Seeing What We Want to see

On Saturday morning, we did a little tour of some of the old colonial sections of Shanghai.  With the help of some local friends we were able to find the Lutheran Hostel where Esther had stayed in 1924 and the general vinicinity of a Baptist hostel where she had stayed in 1933. It was great fun, especially finding the gorgeous old building that was the Lutheran Hostel.  In a neighborhood of high rise office and apartment towers, it is the only old structure still standing.We knew it was the place since the address matched the address we had from Esther’s letters.

After we had found what we were looking for our local guide said that from his research he believed that the church founded by Watchman Nee was also in the vicinity, so our merry band of six foriengers set off to see if we might find any remnant of that.  All we had to go on was a street name in the old British section of Shanghai.

As we walked down the street we were a bit excited to see a structure up ahead that sort of looked like a church.  It had some features of ‘old,’ but we couldn’t tell if it was built that way or in fact was an old building.  What was obvious, though was that, no matter what this building might or might not have been in the past, it was now a neighborhood public toilet (at least on the ground floor).

We stood across the street for a few minutes snapping pictures and speculating on how old the building was and the plausibility of the government turning a church into a public toilet in the 1950’s.  “Look at that long window in the front. Perhaps its hiding a stained glass window.”

As we stood there sharing our collective ignorance, one of our party broke away and went looking for answers. In the courtyard behind the facility he found an older man who said it was NOT an old building, but rather had been built in the 1990’s as a public toilet, and on the upper floors, a canteen for the neighborhood sanitation workers.

We had a good laugh about our determination to see what we wanted to see, then moved on to lunch.

Noel has put up some posts of our time in Shanghai, including links to photo pages.  Please click on over to Tell Me When to Pack.

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3 thoughts on “Seeing What We Want to see

  1. Greetings Joann and Noel. My daughter Lois (born in Beijing) would delight in following your journey. I won’t forward anything. But, would you include her in your messages?
    If it’s not too much MAFAN? Bless you!

  2. How often does this happen to me?! I see or hear what I want to. Or expect to! Love it that what you thought you were seeing turned out to be a toilet. That’s funny 🙂