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

There have been almost 100 but times have changed and geishas are on the brink of extinction. Today, the few that remain are forced to give in to Japan's less subtle and elegant modernity.
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.
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.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal,

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Sirocco, Arabia, Helsinki
Architecture & Design
Helsinki, Finland

The Design that Came from the Cold

With much of the territory above the Arctic Circle, Finns respond to the climate with efficient solutions and an obsession with art, aesthetics and modernism inspired by neighboring Scandinavia.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Dragon Dance, Moon Festival, Chinatown-San Francisco-United States of America
Ceremonies and Festivities
San Francisco, USA

with the head on the moon

September comes and Chinese people around the world celebrate harvests, abundance and unity. San Francisco's enormous Sino-Community gives itself body and soul to California's biggest Moon Festival.
Selfie, Hida from Ancient and Medieval Japan
Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
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.
Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Sheets of Bahia, Eternal Diamonds, Brazil
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

Lençóis da Bahia: not Even Diamonds Are Forever

In the XNUMXth century, Lençóis became the world's largest supplier of diamonds. But the gem trade did not last as expected. Today, the colonial architecture that he inherited is his most precious possession.
Seeding, Lombok, Sea Bali, Sonda Island, Indonesia
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok. The Bali Sea Deserves such a Sonda

Long overshadowed by the neighboring island's fame, Lombok's exotic settings remain unrevealed, under the sacred protection of guardian Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-largest volcano.
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.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Ribeiro Frio, Madeira, Vereda dos Balcões,
Natural Parks
Ribeiro Frio Forest Park, Madeira

Ribeiro Frio Acima, on the Path of Balcões

This region of the high interior of Madeira has been in charge of repopulating the island's rainbow trout for a long time. Among the various trails and levadas that converge in its nurseries, the Parque Florestal Ribeiro Frio hides grandiose panoramas over Pico Arieiro, Pico Ruivo and the Ribeira da Metade valley that extends to the north coast.
São Miguel Island, Dazzling Colors by Nature
UNESCO World Heritage
São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde, Tarrafal Bay
Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde

The Tarrafal of Freedom and Slow Life

The village of Tarrafal delimits a privileged corner of the island of Santiago, with its few white sand beaches. Those who are enchanted there find it even more difficult to understand the colonial atrocity of the neighboring prison camp.
Pemba, Mozambique, Capital of Cabo Delgado, from Porto Amélia to Porto de Abrigo, Paquitequete
Pemba, Mozambique

From Porto Amélia to the Shelter Port of Mozambique

In July 2017, we visited Pemba. Two months later, the first attack took place on Mocímboa da Praia. Nor then do we dare to imagine that the tropical and sunny capital of Cabo Delgado would become the salvation of thousands of Mozambicans fleeing a terrifying jihadism.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Replacement of light bulbs, Itaipu watt hydroelectric plant, Brazil, Paraguay
Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant, Brazil

Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant: Watt Fever

In 1974, thousands of Brazilians and Paraguayans flocked to the construction zone of the then largest dam in the world. 30 years after completion, Itaipu generates 90% of Paraguay's energy and 20% of Brazil's.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
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.