Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Drums and Tattoos
A Tahitian native takes a break from a performance in which he helped to animate a misses contest in the municipal market from Papeete Maputu to Paraita.
golden polynesia
Couple go sea kayaking between Tahiti and the neighboring island of Moorea.
Tropics in the middle of the Tropics
Natives refresh themselves in a lush, volcanic setting between Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti.
Polynesia in the Penumbra
Dog bathes in the low tide that bathes the coast of Puna'auia, on the west coast of Tahiti Nui.
air surf
Nativo trains surfing maneuvers in a small surf of Tahiti Nui, little or nothing comparable to the powerful one of Teahupoo.
a musical mishap
Drum players come across a broken escalator from the Papeete Maputu to Paraita market and prepare to carry a large drum up the stairs.
water from the heights
One of the many waterfalls that flow from the island's central highlands to the Pacific Ocean.
Tahiti Tatoo
Detail of the tattoos of one of the musicians performing at the Papeete market event.
A Lush Pacific
Arm of sea penetrates between the green cliffs of Tahiti Nui.
Saleswoman at her stand in Papeete market
smile and good mood
One of the many patrons of the Maputu market, Paraita, dressed in the airy and colorful fashion of French Polynesia.
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.

We landed mid-afternoon at the Fa'a'a airport in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti and French Polynesia.

Awaiting us is Carole Folliard, a Frenchwoman who had had enough of the standardized life of the metropolis. After taking a year off to travel around Africa and South America, he found a job. As soon as he could, he moved to the Gallic Ultramar.

He welcomes us with open arms. First, in his little Fiat Panda where we could barely see our way, such was the amount of Polynesian necklaces with shells and flowers hanging from the rearview mirror.

Then, in the villa located in PK (Point Kilometer) 15 from Puna'auia that I rented to share with two colleagues, both at that time on vacation, further north, in Hawaii.

Carole sets us up, gives us a myriad of logistical directions, and returns to her professional duties on the outskirts of town.

We didn't take long to leave too. We walk to the main road – the only one that goes around the entire island. We hope you will pass the most traditional and cheapest transport in Tahiti.

In line, it doesn't take long until they approach us. "What part of the metropolis are from?" asks us a puzzled lady. “Oh, they're not French… So even more welcome.” Shortly thereafter, the conversation turns to the very late the truck and the lady vents: “they are planning to replace them with modern buses.

In a while there won't be anything typical from here. It seems that everything has to be the same as in European France.” he adds ironically.

Not even on purpose, the truck decorated with Polynesian motifs and landscapes appears.

On the way to Papeete, the Disjointed and Expensive Capital of Tahiti

We climb aboard its airy wooden box. We enjoyed the views in the almost 10 km that separated us from the center of Papeete.

The image of Tahiti's pristine paradise is shattered to shreds in this wet, abrasive capital. Here, the most patient and curious resist and investigate their chaotic soul. Those who have less time or less open-mindedness go in search of much more enchanting natural surroundings.

We started by taking a look at Praça Vaiete, which still had some street entertainment. We took another look at the marina and Bougainville Park, a kind of verdant oasis in the concrete jungle. We pass in front of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and walk along Rua General de Gaulle.

However, night fell. When we returned to Vaiete, the square had changed. It had been invaded by the terraces of a series of snack caravans. Tired from so much walking, we sat down to taste raw fish with coconut sauce and white rice.

The small street delicacy served on a plastic tray had a French Polynesian price that only a few days later we stopped being scandalized: 2000 Pacific francs, 18 euros.

The Social Importance of Heiva Dances in the Society of Tahiti

Ten o'clock is approaching. We're going to meet Carole at a place where she had regular heiva dance rehearsals for an upcoming annual contest.

When we arrived, more than a hundred Polynesian natives and a few meters (French from the metropolis) were still shaking their hips and their skirts hula, in the case of our hostess and other Europeans, part of her group's choreography.

And of an ongoing process of integration in distant and exotic Tahiti that, despite being administered and financed by France, at a popular level, has always resisted its polished and refined ways.


Saleswoman at her stand in Papeete market

The European Arrival in Polynesia that remains to be confirmed

European explorations ventured into these places only from the second half of the XNUMXth century onwards. Historians are divided as to who was the first navigator to anchor off the island.

Among the most probable hypotheses and at different periods are the French Lieutenant Samuel Walis who circumnavigated the world.

