Sunday, November 27, 2011

Guam Day 2: Talofofo Falls and Shoichi Yokoi's "Cave"

by Pa Rock
Talofofo Falls Park Office  (We found several immense
spiders on the stones fronting the structure.)
World Traveler

We did an about-face at Jeff's Pirate Cove and headed south.  It took about twenty minutes and lots of attention to road signs, but we finally located park that is home to both the beautiful Talofofo Falls and the supposed hidey-hole/cave where Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi hid for twenty-seven years between 1945 and 1972 because nobody bothered to tell him that the war was over,

Religious statuary in the main park.
The park was very secluded in an area that was overrun with much greenery.  We bought admission tickets, careful to get our military discounts, and then walked along some odd exhibits including a large cage holding two reindeer which were being fed.   I don't know the significance of the reindeer, but they are definitely not indigenous to Guam

We came to a building where we were asked to be seated in a large, clear plastic vessel that was hooked to a cable.  We rode the cable car down over a steep ravine that was thick with jungle growth, and passed the falls enroute to the bottom of the hill.

Reindeer at feeding time.
Preparing to descend  into the valley.
Once we were on the ground, we followed a trail that went beside and below a very large system of water cascading over huge, water-worn boulders.  Eventually we got to the other side where we found a gift shop that appeared to be closed, and a small museum.

A small trail ran beside the gift shop and out into the jungle.  We followed it for a quarter-of-a-mile or so until we finally reached a sign informing us that the cane-lined hole at the site was the place where Shoichi had hidden all those many years.  Reportedly the hole went down eight feet or so and then branched out into a horizontal hand-dug cavern.  The hole was not open for public inspection, nor did it look like the type of place into which proper tourists would want to descend.

Talofofo Falls
Valerie crossing a suspension bridge and taking a picture.
On our return to the spot where we were to board the cable car for our ride back up the mountain, a park guide told us that the thing was a fake.  He said that he had helped to dig the hole that we traipsed through the jungle to see.  The guide said that the actual cave was nearby on the top of a large hill, and that it was completely inaccessible to tourists.

Cascading water at the base of the hill.  Gift shop
and museum in background
The actual "cave:?
Back at the top of the mountain I asked another park guide about whether the hole that we had seen was actually where the brave soldier had spent all of those years in hiding.  She looked flustered and then said that it was not.  She said the original hole/cave had been destroyed during a typhoon, and they had dug a replacement on what they hoped was the exact site.  She denied that the actual cave was at a different location altogether.

One of several Buddhist shrines near the site.
We would have continued that discussion, but at that moment thirteen pigs of varying sizes strolled out of the jungle and commenced to lay about on the cool, shady parts of the parking lot.  We left the guide to play among the pigs!

Pigs at play!

Guam Day 2: Jeff's Pirate Cove

Part of the museum complex at Jeff's
Pirate Cove
by Pa Rock
World Traveler

Still heading north along the eastern coast of Guam, our next objective was lunch.  We found a touristy little spot a few miles north of Inarajan called Jeff's Pirate Cove - a combination museum, gift shop, and food stand.  We ate our meal in a large open-air pavilion at the back of the store.  The food was average, but the warm sea breezes were exceptional!

A bit of beach at Jeff's.  The food pavilion is on the right.
One of the souvenirs that I bought at Jeff's was a souvenir tee-shirt honoring the Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, who managed to hide out of Guam for twenty-seven years after the end of the war - never realizing that the war was over.  As we were preparing to leave Jeff's, we ran into a couple that Valerie had been visiting with on the beach at Inarajan.  They told here that since seeing us at the beach, they had visited Talofafo Falls and seen the cave where the soldier had hidden for those many years.  We decided to backtrack and take in that sight as well.

Didn't get many pictures at Jeff's.  Not sure why - but possibly just worn out by so much sun.

