Off The Bus
“Sometimes the difference between being a traveler and a homeless person is hard to define.
About once a year I pack all the antiques and collectibles I’ve found in Mexico and take the Americanos bus up to Austin Texas where I can sell them on Congress Avenue. The last time I did this I brought a fifty-year-old hand painted Olinala trunk from Guerro full of things like silver earrings from Oaxaca, hand embroidered piano shawls from Spain and carved bakelite bracelets from the fleamarkets of Mexico City. Valuable stuff. Snob stuff.
Unfortunately the bus from Saltillo doesn’t let you off at the Greyhound station.
It lets you off anywhere you want on I-35 between San Antonio and Dallas. In Austin you have the choice of a gas station, International House of Pancakes or the parking lot of a twenty-four hour grocery store.
It was four a.m. when the bus dropped me off. I had less than five dollars in my purse and no one I could call.”
Carmen and Her New Car
Carmen Delzell has a life of stories. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, they make it to audio tape. This one came to us in the mail on a bedraggled cassette, months after it was recorded. No production, no ProTools… just Carmen with a tape recorder and a microphone. We at Transom.org did a little editing and equalization, and that’s it.
Carmen’s son Colin and his girlfriend Seana Carroll sent us the photo. Seana said in email, “Carmen is standing in front of a car she would like to buy in San Miguel just after Christmas Day 2000.” They also sent a short video clip.
“I asked my son’s girlfriend to take lots of digital photos of me. She says she’ll send them to me and to you after I pick one. I really look old these days. Maybe it’s the Mexican sun at four thousand feet. Maybe it’s that I really am getting older. Face lifts are cheaper down here but I’ve seen lots of bad ones. Nicolas was here for the holidays but I am almost ready to call it quits. He won’t let my dog Milagro sleep with us.”
Hey, we found a little more of Carmen at the end of her cassette. It seemed like it was over, but it wasn’t! First rule of production: Listen to the whole cassette.
Listen to Carmen Delzell talk about the risks of road food when you’re traveling with no money.
This piece was created with help from HearingVoices.
Carmen Delzell lives somewhere between Mexico City and Austin, Texas. She has lived in Saltillo, Coahuilla and San Miguel de Allende since 1993 when she won a National Endowment Grant and hit the road running.
She has two grown children and makes her living selling antiques, travel stories and sometimes her “nichos” which fetch as much as 35 u.s. dollars each.
Many years ago she graduated from Goddard College and lived in Washington, D.C.where she had a vintage clothing store called Blue Moon.
She is kind of writing a book about her hand to mouth existence which she calls The Bag Ladies Guide to What’s Left of the Planet. She weighs 130 pounds and has bleached blond hair.