n Tibet's Changtang region, nomads harvest salt to buy barley. A clan prepares four of its men for an annual trek to Lake Tsento, where they rake salt from shoals into piles, then into bags, and onto their yaks to return, 90-days in all. After picking an auspicious day to depart, they feast, sing, tell stories, and race horses. Women are forbidden on this sacred trip. All is ritualized: Margen cooks, Pargen prepares burnt offerings and distributes meat, Zopon cares for the caravan of 160 yaks, Bopsa bends his strong back to arduous work. To each other they speak the secret language of saltmen; they pray and observe exemplary behavior. The goddess of the lake smiles upon them.

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