Guam Day 2: Inarajan

by Pa Rock 
Three young servicemen overlook the bay at Inarajan.
Will they jump?
World Traveler

As our zippy little rental car rounds the southern tip of Guam and and begins to head up the eastern coast, one of the first villages that we come to is Inarajan - which has both staples of all of the seaside villages - beautiful beaches and a Catholic church.  We disembarked there for a couple of hours, exploring the sights and shopping in the local grocery.  Valerie even went for a swim.  It was around noon, and I was already beginning to sense the sunburn, so I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible.
A sleepy lagoon.
Roadside market at Inarajan.  The restrooms were
out-of-order, unless you made a purchase!
Water retreating to the sea.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guam Day 2: Umatac and Merizo

Pa Rock
The bay at Umatacby 
World Traveler

Day Two and we are continuing our drive south.  The final two villages on the drive south are Umatac and 
Merizo.  After Merizo the island's coastline forces us briefly eastward and then we head north along the eastern edge of Guam.  It is Monday, most people are at work, and the traffic is light.

Old bell tower at Merizo

Roadside flora

Twin bridges at Merizo

House for sale on the highway and ocean at Merizo.
No, I did not put in a bid!

Guam Day 2: The Marina

A few boas at the marina
by Pa Rock
World Traveler

More boats at the small marina
A few miles south of Fish-Eye we came upon a small marina.  Valerie wanted to look at the boats and I wanted to capture some local color with my small camera.  While we were there, Valerie struck up a conversation with a fellow named Mike who had a large boat and took tourists out on excursions.  That afternoon he was planning to take a group out to watch dolphins playing in the blue Pacific.  Valerie asked Mike if we could take pictures of his boat. Later he asked me if we were from a magazine.  "No," I admitted grudgingly.  "We are just garden variety tourists!"

Valerie aboard Mike's boat
Captain Mike and Valerie
As you can see, the day was gorgeous!  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guam Day 2: Fish Eye

Old man smoking under an island pine
by Pa Rock
World Traveler

Valerie and I spent our second day on Guam trying to drive around the island, and although we did not completely circumnavigate it, we did see a wide variety of sights and enjoyed much beautiful scenery.   Here is our first top on that trip, an underwater observatory called "Fish-Eye."  You will see scuba divers among the fish because there was a dive class occurring nearby.

Reminders of WWII were frequent
Japanese tourists walking back from Fish-Eye Observatory
Fish-Eye Observation Platform
Underwater view of fish cruising people
Fish swarm a feeding tube
Here comes trouble!
Excuse me, but is this the Nautilus?

Guam Day 1: K-Mart, Circle K, and the Beach

The only K-Mart on Guam
by Pa Rock
World Traveler

This past Sunday, November 20th, was our first day on the island of Guam.  We flew through the night, arrived at daylight, checked into the Hilton, slept until noon, and then went exploring.  Our first stop was the local K-Mart for some odds-and-ends, souvenirs, and trip necessities, followed by lunch at the Circle K (hot dog and a beer for $1.99), and a quick drive about along Tumon Bay that ended at a secluded little beach park.

Circle K's, however, are everywhere!
That night we went out to supper with our friend Lenny and her grown son, Joe.  Joe lives in Hawaii, Lenny lives in Okinawa, and occasionally they meet up on Guam, the island that they both call home.

A few photos of our first day on Guam are attached.  Enjoy.

Secluded beach at the end of Tumon Bay
Secluded beach looking south toward luxury hotels
Where jungle and beach meet
Well it's a jungle out there!
Valerie by the hotels' tiki torches

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More from Toguchi Park

Small shrine under a cliff
by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

My friend, Daniel Murphy, has had his brother Joe here visiting from the States all week.  Today I joined them to go for a boat ride at Kadena Marina, but there were no boats available.  Our alternative plan was to drive to Valerie's apartment where we did the tour of the beautiful park next to where she lives.  Since the last posting I have learned that the official name is Toguchi Park.

Enjoy the photos.
Old Okinawan turtle-back tomb
The Murphy Brothers
Two Okinawan fishermen
(L to R) Valerie, Daniel, and Joe)
(L to R) Joe, Valerie, and Daniel