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!

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