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The Great Balloon Adventure Sansara Riding The Winds Through Every Second Life Continent

by Dahlia Jayaram


The Great Balloon Adventure

Sansara Riding The Winds Through Every Second Life Continent

by Dahlia Jayaram


©2010 by Dahlia Jayaram All Rights Reserved Book design by Dahlia Jayaram

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Jayaram, Dahlia, 2008– The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara p. cm. ISBN-13:000-0-00000-000 ISBN-13:000-0-00000 1. Second Life, hot air balloon, ballooning, travel, adventure, exploring. 2. Second Life–In travel. NC1429.M1557J 2010 741.5’6973-dc3

200910051

The Great Balloon Adventure is Dahlia’s first book in a series of travel adventures by hot air balloon. This journey begins in second Life’s first and earliest sims and follows a route of discovery from the oldest continent of Sansara to the newest continent of Zindra.

Read my published books online at http://issuu.com/dahliasweet Visit my general blog at: http://dahliasweet.blogspot.com

Follow along as Dahlia flies in every Second Life continent. Along the way, she explores and reports on some of her more interesting encounters with people and places that make our Second Life worth seeing and living in.


Contents

01 The Pre-F l ig ht P l anning Advent ur e 07 A Histor ic Lif t -Of f I n S ansar a 14 Week 2: Turning t he N .E . Cor ner 40 Week 3: East C ent r al S ansar a 46 Week 4: Nor t h By N or t heast 64 Week 5: Bey ond The L indens 50 Week 6: F rom L ava To Oil 80 Maps: The P lan & The R esul t 82 Timeline A t A Gl ance: C har t ing P rog ress 84 Dahlia’s Top 1 0 F avour it es 86 An Open L et t er t o t he L inden F am il y 87 About the A ut hor


Before deciding to take on the Great Balloon Adventure, Dahlia went shopping for hot air balloons and tested a few, including this Cirrus brand sold at Abbotts Aerodrome.


HEAD’S UP!

The Pre-Flight Planning Adventure

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for an adventure can be as adventurous as the adventure itself. After I completed my first Second Life adventure by sailing around SL’s continents connected by water, I considered to take on a new challenge: to fly around each and every SL continent in a hot air balloon. But before I decided to do it, I wanted to do some research, and therein lay the beginning of an adventure within an adventure. OMETIMES PLANNING

The first thing I wanted to do was to locate a map that showed the entire SL world. I could use it to plot a general flight plan route so I could see where I wanted to go where I had already been as well. Fortunately, I had a fairly current map that showed all nine continents on it, and with a few modifications, I thought it would work just fine.

tions that I knew already existed, or at least ones I thought might exist. These could serve as intended targets. I knew I at least had to have places where I could rez my balloon for take off and landing, so I decided airports would be a natural and acceptable location to use. What I didn’t know was if there were airports on every continent, however.

Next, I needed to decide what my destinations for each continent would be. Not knowing what interesting places I might discover along the way, I needed destina-

To find out, I opened my Search directory and looked up “airport.” It resulted not only in very few airports—far fewer than I knew existed—but also included many

retail shops that sold products related to air travel too. I decided to go through the list by visiting all the listed airports in hope of finding a more complete listing or map that showed where all of SL’s airports were.

a note card listing many airports. On the down side, it only listed them by name and not by location.

So back I went to the Search directory to look up airport names. For those that returned results, I got their sim addresses, looked for Surprisingly, no comprehensive them on the world map and placed display existed that I could find. the results on my own flight plan However, while visiting one air- map so I could link them all toport, I met a pilot who passed me gether to chart a course. I knew

Above: The earliest Second Life map on record shows 16 sims created by November 2002. Since the Welcome Area, located in Natoma, was the very first place new residents entered Second Life at this time, Dahlia felt it would be the perfect location to represent Second Life’s oldest sim and to launch her world-wide balloon adventure. 1


Above left & center: Hoping to find someone who could verify what the name of the very first or oldest Second Life sim was, Dahlia went to the New Citizens Incorporated site in Clementina where classes were held to teach a variety of subjects. While viewing two of the more current Second Life maps there, NCI volunteer WolfBaginski Bearsfoot, offered to help track down two older maps on display in Governor Linden’s mansion basement. Above right: While

from past experience that SL was very fluid, causing information to quickly become outdated, so I fully anticipated I would find some airports while others I would not. At least this list of airports gave me a good starting point for plotting an intended course. Next, I needed to decide where I could begin and end my big adventure stages. It didn’t take long for me to decide to start where all things do: in the beginning. I de2

cided why not travel in the order in which the continents were made? With nine existing continents, I could start with the first and oldest, then work my way to the latest and most recent continent. To do this meant I would travel to all the continents in the following order: 1: Sansara aka “The Mainland” aka “The Old Continent” 2: Heterocera Atoll aka “The Northern Continent” aka

on her way to the Linden Village in hope of finding a Linden who might know the answer regarding the oldest sim, Dahlia and Tatsuhiko Zuka stoped at the NCI in Federal. Once there, Dahlia saw a wall that provided all kinds of information, including notable sim histories, SL historical firsts, and even SL trivia. One of the items provided website links to historical maps of SL, as well as a NC with the same images offered as saveable in-world textures.

“The Atoll Continent” 3: Jeogeot aka “The Southern Continent” aka “Korean Continent” 4: Satori, aka “Maebleia” aka “Japanese Continent” 5: Nautilus (which appeared to include the Blake Sea and Island Communities, including portions of the United Sailing Sims) 6: Corisca 7: Gaeta V 8: Gaeta I 9: Zindra That was easy enough. Harder,

however, was determining exactly sailing adventure, the Governor where in Sansara to start. It was may have perished at sea after the the oldest continent, but was there plane crash at Siren’s Isle. a first or oldest sim on it? To seek the possible answer to that For that answer, I decided to look question, I asked Amber Linden via a few different avenues. First, if she could shed some light on I sent a message to Governor Lin- the Governor. She wouldn’t conden, thinking surely the Governor firm or deny what the Governor would know. Sadly, the Guv never looked like or even if the Govercalled back. Perhaps I hadn’t con- norship was a single or multi-user tributed enough to the Governor’s position, so I had to accept that election campaign for an answer. the mystery would have to reOr perhaps, as noted during my main unresolved for now. Still, The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


one day I hoped to meet the Governor in person. Who knows, maybe we could even have our picture taken together so the Governor could finally put a picture in his/her profile page. Setting pipe dreams aside, I flew to Orientation Island to look for clues about where the oldest sim was, but discovered it unstaffed and void of people to ask. I did notice, however, a sign showing that New Citizen Incorporated South (aka “NCI”) in Hamnida near the Hanja Infohub hosted classes to teach residents anything from SL for Beginners, to Scripting. Unsure where else to look, I decided to fly there to see if I could uncover the answer.

Above: Using a variety of map and note card information gathered from her research, Dahlia put together a general flight plan and mapped out the course on a modified version of one of the more recent world maps. The course used airports and airstrips on each continent as check points where she could stop at to verify their continued existence or removal. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

I arrived at NCI Hamnida and briefly watched a Photoshop class full with students in session, then noticed the SL for Beginners instructor nearby. He wasn’t teaching yet, so I asked if he knew what sim was the oldest. He wasn’t certain, but he offered me the name of a journalist who had written extensively about SL. I looked up the journalist’s profile, then followed a link to his website which covered many things, but unfortunately, I didn’t see anything covering the topic of the very first sims or oldest sims.

However, while I was looking at the journalist’s website and a set of more current recent world maps on a wall in the NCI, volunteer WolfBaginski Bearsfoot introduced himself and offered to help me locate older maps that he recalled seeing in the Governor’s mansion. The mansion was also conveniently located in Clementina, so we flew there and looked around until we found two old maps of SL sims displayed among other photos and items—including an old time capsule—located in the mansion basement. These maps were great, but I wasn’t sure if they showed the very first sims or not. I decided perhaps I could find a Linden to ask over in the Linden Village offices, so I thanked WolfBaginski and headed in the direction of the Linden Village. On my way there, I stopped at the Kuula NCI where I thought I had seen maps before. Sure enough, there was a Wall of SL History, and on it were dozens of spheres, each containing information on a variety of different subjects including: Historical Locations and Settings Throughout Second Life; Trivia of Significant Historical SL Moments (such as what Second Life was originally called and “a day 3


Nya Silverfall piloted the Cirrus demo balloon while Dahlia took in the view around Abbotts Aerodrome in Abbott, Sansara.


in Second Life is four hours long, with three hours of daytime and one hour of night”); a Find-ALinden HUD (to show which, if any of the Lindens are currently in-world); and lastly, SL World Maps Throughout Time, which provided both a brief history on some of the earliest sims as well as copyable images in the note card and links to them on the website www.slmaps.com.

