As I round the back of the house, in search of a salle de bain, I run into three young girls — my host’s daughters — playing with dolls and listening to the radio. “J’aime la musique,” one of the girls says to me. “Es toi?” I reach deep into that part of my brain that remembers grade-school French. “Oui,” I answer, unable to describe my thoughts any further. “Uh, oui, j’aime …” She turns up the volume. I recognize the song immediately: “Despacito.” I’m in the middle of the South Pacific, about as far away as it’s possible to get from a large land mass, and I’m listening to Justin Bieber. Even here, there’s no getting away from the Beebs.
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