The door to the mystical world is closed so Gao wanders through the deserted streets of the Qinghai-Tibetan highland route in the misty rain. It is the middle of spring and Gao feels freedom. He talks about the Opium and salt smugglers and how travelers had to buy passage through the single road. Again the theme of obedience and paying proper respect to those in power occurs. He writes " it would be a case of arriving and not returning. They would all be sent to meet the King of Hell."
He gives us a more descriptive image of the door as " two big heavy wooden gates," and once closed you are trapped like "turtles in a jar."
He mentions the bandit Song Guotai four times in this chapter. Ruthless and cunning, he alone can keep control of the compound of bandits. Gao tells the story of Song Guotai rise among bandits and during the bloody showdown, he disappears. One possibility: he got lost in the mountains and starved to death.
Two more stories of people who never returned from the mountain.
Again it is raining and "I am becoming obsessed with getting to the primeval forest at the back of the mountains and find myself drawn to it by some inexplicable force."
The roaring river continues to appear at the end of each chapter. "This river possesses an intimidating and violent energy not found in rivers flowing over the country."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.