adventure, I needed a hot air balloon. At the moment the closest thing I had to one was a little head-sized freebie helium balloon I had been using to celebrate birthday parties with. I didn’t even know how much a hot air balloon cost or if there were any technical issues I should know that might dissuade me from such an endeavour.

that showed altitude, wind speed That evening before I planned to and direction so you could steer it go back to purchase it, I told my or let it drift with the wind. partner, Lie Rang, that I had decided on a balloon trip for my next I really liked the Cirrus model, adventure and in a ironic twist of but it sold for $L2000. That was a fate, the next morning when I flew lot of money for me. I wanted to back to SL, I had a message from take time to consider it, so I deher telling me to get the very same cided to test fly it a couple of times balloon I had decided on, and in and then sleep on it before making my bank account she had already my final decision. deposited the money for me to

Since the Welcome Area in Natoma represented the very first place

The SL World Maps Throughout where perhaps thousands of new residents arrived and began their SL Time note card stated that the original starting location for new experience, it could be considered sacred ground and the cradle of residents was set in Natoma (aka Newbie Corral, around Novemour Second Life existence. If perfect for launching the masses, then it ber 21, 2002) before it was reloshould be equally perfect for launching my balloon adventure too. cated to Ritch in January 2003. I also learned that Natoma was one of nine original sims created all at I launched my internet to look for So every day for the next four days buy it with. I was so surprised the same time. balloons on xstreet.com, viewing I went back to Abbotts Aerodrome that I almost cried with joy and from least to most expensive. Then, to look, fly and consider the bal- thanked Lie with all my heart. Since the Welcome Area in Natoma I collected the names of a few loon. And every night I dreamed represented the very first place favourites and searched for them of myself riding the winds, look- So there I was, standing at the where perhaps thousands of new in-world at the creator retail shops. ing down on the wide, expansive pay terminal at Abbotts purchasresidents arrived and began their SL skyline with its eclectic collec- ing my first balloon. I was so exSL experience, it could be consid- Eventually, I decided on a Cirrus tion of properties and nature. At cited and happy to know that I’d ered sacred ground and the cradle brand hot air balloon. It was a the end of every demo flight, I soon be seeing the world from a of our Second Life existence. If very nicely detailed balloon with stood at the pay station with my new vantage point, drifting peaceperfect for launching the masses, propane equipment, a wicker bas- finger hovering over the PAY fully from place to place, people then it should be equally perfect ket that allowed four passengers button for a long time, struggling looking up in the sky to see my for launching my balloon adven- and even let them take the conwith the decision, should I or graceful flight and marveling at ture too. trols. It also had a HUD that al- shouldn’t I? my incredible piloting skills. lowed you to select, modify or But before I went any further de- even create your own custom fab- On the fourth day, I decided I’d Okay, maybe not the piloting veloping an ambitious ballooning ric textures, and another HUD go back the next day to get it. skills thingy. I knew handling a The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

balloon was going to take some practice, so I took my new balloon out on its maiden voyage test flight with Lie in the open skies of the Blake Sea region. The islands were covered with the beautiful sight of winter snow. But for me, with all my HUDs, chat, and inventory windows open, I barely had enough room on my screen to see where I was going. I had to peek through little slivers around them at the world and more than once found myself cutting through treetops or bumping along an off-grid sim border. Overall, I thought I did pretty well. With a little more practice, I was certain I could master piloting the balloon well enough for flying in more populated and congested areas, so for the next week I spent more time learning how to fly I also worked with Lie on making new fabrics to display on the balloon skin and advertising panels for additional variety while I toured the SL skies. With the new year only a few days away, I decided January 1, 2010 would make a great day to begin a new adventure, and easy too for marking the passing time on the calendar. I had my balloon, maps, and a plan. I was ready! 5


A statue in the neighbouring sim of Da Boom captured the spirit of being set free to fly. Inset: Dahlia’s adventure began with a lift-off from beside The Ivory Tower of Primitives in Natoma, the location of the very first Welcome Area.


CONTINENT ONE • SANSARA

A Historic Lift-Off in Sansara H E N E W Y E A R WA S U P O N U S .

What better time to begin a new endeavour and keep track of it on a calendar than by starting on the first day of the new year? Also, I had everything I needed: some information, a map, a compass, a balloon, a plan, and two of my dearest friends to take off with. What more could one ask for? This was going to be an exciting journey. I opened up the vent, lit up the balloon and up we rose, easy as can be, from one of the oldest sims in Second Life, Natoma, on the first continent of Sansara.

T

Just think: Second Life’s very first Welcome Area was located right here in Natoma, where The Ivory Tower of Primitives now resides. The strange thing is, no one would ever know of this sim’s importance in SL history because there is no mention of it anywhere in the sim. This seems a shame, because here is where many of the earliest thousands of new residents got their very first view of this strange new world.

is slowly eroding away with time as people live focused on the present and future. While it is true that in some ways the future is today and our energies are best spent building toward the future, appreciation for our accomplishments can come from being able to look back to see where and how we started and what innovations we built upon to get to where we are today. This is what is being lost to time and the neglect of preserving our history for SL’s rich history began in Natoma, future generations to see and but unfortunately, that knowledge learn from.

Above: A general flight route map was created to guide Dahlia on her journey around the first continent created, Sansara.

Fortunately for me, I knew from my pre-flight research that there were some historical artifacts on display in the basement of the Governor’s Mansion, as well as on a singular wall at the Kuula Info-

hub, then some more at the SL Historical Museum, (which is less of a museum than it is a few touch posts to deliver note cards of website links) and even some additional information found on7


line, where bits and pieces could be distilled by picking through a variety of websites. But locating the best places to collect historical facts resulted in such an uncertain collection of information; I still didn’t even know if I had found the best places for gathering information or if even more was available somewhere I didn’t know of. Making it a challenge to locate our historical information and past achievements makes appreciating them and our good fortunes today that much more difficult as well. So I thought, what if we had a monument to mark Natoma as one of the oldest sims, where the earliest inhabitants of SL began their lives? Better yet, what if we could pull all the historical bits and pieces together into one location, dedicated to preserving it? We could have a historical marker, a historical museum, a historical library…all in one location, easy to find and accessible to all. Just type the keyword or phrase “SL HISTORY” into the search field and presto!, Natoma would return as the premiere location for all historical matters. 8

my idea with. I was curious to know not only if he would be, but also to see if he would even reply at all. I have slowly begun to realize through my own experience, as well as from others, that the Lindens are not particularly well known for their one-on-one correspondence skills. So I’ll deliver my message and start counting to see which lasts longer: my balloon adventure, or Jack’s reply.

the balloon southeast to show Alina and Lie, both of whom had never been there before.

The Mediterranean style mansion sits high up on a rock bluff casually overlooking Clementina with easy, not bringing much attention to itself. If you weren’t looking for it specifically, it would be easy to miss as just another nice home in SL, with the exception of a couple of infodecks and stone But for now, I had a balloon to dedication tablets on the lawn. launch. The day was already get- I slowly drifted the balloon up to ting late and I would have little clear the bluff, then eased it gentime to fly. I wanted to at least get tly down onto the lawn, right in into the air and fly from The between those two tablets, hoping Ivory Tower of Primitives to the no guards or security sensors Governor’s Mansion in Clementina. would eject me from the grounds. So I prepared the balloon in the public sandbox parcel right next Having successfully landed withdoor to The Ivory Tower of out incident, I was happy to have Primitives, then climbed in with not made a fool of myself by havMaking it a challenge to locate our historical with my friends Alina and Lie, ing any accidents in front of my and lit up the burner to raise the friends. I encouraged them to information and past achievements makes balloon into the sky. make a landmark so they could come back to see the historical appreciating them and our good fortunes Lifting off in a balloon is a glori- pictures and the time capsule ous feeling, made all the better stored away in the basement of today that much more difficult as well. when the weather is perfect. And the mansion. Even if we couldn’t have it all in sending residents to view SL’s of course, as you know, in SL the one collective location, we could vast and diverse history. weather is almost always perfect. I also let them know that I would supply touch posts to every single So as we rose into the sky, we be taking off from here the next place to go see where that infor- With this thought in mind, I marveled at the great view around day for the next leg of my journey. mation was provided. Natoma would write Jack Linden to ask if us in every direction. The Gover- It was a very short, but successful could still be “history central” for such an idea appealed to him or nor’s Mansion was easy to spot, first leg of my adventure, and I both providing information and any others who he might share even from Natoma, so I directed was looking forward to longer The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Left: Dahlia lifts off with passengers Lie Rang and Alina Graf from the public sandbox next to The Ivory Tower of Primitives in Natoma, where the very first Welcome Area once was. Opposite page: Alina enjoys the view as the balloon lifts off next to The Ivory Tower of Primitives.

