Caving in.

By Mark Andrews

Silkroad – Cathay Dragon Airlines. March 2016

For generations, the caves of central China have been home to millions of people. Today, their way of life is fast disappearing

The television, cooking pots and worn furniture inside Zhou Mincai’s home are unremarkable – a collection of items that could belong to any elderly person. But underfoot, it’s a floor of earth. The late afternoon autumnal light does its best to light the home, helped by a bare 40-watt bulb – but the darkness is a reminder that we’re in a cave, its walls once part of a hill that’s been hewn into smooth surfaces.

Times aren’t easy for 83-year-old Zhou. ‘It’s not convenient for me to get water from the well, plus it’s difficult for me to feed the goat. The goat is naughty and I’m old,’ he says in Xi’an’s distinctive dialect.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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