It’s an impressive house, perfect for exiles. Villa Nellcôte is a large, 19th-century Côte d’Azur mansion, facing the glittering views of Villefranche Bay. High wrought iron gates, fragrant pine trees and palm trees all keep unwanted visitors at bay. Perhaps the best way to describe Villa Nellcôte is something between a backstage dressing room and a hotel suite.
I am close to the chaos of the city, but it is quiet here in the park. I am surrounded by old, gigantic trees, enormous vegetation and tree crowns. I open the doors of the wooden building and enter the traditional Chinese restaurant. The air is filled with wonderful aromas from the kitchen area. A man is sleeping in his chair while resting his head on the table. A group of men is playing cards while smoking under the fluorescent light.
There was no fence, just a low rope in front of the building, a silent warning not to trespass. J started to make the draft while glancing at his notebook: a giant hand with the index and middle fingers raised and parted to make a V shape. The other three fingers were clenched. Underneath he stated, using capital letters: ONE HUMAN FAMILY.
Mr. Gong lifts up one of the scrawny clones planted in a red plastic cup from the basket and takes in the aroma. Then, generating a one-hitter from the breast-pocket of his garden vest, he lights up and exhales, creating a large cloud of smoke. “Precious Mother. This Chronic is just amazing man.”
In a leafy part of the suburb there is a beautiful lane with well-kept residences and flourishing gardens. This includes the household of Jim Olmeyer and Jim Berkley and their small dog Bitsy who tends to bark a lot. New to the vicinity however, is the Fitts family. The father, US Marine Colonel Frank Fitts sports a strict crew cut and a classic brown cardigan with a checkered shirt.