"The old bus is a city reject." The first sentence introduces one of the many themes of the book: the clash between the past and the present. The twentieth century's cultural revolution has been a period of turbulent change in China. The transformation from a crippled empire into a modern nation has involved painful and often damaging political and social adjustments.
Note the "you" pronoun, Xingjian's use of the second person point of view becomes important as you read further. I think of Calvino's "On a Winter's Night a Traveler"- the use of "you" is personal and intimate, the author is talking directly to you, the reader.
"...you arrive in a mountain country town..."
"...you stand with your backpack..."
"... you find yourself..."
David Der-Wei Wang's interview with Gao Xingjian, as interpreted from Chinese by Daniel Fertig., says,"the second you bring in "you," the second person, it becomes a dialogue, and it becomes a trading of thoughts between people. The use of "you" creates a dialogue.
In the second paragraph you realize you are the “tourist" or the outsider. The locals have been here for many generations.
"People here speak with a unique intonation even though they are descendants of the same legendary emperor and are of the same culture and race."
About now, I feel like I have entered an episode from the "Twilight Zone."
"You can’t explain why you’re here. It happened that you were on a train and this person mentioned a place called Lingshan."
Lingshan means soul or spirit mountain.
"You’d been to lots of places, visited lots of famous mountains, but had never heard of this place."
Who doesn’t love the home of their ancestors?
"This type of scarf, and how it’s tied, dates back many generations but is seldom seen these days"
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.