Nature vs nurture. I tend to side with the Nurture side. In general, I believe that education and overall upbringing play a very important role in the personality and skills of most individuals. But in the case of at least a certain type of sexual orientation, given my experience over here in the South Pacific, I have my doubts. Here´s the observation.

Since we arrived in French Polynesia we had 11 dinners in 9 different restaurants. In all of the 9 restaurants waiters were either women or extremely effeminate men. Intrigued about this I asked around and was told that in this part of the world the only men who want to become waiters are the “mahu” or men raised as women. Other men do all sorts of jobs around the hotel, they are gardeners, they carry luggage, they are managers, they steer boats, but they are not waiters, which in Polynesia is considered a job for women only. And what are the mahu? Well they are men who, while dressing and looking as men, behave as women. They walk as women, have high pitched voices, they are men who seem to show you that there´s something radically different not only about men and women´s bodies but about gender behavior as well, and that you can have the body of a man and the behavior of a woman. Now what I find hard to believe is that these men are like this because they were “raised as women”. Is it nurture or is it nature? Are they raised as women or is it that from the time they are very little that´s what they want to be and they are raised accordingly? Aren´t the polynesians on to something that is better, namely accepting sexual orientation early on? Aren´t we in the West forcing would be Western mahus to be men as much as we used to force lefties to be right handed?


Monopolies in the South Pacific

Published by in General with Comments Off on Monopolies in the South Pacific

I am in the South Pacific. I have been here for two weeks. I was in New Caledonia, now I am in French Polynesia. I also think this is the longest time I have been without internet, without using a computer, without writing e mails or surfing since 1994.

New Caledonia and Tahiti belong to France, they are French Territories, to use their terminology, Territoires de Autre Mer. And in many respects they are like France, their GDP per capita is like that of France, their cars are like those of France, their bread is fortunately like that of France, but there´s however one susbtantial difference that accounts for the fact that there´s practically no internet access here and that is that France is in the European Union and the European Union forced France Telecom to compete while in New Caledonia and Tahiti there´s no competition in telecoms, and it shows. Monopoly telecom services are incredibly poor. I should know. I built Viatel to fight monopolies and being here only makes me happier that I did so. In a monopoly world mobile phone services are pathetic. In New Caledonia there was no roaming for Vodafone and even after I acquired a local sim card I found that there was no GPRR service and that sms worked received mode only (my replies appeared as sent but never arrived at their destination). In Tahiti things were only slightly better. My Vodafone Blackberry worked, but only as a GSM phone, no e mail. I could send and receive hugely expensive sms. Surprisingly when I bought a local VINI (name of the local operator number here) phone number to try it out, I could again only receive and not send international sms. And as far as the internet goes, things are awful over here.

In the French territories you can fly modern planes, you can rent boats, helicopters, drive the

Here we are, in French Polynesia. As most travellers, we are equipped with travel guides. We seek a balanced view, so we carry two guides: one is in English, the Lonely Planet guide, and the other one is the famous Petit Futé guide, in French. Now, here´s the problem with these guides. They are too positive. They always give two thumbs up…for everything. An example: We are in Rangiroa, a coral island in the Tuomotu Archipelago. We are staying at the Ki Ora Village and this is what Petit Futé has to say about it: “The location is magnificent…you will be enchanted by its white sands…its luxury is uncomparable to anything you have ever seen.” Lonely Planet does not want to be outstaged. They counter by saying “If you are in search of luxury look no further than the Ki Ora Hotel.” Now this is what I think those guides should say… The Kia Ora is an understaffed, poorly designed, overpriced hotel in a nice location. At 600 euros per night their overwater bungalows are a dissapointment to say the least. Their furniture seems to come straight out of a Miami Beach motel foreclosure. In the United States you would not pay over $100 per night for a similar room.

And this is not just the case with this hotel and the islands in general…
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