and more challenging days in the hot air balloon. I took off from one of the info platforms outside of the Governor’s Mansion the next day and looked into the distance toward Taber and Welch before circling back westward to fly over Zoe, Ritch and Da Boom. I looked more closely in Ritch at The Druid Circle, a Stonehengeesque arrangement of large rocks in a circle surrounded by a dense planting of trees. The owner called it “Sacred Ground,” but why I wasn’t certain. I sent him a message to inquire but never heard back. Perhaps what is sacred there will have to remain as mysterious and perplexing as Stonehenge itself. Next, I turned my balloon northward, passing over Feelon, Minna and Varney. In Tilitr, I spotted a balloon landing station, marked by an old stone lighthouse and a red hot air balloon that rested atop a low, two-story building The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

9


Top left: Dahlia follows the water north from Natoma to The Particle Laboratory Learning Center in Teal where residents can get free instructions and resources for creating particle items. Top center: Classic Italianate hot air balloons serve as automated transport vehicles for both The Particle Laboratory Learning Center and The Vehicle Laboratory (shown). The Vehicle Laboratory provides residents with free instruction and resources for building ve10

hicles of all kinds. Top right: Dahlia circles around The Ivory Tower of Primitives to view The Druid Circle in Ritch, a Stonehenge-esque circle of ancient stones encircled by a dense grove of trees, indicated as a Sacred Land by its owner, but why was left unexplained. Bottom right: Two sims north of Natoma, Dahlia spots a balloon landing site on a dock stretching out over the water in Tilitr. Bottom left: Governor’s Mansion, in Clementina. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


next to a dock that extended out over the water.

thought, and messaged friends who I knew were involved with learning or making particles. It was nice to know there were Right next to The Particle Labolanding areas specifically for bal- ratory was The Vehicle Laboraloons occasionally in SL, because tory and Learning Center in at airports it isn’t always clear Slate. It too had free full-permiswhere the best place is to land. sion vehicle scripts and sample Do you use a runway approach? scripts to teach residents how to Do you land on a heliport pad? set up chairs, animations, camOr are you relegated to any left- eras, controls and more. Again, I over space away from those areas, called whoever I knew was interif there is any? Balloonists must be ested in making vehicles. the forgotten step-children of the flying world, I thought to myself. I turned west, heading over to McLean’s horse shop in Olive and From Tilitr, I followed a river the Sci-Fi Museum and Cinema north until I silently drifted in Mocha and a public sandbox in abreast with two Italian-looking Mauve, until I spotted in the distowers in Teal that looked like tance what looked like the base of they would be right at home in the Eiffel Tower holding up a St. Mark’s in Venice. Sitting out round table-top-like surface high near the towers was a classically above ground. styled old ornate balloon that served as an automated transport Suspended in the air around it at vehicle around what I learned different levels were illuminated was The Particle Laboratory and circles with numbers in them. InLearning Center. trigued, I flew closer to inspect it, and discovered that it had two It was here that residents could runways. This was the location of come to explore free self-paced Gray Airport in Gray. Not only particle instructions with interac- that, but just beside it, and much tive visual demonstrations, sand- less prominent, was another runboxes, a particle textures library way with vendor tents aside it and an advanced particles conselling aircraft. This retail runsole. They even offered free full way turned out to be Blue Airstrip, permissions particle scripts and in none other than, where else but target helper scripts. Wow! I the sim Blue. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

Above: Dahlia prepares to land at Gray Airport in Gray, which has a sport airplane race course marked by illuminated numbered circles. A large wooden sailing ship derrigable is also anchored high above ground, connected to an arm which extends from a platform sitting atop an Eiffel-esque tower base. Blue Airfield, which is next door to its north, is a retail location for selling aircraft. Left: At Gray Airport, a large map offers internet link connections to important pilot information such as updatable airport locations, maps, designation guides, and more. Following page: Dahlia ends her first full week of flying by landing in the snow covered northeastern land of Fushia, near a Welcome Area and Infohub for residents in Violet. She was surprised to see a landmark delivering sign board for the adult continent of Zindra there. 11


Dahlia arrives in the cold and snow covered land of Fushia, in far northeastern Sansara, to end her first full week of ballooning.


A notecard from the map said Gray Airport was founded in 2003 by a group of beta members, was SL’s oldest aviation community, and its members were devoted to airships and other flying craft in SL. It also called itself the Kazenojin Executive Airport, “Kazenojin” meaning “People of the Wind.” But what really impressed me most was that Gray/ Kazenojin, had a large, billboard sized map that delivered an incredible variety of information to pilots and flying enthusiasts. The sign displayed a complete SL world view with every airport and airstrip located on it. It also offered a regularly updated copy of the map by providing a landmark to the SL Airport Map Info Center in Manitoba on the Nautilus continent. The map also provided information on how to register newly created or removed airports for inclusion in the reports, as well as websites for gathering additional information and newsletters on airport activities in SL. All this, thanks to the hard work of resident Zack84 Burton. As for those illuminated circles with numbers in them surrounding the airport? Those were gates on a course for racing planes to The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

fly through. I decided that one day I’d have to bring a plane to try it out.

might slow him down, but smartly he asked for a second parachute, just in case.

and bid him a good day, then fired up the balloon and continued with my westward trek until I reached Fushia. It was largely an empty field covered with snow and dotted with scattered pine trees.

applaud self-direction, so I was happy to see it just the same. I went back to my balloon and fired it up, setting my course eastNext to Gray, a public parcel in Lie Rang joined us as the balloon ward to back-track through the Plum provided touch signs for reached to 150 meters and Vivid sims I arrived from, passing Celeanswering resident questions, of- prepared for his jump. He was don and the airport in Gray, then fering Hot Spot landmarks and noticeably nervous, but I have to Just to the north of it was Violet, followed the shoreline until it even a landmark to Borrowdale hand it to him, because as he dove on the very northwesternmost tip curved back south and westward where results of the 2009 Resident off the basket and plummeted to of Sansara. It had a picturesque once again. Choice Awards were stored in a the ground like a speeding rocket, Japanese Edo period styled buildsmall monument. I thought it a he maintained his composure ing on it. Intrigued, I landed the I too went westward, passing over good idea to have a place to get long enough to remember to yell balloon in Fushia and walked over another Welcome Area in Ahern results, but interesting to see what this that was quite busy with resident that making a promiHe made the request to parachute out building was, only activity. I picked up sisters Nya nent historical marker to discover it was and Natalia Silverfall, then flew of the balloon basket when I reached for this event was more another resident through Lusk which displayed a important than making 150 meters. I thought it a grand idea. Welcome Area. reconstruction of the St. Louis one for one of the oldarchway as part of its Americana est sims in all of SL. But it took only one look to know this I walked the trail theme. I was tempted to fly around the building through the archway, but it man was going to drop like a boulder. I boarded my balloon to look at the famil- looked to be just a little too tight again and headed west, iar basic newcomer to risk it, so I kept going instead picking up a passenger, Vivid “PULL!” and successfully glided instructions and took a ride and turned northward until I Nikolaidis, along the way. He down to the ground like a pro. around the sim in one of its auto- reached the sim of DarkWood. made the request to parachute mated hot air balloon rides to apout of the balloon basket when I Once he was on ground, however, preciate the beauty of the area. At DarkWood, there were a reached 150 meters. I thought it a was another story, because he end- Then, inside, I saw its usual touch variety of buildings, including a grand idea. But it only took one ed up standing under the hind signs for Hot Spots and things. castle, a cathedral and a retail look know this man was going to end of a very large dinosaur in building where one could purdrop like a boulder. Celedon. Afterwards, I liked to The only thing that caught me by chase elven spells. The cathedral joke with him that he went from surprise was a touch sign for the was set up to host weddings and I say this because on his back he being at the end of one kind of continent of Zindra. Considering looked quite lovely. Also, in a corhad strapped an elaborate, prim- chute to being under the end of the Linden concern over its adult ner room, tucked away near the heavy steampunk television set, another kind. Oh, and if you ever theme and protecting underage front alter, was a small chapel and on his arms he wore addiwondered what a guy wears under residents, I was surprised that it area where you could recieve cantional flashing, mechanical gadg- his kilt? This one wore trousers. would be offered in such a “bedles to light and add your name ets. He suggested perhaps his kilt I congratulated Vivid on his jump ginner’s spot” if you will. But I and a message to them, then set 13


