Maupiti, French Polynesia

A Society on the Margin


Coral Maze
Small vessel advances along the coral reef inside Maupiti Atoll.
in the middle of the pacific
A blue atoll sea beyond a tropical slope of Maupiti.
Mini-Port
Fishing boats raised over the sea off Maupiti.
Boo
Casario de Vaiea, the main town.
Polynesian Eden
The view from the summit of Mount Teurafaatiu.
Canoeing for real
Native trains in a canoe
coconut bay
Tropical bay of Maupiti with coconut trees over the Pacific Ocean.
velvet shelter
Family rests on a sailboat anchored off Maupiti.
high berthing
Traditional boat moored on the still waters around Maupiti.
Beach Tereia
Peninsula full of coconut trees next to Tereia beach.
Mehari Fashion
Residents in a Citroen Mehari.
tropical coast
Coconut trees protrude from the gentle coast of Maupiti.
Pontoon over coral
Narrow walkway leads to the middle of a vast coral reef inside Maupiti Atoll.
appeal of the sea
Coconut palms from Maupiti lean towards the Pacific Ocean as the islands of the Society archipelago disperse.
Elevated berthing II
Traditional boats moored on the still waters around Maupiti.
Boo II
Vaiea's houses along the foothills of Mount Teurafaatiu, the highest point in Maupiti
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.

Ever since we stepped onto the runway at the airport installed in Motu Tuanai, we felt cozy due to its simplicity.

The plane's propellers are still turning but we already have our bags in our hands and a dispatched native presents himself to the service and makes sure we follow him. The airport pier is right next door and despite the air of tupperware old boat, the engine does not disappoint.

We set sail for the turquoise inland lagoon and, as the wind massages us, we approach the verdant heart of Maupiti. A stark-looking green and red Protestant church stands first against the steep slope. Further on, we glimpse the rest of the ground-floor houses and Vaiea, the main village on the island, is complete.

Vaiea, locality, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Casario de Vaiea, the main town.

Vaiea the Unpretentious Capital at the Foot of Monte Teurafaatiu

We disembark in a balancing act across a long board, which is too sloping. As for the high pier, we find the funds of some fares including Chez Manu's, the cheapest pension we'd managed to find in this remote but exasperating domain of Comptoir Français du Pacifique.

Vibrations of Caribbean music reach us from the patio, followed by one of Bob Marley's several hymns of those who, with the most suitable herb, continue to purify the souls of Jah from the vast tropical latitudes. Manu appears out of nowhere.

Dancing is barred, he welcomes us with a drunken hug and invites us to the celebration. “Come to Mommy! I don't know if you knew but today is Mother's Day. Put your things in the room and have a drink.”

The party seems to have passed its deadline. Two or three buddies slumber on folding chairs. Only one friend stays awake and shares the hostess's shaky choreographies. The afternoon is coming to an end, we settle in the secluded room of the house, turn on the tired fan and give in to a greenhouse sleep.

The Possible Foods on an Island Too Alone

A few hours later, hunger awakens us. We went out into the street with dusk giving way to night and we found no traces of the celebration. Not a shadow of a restaurant.

mini port, moored boats, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Traditional boats moored on the still waters around Maupiti.

The sound of a generator and a diffused light catch our attention. The sight of some islanders leaving armed with baguettes suggests that we can get supplies there for the next day, but we don't take long to discard the unambitious wish list.

We ask for yoghurt, drinks or fresh fruit, but beyond the heat, humidity and taro – a common vegetable in the South Pacific – only what comes from overseas canned or, at the very least, full of preservatives is preserved in those parts.

“My friends, it is fortunate that we were able to turn on the chests just now. They will have to choose from what they see outside”. We ended up surrendering to the electrical whims of the place and the evidence. The new day would bring better news.

Those who travel through these insular creations of French Polynesia end up realizing that they cannot leave without conquering the panoramas from their summits.

To the Conquest of Mount Teurafaatiu, the Roof of Maupiti

At first glance, the 380 meters of Mount Teurafaatiu looks like an easy task but we start the ascent later than we're supposed to.

Tropical slope, coconut trees, vegetation, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

A blue atoll sea beyond a tropical slope of Maupiti.

We end up distilling under the atrocious sun, all too often mistaken on slippery paths that disappear between the dense vegetation and the rocks.

During most of the ascent, a huge stone wall limits us to contemplation, but at a certain point, we reached a natural platform and found the totally open scenery we were looking for.

view, Mount Teurafaatiu, sea, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

The view from the summit of Mount Teurafaatiu.

From there, in the foreground, two or three sharp secondary peaks reinforce the haughty feeling. Downwards, the remaining atoll of Maupiti and the shrunken houses of the two villages compete for our gaze.

Further away, a stunning coral network in shades of blue and a sandy and calm sea contained by five motus linked like walls that the ocean continues to tear down.

coral reef, maupiti atoll, Maupiti, society islands, French Polynesia

Small vessel advances along the coral reef inside Maupiti Atoll.

Only the hiss of the breeze and the roar of a boat or chainsaw engine in the distance break the silence. They are the only signs of life breaking one of the most exuberant and rewarding lethargies we have ever witnessed.

However, Pierce Brosnan or any other of the famous and well-heeled frequent guests can at any time descend from their private jets to nearby Bora Bora and unleash a new media tide.

moored sailboat, sea, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Family rests on a sailboat anchored off Maupiti.

The Insignificance of Maupiti, a Genuine Society but on the Edge

Just a few miles away, Maupiti is a world apart as humble as it is ignored. Back on flat terrain, we rented bicycles and as we cycled around the island, we confirm your forced retreat. We want to buy stamps and postcards but the post office is only open twice a week and only from 2pm to 4pm.

residents, citroen mehari, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Residents of Maupiti in an old Citroen Mehari.

