Talia (Natalia Corvale) has an eye for creating region designs that are wonderfully attractive, rich in natural detail, and evocative of places that one might find tucked away whilst on global travels. Her designs are places I always enjoyed visiting and writing about (as evidenced by the articles in this blog), as they are always so beautifully bucolic in presentation, places guaranteed to put the eye and heart at rest.
For Zephyr, her latest setting in her homestead region of Porter Island, Talia presents a a place I confess to immediately falling in love with for its fusion of ideas.
Surrounded by off-region hills coated by fir trees that suggest a northern latitude, Zephyr sits as a trio of islands, two of which are linked by a causeway. Together, they individually contain suggestions of China, Japan, and Africa that are most marvellously brought together, whilst collectively their appearance also brings to mind parts of the coastline of IndoChina to mind.
The landing point sits atop a flat-topped mesa that rises vertically from one of the region’s two larger islands. This sits to the north-east and curls away eastwards around the region’s outer limits.
Watched over by a seated Buddha and sleepy pandas, its steep flanks fall away to grasslands that wash around it, and which could easily look right at home on the African plains – especially given the Africa tusker of a bull elephant standing upon them. Even the presence of a great monkeypod tree raising its head alongside the plateau doesn’t break with the African vibe that echoes here, as from a distance, it might equally be a great Umbrella Thorn.
But the fact it is a monkeypod tree reminds visitors that the core influence for the region is Asian in nature, as does the curving arm of this island as it turns to the east, its razor back line home to a Japanese styled structure. However, quite how you reach both it and the grasslands below the landing point is a little open to interpretation, preference.
This is because while there is a zipline connecting the landing point to one of the highlands of the central island, the only path from there leads either up to a bridge sling across the gap between the two plateaus or down to where the causeway connects middle and northern islands. Save jumping down from the ziplines end-point or wading through water at the foot of the downslope path, there is no clear route to get to the lowland that sit under the flanks of the two plateaus (well, you can fly of course, but that’s cheating! 🙂 ).
like those of the landing point island, the lowlands of the middle isle are dominated by a monkeypod tree. however, there is also a small bridge that spans the waters back to the north island, allowing visitors the opportunity to return to it and then make their way eastwards around its raised back.
However, for those who prefer, the taller of the two rocky tables on the middle island is home to a wooden platform where comfortable seating a a good vantage point out over the islands are to be found, while the caused offers a dry route to the other northern island isle, and which sweeps around the west side of the region.
This is the largest of the three islands by area, and has much to offer that again gives hints of Africa (the elephant and the suggestion of broad savanna, the thatched hut by the water suggestive of a hide from which to observe wildlife). But then, with the sakura, the bamboo, the very Japanese styling of the little cabin across the grass from the hideaway, the sampans and monkeypods, visions of Asia also abound here.
To the north, this part of the land rises to a ridgeline that is home to waterfalls that drop into the waters between the islands and another hideaway that offers a comfortable retreat as it overlooks the causeway visitors must cross from the middle isle.
Of course, the African lean to Zephyr can be excused by the fact there are precious few Asian elephants in SL – and the two featured in the region certainly look as if they are semi-domesticated and awaiting mahouts, despite clearly being African in origin – but I love the way they add that sense of fusion to the region. Elsewhere, the wildlife does lean more towards Asia with cranes, tigers, panda, parrots, etc., all of which enrich the setting, together with the lanterns that in places drift overhead, even as orca swim in the waters.
And even with all this, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the delights Talia has brought to this most idyllic of settings. So,rather than sit here reading, get your boots on and go see for yourselves! And be sure to take your cameras!
- Zephyr (Porter Island, rated Moderate)