Left: Dahlia heads west to Shermerville as the sun begins to set. Ahead, a bridge spanning the Straits of Shermerville connects Shermerville to its Central Suburban neighbourhood where she would park the balloon overnight. Above: Dahlia followed an automated hot air balloon transport through Bay City to its airport station, where she practiced a pinpoint landing in the balloon loading dock. Opposite page, left: Passenger Vivid Nikolaidis requested a parachute jump from the balloon at 150 meters, and successfully landed in Celedon—although once grounded, he soon found himself standing under the business end of a large dinosaur. Opposite page, right: At Bay City Airport, Dahlia picked up three curious passengers who marveled at the beautiful view and tranquility of flying in a balloon. 14

them out with the many others who lit their own candles with well-wishes or thoughts in dedication to others. It is heartwarming to see some of the messages people have expressed for others.

then watched someone using the SL instructor’s parcel in Oak Grove as a large caliber weaponry firing range. Nearby was a multisim Vehicle Park for off-road driving that looked like a lot of fun. From the security of my balI decided to light five of my own loon, I giggled as I watched a candles and placed them up high white unicorn driving a fan boat, on a shelf with many others. It first across lake water, then later was so easy to do and I thought it over the earthen course. was such a wonderful idea that I called to let some my friends I circled the balloon around, passknow about it too. ing the still busy Ahern Welcome Area, then hovered near a city I got in the balloon and took off train overpass in Grignano, checkagain, passing a Welcome Area ing its locator map for directions and Hedge Maze, both in Rizal, to the Shermerville Airport. Mo-

ments later, I was sailing the skies above the waters of the Shermerville Straight until I reached Shermerville Central Suburban Sandbox, a public park in a suburban neighbourhood setting that had plenty of children’s play equipment to enjoy. It was there that I decided to set the balloon down for the day.

of Sansara. I knew today I could make it to the I furthest western reaches of the continent and be able to turn the corner to finally head southward, so I was excited to get started.

I unpacked my balloon in a clearing at the public park in Shermerville where I had stopped the night before, then lifted off, headWEEK 2: TURNING THE N.E. CORNER ing south out the quaint island The next morning, I was eager to neighbourhood and across the get started. I was starting the sec- straight toward the mainland. ond week of my balloon adventure and I was surprised that I The big bridge that connected isactually spent as much time as I land neighbourhood to Grignano did in this northwestern section flanked my side, and on it, I spotThe Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


ted a resident who called out to me. I invited him to join me for a ride. As it turned out, he had been contemplating buying a balloon himself, so it was a good opportunity for him to see how he liked the feel of gliding gently in the air over the landscape below. For sure, a view from the sky gives one a whole new way to appreciate the Second Life world.

We never found it, however, so I kept going west to Bay City where I remembered there was a balloon shop that sold the same brand of balloon as mine. There, I could drop my passenger off so he could pilot a demo himself and get more information about it. I landed across the street from the Terra balloon shop then wished

him good luck as I lifted off again. Flying south, we crossed over land As I rose, I spotted another balloon

again, drifting into the center of Grignano, then turned west, all the while looking in every direction for the Shermerville Airport that my research said existed. The Great Balloon Adventure

passing overhead. It was traveling westward too, so being curious, I followed to see where it was going. I noticed it followed the path of a city street below that a trolley 15


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drove along. I love taking public transportation because it gives me a way to sightsee without having to also worry about controlling my vehicle, so I made a mental note to come back to take a ride and sightsee at ground level someday in the future. As it turned out, the balloon guided me directly to Bay City Airport where I was going anyway. I watched as it made its landing and take-off at a little concrete circle only steps away from the front of the airport terminal. I wanted a crack at landing my balloon at the station too, so I waited until we were clear of each other, then I took my turn. It took some time, effort, and a lot of patience, checking on all sides of my balloon to make certain I was directly overtop of it. But I concentrated extra hard and finally eased it down to make a perfect pin-point landing in the small circle. Yay! Two points for me! I smiled, very proud of myself. I might not be able to drive a car well enough to get a license, but I sure can navigate this big-ol’ balloon! Just outside the front of the Bay City Airport is an Infohub where a few people had gathered. They had been watching my descent The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

and, after talking among themselves about me and my balloon, came over to ask me about it. I invited them for a ride so they could see how they liked it. They hadn’t been on a balloon yet, so it would be a new experience for them.

to see if they’d pay me for referrals, I As my balloon entered Orientathought once we landed. tion Island airspace, I was surprised to get knocked out of my We all thanked each other for the basket. It was the first time it had fun chat and ride, then I headed happened. My balloon kept going, back into the sky again, heading but I wasn’t allowed to enter the southwest toward another airsim apparently. Perhaps I was port, the City Municipal Airport, now too old to enter such a place. I always love giving rides to first- which rested in Docklands on the I wasn’t certain. So I reached into time balloon riders because they banks of the westernmost shores the sim with my magic wand to really do get thrilled. And my new of Sansara. retrieve my balloon and drug it three passengers—Ms SecretSpy, back out into friendlier skies Cyanidekissesxx Draconia, and This airport was so small and above where I was at the Gulf of DawidDawid Dawid—were no with a runway so short that it Lauren in Chikepe. different. They talked excitedly could barely pass for the driveamong themI climbed back selves in voice I smiled, very proud of myself. I might not be in, rung the while I tried to water out of my able to drive a car well enough to get a license, keep up with clothes, and— them, texting as would you bebut I sure can navigate this big-ol’ balloon! I steered. To lieve it?—down anyone who may have heard us, way of a home. But there it was. I in the shallow waters, only steps we must have sounded like a coop found it, and set my balloon down away from me, I could see a subfull of chickens clucking away ex- next to the runway to say I had merged rectangle of land easily citedly as we flew past. been there, then quickly lifted visible below water. A little deeper back up, flying north past Bay than that, I saw submerged ancient We had a hard time crossing a City Airport again until I spotted ruins scattered around an undersim border that interrupted our Orientation Island. water cave. conversation for a few minutes, but we eventually got back on I looked hard at the island, trying Now, how funny is that? I thought, track. I decided to take them to remember if this is where I had shaking my head in disbelief. Here, back to the Terra balloon retail started my own orientation. Noth- I spent weeks sailing around the shop where I had dropped off my ing looked familiar to me, but world only a few of months earearlier passenger. That way if then again, at the time I was there lier, and barely found any similar they wanted to know more, they I wasn’t thinking to memorize it, underwater surprises. Now, in could grab note cards and try out on the chance that one day I’d be only my second week of flying a a demo for themselves too. Gee, I back, trying to remember what balloon—which usually travels should have contacted the company my very first sim looked like. much higher up and away from

the surface of the water—did I find a submerged ancient ruin good enough for scuba diving around. What kind of dumb luck was that? I was still grumbling to myself about what the odds were I’d get knocked out of my balloon, only to find a diving site, as I fired up the balloon. I set a new course back south, over the large body of water between Orientation Island and Bay City. As I approached shore, I saw a lot of people gathered in one area, so I went to take a look at what was happening. It was the Moose Beach Welcome Area, and it had about 20 people there, hanging out, chatting, doing whatever people do there. There was even a big zebra avatar perched high up on one of the Hot Spot signs with friends. I set the balloon down for a while to listen, but despite all the public activity, it was pretty quiet. I couldn’t help but to try to recount all the Welcome Areas and Infohubs I had passed in such a short distance: Violet, Ahern, Plum, Nova Albion, Hao Koda, Orientation Island, Moose Beach, and maybe others I didn’t even see. It just seemed so…excessive. But, who was I to say? I’m sure 17


there is someone who assesses these things and will determine when an under-performing public area could be converted to a sellable or rentable parcel. Besides, I only passed by for a few brief moments at a certain time of the day. Perhaps at other times of the day the traffic patterns are different.

As for me, I had my own work to do. I realized I had, in fact, finally turned the corner of my travels to the westernmost aspect of Sansara when I turned around at Orientation Island. Now I could enjoy a long southeasterly course along the western front of the mainland. I was looking forward to what new regions might have to offer.

