Our taxi whisks us through the busy Shanghai traffic; thank God we don’t have to drive ourselves. We settle into our room on the third floor of the Shanghai Mansions Hotel, an older building used for American soldiers during the Second World War. We look across the Suzhou Creek to the Huangpu River and watch the city lights come on as dusk falls. We’ve had a wonderful few weeks in China, and we look forward to a quiet evening before flying home tomorrow. The bathroom looks inviting and I sink gratefully into a relaxing bath.
“Hey, what’s happened?” I yell. I know my husband won’t hear me, but I’ve been plunged into darkness, and I have to react somehow.
Feeling my way in the pitch black of the inner room, I climb out of the bath and wrap myself in the white hotel bath robe. I open the door and cautiously negotiate my around the furniture which is faintly visible in the meagre light filtering in from the city.
“What’s happened?” I repeat.
“I must have blown a fuse,” he sheepishly admits. “I plugged in my battery charger and the lights went out.”
I sit in the middle of the huge bed while we ponder what to do in our predicament.
“I’ll tell them in the morning,” he says.
“You can’t wait till morning, you’ll have to tell them now,” I protest. “You might have put the whole hotel out.”
“I know.” He is silent and I know he is embarrassed to admit that his homemade charger might be the cause of the problem. He opens the door and looks up and down the corridor. There are lights in the distance, so at least the whole hotel is not affected.
“You have to go to reception,” I say again. “They have to know.”
Reluctantly he goes to the lift, which thankfully is working, and goes to reception.
“They are sending an electrician,” he reports on his return.
Soon a Chinese man pokes his head around the door and scuttles into the bathroom, trying all the switches as he goes. He confirms that our power is out. Glancing my way as he comes out of the bathroom he gets a fright at the ghostly apparition sitting on the bed. He is out the door in a flash, and off down the hallway.
The lights come on. What a relief. We don’t see the electrician again, he wouldn’t want to come back and see the cause of his fright.
“Just thinking,” says my husband when we calm down. “I didn’t want to ask for help because I was embarrassed, but we did need the expert. It reminds me of how we often try to manage on our own instead of asking God for help.”
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