Every time one of its 1300 inhabitants needs a hospital or even a medical center worthy of the name, they have to take a flight to Papeete, the capital of great tahiti. Lives have already been lost in this inconvenient transport, but babies have also been born along the way.

In the opposite direction, the few stern (white fur) curious people who land on the island give something to another family and bring some blessed money.

tropical coastline, coconut trees, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Tropical bay of Maupiti with coconut trees over the Pacific Ocean.

For the rest, what is left is fishing and the cultivation of noni the fruit of a homonymous tree (Morinda citrifolia) of the coffee family and with properties that conventional medicine suspects but that both the Polynesian cultural tradition and alternative medicine in several countries have become accustomed to praising.

Oddly enough, it's impossible not to call Maupiti paradise, but these overseas Edens are almost common in endless French Polynesia and metropolitan settler investments don't reach everywhere.

As a rule, the natives complain when they lack opportunities or help, but to compensate, they have all this divine recreation almost all to themselves.

The Atipi Bay Divine Canoeing Circuit

We are still circling around the geological heart of Maupiti as we pass through the bay of Atipiti and continue to Tereia beach. They had already explained to us that we could take the opportunity to cross the lagoon on foot to the solid ground of the motion Auira.

Whenever possible, we keep our eyes on the bottom, looking for rays that can sting and poison us, but the depth increases in certain areas and forces us to walk with our arms in the air, to protect our backpacks and cameras.

It is in these strange preparations that we see four colored canoes moved by determined Polynesian paddlers approaching at great speed. The caravan passes a meter or two from us but ignores us.

canoe, canoeing, native, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Native trains in a canoe

Rowers continue their competitive navigation around the core of the atoll more concerned with getting the ideal shape for the upcoming inter-island competitions.

Maupiti is part of the Society archipelago but lives a life apart.

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.
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.
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The Greatest of the Loyalties

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Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

Cilaos appears in one of the old green boilers on the island of Réunion. It was initially inhabited by outlaw slaves who believed they were safe at that end of the world. Once made accessible, nor did the remote location of the crater prevent the shelter of a village that is now peculiar and flattered.
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The Eden of the Enigmatic Coco-de-Mer

For centuries, Arab and European sailors believed that the largest seed in the world, which they found on the coasts of the Indian Ocean in the shape of a woman's voluptuous hips, came from a mythical tree at the bottom of the oceans. The sensual island that always generated them left us ecstatic.
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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.
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.
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The Island that Leaned against Paradise

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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.
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Safari
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.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal,

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
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Adventure
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

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Ceremonies and Festivities
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Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

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Cities
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
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Meal
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The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
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Culture
Montalegre, Portugal

Through Alto do Barroso, Top of Trás-os-Montes

we moved from Terras de Bouro for those of Barroso. Based in Montalegre, we wander around the discovery of Paredes do Rio, Tourém, Pitões das Júnias and its monastery, stunning villages on the border of Portugal. If it is true that Barroso has had more inhabitants, visitors should not miss it.
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Sport
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.
very coarse salt
Traveling
Salta and Jujuy, Argentina

Through the Highlands of Deep Argentina

A tour through the provinces of Salta and Jujuy takes us to discover a country with no sign of the pampas. Vanished in the Andean vastness, these ends of the Northwest of Argentina have also been lost in time.
Ethnic
Shows

The World on Stage

All over the world, each nation, region or town and even neighborhood has its own culture. When traveling, nothing is more rewarding than admiring, live and in loco, which makes them unique.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

The inevitable fishing
History

Florianopolis, Brazil

The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

During the XNUMXth century, thousands of Portuguese islanders pursued better lives in the southern confines of Brazil. In the villages they founded, traces of affinity with the origins abound.

At the end of the afternoon
Islands
Ilha de Mozambique, Mozambique  

The Island of Ali Musa Bin Bique. Pardon... of Mozambique

With the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the extreme south-east of Africa, the Portuguese took over an island that had previously been ruled by an Arab emir, who ended up misrepresenting the name. The emir lost his territory and office. Mozambique - the molded name - remains on the resplendent island where it all began and also baptized the nation that Portuguese colonization ended up forming.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Literature
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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.
Playa Nogales, La Palma, Canary Islands
Nature
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The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
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Autumn
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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.
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Natural Parks
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Journey through the Abysmal North America

The Colorado River and tributaries began flowing into the plateau of the same name 17 million years ago and exposed half of Earth's geological past. They also carved one of its most stunning entrails.
Entrance to Dunhuang Sand City, China
UNESCO World Heritage
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An Oasis in the China of the Sands

Thousands of kilometers west of Beijing, the Great Wall has its western end and the China and other. An unexpected splash of vegetable green breaks up the arid expanse all around. Announces Dunhuang, formerly crucial outpost on the Silk Road, today an intriguing city at the base of Asia's largest sand dunes.
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Characters
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The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Beaches
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Kongobuji Temple
Religion
Mount Koya, Japan

Halfway to Nirvana

According to some doctrines of Buddhism, it takes several lifetimes to attain enlightenment. The shingon branch claims that you can do it in one. From Mount Koya, it can be even easier.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
On Rails
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
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Society
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's fashion

In ultra-populous and hyper-coded Japan, there is always room for more sophistication and creativity. Whether national or imported, it is in the capital that they begin to parade the new Japanese looks.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
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.
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Wildlife
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Pantanal with Paraguay in Sight

When the Fazenda Passo do Lontra decided to expand its ecotourism, it recruited the other family farm, the São João. Further away from the Miranda River, this second property reveals a remote Pantanal, on the verge of Paraguay. The country and the homonymous river.
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Scenic Flights
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Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.
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