So up I went. It didn’t take long for me to to pass out of Bay City, through Grignano, past the Grand Old Oprey in Lusk, the Ahern Welcome Area, Oak Grove and the Vehicle Sandbox sims, then Abbotts Aerodrome again. Not far down the coast from Abbots, a pair of incredibly sparkly

buildings at Zero Point in Kelham caught my eye. I thought it might be decorated for the Christmas holidays, but on closer inspection learned its lights were very tiny illuminated music notes. Intrigued, I went to inspect it closer and found it tricky to get into without being teleported up

Left: Abbotts sim is home to Abbotts Aerodrome where many flying vehicles are sold, including the Terra balloon Dahlia purchased before starting her big adventure. Above: The anti-gravity buildings in Kelham provide a spectacle of light, as well as a ground-level art gallery and the opportunity to strike some interesting musical tones in a skybox overhead. Looking closer, you will see that each light is a tiny music note. Opposite page: A giant sim-sized SL handshaped icon was so big that Dahlia didn’t even realize she was over it until she looked at her map, then had to elevate the balloon higher to get a better view of it. 18

into a skybox high overhead that gave visitors the opportunity to strike musical tones as they walked across the floor. There were a number of different teleport locations to visit, including a small ground-level art gallery, but I wanted to get back to my balloon, so I found my way back and got back into my own skybox…my balloon’s basket! A few sims further east, I began to fly over open water in Omidyar, so I pulled out my big map to see where I was going and noticed something so big that I hadn’t even seen it first with my own eyes. Below me was a gigantic sim-sized SL hand-shaped icon, gouged deep into the ground and submerged under the surface of the lake water. I was passing right over it without even knowing. I had to fly up higher to appreciate it better and saw it was indeed immense. It struck me that even this could have worked as a visual historical marker for the very first sim in all of SL. But what its significance was here, I had no clue. Rising up in the balloon also helped me to see and clear the approaching hills of the Forest of Kahruvel. Perched high on one of the hills in Davenport was the Bryn Oh sculpture of Helen Keller I had The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


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once seen a landmark sign for in Pathfinder Linden’s office some months earlier. I especially liked the text she used on the ground marker, a quote people can gain inspiration by from Keller herself, about not apologizing for doing the things she is capable of. I passed the hillsides and moved over flatter ground, where I discovered YadNi’s Junkyard, which billed itself as the first organized freebie store in SL, having operated since April 2004. I had been to YadNi’s in my early days to collect free items in bulk, so I knew it was a great place to come in one’s early days.

cat. How could I not want to go see what was hiding in the clouds? So I tucked my new maps into a bag of treasures I was beginning to collect from all my travels and headed for the hills.

reached them. I stuck my neck out, trying to still see upwards, around the balloon and still saw the undersides of homes and castles perched on the mountainsides and peaks high up above me.

I elevated my balloon as I closed in on the mountains, but found myself still only about half has high up as I needed to be when I

As I continued to rise, I passed near a midevil castle and got ejected from the airspace around it, apparently having gotten too

close to it. I found myself back down the mountain in need of a place to launch a new balloon, so I hiked around until I came upon CLS-Old World Mountainside on Road in Tethys, which overlooked the Tethys River rapids, a Greek spa and retail mall. For a fee, the river offered inner tube rides down the rapids. But what I really wanted was to get back in

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Let’s try this again, I said to myself, pulling my goggles down over my eyes. This time, I was sure to steer clear of that castle as I rose up the mountainside. A few minutes passed and I finally summited the tallest mountain and admired two extremely large castles on its peaks, high above the clouds. Unfortunately, I crossed into private airspace at Pike’s Peak and was ejected from my balloon again. Arg! Strike two, I groaned. Luckily, I didn’t fall far. I was still high up the mountain that I could hike back to a section I noticed would allow me to launch a new balloon from. I unpacked and filled the balloon with new bursts of hot air then rose back up in to the sky around the mountaintops.

What I didn’t remember seeing or taking advantage of when I first came, however, were the many maps it had on its walls— including some I had not even seen offered at any of SL’s historical archives! I made certain to get a copy of each for future reference because, after all, one never knows when one might need a map. Looking south from YadNi’s, the northern slopes of the snow country mountains began rising in the sims of Janus and Enceladus, their peaks shrouded in a blanket of clouds. The mystery of hidden things roused my curiosity like a

my balloon. Eventually, I found a small balcony at the mall where I could set my balloon out and launch it back into the air.

Above: At YadNi’s Junkyard, Dahlia discovered a set of early Second Life sim maps previously unseen during her research. Each map was available to freely copy, so she made certain to get one of each for future reference. In the distance, the northern mountains await her arrival. Opposite page: The terrain began to rise up into the mountains in Enceladus, where skies became increasingly covered with clouds.

After completing a circle around the highest mountain peaks, I began to descend down the slopes through the dense cloud cover. The clouds were so thick that it was difficult to see where to go sometimes, so I felt my way through, going slowly. Unfortunately, for a third time, I was ejected—this time due to crossing The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Above left: As Dahlia skis down a mountain in Kanin, she catches sight of a small airstrip in the valley below that she overlooked while flying through the higher elevation clouds to reach the mountaintop. Later, she flies to the airport to learn it is Anton Airstrip and in the process of establishing a passenger blimp service. Above right:

into a full parcel at Snow Hotep in Grindlewald. I stood up from the thick snow bank I fell into and brushed myself off. Well, at least I can hike around a while now, while I look for a place to launch my balloon. After a few minutes, I located a suitable launching site and fired up the balloon, then headed for another nearby mountain in Kanin that had a ski lift on it. I thought it would be fun to ski on a mountain as tall as this one. 22

So I flew the balloon through the thick clouds until I reached the top and landed next to a small building that offered free sleds and ski equipment. What a deal! I’ll have to try both! I cheered.

Across the banks of an ice-clogged river at the foot of the same mountain, Dahlia discovers Chalet Linden, in Wengen, where the Lindens come for occasional retreats. Opposite page: Castles and homes shrouded in fog greet the balloon as it begins its ascent up the northern leading edge of the snow country mountain range in Grindlewald.

valley below. Wow, I flew right over that and completely missed it, I thought, thinking back to how I must have been in the dense cloud cover as I flew by it.

By the time I made it to the botI strapped on a pair of skies, then tom of the ski run, the little airturned the tips toward the slopes. port was quite a hike away, so I Within seconds I was skiing like unpacked my balloon and headed a pro, shushing back and forth toward the airport by air. along the trail. The airport had a small runway As I skied, I noticed what looked and a helipad to land on, so I set like a small airport runway in the my balloon down on the the big

“H” in the middle of the helipad and looked around. I learned it was called Anton Airstrip, named after the sim which it served and that it was near where the annual Linden snowball fight is held.

I liked this idea, and thought to tell him of my experience with ITT public transport zeppelins in the Blake Sea region, but decided to wait for another time. I was looking forward to taking this zeppelin sometime after the service was ready for riders. For now, however, the sun had already set, so I decided to call it a night and continue the next morning.

While I was there, a big zeppelin landed on the runway. I greeted the driver, Andoni Merlin, who told me he was in the process of setting up the zeppelin to offer automated public transport to the When daylight arrived the next airport from a location which was day, I prepared my balloon for quite a distance away. take off. I peeked through the

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Above left: Leaving Anton Airstrip, Dahlia enjoys watching ice skaters on a large, frozen lake in Zermatt, where the annual Second Life snowball event takes place. Above right: Dahlia and passenger BackHome Soon drift silently

windows of the airport office and noticed someone was inside. The door was locked, however, so not wanting to intrude, I fired up the balloon and took off. As the balloon rose, I noticed the man from inside had come out to watch. I waved as I drifted away. Moments later, a red Coast Guard helicopter flew toward me. It was the guy from the airport office. He shouted over the thunderous beating of his helicopter blades that he was appreciating my balThe Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

loon and reading about my adventure on my blog while I was preparing to take off. He noticed I had been looking for and using maps to help provide directions for the trip, so he passed a few to me. That was really nice, I thought, appreciating the kindness of a stranger who took the time to care and offer help. I tucked the new maps into my little treasure bag and turned the balloon southeast, flying over a frozen lake in Zermatt where a

through the fog covered mountain landscape in Cloudmont, enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty as well as mysterious shapes as they slowly reveal themselves then disappear back into the heavy cloud cover once again.

couple were ice skating. They’d skate a moment, then stop. Then the girl would throw snowballs at the boy and the boy would skate into her, bumping her until she fell down. He’d skate away and she’d chase after him, then the whole process would start all over again. Clearly, they were a couple madly in love with one another.

check it out, landing nearby. It was Chalet Linden, an infohub open to the public where the Lindens take their winter retreats. Not only was it near the ice skating lake, but it was also across an ice-clogged river from the ski lift in Kanin I had used the day before. It was a beautiful location with plenty of fun activities to do, so I knew I’d be coming back On the opposite side of the lake in again someday. Wengen was a building with a few people standing around on a I took out my cell phone and small frozen pond. I flew over to called to see if any of my friends

would like to join me in the balloon. BackHome Soon, king of the Tiny Empires Kingdom of Home took me up on the offer, so I fired up the balloon and took us up to the top of the mountain, then east, gliding silently through the dense clouds in Cloudmont, watching mysterious shapes slowly reveal themselves to us and then disappear again as we drifted past. BackHome excused himself in Cloudmont and I continued on alone through Purden, Hardan23


gerfjord, Tahoe, Zerelia, and Asunder, all where rustic cabins dotted the snow covered forest. Eventually, I spotted a church in Larsson I had been to a long time ago, the St George Orthodox Christian Church. It was still surrounded by its naturally landscaped grounds and small walkways that led to sitting areas for study or simply enjoying the beautiful views. I passed St George, continuing my eastward trek until I spotted a rainbow appeared over a deep valley called Berthould Pass. The rainbow arched high up into the air and stretched from one side of the valley in Smithers Firth, to the other side in Nakiska where there was another ski resort.

drifting snow had formed. I stopped to lay down and make a snow angel in the snow in front of it, and as I did, I swept snow off a teleport pad that belonged to the Kuhrang Free Public Library skybox somewhere overhead. A notecard from owner Rancid Mathilde disclosed that there was not only free books in the library, but there was also a Star’s End Cyber Cafe, a dance floor, freebies and an offer to join their group to receive newsletters, event notices and free publications as they became available.

