Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, French Polynesia

An Intriguing Trio of Societies

Moment of a religious ceremony in a church in Bora Bora.
Bora Bora misty
Mist irrigates the verdant vegetation that covers the heart of the island of Bora Bora.
Tropical almost horizontal
Coconut trees seek the Pacific Ocean in Huahine.
Group Photo
Believers pose for a photograph outside a Protestant church on Bora Bora.
Verdant mountain in the heart of one of the Society Islands' many atolls.
Tropical coastline
The lush green coastline of Huahine.
Marae's corner
Ethnic elements decorate a Polynesian ceremonial Raiatea marae.
uniform faith
A female-only believer attends Mass in very similar white attire.
arm of the sea
Arm of sea cuts the leafy interior of Huahine.
In the idyllic heart of the vast Pacific Ocean, the Society Archipelago, part of French Polynesia, beautifies the planet as an almost perfect creation of Nature. We explored it for a long time from Tahiti. The last few days we dedicate them to Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea.

In the middle of the Age of Discovery, James Cook, impressed by the exuberance of the scenery and the beauty and gentleness of Polynesian women, will have declared Bora Bora the Pearl of the Pacific.

Two centuries later, Bora Bora is part of half the world's imagination as a symbol of luxurious paradise, as hedonistic as it is frivolous. The most powerful tourist corporations turned it into an island generating huge profits.

In the image of Moorea, Bora Bora proves to be a geological masterpiece that combines countless sharp volcanic peaks surrounded by an eccentric atoll that dazzle the most insensitive to the planet's expressions.

Thirty years ago, the Bora Bora hotel was installed from one of the motus, the islanders that delimit the lagoon. Since then, dozens of others resorts joined the pioneer and the effective marketing that promotes the island on a world scale began to attract thousands of couples on honeymoon, eager to live the most sophisticated Polynesian experience and, on their return, be able to brag about it. .

Guests are primarily European, American and Japanese. They even display Louis Vuitton bags. settle in bungalows exquisite on the lagoon, hoping to share your vacation with Pierce Brosnan, who is said, around here, to be almost a resident, or other movie stars.

As for leisure activities, Bora Bora offers little new in relation to the sisters. It is customary to participate in at least one lagoon tour which includes stops for snorkeling and a barbecue on one or more sandbanks.

For a few hundred extra euros, the resorts provide unforgettable diving experiences with mantas and sharks. When the island's blue-blue sea starts to fill, you can even go horseback riding along the motion Piti Aau.

Society Islands, Polynesia, French

Verdant mountain in the heart of one of the Society Islands' many atolls.

Of course, in the Society archipelago, all the refined hotels pay to match. In the case of Bora Bora, prices keep aspirants with less stuffed wallets away. And yet, the island also reserves a place for those, like us, looking for expressions of their Tahitian soul.

Arrival in Rainy Weather

We land on motion Mote on an afternoon of rain, wind and gray skies. We had already had our dose of good weather and paradisiacal views on other islands. Accordingly, we proceeded with the visit resigned to the meteorological misfortune.

We check into Chez Rosine, a family pension located on the edge of the lagoon, but still in the heart of the island.

Two hours later, when we ask the maid what she advises us to do on a rainy day, she replies with bored sincerity: “My friends, in Bora Bora, apart from looking at the colors of the lake, there is little to do“. That's not why we gave up. The torrential rain gives respite. We took bicycles from the inn and set out to discover.

Tropical forest, Bora Bora, Society Islands, Polynesia, French

Mist irrigates the verdant vegetation that covers the heart of the island of Bora Bora.

Along the way, we observe the mystical landscape of Mount Otemanu, diffused between the dense vegetation and the low clouds that irrigate it and the waterfalls that slide through it. We passed tourist-oriented shops and stores and the occasional humble house that withstood the inevitable real estate pressure.

We only stop at Faanui. Mass takes place in the Protestant church in the village. A multitude of believers, almost all women in their best attire, pour in en masse. After brief moments of socializing abroad, the faithful enter. The church is on the pine cone.

We are dazzled by an immensity of white dresses and lacy hats that the predominant ladies keep on their heads during the ceremonial.

Women at Mass. Bora Bora, Society Islands, Polynesia, French

A female-only believer attends Mass in very similar white attire.

The next day, we continued to explore what remained of Bora Bora's pre-tourist roots.

