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.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Visitors in Jameos del Água, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Architecture & Design
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Indigenous Crowned
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece
Iraklio, CreteGreece

From Minos to Minus

We arrived in Iraklio and, as far as big cities are concerned, Greece stops there. As for history and mythology, the capital of Crete branches without end. Minos, son of Europa, had both his palace and the labyrinth in which the minotaur closed. The Arabs, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Ottomans passed through Iraklio. The Greeks who inhabit it fail to appreciate it.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
scarlet summer

Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

Across Iberia

Leaving aside the modernity of Valencia, we explore the natural and historical settings that the "community" shares with the Mediterranean. The more we travel, the more its bright life seduces us.

Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Fort São Filipe, Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Cachena cow in Valdreu, Terras de Bouro, Portugal
Campos do GerêsTerras de Bouro, Portugal

Through the Campos do Gerês and the Terras de Bouro

We continue on a long, zigzag tour through the domains of Peneda-Gerês and Bouro, inside and outside our only National Park. In this one of the most worshiped areas in the north of Portugal.
Saona Island, Dominican Republic, Playa Palmilla Pool
Saona Island, Dominican Republic

A Savona in the Antilles

During his second voyage to the Americas, Columbus landed on an enchanting exotic island. He named it Savona, in honor of Michele da Cuneo, a Savoyard sailor who saw it as an outstanding feature of the greater Hispaniola. Today called Saona, this island is one of the beloved tropical edens of the Dominican Republic.

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.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Eternal Spring Shrine

Taroko George

Deep in Taiwan

In 1956, skeptical Taiwanese doubted that the initial 20km of Central Cross-Island Hwy was possible. The marble canyon that challenged it is today the most remarkable natural setting in Formosa.

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.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Natural Parks
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
UNESCO World Heritage
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
conversation at sunset
Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

It was revealed by Western backpackers and the film crew of “Thus Heroes are Born”. Hundreds of resorts and thousands of eastern vacationers followed, whiter than the chalky sand.
Pilgrims at the top, Mount Sinai, Egypt
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Flock of flamingos, Laguna Oviedo, Dominican Republic
Oviedo Lagoon, Dominican Republic

The (very alive) Dominican Republic Dead Sea

The hypersalinity of the Laguna de Oviedo fluctuates depending on evaporation and water supplied by rain and the flow coming from the neighboring mountain range of Bahoruco. The natives of the region estimate that, as a rule, it has three times the level of sea salt. There, we discover prolific colonies of flamingos and iguanas, among many other species that make up one of the most exuberant ecosystems on the island of Hispaniola.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.