It sounded good to me, but when I counted my groups I noticed I didn’t have room enough for joining another group. This is the drawback of only being allowed 25 group slots. It’s like saying you’re Above: An enormous rainbow greeted Dahlia as she flew east over Berthoud Pass. Opposite page: Dahlia’s balloon flies high over the High on a steep hill in Berthould frozen winter landscape of Purden and other sims in the expansive snow region of Sansara’s high country. only allowed to be interested in 25 Pass was a beautiful futuristic things in life. At least I had my mountain home that had a water- But I was burning daylight, so I ger!, Bug Island (1&2), Texture hoping I could make it to the San landmark and was sure I’d use it fall pouring out its base like you’d hurried to climb back into my bal- Test (1&2), Viewer Test Island 1, Leibowitz Cathedral before night- to come back later. For now, howsee at a hydroelectic dam. In back loon and headed south, where the Help Island Staging, First Look fall. I did and made such good ever, I had some thanks to give at of the home was an elevated heli- snowy hillside dropped down to Isle and Island for Unit Tests. I time that I decided to stop and the cathedral, then be on my way. pad, so I helped myself to it, land- meet the sea in Caberfae. got a good chuckle out of them all briefly pay my respects. ing my balloon so I could check and thought perhaps some day I I entered and paid my respects near out the home more closely. It was Although I couldn’t see them with might try to visit them to see if I I found a little square of raised the speaker’s podium at the head an expertly sculpted home with my own eyes, my map showed me had clearance to enter or not. snow to set my balloon down on at of the church, giving thanks for my two floors of modern furniture the curious and entertaining names ShamWow! in the neighbouring favourable progress so far. While and fantastic views of the valley of an assortment of sims in the off- Having gone as far south as I sim of Kuhrang. Not far from my the thought was fresh in my mind, through its floor-to-ceiling wingrid sea. Names like: Lag Me 1, could, I turned around and back- landing spot, a couple of bunnies I also made a plea for more than dows. Now this was posh! Do Not Crash Me, Danger! Dan- tracked, heading north for Sled, foraged near a snowcave that the only 25 group slots in the future. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

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But I was particularily mindful to give thanks for the fact that while I was at Chalet Linden two days earlier, I noticed Jack Linden accepted my notecard covering the results of my sailing trip, the launch of my balloon adventure, and my inquiry into any Linden interest for creating an event to design a historical landmark that could be placed in Natoma to acknowledge the oldest sims in SL. I gave my thanks here, just in case such talk passes through a Linden router on it’s way to God’s ear. You just never know who’s listening. Answering, now that’s another matter entirely. But somehow, where the Lindens are concerned at least, it seemed oddly similar. I stepped out of the cathedral and studied the sky. There still seemed to be enough light before nightfall, so I loaded up the balloon and pressed on to see if I could make it to another church, the Cathedral of the Southern Cross in Snowball. This time, however, it looked like I had pressed my luck too far. Because before I could arrive, the weather turned on me, becoming increasingly blustery. The support ropes creaked and groaned as the winds began to quickly 26

shift and swirl in unexpected eddies, making for a bumpy ride. The closer I got to Snowball, the worse it became, and by the time I was nearing the Cathedral of the Southern Cross, not only was I in the dark, but I was also fighting strong northerly gusts that picked up loose snow from the ground and swirled it around in the air.

the fireplace if needed. I’m sure there was plenty of reading material in the world that probably already deserved to go there anyway, but hopefully not from the Snowbooks bookstore.

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF BALLOONING

I was back in the balloon in a matter of moments, lifting off into the cold skies over Sled. It was only a matter of seconds more before I found myself knocked out of my balloon by the parcel next door. I grumbled as I had to trudge through the deep snow, back down to Snowbooks bookstore where I could set out another balloon to relaunch. Back up in the air, I avoided that naughty little parcel and flew east.

The next day I emerged from the aptly-named store to see the glow of the sun as it began to rise from behind the hillside in the east. I didn’t dare try to walk up the The balloon pitched harshly in the steep hillside through the heavy turbulent, shifting winds as I felt blanket of snow to the church. Inmy way through the blinding, stead, I unpacked my balloon and A few minutes went by and I was near white-out conditions. As got it ready for flying. again ejected from my snow pelted my face balloon, this time by and built up on my gogThis is crazy, I thought to myself. Rafael’s Lot in Eagle gles, I could barely see, Rise because I wasn’t on and I struggled to keep It’s is like going to catholic mass in the access list. Back on my map from blowing out of my hands. a balloon: up, down, up, down. the ground, I looked to find a new launch site Who needs jazzercise when you and was quickly up in Finally, I’d had enough. the air again. But within I got close enough to see can go to mass or do this instead? another few minutes I the outline of the was right back down church in the distance, but just short of my destination, I I made a little hop from the front again in Waring, due to the exact same situation as before. had to set the balloon down in a yard at Snowbooks over to the parcel belonging to a bookstore side yard at the cathedral, parking I looked around again for anwhere I sought refuge for the rest the balloon while I ran inside to other launch site and got lucky in of the night. At least it was warm see if anything interesting was nearby Pot Of Gold Land. I thought: and dry and had plenty of reading inside. Surprisingly, it looked rematerial to keep me busy until the markably like the San Leibowitz this should bring me better luck, as I climbed back into my balloon. But bad weather passed. Cathedral both inside and out, it wasn’t meant to be. Only a few but in my haste to get back into moments later and I was dumped If worse came to worst, I’d have the balloon, I didn’t notice if it by another home security orb at plenty of material to throw into had the same architect or not.

AvaUru Galleries Plaza in Jewell. This is crazy, I thought to myself. It’s is like going to catholic mass in a balloon: up, down, up, down. Who needs jazzercise when you can go to mass or do this instead? Aloft again, I was careful not to rise too high up, because there were properties and UFO’s all over the sky. I felt like I had to navigate through a maze on all sides of me, cluttered not only with visible floating parcels of land and buildings, but also invisible no access list security sensor refusals, full parcels or even full sims. You might be asking yourself: why doesn’t she just fly up higher? The answer to that is two things. First, when it is cloudy and you want to see the ground, you must fly under the clouds. Cloud altitude can vary too, so sometimes it can be quite high and other times much lower. In the case of the snow land sims, the ground elevation was high, reaching up into clouds, which hung much closer to the ground than in most places I had flown. This drove me perilously close to or into private air space, such as ban lines or within reach of security sensors. The problem is, you don’t know you’ve encroached on The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Heavy winds whipped up a blinding snowstorm as Dahlia fought her way to arrive at the Cathedral of the Southern Cross, in Snowball.

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As the sun rose the following morning, the Cathedral of the Southern Cross looked much better from the nearby bookstore where Dahlia took refuge the night before.

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private or impassable space until you’re already in it, and often there is not enough time given by the owner to react to a warning—if you even get one at all. The second thing is that the sky can be littered with skyboxes belonging to private residences or other properties. Even random debris floats around the skies like space junk, just waiting to cause an accident. So if you’re careful enough to not run directly into a skybox or sky debris, you still might pass close enough by a property’s a security sensor to have your presence detected and get ejected from the airspace around it, just like you would on land.

risks of flying in SL. To safeguard against this, I wear a parachute and have even been known to wear two parachutes sometimes, but one is usually sufficient. And contrary to some rumours you may hear, no, I’ve never worn diapers when I fly. There are times when parachutes cant help, however. Sometimes you get ejected and find yourself either on the ground or still in the air but out of your balloon, unable to move or unlock yourself from your earlier position in the balloon. Paralyzed from the sudden shock.

