François: Maggie, my friend Anne, the librarian, is offering to take us to Santa Cruz this weekend.
Margaret: This weekend? That's too bad, but I can't. Johnny and I do a photo shoot at Point Reyes.
F.: Oh what a pity!
M.: Do go there anyway. You'll enjoy Santa Cruz. There is a Spanish mission as well as a Luna park to cater to every taste.
François likes the company of Anne because she loves books and they can talk for hours about their shared interest.
She also knows a bit of French, and it's a recreation for François. Instead of learning, for a change he can teach.
They arrive in Santa Cruz early Saturday afternoon. Anne parks the car on Beach street.
Anne: Let's walk to the end of the wharf. It affords a nice view of the whole town.
The pier, built on wooden stilts and jutting straight into the sea, is the longest on the west coast of the United States, almost a kilometer long.
At one point, François exclaims in French: "Oh des phoques!"
A.: Shhhhh, don't shout that! These are seals.
F.: Why can't I name them in French?
A.: There is in English slang the verb "to fuck", which is very dirty.
A.: Technically, it means "to have sexual intercourse" but can be used in all sorts of circumstances if you like crude language and swearing.
A couple of tourists approach François and Anne, and address them in French.
Man: Hello! Don't worry, we know you spoke in French.
Although they look very much American, wearing checkered short pants, garish shirts, a purple baseball cap with a tiger for the husband, a large pale green bucket hat for the wife, and are both slightly overweight, they speak to each other in a weird kind of French.
F.: Hello, do you come from France?
Woman: No, we come from Shreveport, Louisiana. We are Acadians, but the Anglo-Saxons call us Cajuns because that's what they hear when we pronounce it.
Woman: Our ancestors left Acadia (nowadays New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, in Canada) during the Great Expulsion in mid-XVIIIth century. And they settled in Louisiana.
Anne: And you are still speaking French?
Man: Yes, we try to maintain our culture and traditions. But sadly it is on the wane now.
F.: Well, we are almost countrymen! So, "bon après-midi!".
They say goodbye.
Anne: François, would you like to visit Santa Cruz mission?
François: Er, Margaret and I went to Carmel with friends the other day. I think I have had my fix of missions for the time being.
A.: Then, let's go to the amusement park. I would love to take a ride on the Ferris wheel.
F.: Alright, if you promise it's safe.
They walk back toward town, leave the wharf, and take the boardwalk to the right. They can see the huge wheel where they are heading towering over the houses.
After it has finished loading everyone, the wheel slowly gains speed. From the soaring cabin, the view is breathtaking over the city, the surrounding hills, and the bay.
Each time they reach the top, François feels queasy from vertigo and remains mute.
Anne has the time of her life and laughs and speaks like a chatterbox all along the ride.
After some more sightseeing in town, they walk back to Anne's car.
On their way home, they talk about Margaret who could not come because she was working with her photographer at Point Reyes in Marin county north of San Francisco.
Anne explains to François that it is a very beautiful beach and why it is famous in history. She tells him of Francis Drake, of the second world circumnavigation between 1577 and 1580, and of Drake's mooring there during his journey.