Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shareta Osumai Tea Garden

In my recent blog post about bridges, I featured Molly Linden's elegant bridge, which connects two Japanese-styled Linden homes areas near Hoshigarei. If you cross that bridge, and wander West, you'll arrive at the the bright red gates of the Shareta Osumai Tea Garden. A strikingly lovely LDPW build, the garden comprises an entire sim; two if you count the connecting infohub directly to the North. Let's enter through the shoji gates and spend a pleasant afternoon looking around, shall we?

Perhaps the most striking feature of the garden is the five-story tea house, pictured above. Nearby, you can catch a (very slow) rickshaw pulled by a mole for a leisurely ride, or wander the many paths through the garden on foot. You might spot the hedge dragon, pictured below, or sit and meditate at the edge of the Zen rock garden. See how many different mole statues you can find among the plantings, and you might even find three mole coins just waiting for a lucky toss into a nearby pond!

Once you are finished visiting the garden, follow the river North, and climb a series of winding wooden staircases up to a group of five large buildings perched at the top of a mountain (pictured below). These buildings are all part of the Shareta Osumai Infohub, and contain a number of freebies, including parasols, fans, cricket cages, eleven different decorative masks, and boxes containing textures for use in Japanese-themed Linden homes. Make sure to spend some time exploring each of the five buildings, as they all contain different surprises. The mole temple (last photo, below) was my very favorite.

What I found really fascinating about this location (and thanks to Gem Preiz for the original tip!) is that there are at least two duplicates. According to the Second Life wiki, there are four premium Linden Homes continents: Premium East (also known as Nascera), and Premium South 1, 2 and 3. The Gardens and Infohub I have described above exist in Premium East, the same continent where you can find Cape Ekim, Racer's Gulch, and the Wilderness Sims. However, you can also find the very same Shareta Osumai Tea Garden on Premium South 2 and on Premium South 3, with related Infohubs to the North of each. Similarly, Molly Linden's wonderful bridge is duplicated on both Premium South 2 and 3 as well. Choose any of these three expansive gardens, and you're sure to enjoy your visit. Let me know if you found those lucky coins!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

River's Bend Airstrip

Down a narrow canyon in Sansara, daring Second Life pilots can navigate small planes through the mountains and over a small river to land at River's Bend Airstrip in Enceladus. The airstrip is tucked away in a tree-lined valley, and the parcel advertises that it is "best approached with a bush plane and a sense of adventure!" Rezzing is enabled with a 30 minute auto-return, so you can either land your plane at the airstrip, or pop by to explore first, then rez a plane and take off through the canyon.

Owner Xi Larnia commented, "I built the airstrip back in April after seeing the area abandoned for some time. I finally put a ticket in and 'won' it on an auction. The build only took a couple of days, but I knew I wanted to build a rundown looking air strip. There are far too many modern and square airstrips and airports in SL." River's Bend provides some welcome variety for those among us who love to explore by air.

Xi continued, "As somebody who loves to fly small 'bush' planes from East River out over the Snowlands, I wanted a place that would be a technical place to land. Difficult, but not impossible. My big inspiration was the end of the small film 'Wings Over The Rockies' with Harrison Ford, in which he lands his small DHC-2 Beaver (around 6 minutes into the 10-minute film) onto a small dirt field that is not flat, but slopes upwards." There are some fun details everywhere, including an abandoned house uphill from the helipad, rabbits in the grass, and even a crashed plane in the river.

"I will say this," concluded Xi, "Rivers Bend seems to have touched a nerve. People really seem to love it. I built it for myself, but I am just glad other people enjoy it too." Make sure you stop by during SL's night cycle, when the fog rolls in through the canyon, and can get as thick as waist deep! I didn't find a tip jap on the parcel, but if you enjoy your visit to River's Bend, there is a guest book in the main office, so please drop Xi a note to say hello. The River's Bend Airstrip group description is as follows, "RBA is not for the faint-hearted, it's not even for the strong-hearted, it's for the absolutely mad-hearted. Who else would want to fly down to the water's edge in a narrow canyon just so they could hit a small dirt strip in the middle or nowhere for no reason other to say they did it. Nobody in their right mind would come to River's Bend, and that may be the point to this beat up, dirty, and out of the way little airport. You only go there because you want to go there...and these are the pilots who do." So the question is, will you be one of those pilots?