A Dream of Asia in Second Life

Th Dream of Asia, January 2020 – click any image for full size

Miro Collas recently suggested we drop into the regions designed by Tatjana DeCuir and her SL partner, arvo, which have recently been redesigned to have an Asian / far east theme. Comprising two Full private regions making use of the additional 10K Land Capacity, they form a two-region estate that is home to a range of activities, including DJ sessions and dancing, and some that are more adult-related.

The range of activities is reflected at the skyborne landing point, which features a large teleport board (also to be found at various points on the ground) directing visitors to various locations. Which option you take is entirely dependent upon personal choice and the reason for visiting. However, if you’re dropping in to explore and / or to take photographs, Caitlyn and I would recommend the Bubble Tour teleport as a good place to start.

The Dream of Asia, January 2020

Located on a beach sitting in a broad bay, the Bubble Tour is a point from which it is possible to complete a full tour of the regions either on foot or via the multi-seat bubble that will fly you around and over the islands to give you a bird’s eye view of their layout and surrounds. The latter is a particularly unhurried way to pass the time when travelling with someone, as the speed ensures you can relax, set your camera position (and rotate it occasionally) and enjoy a conversation, point of the sights to one another and just appreciate the view.

Given the setting does cover two regions, there is a lot to see, and there is more than enough variation in the design to keep visitors fully engaged in travelling from beach to hilltop walk, passing through rain forest or along semi-paved paths along the way, discovering ancient ruins or well-maintained gardens, all the while drawn by the high roofs of buildings perched on cliffs or straddling stone plateaus. The network of paths and trails means that is is possible to find your way around both regions without resorting to the use of the teleport boards, but care needs also to be taken as some of the paths may not be as obvious as others.

The Dream of Asia, January 2020

This rich mix of settings brings together hints of Malaysia and the Philippines with those of Japan and China (notably through the buildings and the presence of panda). Given the off-sim surrounds, the feeling is very much that this is a place hidden somewhere along the Pacific coast of Asia (the presence of African elephants on the beach notwithstanding); a realm hidden amongst a group of protective islands, shielding itself from prying eyes.

From the bubble tour landing point, it is possible to go inland, climbing a natural “stairway” that looks to have been worn into the rock by the passage of time and feet (or perhaps in the distant past, by water), rather than being cut by hand, or follow the beach to the north. I’d recommend the latter route, as it presents a logical means to circumnavigate the regions, starting by taking the low bridge to cross the channel of water feeding the bay to enter the eastern region. Here the land points a bent-tipped finger out into the eastern sea, home home to a DJ stage built both over a natural pool of water and partially under the protective arc of a natural rock arch.

The Dream of Asia, January 2020

The finger ends in the tall and foreboding form of what might have once been a fort watching over the bay to the south. Sitting in  its own grounds and elevated in a defensive manner, it is now a location for some of the more adult activities in the estate, being a Shibari house. To one side of its paved forecourt stands a red wall with circular open gateway. Pass through this, and a shrub and tree bordered path leads back to the western region, passing by way of pandas and a bamboo glade into the region’s rain forest.

Here can be found a sense of ancient design – flagstoned ground, a broken statue to Buddha (which appears to have a rock formation sprouting through it!), shrines, water channels and much of the region’s wildlife. multiple paths wind through it, offering opportunity to explore. Some of these lead the way directly up to the plateau sitting above the rain forest that is home to what might be regarded as a former palace or similar official residence, complete with outbuildings, a water garden, reception pavilion and fountains. All are open to public use and make for a striking setting.

The Dream of Asia, January 2020

Just below this large terrace, however, and nestled into the south-west corner of the region is the most marvellous house and gardens setting. It can be reached by both the rock steps leading up from the beach not far from the bubble tour, or by finding the corner path and steps that clip one side of the rain forest as they descend from the plateau. I’d highly recommend leaving this aspect of the estate for the final part of any exploratory tour, and that you reach it via the path down from the high terrace, simply because the beauty of the design is well worth holding until last.

The path from the plateau will bring you by way of rock and stone arch to a gorgeous hanging garden lit by cast-iron lamps (found elsewhere in the region as well), presenting a shaded path to the house and its broader gardens. With the mix of trees, plants, water and winding paths, it is an idyllic and romantic setting which invites visitor to again relax and appreciate a natural beauty. The house itself does not appear to be a private residence, although I would suggest the best way to appreciate it is from the gardens, where there are several places to sit and pass the time.

The Dream of Asia, January 2020

Being a predominantly mesh build that has a very high volume of textures, it can be somewhat taxing on viewers, so saving the use of shadows for taking photos and turning them off when walking might be advisable, as might dropping draw distance if you have it set to longer distances.  However, with much to see and many places to sit and enjoy a cuddle or a dance to be found throughout both regions, and additional attractions such as the self-fly bubble cars (rezzers marked by signs), this iteration of LebensRaum is a place that can easily entice visitors into passing their time.

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