the trees The beautiful lit lanterns on trees in front of the hotel entrance

That night we were ending our stay in Siem Reap. We were about to check out the next day for Phnom Penh next!

Next: The Trip To Phnom Penh City