Papeete, French Polynesia

The Third Sex of Tahiti

Kayak in Gold
Double maneuver a kayak off Tahiti, with the island of Moorea in the background.
A Market Economy II
Market stalls from Mapuru to Paraita full of tropical plants, vegetables and fruit.
A Market Economy
Woman keeps her fruit and vegetable store organized without blemish.
High Expectation
Mahu among women, await the results of the miss contest
Mahu in Misses contest
A mahu wears a traditional Tahitian dress during a miss contest
Gauguin's House
Sign of a product store dedicated to Paul Gauguin's passage through French Polynesia and his works that also portrayed mahus
Jambés and tattoos
Tahiti native tattooed according to Polynesian precepts plays drums at Papeete market.
non escalator
Polynesian musicians are confronted with the immobility of escalators from Mapuru to Paraita.
Master of ceremonies
Event presenter dressed in a traditional Polynesian headdress and dress
Jambés and tattoos II
Jambé player displays torso full of traditional Polynesian tattoos
tambourine mahu
Mahu plays jambé and cheers up the morning at the market.
blue trio
A mahu and two women watch the market action from an elevated balcony.
mahu elegance
A group of women and a mahu (cream dress) participate in a mission contest held in the municipal market of Papeete
Blue Trio II
Mahu and accompanying friends attend a musical show featuring a singer singing Elvis Presley classics.
The Dazzling Tahiti
Woman and children refresh themselves on a beach on the south coast 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.

Just after nine in the morning. In Mapuru a Paraita, the Papeete market, the frenzy is absolute.

We see a folkloric crowd settling between the fruit stands and making it difficult for customers to circulate. Inside, the sound installation echoes its terrible quality.

Even so, an improvised DJ plays the Polynesian hits of the moment as background sound for the voiceover.

Mapuru to Paraita, Mahu, Polynesian Third Sex, Papeete, Tahiti

Market stalls from Mapuru to Paraita full of tropical plants, vegetables and fruit.

The Mahus-filled Misses Contest from the Mapuru to Paraita Market

A local miss contest takes place. Competitors emerge surrounded by older representatives from their parts of the city and the rest of Tahiti.

They wear typical dresses full of color, frills and other flashy accessories. They are also adorned with wreaths, wreaths and tiaras of plumerias, gardenias, hibiscus or orchids.

Depending on the position of some of these flowers in the ears, they communicate their marital status and their availability in love. At first glance, they all look like women. Appearances deceive. They cover up the presence of some mahu. The men-women of Tahiti.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

A group of women and a mahu (cream dress) participate in a mission contest held in the municipal market of Papeete

The European Discovery of the Polynesian Social Phenomenon Mahu

William Bligh, the master of the famous “Bounty” and the even more reputed captain James Cook were among the first Europeans to come across them and report them in amazement.

They then described their social reality, in part, similar to the current one: “They are different boys who receive, from childhood, an education that is different from that of young people. warriors … For them, there is no war or hunting.

They shave and cross dress. When they become adults, they eat apart from the men, sing and dance with the women and often become domestic servants of the nobility…”

During their Tahitian retreat, Paul Gauguin was enchanted by their gentle eccentricity and painted them with renewed pleasure.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

Sign of a product store dedicated to Paul Gauguin's passage through French Polynesia and his works that also portrayed mahus

Still in the historical field, two explanations for the existence and acceptance of the mahu coexist.

One says that parents began to regard and treat them as girls as soon as they noticed some unexpected hint of femininity.

The other theory is that when families had too many boys, they started treating one of the youngest as a girl. Thus, they guarantee the necessary help in the read. from home. The third-born was, by habit, the target of the experiment.

Nowadays, the first practice is still current.

Unsurprisingly, the Mahu prefer to be approached in the feminine, something the Tahitian nation has long come to respect and even admire.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

Mahu among women, await the results of the miss contest

The Crucial Role of the Mahu in Polynesian Reality

As in so many other cases, Danu Heuea's existence was subject to her father's implicit disapproval.

Today, despite the suffering of her youth, this well-preserved fifty-year-old woman, with skin gilded by the tropical sun, disdains and fights discrimination. Danu plays a starring role in the miss contest and introduces and describes the contestants.

Once, she hosted a TV show called “We Women”. On normal days, she is responsible for communication with the city council of Papeete.

So many others occupy essential places in companies or organizations. They are waiters, cooks or receptionists. Or they have gained positions of responsibility in public relations at hotels and travel agencies.

They are also musicians and choreographers, some highly regarded as Coco HotaHota and Tonio who lead Polynesian dance groups idolized on the islands.

In the image of Danu, most mahu are fully aware of being "effeminate" in male physiques.

