How I accidentally climbed a Mountain

Yes, you read that right.

How can one accidentally climb a mountain? Well, let me tell you!

I was in Kuching for the Sacerdotal (Priestly) Ordination of a friend, Rev. Fr. Galvin, over the weekend. We used to go to the same University, were of the same intake and was part of the same community, called Young Catholic Undergraduates (YCU), so of course, his Big Day (Ordination to the Priesthood) was bound to be a reunion of old friends.

IMG20170923090355But on the day after the Ordination, some friends suggested we head up to the Catholic Memorial Pilgrimage Centre (CMPC), located at the Slope of Mount Singai, Kampung Tajong Singai, Bau. It is a venue for the Catholic Community to organise retreats, training and religious related events. CMPC was an integral part of our group of friends as we would go up to CMPC at least once a year back in the day. Some of them still do even now, but the last time I went up was 10 years ago, so of course, I agreed to join them.

The Ordination was all I packed for this trip (read: ill-equipped),  but since it was plank-walks and staircases all the way up to CMPC, I wasn’t particularly concerned. Everyone insisted I not use my ladies’ sandals though so I took up Nico’s offer to wear his crocs sandals instead, sans socks. And up we went…

As I recall, going up to CMPC had always been quite a challenge – even back in the day – as some parts were pretty steep. For those who have not been to CMPC, there are Stations of the Cross along the way up that also double as rest-stops. I have gone up without any stops years ago and I have gone up by stopping and praying at each Station as well. But I have never had my knees feel like jelly, which was what happened this time (the difference 10 years make). Lest my knees fully give up on me, I had to stop at almost each Station after the first five, but I still made it up, Thank God.

But that’s where things started to get really interesting.

After a brief picnic (we brought some food with us) at CMPC, Nico suggested, “Hey, shall we go to the top (of Mount Singai)?”

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A jungle path leading to the top of Mount Singai is located just beside the Longhouse.

There were 6 of us in the group – 2 (Syl and Nick) have been to the top before whilst the rest of us (Nico, Ted, Edwin and myself) have not. Prior to this, I never knew it was even possible to go to the top. Needless to say, in excitement, it was a unanimous YES from all of us, although I was starting to feel concerned. I mean, having only brought dresses, dress shoes and a handbag for the weekend (and jeans, tshirts and ladies’ sandals for “casual wear”), I was in no way equipped for climbing a mountain!

“It’s not that high,” said Syl, who had been up a few times.

“How many minutes or hours is “not that high”?” I asked.

“Depends. Some parts are quite steep.”

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And so we started… There was also a group of foreign students from a local private university that coincidentally started their ascend the same time.

IMG-20170923-WA0011My knees were fine during the climb. I wish I could say the same for my feet. Wearing crocs (sans socks!), my feet was starting to blister. And my hands as well, from the rope we use to pull ourselves up along the steeper parts… My handbag – that was just an inconvenience. I was just thankful I could sling it across my shoulder.

 

After a considerable amount of time and climbing a steep part, I asked Syl, “This is the steep part you mentioned?”

“There’s more.”

Internal gasp.

“It’s still a long way up.”

Internal sigh.

We continued our ascend. The group of students earlier had started to split up as some were faster than the others. At one point, our group of 6 became 4 as Nick and Edwin were left behind. When Nick rejoined us, he reported that Edwin could not go up any farther and would just wait for us where he was. And so were 5…

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But one steep slope after another, it became 3 – 2 as Syl, Nico and Ted went up faster, leaving behind myself and Nick who was kind enough to keep me company. My feet was really uncomfortable but there was nowhere to go but up. Fellow climbers (a few from the student group and others) were also taking their own pace (some above us, some below) and Nick would be cheering us all to continue: “Almost there!” “You can do it!” “I can see the sun!” “5 more steps!” “5 more minutes!”

In reality, we were nowhere near the top yet.

Small talks with fellow climbers along the way was interesting though. It made the climb more bearable.

One of the students exclaimed (dramatically): “Someone should make a documentary of me, before I die!” as he huffed and puffed up a steep slope.

Another climber retorted to Nick’s “5 more minutes!” cheer with a “That’s what you said 5 minutes ago!!!” and to his “I can see the sun!”, “I can see the sun from my room, man!”

Funny exchanges happen when people are exhausted. Hahaha.

I passed a climber who was taking a break on the way up.

“As you can see, I am in no way prepared for this climb.” I said, as I motioned to what I was wearing.

“Neither am I”, he agreed. “Just got back from the club and my mate was like, ‘Hey let’s go for a climb!'”

“Doesn’t sound like a great idea now does it?” I quipped.

“No! And I’m tipsy to boot!” he exclaimed.

I chuckled as I considered the next slope…

There were also a few climbers who were on their way down as well and passed us by. I was tempted to ask them how much further we had to reach the top but decided not to, for fear they would say it was still a long way to go.

The most interesting thing that happened on the way up was when one of those on the way down locked eyes with mine as I climbed up a steep slope. It was a familiar face that I had not seen for almost 10 years.

