Jade Koltai is back with another region design which continues the work she began with the late Serene Footman: delivering to Second Life a setting reflective of one of the more intriguing and/or unusual locations to be found in the physical world.
Located in the biggest wetland and reed marsh in the world, some 40 kilometres from Panjin City, Liaoning Province, northeast China, is Bohai Bay. It sits at the mouth of the Panjin Shuangtaizi River, and it is home to the Panjin Honghaitan Scenic Area. Composed of shallow seas and tide-lands, the location is also home to an extensive growth of Suaeda salsa, one of the few species of plant that can live in highly alkaline soil to which it has given the region its more well-known name: the Red Beach.
This is because the Suaeda – also known as seepweed – turns the river-mouth red between the months of mid-summer and September and October every year, when the colour of the plant reaches its deepest, richest crimson ahead of the onset of winter. From a distance, it causes an 18 kilometre long stretch of the river and bay to look like it has a beach of red sand, although there is no actual sand between the plants.
An obvious tourist attraction, the area is mixed with paddy fields and hosts one of the most complete ecosystems that can be found: more than 260 kinds of birds, including the endangered black beaked gulls and crown cranes (thus giving it another name – “home of the cranes”), and 399 species of wild animal. In 1988, the area was awarded state-level nature protection, and has also been nominated to join the International person and biosphere protectorate network.
Cut through with river channels, much of the landscape is off-limits to Chinese nationals and tourists alike, although there are a number of vantage point people can go to – locations such as Yishui Yunzhou and Langqiao Aimeng – where wooden boardwalks have been built out over the seepweed, allowing visitors to see the plant without actually interfering with its growth. For those who would like a closer look, there are also boat rides along the river channels, which may offer a better way to see some of the local wildlife.
All of this has been marvellously captured – as one would expect – by Jade in Panjin, a stunning Homestead region design. Caught in the arms of an off-region surround, the region offers an estuary-like setting, open waters to the west and the shallows with the year’s growth of seepweed protected by the arms of the bay.
From the landing point on the west side, wooden walkways point eastwards, vying with the splayed fingers of water channels which appear to reach inwards over the red plant from the coast, rather than reaching outwards from the river towards the sea.
Steps descend to the red spray of plant growth, allowing visitors the wade through them, whilst open-sided pavilions might be found on the boardwalks or surrounded by the static tide of seepweed, offering places for visitors to sit and pass the time. Further seating is to be found along the banks of some of the water channels, places which are also home to red-crown crane, a frequent visitor to the actual Red Beach.
This is a genuinely elegant region design, of which elegantly captures many different aspect of the both the Red Beach and the Panjin Honghaitan Scenic Area., with the flat aspect to the region, the extensive use of canola flower cut through with water channels and dotted her with hints of green to suggest rice growths and presided over by the odd tree and the outstretched boardwalks, gives the impression the region is a lot bigger than first appears.
As always, this is definitely a location in Second Life worth visiting, given most of us likely wont get to witness it first-hand in the physical world.
- Panjin (Overland Hills, rated Moderate)