Mar 19

In China, millions make themselves at home in caves (Los Angeles Times, Mar 18, 2012):

Reporting from Yanan, China — Like many peasants from the outskirts of Yanan, China, Ren Shouhua was born in a cave and lived there until he got a job in the city and moved into a concrete-block house.

His progression made sense as he strove to improve his life. But there’s a twist: The 46-year-old Ren plans to move back to a cave when he retires.

“It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s quiet and safe,” said Ren, a ruddy-faced man with salt-and-pepper hair who moved to the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian, in his 20s. “When I get old, I’d like to go back to my roots.”

More than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option.

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