Monday, July 9, 2012

Gregory and the Torii

A few weeks ago, Greg asked if I wanted to go on a hike to get some avocados that were growing wild in a friend’s abandoned property.  The jungle had taken over the original farmland but the food crops still thrived and lucky for us, still produces in abundance and free to pick to our heart’s desire!  We ventured off in the morning- we, being myself, Greg, DJ and Greg’s dog, Griffin.  Beverly, having delivered just a few weeks ago, stayed home with their baby, Nolan. 

We first visited a torii before going into the jungle.  The torii is a Japanese entrance gate to what once was a Shinto shrine built in a natural limestone cave.  It is supposed to mark where the sacred ground of the temple begins.  The torii has two horizontal parts and two vertical columns that fell to the left or west from where it used to mark the entrance of the cave.   It most likely broke during WWII.

In the foreground of this picture, you can see the body and top cover of what looks like a lantern that stood in front of the gate.  In the middle lies one of the two columns that once stood horizontally, and the structure in the background is one of the horizontal piece of the torii.  It kind of reminds me of the symbol for pi- π .  

The gate fell to the left or west from where it used to mark the entrance of the cave.  This is one of the two-level bases.  

The topmost part of the structure is called kasagi and shimaki which you can clearly see in this picture.  The rectangular block to the right is the lower positioned horizontal piece called nuki.  It is hard to tell what style of torii it is from its condition and without more inspection.

We explored the cave a little bit but did not find anything real significant.  DJ thought this rock was a fossil, but it turned out it was cement from a ruined cement bag.
This is a view looking out from the small cave. 

Our party headed off into the jungle next.  Greg carried the long bamboo guaili’ (Chamorro for fruit picker) so that we could reach the avocados and coconuts.  The trail showed evidence of a once active farm with groves of avocados, bananas, coconuts, starfruit, tangerines, cassava, betel nut, taro and yams.  
The trail even had Arabica coffee trees!  DJ and Greg inspected some dried coffee beans from a tree.  Greg had to explain to him that they didn’t look like the brown coffee beans he has seen in pictures because they haven’t been roasted yet.   DJ is going to plant some at his house to see if they will grow.
We will have to come back when they flower.  Coffee flowers usually don’t last long but the flowering season is not to be missed since it promises clusters of pure white jasmine-like flowers!  
Greg cut us down some coconuts for refreshment with the guaili’.  He got pretty good at dislodging avocados and then catching them himself.  After this picture was taken, we had a pretty good downpour that lasted for most of our hiking adventure.  We got soaked!     
I was only able to get a few shots with my camera phone due to the deluge.  We probably got to pick 10-15 pieces of avocados each which are now all eaten.  We will have to schedule another visit to the jungle grove soon!  Maybe get some taro for soup?  Or some bananas will be ready?  Let's go!

Ti napu.
The Beachcomber


just jess said...

Jealous! I love avocados! And coffee! and you guys.

Mai said...

I'm hoping to come out for spring break - can we PLEASE go on some of these awesome adventures while I'm there? Why have I not been to some of these places?!?!

Bev said...

MmmM, Thanks for the avocados! I thought it was funny how soaked and smelly you guys were after your trek! hehe Glad you had fun!

Kristina said...

Any chance you want to share the location? That looks awesome!

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