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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Two: Europe

Thursday, September 27

Stettin to AmsterdamThe story of today ought really to be written by Lighthorse Robert Wilson, who started off on his own to see the Holland countryside from the lofty perch of a bicycle saddle. He went by train to Leyden and there rented a steed under the penalty of depositing his passport, so that it was fairly certain his tired legs would eventually bring the vehicle back to its owner. He claims to have done 40 miles in circular fashion around Leyden, going cross-country without a map. At one moment he was being thrown out of an estate, and at another time rode for miles along the beach on the English Channel. He does not walk quite straight any more, but he can talk the language and could undoubtedly write an intriguing book about navigation with a bicycle. It seems he considers it a swell day.

There was no operating for this morning, but Oljenick showed me all through his clinic and we spent most of the time in the surgical amphitheatre, which is a museum of ingenuous contrivances. There are electrically heated, thermostatically controlled cabinets for maintaining solutions at the proper temperature; instrument sterilizers in which cold water circulates around the rim so that steam cannot escape into the room, nor do the nurses get burned when they open the lid to lift the instruments. The hundreds of instruments are placed in neat row on the shelves and there is a special rack for the burrs; sixty for the pantostat, twelve for the Stille hand drill, and about sixty others, each one inserted into its hole, and the rows are identified by neatly engraved titles on a highly polished metal plate. On the walls of the operating room are three red lights which are connected in series with the leads of the three-phase motor which runs the sucker; if the sucker quits and one light goes out, it may be circuit trouble, but also it may be a burned out bulb, so that if you look across the hall in the "infected case O.R. " and find all three bulbs lighted, then the trouble was not the A.C. current source. The x-ray equipment has been worked out in great detail and everything is arranged for convenience. For example, in order to read the ammeters in the dark there is a special focusing light with a red glass which can be turned to illuminate nothing but their faces. He was rather put to it to crowd everything into the small developing room, but it has been marked off into 'Wet Side' and 'Dry Side' and includes an electrical drying oven for rapid processing of films, which is reached by means of a hinged sliding stepladder. In the interest of quietness, the x-ray motors were moved to an upper floor, but in case one wishes to hear the motors in the x-ray laboratory, there is a microphone loud speaker circuit which picks up the whirr of the motors and amplifies it into the room where the plates are being taken.

Promptly after lunch Dr. Oljenick and I started for The Hague where we sought out the Colonial Secretary so that, I might put a direct request for permission to make aerial photographs in the Dutch Indies. They were very nice to us but explained that the control of the Indies is entirely in the hands of the Governor General in Batavia, and suggested that we arrange for authority through the American Legation, to which we next repaired. A proper form of request was made through Mr. Emmett, the Minister, and Mr. Carl Fisher, the first Secretary. It so happened that there was scheduled that evening a dinner of the American residents in The Hague, some 25 in number, and Mr. Fisher invited us to stay over and join them. We gathered first at his house and then went off to a small restaurant from which emanated the most delectable odor of chicken, cooked in the best Italian style. Just as the dinner was brought on, the phone rang and poor Oljenick was informed that he must return to Amsterdam immediately because of an emergency operation at the hospital. We made our apologies and left, but managed to gain the door via the kitchen and came off with half a chicken apiece, which we devoured while finding the way in the darkness through the maze of dykes and canals. Fortunately all was well at the hospital, but I daresay that forty miles has seldom been crossed at quicker pace than in Oljenick's fast automobile.

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