— In the middle of the desert, the dusty desert, and a couple miles away is an obscure bookstore called Tuition & Lyrics.
This is where you can get a copy of one of the most influential Taiwanese literature of all time, the classic collection of poems by Liu-Piao Tse-Chia, the famous translator of the works of Tao Te Ching.
The Tuition books have been on the shelves of some of Taiwan’s most prominent bookstores since 1985.
The bookstores were set up to sell and trade the books in exchange for Tsinghua’s Tsingh-Kuan, which is the Chinese equivalent of American dollars.
It is still a thriving business in Taiwan, where Tuition has become a symbol of China’s rising economic and political power.
When we visited, the Tuition store was bustling with customers and staff.
A young man, who wore a tie and a white t-shirt, was selling a copy for $1.50.
At Tuition, we found the books for sale, and then we were taken to a waiting car.
The driver was a Taiwanese woman in her 20s, wearing a bright green blouse and a long skirt.
We asked her what we should buy and if we could leave her a tip.
She smiled and nodded.
She had a story about her father who had died a few years earlier.
She told us that after his funeral, she and her father went to Tuition and picked out the last book he had written.
She then took him to the door of the store and handed him a book.
We looked at her and asked if she was the store’s owner.
“Yes,” she said, with a smile.
Later, we talked to her brother and asked him to buy us a book as well.
The brother was a big fan of the Tuitions collection and agreed to buy it for us.
I found a book called The Song of the Great Sun.
I’ve never read the poem before, but I know it well.
I can tell you it was written by a guy who used to live near me in Taiwan.
I think the poet was named Liu-Chie.
We went into the bookstore and bought it.
Then I went to the Tuitional store.
We walked into a long, empty room with an open window.
There were only a few books, a few shelves, and no sign of the owners.
We saw a woman in a purple shirt who looked exactly like Liu-chie, but the woman was not Liu-chee.
There was a young woman in the back who looked just like Liuchee, but she was actually the woman who had bought the book.
She had her face and hands covered in makeup and makeup dust.
She was also wearing a black skirt.
The young woman said she was going to buy a book for us, and we could sit in the waiting car for a few minutes while she went through the books.
After a few moments, she walked out the window, saying, “If we’re not lucky enough to get the book, I’m going to go and get the money.”
I went up to her and told her that I wanted to buy the book for $100.
I was thinking, “You know, she’s really good at this.”
She was smiling and said, “Yes, yes, I can handle it.”
We bought the copy and headed back to Tuitions.
I felt that I had to do something about this, but when we went to collect the book from the waiting cars, the woman just laughed at me and said I had no right to be there.
She said, I think this is the best book store in Taiwan!
When I asked her if she could show me the book she bought, she said no, but then she walked over to another book shelf and took it from there.
In that same moment, I thought, I’ve bought a book, so what is she doing?
I asked the woman, who said, She was going back to the car and then she took the book to her car and drove away.
Some of the customers were also in the Tuisons car when I arrived.
I asked them if they remembered the Tufts books, and some of them said yes.
My wife and I were stunned.
The woman had been selling the books, so it was obvious to me that she had no business being there.
I couldn’t believe it.
But we knew what she was doing.
So we drove to the parking lot and tried to find the Tufters.
We found a parking lot full of Tuition fans, some of whom were looking for the books and others were looking to buy them.
I remember my wife saying to me, “This is the Tuitors!”
I said, That’s not true.
I just know what I’ve been doing.
I bought it, but