Also the Spanish explorer Juan Fernández and, before heading to the Melanesian archipelago of Vanuatu, the Portuguese pilot Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, at the service of Don Alvaro de Mendaña and the Spanish Crown, who had the common primary objective of the maritime powers of the time to map the Terra Australis Incognita.

What the navigators then found will not have differed much from what we committed to explore on the following day of circum-driving the island, already with a rented car the day before.

Discovering Tahiti Nui, the Big Island of Tahiti

We woke up early and turned onto the ring road in Puna'auai.

Tahiti splits in two. The largest island, Tahiti Nui, is home to the majestic Mount Orohena (2241m) and a series of other soaring peaks, sharp and verdant to the maximum, two of them, with more than two thousand meters.

Tropics in the middle of the Tropics

Natives refresh themselves in a lush, volcanic setting between Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti.

To the southeast, the Presque' Ile (almost island) of Tahiti Iti, a tiny, wild version of Tahiti Nui.

Both are the result of strong volcanism, of the erosion that followed and continues to be seen.

We toured Nui counterclockwise with strategic stops on beaches and long waterfalls, where the deepest cuts of the dramatic and lush relief allowed us to enter whatever was inland.

water from the heights

One of the many waterfalls that flow from the island's central highlands to the Pacific Ocean.

When we reached Phaeton Bay, we took advantage of the paved road to proceed to about the southern half of Tahiti Iti.

The end of the asphalt corresponds to Teahupoo. By itself, this name says little to the common visitor, but any surfer or surfer will rave just to hear it say it.

Teahupoo, Site of one of the Most Reputable Waves in the World

There, a few hundred meters from the reef that gives rise to the heaviest wave (despite reaching only 3 to 7 meters in height) and one of the most respected and respected on the face of the Earth, we also feel privileged.

Even knowing that only the professionals or the really capable ones dare to surf it.

The force of the semi-circular breakers and the shallow depth of the shore bed can result in serious injury and even death. Dozens of surfers have already perished victims of its power.

On the coast in front, come to us à mind images of its large and bulky tubes.

And, in the extension of the imaginary, the handwriting of "tahitian moon" Both of you Porn for Pyros, in which New York vocalist Perry farrel who moved to Los Angeles, in the 80s, to make a living from surfing, sings of a maritime misadventure that happened to him in these parts:

"I don't know if I'll make it home tonight, but I Know I can swim under the Tahitian Moon”.

Today, a universal sport, surfing was, like tattoos and for centuries, a central element of Polynesian culture. Like the discovery of Tahiti, the first European to enjoy surfing is also a matter of debate.

air surf

Nativo trains surfing maneuvers in a small surf of Tahiti Nui, little or nothing comparable to the powerful one of Teahupoo.

The Troubled Passage of the "Bounty" through Tahiti

This inaugural and eccentric vision will also have been verified in this island that the world soon associated with paradise due to successive written testimonies of the tropical beauty of the scenery and the affability of the welcome of the natives, propagated as never before in "Revolt in the Bounty".

In the feature, while waiting for a better time to pick the breadfruit that the British planned to more economically feed West Indian slaves, sailors under the command of ruthless Captain William Bligh, including 1st Lieutenant Fletcher Christian (Marlon Brando) strayed for six months in the pleasant life and free love of the natives.

Christian himself falls in love with Maimiti, the king's daughter. Sixteen men exchange the penalty of continuing aboard the "Bounty" for Tahitian glee.

In this same tour of the Society Islands, we explored five other islands in the archipelago including Bora Bora e Mauritius.

We confirmed that, even though protected by a barrier reef that gives it a turquoise halo, much higher Tahiti was not an atoll.

For this reason, whether by plane or from the top of the elevations in the center of these geological formations, we were also able to conclude that most of the neighbors turned out to be, in visual terms, much more attractive.

And yet, Tahiti has always been the great leader and has always had the greatest reputation as a paradise in the Terra.

We return to the base of Puna'auai.

Polynesia in the Penumbra

Dog bathes in the low tide that bathes the coast of Puna'auia, on the west coast of Tahiti Nui.

Carole has to take care of other dress details for the competition. heive.

We insist with Papeete.

Polynesian Life that Dazzled and Inspired Paul Gauguin

At the Maputu a Paraita municipal market, we are rewarded with many of the characters and the experience that will have enchanted the sailors of the “Bounty”, made Paul Gauguin settle camps on the island and paint like never before.

