Paradise has a name ... Riverbend


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"The Brits are coming!"


We've just received a booking from Britain. Thank you, Elaine and Mike, and we look forward to welcoming you to Riverbend Cottage.

Not wanting them to think that there's no culture in the "Colonies", we shall add a tub of yoghurt to their breakfast hamper and and a copy of "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie", the first English language 'fillum' with English language sub-titles, to the Cottage's DVD collection.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Breakfast without the hamper


Your breakfast supplies are already in the fridge when you arrive: a loaf of bread, margarine (or butter), jam, bacon and eggs, baked beans, milk, a carafe of fruit juice, and some fruit in season.

And a bottomless jar each of corn flakes and rolled oats (for real porridge!), tea and coffee, and, of course, all the condiments. For anything extra, come and raid our kitchen.

Which reminds us of the French guests we had during the year. They knocked on the door to ask for some pepper.

"Black pepper, or white pepper?", we asked.

"Toilette pepper, please!"

There is plenty of that in the bathroom, too, but if you need more, simply ask. However, it comes in only one colour.


It's always five o'clock at Riverbend Cottage


It's always your favourite time at "Riverbend" and you wished it would never end. So come on down and have some fun. We don't care --- it's always five o'clock at "Riverbend"!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Have you ever bought someone a house?


Neither have we but I bet we can make a difference for Boni, Titi & Ho, the three gifted, charismatic street musicians in this feature-length documentary called JALANAN which is a drama/comedy/romance/musical all rolled into one. Although they're living on the streets of Jakarta, struggling to hack out a basic living in the margins of society, they don't act like victims or grow bitter but retain their cheeky personalities, their hopeful spirit and their good hearts. They laugh more than most wealthy people I know. They celebrate life. They are an inspiration to us all!

The producer of the movie tried to think how he could improve their lives through this film. To be sure, the awareness that it generates will benefit – at least in a small way – their immediate community, and perhaps even marginalized people in other places too. A film doesn’t fix lives, but it can bring acknowledgement, which for many of these people is really all they ask.

But he still wanted to find a way of leaving them with a better life after the film than they had before it. While they will always be responsible for their fate and need to continue working hard and acting responsibly, he wanted to do his part in helping them move forward in life.

Assisting them financially seems logical, but he had learned through years of experimentation that handing them money – as in cash – never works. No matter how much you give, it’s gone two weeks later. And it’s not even their fault: as soon as they come into any sort of money, they're under intense pressure from family members, friends and neighbors to help them out. Indeed, in Indonesian culture it would be unthinkable not to.

So any money he gives them inevitably ends up helping a cousin make payments on his motorbike, a neighbor fix her roof, or a sibling buy new clothing. None of this is bad, of course, but it meant that just days after a modest financial windfall, those buskers were no better off than they were before. He found this frustrating and wanted to find some form of assistance that would be for them, and wouldn’t just disappear.

So he decided to try to buy them each a house. Something that will be theirs to keep. A place they can live or rent out or raise kids in. It won’t be large or fancy or even in a good neighborhood, because he won’t realistically be able to raise that kind of money. But Boni, Titi & Ho are humble individuals accustomed to living simply (Boni lived in a sewage tunnel for 10 years) so just owning a home, no matter how modest, will be a dream come true.

A house with a legitimate land certificate is also a much harder thing to take away from them. The certificates will be deposited with a third party so that the buskers cannot be pushed into pawning off their property no matter how intense the pressure may be from those around them. With lives that are constantly in flux, their houses should be the one non-negotiable asset that stays with them forever.

A simple one-bedroom house in a low-income neighborhood in Jakarta will cost at least $15,000 and so the overall fundraising target will be $50,000. If a thousand people each put up $50, Boni, Titi and Ho's lives will be turned around forever!

We at "Riverbend" Cottage want to be part of this transformation and decided that for every booking we receive from now on, we will donate $50 in our guests' names to Boni, Titi and Ho's Housing Fund.

So next time you book yourself a holiday at "Riverbend" Cottage, you won't just have a wonderful time but also leave feeling proud and warm and fuzzy inside for having made a difference to three young people's lives. And since the donation is in your name, you will also receive a copy of the movie JALANAN when it is released on DVD in late 2014.


Donated so far:
  • US$50 on behalf of Michelle & James Thompson
  • US$50 on behalf of Elaine & Mike Maffei
  • US$50 on YOUR behalf?


P.S. Of course, you don't have to stay at "Riverbend" Cottage to make a donation. You can also directly DONATE HERE. And if you have been touched by Boni, Titi and Ho's story, please tell your friends!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Silence ...


Have you ever heard the sound of silence? Not the Simon and Garfunkel song, which in many ways is the antithesis of what we are talking about here, but the sound of REAL silence, a natural resource that is all too rare in our world today.

Thanks to radio, TV, ipods etc., combined with the unrelenting noise of modern life, technical tinnitus ... the rumble of traffic, the muffled roar of aircraft all around, the hum of electricity, the whirr of computer and aircon fans ... silence is a rare commodity but there's still some left if you look for it.

Ssshh ... see you at "Riverbend".


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cinema Paradiso


If you love movies, then Riverbend Cottage is just the place for you! Apart from the dozens and dozens of DVDs in the cottage, we have a collection of many hundreds of the best movies ever made and we invite you to a night in front of the big screen inside our 'Bibliothèque', complete with a bottle of wine and some nibblies.

"Casablance", "Out of Africa", "The African Queen", "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", "The Painted Veil", "Il Postino", and many, many, many more. And every good Aussie movie ever made (remember "The Castle"?); even some 'foreign muck' in German, French and Indonesian. And, of course, "Cinema Paradiso", the beautiful, enchanting story of a young boy’s lifelong love affair with the movies.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Starting with a clean Slate 21 Android


Of course, "Riverbend" Cottage has a WiFi Router which allows you to surf the net with your own laptop or smartphone.

And if you haven't got a laptop or smartphone, or you forgot to bring it along, or you simply want to use a decent-sized keyboard that does not require you to have fingers as pointy as knitting-needles, just step up to Riverbend's very own "Internet Café" on the sunlit veranda overlooking the river to use this really smart-looking HP Slate 21 Android.

It's all part of the "Riverbend" service!


Friday, July 4, 2014

The Nelligen Golf Club is open for business!


We decided to call it the "Nelligen GOLF Club" because all the other 4-letter words were already taken. With a lagoon and pond on one side and the river on the other, our golfing guests just can't get enough of it.

Only the other week one of them, getting ready to hit his tee shot, called out, "Look at those idiots fishing in the rain!"

The problem with most golf courses is that the slow groups are always in front of you and the fast groups are always behind you. Not so at the "Nelligen Golf Club" where you have it all to yourself!