“Fancy bumping into you here!” both Kevin and I agreed. We had a brief catch up as his group was catching up and Nick helped take a photo of us.

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Turned out Nick in turn, knew one of Kevin’s friends.

“I’m with him,” she said, pointing at Kevin.

“I’m with her,” Nick pointed at me.

“So is it still far up to the top?” Nick asked her.

“I turn back halfway,” she replied.

My heart stopped beating for a second. We’re not even HALFWAY up???

Fortunately, she laughed and continued, “I finished already lah. It’s not much further…”

My heart started beating again.

After what seemed like ages and after I don’t know how many “5 steps” and “5 minutes” later, we finally reached the top!!!

Was the view worth it?

Actually, I don’t know.

It was hazy and we couldn’t really see much.

But considering how ill-equipped I was and I reached the top anyways (and it was my first mountain!), I was really pleased.

And that my friend, was how I accidentally climbed a Mountain!

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At the top of Mount Singai, 562 metres above sea-level

For the record, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the top – not bad for an ill-equipped first-timer hahaha!

 

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The Winners, The Men, The Beauty & The Beasts of the 2014 World Cup

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This photo was too cute to not post! 😀

10 days ago, The Team I was rooting for won The 2014 World Cup in Brazil…

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…and IT FEELS AWESOME! #GermanyWorldChampions

And while I can gush on and on and on and on about them…

I won’t (much) but rather share my thoughts of The World Cup 2014 which campaign just ended.

And since Germany now has 4 Stars (World Cup Champions for the 4th time), here are 4 things I took out of/observed from the Brazil 2014:

1. The Winners

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THE CUP – won by Germany of course

And Rihanna won best seat in the house at the after-party! Perks of being a celebrity eh eh eh…

THE GOLDEN BOOT for The Top Goalscorer went to James Rodriguez (Colombia) with 6 goals (with Thomas Mueller (Germany) with 5 goals getting Silver and Neymar (Brazil) with 4 goals getting Bronze). His stunning volley against Uruguay also won recognition as the Goal of the Tournament. Clap clap clap.

THE GOLDEN GLOVE for the Best Goalkeeper went to Manuel Neuer (Germany) who made 25 saves, completed 202 passes and kept three clean sheets. I call him Super Neuer and here’s why: http://9gag.tv/p/a9Ldmr/why-germany-goalkeeper-manuel-neuer-is-more-than-just-sweeper-keeper?ref=fbp

THE GOLDEN BALL for the Best Player went to Lionel Messi (Argentina). Wait…what?

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Yeah…it was…a very unexpected…choice… for the award and I wasn’t the only one who felt so. (I find out now that many people are still questioning it to the point than even he didn’t want the award himself. A messi situation indeed.) I can’t really comment much but he himself didn’t look too happy at the point of receiving it either which was understandable since what he really wanted was The Cup. But I am happy to note that Thomas Mueller (Germany) & Arjen Robben (Netherlands) won Silver & Bronze respectively.

…which means the ultimate winner is Thomas Mueller bringing home The Cup and the Silver Boot and the Silver Ball! Sweet~

He’s got that guy-next-door doesn’t he? Cute

2. The Men – my personal favourites by roles. 😉

Players: Germany as a Team, as it should be. (Honestly, too many to mention by name). And the Netherlands too especially Robben, and Neymar (Brazil), Oscar (Brazil), Mascherano (Argentina) to name a few.

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Germany, of course), Cillessen (Netherlands), Ochoa (Mexico), Navas (Costa Rica), Cesar (Brazil) and Krul (Netherlands) for the Penalty shoot-out. Here’s a funny…Neuer and Cillessen look kinda alike, dontcha think so?

Equally good-looking too. 😉

Coach: Joachim Loew (Germany) & Van Gaal (Netherlands) both for their strategy! And for Loew, a bonus, I love his poker face!

3. The Beauty – the most memorable/unforgettable moments

The most shocking goal differences, namely:

Brazil 1 – Germany 7 in the Semifinals

Spain 1 – Netherlands 5 in the Group Stage

The most shocking early exits/poor performances of teams like Spain (previous World  Cup Champions), Italy, Portugal & England

The rise of the underdogs (Colombia & Costa Rica)

The most nerve-wrecking penalty shoot outs:

Netherlands vs Costa Rica in the Last 8 (Krul fate for Costa Rica)

Netherlands vs Argentina in the Semifinals (Krul-less Netherlands bows out)

4. The Beasts

The bad – Headbutting 0.0

Pepe (Portugal) received a red card when he headbutted Mueller (Germany).

Cameroon headbutting their own teammate. -.-

The Ugly – Biting O_O

Luis Suarez. ‘Nuf said.

And thus ends the wrap-up for my football fever and the Journey to the 2014 World Cup. It had been a wonderful journey for me personally with the team I supported bringing home the Cup! #GermanyWorldChampions

And so, for Russia 2018…#GoGermany 😀

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Journey to the 2014 World Cup

Four years ago, I didn’t have a favourite team to support. But by the end of that journey, I had fallen in love with how a few teams played – 2 of them were Germany and Netherlands. Especially Germany. Did you remember how they did in South Africa? AWESOME! And they got third place.

