Salar de Uyuni in Second Life

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

Update September 2019: Maison de L’amitie has relocated.

Maison de L’amitie, the Homestead region held by Corina Wonder, is generally associated with beautiful landscapes such as this 2017 coastal setting. So I was a little surprised when good friend (and region discoverer) Shakespeare, sent me a slightly cryptic IM suggesting I go take a look. Intrigued, I hopped over – and surprised by what I found.

Sitting on an endless, plain sit two Jeeps, one of which is occupied by a Labrador dog. Overhead is a blue sky under which fluffy clouds are passing, reflected in the shallow waters covering the plain – and that is all there is. I was initially mystified until I read the About Land description: Inspired by Salar de Uyuni.

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

Located in the Daniel Campos Province, in south-west Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering an area of some 10,582 square km (4,086 sq mi), sitting at an elevation of 3,656 m (11,995 ft) above sea level. It was formed as a result of the evaporation of prehistoric lakes.

Despite its extreme size, and with the exception of Isla Incahuasi located in the centre of the flats, the elevation within the region varies by under one metre (3.3 ft) across its entire area. This, coupled with the shallow covering it during the winter months, have led to Salar de Uyuni being referred to as the “world’s largest mirror”, and is frequently the subject of photographs that (if you’ll pardon the pun) reflect this fact – as seen below.

Salar de Uyuni. Credit: Takashi Nakagawa

It is in celebration of such images that Maison de l’amitie has been made over: a near-perfect flat expanse over which hangs a perfect sky, the two Jeeps emphasising the mirror-like finish. It’s a simple, elegant setting which, after the initial surprise of its bareness, can captivate. However, in order to full appreciate it, do make sure that you hop into you viewer’s preferences and go to Graphics > (Advanced) and make sure the Water Reflections option is set to Everything.

Another thing Salar de Uyuni is famous for is humorous forced perspective photographs, such as the one shown below, by Danish traveller Miriam. It would be interesting to see if Second Life users can use Maison de L’amitie’s tribute to the region in a similar manner.

Salar de Uyuni via Adventurous Miriam

Despite its apparent harshness, Salar de Uyuni is an extraordinary place – potentially one ripe for features to be added to Maison de L’amitie – although adding too many could spoil the impact. The salt flats are, for example, a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos; whilst located close to their expanse is the train cemetery, recalling the time when trains used to haul minerals from the region to the Pacific coast ports.

A uniquely curious setting, one that has can exercise a strange draw on the eye.

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

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