They are proud of their intermediary role between male brutality and the fragrant sweetness of women, whom they seek to imitate in everything.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

Event presenter dressed in a traditional Polynesian headdress and dress

The Mahu's Disdain for the Parallel Noun Rae Rae

Older people do not particularly like to be confused with the Rae-Rae, the sexually “predatory” transvestites who resort to prostitution in the red district of Papeete to finance their marginal stocks.

To his chagrin, since 1960 – when the new word came up – the two terms have intersected. Across French Polynesia, the term rae-rae became popular. Now, it defines transvestites in general, whether or not they are operated on.

The medical “retouches” and the surgery proved to be real steps towards a dream that almost all the mahu share: that of becoming real women. It is common to opt for hormonal treatments that give them the much-desired breasts, no matter how small.

The last operation, this one, is almost always too expensive. It is not done in Tahiti, which makes a ruinous trip to the United States.

In addition to the physical sex change, your anxiety is also about a relationship. The ordinary mahu finds himself aspiring to life with a man.

This, even though, in French Polynesia, the missionaries of the Old World have written and sealed the natural order of things. Marriage between mahu and men is considered a Catholic (the word is originally Polynesian) taboo against which the mahu rarely rebel.

The End of the Misses Contest and Elvis Rockos' Romanticism

At the Mapuru a Paraita market, the misses contest continues, animated to drum and jambé rhythms played by muscular and tattooed Polynesian males that make both maidens and mahu sigh.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

Jambé player displays torso full of traditional Polynesian tattoos

They are inexhaustible sources of testosterone, perfect tan sculptures shaped by protein nutrition, many hours of training on canoes and other toning exercises. Everything that nature forgot to grant to the mahu, or chose not to.

At the end of the event, the market soothes. Part of the organizers take refuge in a bar on the top floor where a charming singer named Rockos has been singing Elvis hits for some time.

Sitting near the stage, several mahu share a light snack of raw fish with coconut milk as they follow the melodies.

Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti

Mahu and accompanying friends attend a musical show featuring a singer singing Elvis Presley classics.

It follows "Love Me Tender","Suspicious Minds"and "Heartbreak hotel” that arouse admiration and more sighs.

When romanticism gives way to the frenetic Rock 'n' Roll of “All Shook Up” the three friends, all dressed in blue and white (two of their identical outfits), take refuge on the adjoining veranda.

There they are to contemplate the last movements of the Papeete market. After a few minutes, two of them return to the show.

The third, mahu, prefers isolation and reflection, as if re-examining whether her life as a woman in a quasi-woman body continues to make sense to her.

Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Kyoto, Japan

Survival: The Last Geisha Art

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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.
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.
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
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.
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Ouvéa, New Caledonia

Between Loyalty and Freedom

New Caledonia has always questioned integration into faraway France. On the island of Ouvéa, Loyalty Archipelago, we find an history of resistance but also natives who prefer French-speaking citizenship and privileges.
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Viti levu, Fiji

The Unlikely Sharing of Viti Levu Island

In the heart of the South Pacific, a large community of Indian descendants recruited by former British settlers and the Melanesian indigenous population have long divided the chief island of Fiji.
Tokyo, Japan

Pachinko: The Video - Addiction That Depresses Japan

It started as a toy, but the Japanese appetite for profit quickly turned pachinko into a national obsession. Today, there are 30 million Japanese surrendered to these alienating gaming machines.
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Itamaraty Palace Staircase, Brasilia, Utopia, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Conflicted Way
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Tabatô, Guinea Bissau, tabanca Mandingo musicians. Baidi
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

The Tabanca of Mandinga Poets Musicians

In 1870, a community of traveling Mandingo musicians settled next to the current city of Bafatá. From the Tabatô they founded, their culture and, in particular, their prodigious balaphonists, dazzle the world.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
shadow of success
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Turtle

Aruba: The Island in the Right Place

It is believed that the Caquetío natives called him oruba, or “well situated island”. Frustrated by the lack of gold, the Spanish discoverers called it a “useless island”. As we travel through its Caribbean summit, we realize how much more sense Aruba's first baptism always made.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
VIP lights
Moyo Island, Indonesia

Moyo: An Indonesian Island Just for a Few

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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.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Natural Parks
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

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Traveler above Jökursarlón icy lagoon, Iceland
UNESCO World Heritage
Jökursarlón Lagoon, Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

The Faltering of Europe's King Glacier

Only in Greenland and Antarctica are glaciers comparable to Vatnajökull, the supreme glacier of the old continent. And yet, even this colossus that gives more meaning to the term ice land is surrendering to the relentless siege of global warming.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.