So understandably, I came into this year’s Cup consciously supporting Germany.

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And they sure didn’t dissapoint did they?! 😀

They are now in the brink of winning the Cup in a few hours! Against Argentina.

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Regardless what happens in the Finals, they’re pretty much guaranteed my support for the next four years and beyond. 🙂 #GoGermany #worldcup2014

But before that, let’s recap this amazingly-unpredictable journey this year!

It began on 13 June (exactly a month ago)…32 nations…

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GROUP STAGES

And the very first match was Brazil (host) vs Croatia.

The host won…

13-1

But penalties and an own goal…I wasn’t convinced.

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And the first shocker this World Cup:

Spain (the champion 4 years ago in South Africa) lost. BADLY. 5-1!

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I expected a tight match between defending-title holders and a strong team like Netherlands but that was not the case.

 

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And then it was England & Italy’s turn…

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And Japan to play first representing Asia!

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And then Argentina & Bosnia-Herzegovina

 

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And then the match I was looking forward to – Germany’s first group match.

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Easy win againt Portugal (who supposedly had the world’s best player???) who were having an off-day.

Next Asian rep, Korea!

18-1

18-2

 

Korea vs Russia…and Brazil still not convincing against Belgium. Hhmm…

Then came the next group match for Netherlands.

19-1

Again, an impressive game by Oranje…and again, a shocking performance by Spain.

 

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Also an “ugly” sight in football – headbutting – especially against your own teammate. WTH?

But there were already pretty interesting things noted from the matches thus far:

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And a famous doppelganger!

Haaaaaave you met Ted?

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How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Mosby has a doppelganger – and his name is Mexico’s goalkeeper Ochoa!

And he’s an excellent goalkeeper too!

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Japan tied with Greece in their next group match…

20-1

 

And Costa Rica makes it into the Knockout Stages! Against Italy.

21-1

The Swiss vs France match was inspiring…

 

 

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And apart from doppelgangers, there were half-brothers too!

21-3

Iran was impressive…

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Iran’s goalkeeper Amir Begovic

22-1

But Argentina moves on to the Knockout Stages.

22-2A

Ghana was impressive too against Germany but of course, Germany won.

And Portugal…again, disappointing.

23-1

 

And then, when you thought headbutts were ugly, there came a man named Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

 

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Yup. He totally clouded the achievement of Uruguay going into the Knockout Stages.

And whilst Germany & USA book their spot in the Knockout Stages, Portugal (obviously) & Ghana was heading home…

27-1

 

And then there were 16…

 

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KNOCKOUT STAGES

It’s 1 chance or go home now and 16 remaining nations fought for their spot in the Semi-finals.

The host Brazil was the first in after beating Chile in a penalty shoot-out, joined by Colombia with Uruguay leaving to join their teammate Luis Suarez back home.

29-1

I just really don’t like penalty shoot-outs!

And the Argentina vs Switzerland match was meme-convenient hehe:

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30-1

 

Mexico & Ochoa had to leave…after a last minute goal by Oranje.

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And Germany make it through against Algeria – albeit it took longer than expected.

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And then, there were 8…

THE LAST 8

 

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Germany again made it through against France. Woohoo!

 

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And something funny during that match too…

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(Find out later that somehow Mueller is related to Malaysia. I have no comment.)

Next, Brazil books the Semi against Germany…but without 2 important people:

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Neymar & Silva would not be playing…to catastrophic results against Germany! (But I’m getting slighted ahead of myself)

And Netherlands vs Costa Rica wasn’t as straight forward as most (including me) thought!

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But a Krul-fate befell the Costa Ricans and Netherlands live to fight another day!

And then, there were 4…

THE LAST 4

 

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When Netherlands defeated Spain 5-1 was shocking. Who ever thought there was a match that would be even more shocking?! And at a Semi-Final at that!

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Germany went on to defeat Brazil (host) 7-1!!!

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And Klose broke the world record too:

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Yup

9-2

Germany impresses on and off the field.

And while the first semi-final was over by 20+mins…the second one between Netherlands and Argentina went completely the other extreme – to a penalty shoot-out!

Again, I JUST DON’T LIKE PENALTY SHOOT-OUTS!!!

And this time, Luck ran out for the Dutch… 😦

10-1

 

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So yup, it would be a Germany vs Argentina Final!!!

I had hoped it would be Germany vs Netherlands cos they’re my 2 favourite teams but I guess at least now I don’t have the dilemma of which team to support.

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Or do I???

10-2

Say what now? LOL!

But actually no, there was never a doubt of which team I supported. Even if they had played against Netherlands, Germany is still #1 for me. 😀

Finals happening in a few hours!!! *excited*

Meanwhile earlier this morning…

12-1

 

Netherlands secures 3rd place defeating Brazil…this time with Silva.

Not as shocking…but I do pity Brazil as host.

But yes, it all comes down to the Finals tonight/early tomorrow morning!!! #GoGermany

And signing off…This is me the whole month:

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But TOTALLY worth it. 😉