A Leap in the Archipelago. Discovering Raiatea

And we go even further back in Polynesian history when we travel to Raiatea, the next Society island on the map.

Definitely outside the glamorous of the group's predecessors, Raiatea – but not its Taha'a extension which is just wild – proves to be as sophisticated as it is reserved and old-fashioned.

Its inhabitants live on the terms they set. We confirm that agriculture and government jobs are the main sources of employment, the latter, concentrated in Uturoa, a local port and the second largest city in French Polynesia, after the capital Pape'ete, located on the mother island of Tahiti .

Raiatea housed, many centuries ago, some of the most important sacred shrines in all of Polynesia. Its verdant lands emanate a mystery and mysticism that does not go unnoticed by archaeologists or explorers interested in the millenary Tahitian culture.

Marae in Raiatea, Society Islands, Polynesia, French

Ethnic elements decorate a Polynesian ceremonial Raiatea marae.

From them stand out certain mares, places of religious worship and social ceremonies that the natives cleared of vegetation and delimited. We find them at various strategic points along the coast.

This is the case of Taputapuatea, which was as important to Polynesians as any other marah built on another island must include one of its stones, as a symbol of alliance. This law applied even to the distant Cook Islands or the Hawaiian archipelago.

It is also the case of Tauraa, an enclosure Tapas (taboo) that preserves a high endowment stone in which young people ari'i (chiefs) were crowned. Others mares with the Tainuu from the village of Tevaitou, they allow us to continue to add data to the historical context of Raiatea and its role in the vast Tahitian universe.

It is not that it lacks seductive ingredients because the Society's archipelago has become so desired, but if each of its islands is ideal for different purposes, Raiatea, the noble mission of revealing the enigmatic origins of Polynesian civilization was incumbent. Accordingly, we cut short the flight to the island we were following: Huahine.

Huahine, the Society that follows

As we can see again from the plane's windows, in the image of Tahiti, Huahine is made up of two islands: Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti.

Both are surrounded by a ring of coral reef and are accompanied by several islanders, motus. Nui and Iti are separated by a few hundred meters of water which, during low tide, reveals a tongue of sand that allows walking from one to the other.

Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti form the classic island-mountain geological complex with the highest point at 670 meters from the Turi peak. And one of the abundant atolls in the Society's archipelago surrounds them. The duo proves to be another exuberant and seductive natural monument of the Earth that keeps these parts of the Planet in the imagination of paradise of any traveler or traveler.

Coconut trees, Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Coconut trees seek the Pacific Ocean in Huahine.

The best beaches in Huahine are in small Iti. In terms of bathing and scenery, they fall far short of the Maupiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, to mention just three of the islands of the vast Society archipelago.

The Cosmopolitan and Solar Life of Chez Guynette

We settled at Chez Guynette, a family inn, run by a French couple with two children, owners of Guynette, who inspired the business's baptism, a brown dog. In the mid-2000s, the owners moved from Nice, Côte d'Azur to even sunnier French Polynesia.

They tell us that their best friends are Portuguese, from Chaves, who have already visited them during the summer pilgrimages in Trás-os-Montes.

We share the inn's common space with Gerald, an Austrian, like us, on a long journey and whom we approach as a joke when we see him leafing through a large and heavy atlas. "Are you traveling with this?" “Do you think so? I happen to be a bit stupid, but not as stupid as that”, he replies and generates a huge communal laugh.

Gerald describes to us the places in Alaska that he found most magical. It reinforces the enthusiasm we already felt for this American leg of the trip back to the world that we would give ourselves to in a few months.

The Aussie Jim, Spirituality and Numerology

Gerald goes about your life. Jim appears. Jim is an Australian from Byron Bay who, among other skills, surfs, builds surfboards, writes music. Jim, confess to us that you are about to start a yoga retreat and nature fast, determined to release toxins from your body.

Jim cultivated a strong interest in numerology. He asks if we care to be analyzed from a numerological point of view. "No of course not!" we responded, excited and intrigued. Next, he takes note of a series of information essential to the analysis: date of birth, age, names.

Apply the answers to your formula. As a result, he assigns numbers corresponding to our personalities, which he assures that he had more or less defined, despite having only studied us for twenty minutes.

O matt Jim has what it takes. Just like us. We say goodbye with a see you later, counting on a nightly reunion that happened.

The next morning, we left in a rental car at the exorbitant prices of French Polynesia.