When that happens, the last thing I usually try before completely giving up to reboot, is to try teleporting to a different sim. Changing This is why when you call your your region sometimes seems to sailor or pilot friend and they don’t successfully unlock your body respond back for quite some time, from its rigamortis and continued it might be because they are being attachment to your balloon, even if very careful about texting while you’re no longer in it. navigating, even when they are in apparently open space. At the speeds A SHORT BREAK FROM SKY CLUTTER Thankfully, sky clutter isn’t everyyou can be moving, sometimes you’ve already crashed into an of- where, and having flown through fending object or barrier before it some really makes you appreciate clear skies all the more. even renders itself for you. Knowing that being ejected from someplace or have your balloon suddenly disappear back into your inventory after crossing into a full sim or parcel is just part of the The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

After all my earlier tumbles out of the basket and having to scout for new locations to launch a balloon from, I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I finally crept out of the

Above: Sky clutter from random debris and skybox properties such as in Agamok (pictured) and other sims litters the SL skies, making air travel in some places difficult and dangerous at any altitude. Left: Dahlia plunges toward the ground after getting knocked out of her balloon when she attempted to cross into a full sim. Fortunately, she was prepared with her parachute and landed safely. 29


cloudy and congested residential areas of the eastern snowlands.

familiar to me, like I had already been here before. Then it dawned on me: I had walked in front of As the clouds began to clear, I this castle only three weeks earlier spotted a lake and dropped down after visiting Amber Linden durthrough the clouds into a sky in- ing one her weekday office-hours. creasingly clear of clutter. I circled I checked my watch, wondering if the lake with a new passenger, today was the same day and hour Erin Riler, admiring the view. Along the banks of the lake were what looked like embassies and a castle, all flying flags from their rooftops and towers. I almost felt like we were getting a regal welcome back to civilization after having been out in the wilderness for a long time.

of her allotted time with the public. It looked like I had just missed her office hour by only minutes, but since her office was within walking distance from here, I decided to fly over to see if anyone was left lingering, deep into a discussion. If nothing else, I knew we

could lift a snack from her center table—which was always full of goodies—as we flew by. Sadly, the office was empty of people and we missed Amber, but there were a few uneaten snacks still good for the taking, so the fly-by wasn’t without its culinary rewards.

SOUTHERNMOST SANSARA

From Amber’s office, I flew back over the lake by Ravs Rof Castle in Honawan and due south, on my way to what I saw on the map was called Boardroom. The name conjured up images of a big boardroom table that people would sit at

To me, the flags looked Nordic, and after flying close enough to find a touch-sign that delivered a notecard, I learned that I was correct. It revealed that Ravs Rof Castle in Honawan was a white, normandic-style towered castle and that nearby were stylish homes, galleries, a Greek temple and the Second Louvre Gallery. This looked like a great place to explore further, and I planned to. But strangely, it looked vaguely Right: Emerging east out of the snow country, Dahlia arrives at a lake in Honawan to see the Normandic-styled Ravs Rof Castle and other sights. Opposite page: Dahlia soars high above the clouds in Rhodium on her way to the Boardroom Infohub. 30

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together, and since the map showed it was right next to the Linden Lab Rental Sims, I suspected that perhaps this might be where the Linden family met with each other or other important people regarding company business. Either way, the name piqued my interest and I had to go see it for myself. A few sims after the lake, the terrain cleared of all development, leaving wide open grassy fields on rolling hillsides that steadily rolled down toward the sea. It was so serene and uncongested that I took some time just to enjoy it both high above the clouds and below them too. After putting tentatively through the congested sims between the snowlands and the lake, coming to a place as open as this was refreshing and a pilot’s dream. From the hills in and around Rhodium, I could see my destination: Boardroom—a little island off the coast of the mainland. It had a couple buildings, a sprinkling of pine trees, and a small courtyard with a few people in it.

busy adjusting his male attachment. I couldn’t help but to giggle, because he seemed to be having trouble with it, taking it apart as much as he was moving it into position. It looked comedically painful. At times, the outer sheathing would float out in front of him, away from his body, to reveal what looked like a plastic plumbing pipe tucked high up between his thighs. He’d slide the pipe up and down, forward, or backward until the pipe came out of his belly or ass. I laughed so hard that I needed some plumbing of my own. Homeless…clothesless…clueless… shameless, I thought. But poor guy; he was only four days old, so I didn’t bother him and kept my distance. As rude and voyeuristic as it may sound, however, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take pictures with my telephoto lens. It was just funny to pass up.

While I was there snapping my pictures, another resident, Saturn Comet, flew up to my balloon. I quickly stowed my camera away and greeted him. He had seen I wanted a better look, so I swept my balloon and was curious, so I in low, skimming across the chan- offered him a ride. I asked what nel of water between the mainland brought him to Boardroom. and Boardroom to see what was there . As I did, I spotted a naked “It’s my home,” he said as I looked man near the water’s edge who was at his profile and noticed he had The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

been a resident since 2007, a full two years. “Oh, ok. An Infohub is still your set home after so long?” “Sad huh?” he confessed. “Yeah =(.” I emoted in return. I was about to ask him why that was when he announced that a

Opposite page: Dahlia descends through the high clouds in Rhodium to arrive at the Boardroom Infohub. Above: Resident Graeme Noyes watches from a small rise as Dahlia flies arrives at the Boardroom Infohub. Left: A four-day old resident thinks he’s safely shielded by the Boardroom Infohub trees so he can adjust his attachments, but Dahlia notices the funny scene from a distance and has a good laugh. 33


34

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Left: On the 14th day of her flight, bees chase Dahlia out of Meighl. Opposite page: Resident Graeme Noyes watches as Dahlia departs on her way back across a channel of water to the mainland after spending the night at Sansara’s southernmost point of Boardroom.

friend just contacted him and he had to go. So we said our goodbyes and he said he’d check out my voyage later. I wondered if he’d be doing that from the security of the Boardroom or from other areas more adventurous. The sun was starting to set, so I decided to set my balloon down somewhere on Boardroom island. As I searched for a good spot, I noticed Graeme Noyes watching my balloon from a small hill by the water’s edge. I waved but got no reply, so I kept moving until I found a clearing and set the balloon gently down for the night. I decided to go exploring with the few minutes I had left. It turned out Boardroom was an infohub. The courtyard had a Hot Spots sign but little else in the way of information. Inside the buildings, I was hoping there would be some Linden Lab or Second Life news inside. Both were vacant, however, except for a couple of video screens and some furniture, including—you guessed it—a giant boardroom table in each. But there were no chairs! Perhaps meetings were so well attended that they were standing room only. Or…perhaps people were not encouraged to get too comfortable at the Boardroom. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

The next morning, I had to trek all the way back from Boardroom to Meighl on the mainland so that I could launch my balloon. As I was preparing the balloon, I was suddenly attacked by a swarm of bees! They were all around me, buzzing and stinging. I hastened my get-away as fast as I could. Amazingly, the bees were still following me after quite a distance, but I finally lost them when I crossed back into Rhodium again. Next time I’ll pack bug spray!

I passed through Rhodium, back to make a loop around Boardroom where I would have taken off, if I had been able to unpack my balloon. As I completed my loop and began to head back to the mainland, I spotted Graeme Noyes again, right where I left him the night before, still sitting out on that hill overlooking the sea. I wondered if he sat there all night or if he left and returned before I did. I shouted, but still no answer, so I kept moving, same as before.

Up the coast just northeast of Boardroom was Lighthouse Point in Snafu, a pretty green hillside with four lighthouses and a smattering of residences on a hill as it rose up steeply from the water.

Teslin Meadow hosted an amazing variety of activities for visitors. Some of the fun things to do at the preserve included a tram ride up and down the southern hillside, hang gliding, a zip line, a Whirly-Putter ride, an undersea submersible, a 2minute long scuba tour, complete with underwater boardwalks that take you to a cafe and photo gallery, and finally, a ferry boat that circled completely around the Teslin Peninsula. It even allowed visitors to launch their own boats to enjoy the four adjoining sims of water. Additionally, along the western side of the Teslin ridge, there were the Romantic River Shops and riverside cafe in Pinehouse.

After scoping out the scene in Teslin, I flew across a channel of water separating the mainland from the South Islandia region, a diverse group of sims mixed with Just beyond the lighthouses, it got residential and commercial propeven prettier in Teslin, at Teslin erties. I first noticed that some of Meadow, which provided a 42,000 the sims were named after fine meter meadow and undersea pre- artists, such as Cezanne, Renoir, serve that you could take a walk- Warhol, and Mondrian. But it had ing tour of, according to Caretaker plenty of other names that I didn’t of Public Spaces, Cecilia Delacroix. recognize as artist’s names too. 35


Right: A lone sailboat awaits visitors at the coast of the South Islandia region as Dahlia sails past the lighthouses in Snafu and the Nature Preserve in Teslin.