Filled with fruit and vegetables of every color and immaculately arranged on stalls, the market is bustling with vendors in traditional Polynesian dresses in bold hues, adorned with ruffles, garlands, necklaces and who knows what else. There is a local competition for misses.

An effeminate master of ceremonies surrounded by natives and several others mahus (men-women from French Polynesia) presents candidates in catadupa to the rhythm of drums played by men only bare-chested, muscular and covered in Tahitian-style tattoos.

Drums and Tattoos

Tahitian native takes a break from a performance in which he helped animate a misses contest in the market from Papeete Maputu to Paraita

Unfolded in careful rites, the party entered the afternoon. During this time, Papeete also fulfilled his most executive functions.

Dozens of ferries sailed to other islands in French Polynesia,

There arrived and departed countless tourists eager to explore the surrounding aphrodisiac archipelago and numerous deals were made with the metropolis and other cities in the world.

golden polynesia

Couple go sea kayaking between Tahiti and the neighboring island of Moorea.

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.
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
Cilaos, Reunion Island

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.
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.
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.
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.
Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, French Polynesia

An Intriguing Trio of Societies

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.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
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.
knights of the divine, faith in the divine holy spirit, Pirenopolis, Brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, City Gates
Ponta Delgada, São Miguel (Azores), Azores

The Great Azorean City

During the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, Ponta Delgada became the most populous city and the economic and administrative capital of the Azores. There we find the history and modernism of the archipelago hand in hand.
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.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
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.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
deep valley, terraced rice, batad, philippines
Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

Over 2000 years ago, inspired by their rice god, the Ifugao people tore apart the slopes of Luzon. The cereal that the indigenous people grow there still nourishes a significant part of the country.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Traditional houses, Bergen, Norway.
Bergen, Norway

The Great Hanseatic Port of Norway

Already populated in the early 1830th century, Bergen became the capital, monopolized northern Norwegian commerce and, until XNUMX, remained one of the largest cities in Scandinavia. Today, Oslo leads the nation. Bergen continues to stand out for its architectural, urban and historical exuberance.
View of Serra do Cume, Terceira Island, Unique Azores
Terceira Island, Azores

Terceira Island: Journey through a Unique Archipelago of the Azores

It was called the Island of Jesus Christ and has radiated, for a long time, the cult of the Holy Spirit. It houses Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest and most splendid city in the archipelago. These are just two examples. The attributes that make Terceira island unique are endless.
Sampo Icebreaker, Kemi, Finland
Winter White
Kemi, Finland

It's No "Love Boat". Breaks the Ice since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
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.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Morondava, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar

The Malagasy Way to Dazzle

Out of nowhere, a colony of baobab trees 30 meters high and 800 years old flanks a section of the clayey and ocher road parallel to the Mozambique Channel and the fishing coast of Morondava. The natives consider these colossal trees the mothers of their forest. Travelers venerate them as a kind of initiatory corridor.
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

If New Zealand is known for its tranquility and intimacy with Nature, Wanaka exceeds any imagination. Located in an idyllic setting between the homonymous lake and the mystic Mount Aspiring, it became a place of worship. Many kiwis aspire to change their lives there.
Zanzibar, African islands, spices, Tanzania, dhow
UNESCO World Heritage
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Back to Danny Boyle's The Beach

It's been 15 years since the debut of the backpacker classic based on the novel by Alex Garland. The film popularized the places where it was shot. Shortly thereafter, the XNUMX tsunami literally washed some away off the map. Today, their controversial fame remains intact.
Rostov Veliky Kremlin, Russia
Rostov Veliky, Russia

Under the Domes of the Russian Soul

It is one of the oldest and most important medieval cities, founded during the still pagan origins of the nation of the tsars. At the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it became an imposing center of orthodox religiosity. Today, only the splendor of kremlin Muscovite trumps the citadel of tranquil and picturesque Rostov Veliky.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
Christian believers leaving a church, Upolu, Western Samoa
Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia

The imagery of the paradisiacal South Pacific is unquestionable in Samoa, but its tropical beauty does not pay the bills for either the nation or the inhabitants. Anyone who visits this archipelago finds a people divided between subjecting themselves to tradition and the financial stagnation or uprooting themselves in countries with broader horizons.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
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.
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.