Thanks to the internet, I was able to buy books without going to a bookstore on my birthday (although it is NOT THE SAME).
Poor Betty freaked the fuck out and died on I-10 while my sister and I were headed to Changing Hands Bookstore. There are only a couple of things I like more than buying books. She might need a new alternator–but I am pretending that I didn’t hear that, because I need to leave in the am.

I am printing out last minute information before my vulture chasing trip which starts at 8:30 am when I fly to DC to Brussels.

If you are playing along at home, here’s what might happen: upon arriving, I might hop a train to Antwerp where there is a darling Eurasian black vulture chick named Orion to meet. After hanging with him/her and his/her devoted researcher for a bit, I may train to Rotterdam for some downtime with an old friend, and after that, a long train ride through Germany, with Vienna as the final destination. A friend of a friend could take me to some classy concerts, and I may explore some cobblestones for a couple of days before I meet another researcher and his young ready-to-be released bearded vulture. We might then drive that youngster back over the Swiss Alps to a huge National Park in the French Alps where he/she will be released. Then, I could high-tail it up to Paris, for a visit with a biologist who has created what might be the best king vulture breeding program in the world just outside of town, then back to the city of lights, where zookeepers are hand-rearing a palm nut vulture chick. And finally, I may exhaustedly train back to Brussels for departure. OR: Three and a half weeks, vultures from three continents, three amazing scientists, six countries, one good friend (and x number of new ones).

I say might because I am trying to maintain flexibility and minimize expectations.

Bien sûr, I will try to update the blog (which is being hosted at a new temporary location until I get back, so please excuse our dust) whenever possible. I will take as many pictures as I can.

Also, I turned 40 today. Which so far doesn’t feel any different than 39 and 11/12ths did, but I think today’s freeway breakdown did give me at least one new gray hair.

If you see any vultures during your own travels, be kind. And wish me luck!