The narrow but pristine roads run along Huahine Nui that Welsh structural finance helps to maintain. In practice, it is the same effect they have on French Polynesia's dependence on France.

These routes reveal the lush nature of the island.

Braço-de-Mar, Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Arm of sea cuts the leafy interior of Huahine.

We give it more than one ride. We are disappointed. The settings and atmosphere were the same as in Raiatea. Even more than in Raiatea, we practically didn't detect or feel human life apart from one or two natives taking care of the fronts of their houses, in an almost obsessive way.

Huahine's Surprising Tropical Desolation

We were so annoyed with the unexpected sterility of the island, overly landscaped and arranged, that we returned the car, four hours later, still halfway through the rental period.

Huahine quickly transmits, to those arriving from outside, a feeling of absolute isolation. This feeling is related to the defensive posture of the local population in the face of millionaire tourism. Even aware of how they damage their bank accounts, the island's less than 6000 inhabitants have always been against the construction of resorts luxurious.

As of the date of our visit, only a large hotel of those that spread out to sea constellations of huts had managed to break through the blockade.

From this hotel, another small private world sprang up, pseudo-sophisticated and alienated in the already-in-itself universe removed from the confines of the Society Islands.

Maupiti, French Polynesia

A Society on the Margin

In the shadow of neighboring Bora Bora's near-global fame, Maupiti is remote, sparsely inhabited and even less developed. Its inhabitants feel abandoned but those who visit it are grateful for the abandonment.
Papeete, French Polynesia

The Third Sex of Tahiti

Heirs of Polynesian ancestral culture, the Mahu they preserve an unusual role in society. Lost somewhere between the two genders, these men-women continue to fight for the meaning of their lives.
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
Moorea, French Polynesia

The Polynesian Sister Any Island Would Like to Have

A mere 17km from Tahiti, Moorea does not have a single city and is home to a tenth of its inhabitants. Tahitians have long watched the sun go down and transform the island next door into a misty silhouette, only to return to its exuberant colors and shapes hours later. For those who visit these remote parts of the Pacific, getting to know Moorea is a double privilege.
Rapa Nui - Easter Island, Chile

Under the Moais Watchful Eye

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Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

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Grande Terre, New Caledonia

South Pacific Great Boulder

James Cook thus named distant New Caledonia because it reminded him of his father's Scotland, whereas the French settlers were less romantic. Endowed with one of the largest nickel reserves in the world, they named Le Caillou the mother island of the archipelago. Not even its mining prevents it from being one of the most dazzling patches of Earth in Oceania.
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

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Ouvéa, New Caledonia

Between Loyalty and Freedom

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Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Architecture & Design

the last address

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Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

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Luderitz, Namibia
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

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young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

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Nahuatl celebration

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

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Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

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Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
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In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Cilaos, Reunion Island, Casario Piton des Neiges
Cilaos, Reunion Island

Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

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Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, Steeple Building
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Capital of the Afro-Danish-American Antilles

In 1733, Denmark bought the island of Saint Croix from France, annexed it to its West Indies where, based at Christiansted, it profited from the labor of slaves brought from the Gold Coast. The abolition of slavery made colonies unviable. And a historic-tropical bargain that the United States preserves.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

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Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

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Celestyal Crystal Cruise, Santorini, Greece
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

The Volcanic Core of Santorini

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Matukituki River, New Zealand
Natural Parks
Wanaka, New Zealand

The Antipodes Great Outdoors

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Uxmal, Yucatan, Mayan capital, the Pyramid of the Diviner
UNESCO World Heritage
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Mayan Capital That Piled It Up To Collapse

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Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

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Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, castle
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

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Composition on Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
Yala NPElla-Kandy, Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka's Tea Core

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Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
Creepy Goddess Graffiti, Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, USA, United States America
The Haight, San Francisco, USA

Orphans of the Summer of Love

Nonconformity and creativity are still present in the old Flower Power district. But almost 50 years later, the hippie generation has given way to a homeless, uncontrolled and even aggressive youth.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Sheep and hikers in Mykines, Faroe Islands
Mykines, Faroe Islands

In the Faeroes FarWest

Mykines establishes the western threshold of the Faroe archipelago. It housed 179 people but the harshness of the retreat got the better of it. Today, only nine souls survive there. When we visit it, we find the island given over to its thousand sheep and the restless colonies of puffins.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

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