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A French Breakfast in Tourist Thailand

The coffee was revolting, weak, almost undrinkable; from that point of view at least, we were working to American standards. The young couple looked completely bloody stupid, it almost pained me to see their ‘ecological paradise’ crumbling before their eyes; but I had a feeling that everything was going to cause me pain today. I looked to the south again. ‘I’m told Burma is very beautiful,’ I said in a low voice, mostly to myself. Sylvie solemnly agreed: it was indeed, very beautiful, she’d also heard as much; that said, she forbade herself from going to Burma. It was impossible to think that one’s money would go to supporting a dictatorship like that. Yes, yes, I thought, money. ‘Human rights are extremely important,’ she exclaimed almost despairingly. When people talk about ‘human rights’, I usually get the impression that they’re being ironic; but that wasn’t true in this case, at least I don’t think so.

‘Personally, I stopped going to Spain after the death of Franco,’ interrupted Robert, taking a seat at our table. I hadn’t seen him arrive. He seemed to be in excellent form, his formidable ability to infuriate well-rested. He informed us that he’d gone to bed dead drunk and consequently had slept like a log. He had almost chucked himself in the river a couple of times on his way back to the chalet; but in the end it hadn’t happened. ‘Insh’allah.’ he concluded in a booming voice.

—Michel Houellebecq, Platform

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