Then I noticed the China Forbidden City, a vast 100,000 square meter compound of traditional Chinese buildings in Versu Richelieu, dominated by its multi-story central building and a city mall with retail stalls and store space available for rent. I noted that all the shops were empty, the traffic count was only at 39 and that the entire complex was available for sale. Right next to the China Forbidden City was another towering building, an Egyptian Temple at Minoru Misashi, home to the Khan el-Khalili Egyptian Bazaar Main Store. which sold all manner of middle eastern styled clothing, avatars and furniture. On the opposite side of the China Forbidden City was another tall structure, the castle-like Matisse Mansion. I wanted to check it out, so I looked for a place to land the balloon. Luckily, I spotted a runway and Terra balloon retail shop in Mondrian just a few steps building, so went to make sure I away, so I guided my balloon down could park at the airstrip, because onto an open heliport. it wasn’t listed in my flying information notecard as an available I saw a customer service agent airport. Turns out, the person was standing outside of the airport an automated bot that delivered a 36

landmark, notecard and souvenir ship with VIP cabins, apartment model of the CP Pegasus Zeppelin, and honeymoon suites, a cabin that flew high above the airstrip. lounge, cafe, romantic dining, bar, pool, gym, dance room, cinema, The Pegasus Zeppelin was rentable wedding event services and even a luxury residential and vacation air miniature blimp you could peddle

like a bicycle was offered to people who would rather fly themselves up to the Pegasus, rather than teleport up. I—being the experienced pilot that now considered myself to be—decided to fly myself up. I The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


while turning, but I couldn’t go forward and up at the same time, so I had to alternate, spiraling myself upwards a little at a time. “This is going to take some work!” I shouted down to the bot below— as if she cared. By the time I reached 245 meters up in the air where the Pegasus hovered, my little legs were exhausted! But there was no time to rest; if you stopped peddling, you began to descend. Above left: Four lighthouses make for a picturesque view in the sims of Snafu and Teslin, on Sansara’s southeastern coast. Above right: Windmills spin along the western ridge of Teslin. A tall park tower offers views of the nature preserve and beyond. Left: The Khan El-Khalili Egyptian Bazaar Main Store in Minoru Musashi and the China Forbidden City in Versu Richelieu are two properties rich in cultural architectural detail in the South Islandia region,

So I peddled to a hovering position just under the blimp, looking up at what appeared to be openings in its front and back hull. I presumed these were hatches I was supposed to fly my mini blimp in to dock and board the ship, but they were so small I could barely fit.

What’s more, when I got perfectly placed underneath the back hatch, breathed arrogantly onto my knuck- I couldn’t raise up into it. Blocking les and polished the flight wings that my way was a rezzing disk that were pinned on my bomber jacket floated in the middle of the hatch with them, then unloaded my little air space where people apparently blimp next to the runway full of were to rez a mini balloon for deconfidence in my flying ability. scending back to the airport on. Next, I strapped in, and with a deep grunt started peddling like a maniac just to get myself off the ground and into the air. I found I could go up, or forward/backward

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

I continued peddling as I read the notecard given to me by the service agent bot, but there was no explanation on how to dock; it only said that it was “a challenge.” 37


Above: At the Pegasus Airship runway, Dahlia straps into the free mini blimp given to her by the service agent so she could fly herself up to the passenger blimp high overhead. Center: Dahlia painstakingly peddles her way up to the Pegasus blimp, which remains stationary, hovering at 254 meters altitude. Opposite page, top: Dahlia approaches the rear hatch of the blimp to attempt docking. Opposite page, bottom left: Unable to successfully dock with the Pegasus, Dahlia freefalls toward the airstrip below. Opposite page, bottom right: Dahlia saves face by at least successfully parachuting back to the airstrip without any further mistakes.

A short distance from the back of the blimp was a small pink pillow. I thought: perhaps I’m supposed to click this to teleport onto the ship. So I clicked, and instead of offering a teleport, it offered me a seat. I took it, thinking perhaps I could use my arrow keys to drive it forward into the back hatch of the blimp. But that wasn’t possible too, so I had to stand up, and when I did, I lost my footing and started to fall from the pillow. I reached out, trying to grab my mini blimp, 38

but missed it and began my freefall back toward the ground. Luckily, I already had my parachute prepared, and when the time was right, I pulled the rip cord and guided myself back down to the airstrip safely. Once on the ground, I glared over at the bot through squinty eyes that shot invisible darts in her direction, unhappy that her notecard didn’t give better directions about how to board the blimp. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

39


Still muttering about bots, I pulled out my landmark and used it to board the Pegasus. I decided to spend the night there in the lap of luxury and start anew tomorrow.

I enjoyed my time at the Pegasus, but the time had come for me to head back to the mainland from South Islandia. I unpacked my balloon and flew north, then west to complete my tour of the region,

WEEK 3: EAST CENTRAL SANSARA

I was up at the crack of dawn, fully rested and ready to go. It took quite a walk, but I finally made it to the back section of the blimp, That’s which was open and ready for visitors. you’ll

I crossed back over the channel of water that separated it from the mainland unaware that my days of clear skies was about to turn ugly one thing once again. Over never see the next two days I would find myself There, in the back falling from a bal- sandwiched bebay, you could purtween ground and loon like you do chase skydiving sky clutter like I’d gear and jump from an airliner: never seen before. from there to the It would become blue ice. airstrip below. Or, rude series of ups if you preferred, and downs for me, you could rez another of the mini both with and without the secublimps and peddle your way back. rity of my balloon basket. Having had my fill of peddling, and unable to see how I could As the two days wore on, I wore have done anything different to out, after getting stopped at or dock the day before, I decided to knocked out of my balloon in take the jump. Versu Richelieu, Warhol, Minoru Musashi, Renoir, Nueltin, WhiteFortunately, I already had skyfish, Shaker’s Stoop, Ferguson, diving gear, so for me, the jump Kootenay, Newman and a couple would be free. It was as easy as of other locations. stepping off the edge and pulling the rip cord—which is exactly what I was beat, and my stomach was I did. Moments later, I was back on upset too. So I looked for a place terra firma once again, having en- where I could sit to vent my frusjoyed the thrill of the jump. trations…and leave a little some40

Right: Dahlia finds herself faced with an unplanned parachute jump after getting knocked out of her balloon in Versu Richelieu. Below: Dahlia makes her jump and prepares to pull the rip cord after she clears the cloud cover over Versu Richelieu. Opposite page, top: Dahlia prepares to make an emergency pitstop in the parking lot outside of a large Edo-era Japanese building, SAWAYAMAJYOU, in Frontenac. Opposite page, bottom: SAWAYAMAJYOU had plenty of open public space with large indoor rooms and a big courtyard out back where it sold banners and flags, but what Dahlia needed after a day of turbulent flying in the balloon was the smallest room out back: a narrow stall in the public toilet.

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Of course, as fate would have it, right at the very moment of my nirvana, my cell phone rang—not only with one, but with two friends on the line. Between grunts of relief, I complained to them about my perilous flight and that I was now grounded while donating “special mud bricks” for the monks at the temple.

a big SL world map on it, as well as some support buildings. When I arrived, I learned I had landed at Lily Airstrip in Lily. I looked at my map, wondering what happened to Sutherland Dam. Perhaps it was no longer in SL.

Well, while I’m here…I thought. Lilly used the same large SL map that I saw at Gray Airport, the one Much later, I emerged, back to my with all the airports pin-pointed old self. My eyes surveyed the all on it. It also had a surfboard shack around the courtyard like a big boss, with many surfboards set out for then I non-chalantly swaggered out purchase, so I browsed a while, the front gate like John Wayne admiring the designs. would walk out of a saloon. “Don’t mess with Texas,” I chuckled to Looking around more, I saw they myself, having left mine behind, of sold parachutes too, offered free course. One thing was for sure: my whirly bird and motor boat rides, balloon would be a lot lighter and a for-pay surfboard test ride. A thing extra behind too, if you know going up this time. big wave rolled in for surfing, and what I mean. just beyond that, a submarine floated My balloon waited for me like a above water. The top of an interestTo the rescue came SAWAYAtrusty steed. I hadn’t even roped it ing building poked up out of the MAJYOU, a large Edo-era styled off, but it didn’t fly away. My map water too, so I climbed into a motor Japanese building in Frontenac. It showed where I wanted to check boat to drive over and inspect it. had a public toilet for tourists in out next: the Sutherland Dam. the back courtyard that I spotted The submerged building was St with the eyes of an eagle. I raced I flew south of the Japanese temple Michel - the Jules Verne Museum, to land my balloon in the front to get out over open water and away the first museum in SL to honour parking lot, then sprinted to the from congestion over land. Once and celebrate the creative genius of public facilities in back, reaching over water, I went due west, follow- Jules Verne, famous for writing about the target just in time for my ing the shore, then turned northtravel explorations and perhaps emergency relief. Whew! That’s west, crossing over a road and most famously for his book 10,000 one thing you’ll never see falling following a small river. Soon, I spot- Leagues Under the Sea. It reminded from a balloon like you do from ted an airstrip and headed for it. It me of a question someone asked: if an airliner: blue ice. was small, but it had a heliport and my next adventure was a submarine. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

41


lake, then skip over land to the residential buildings in Cisco that next large lake starting around were connected to each other by Belleville. That way, I could fly in two pedestrian sky tunnels at differopen air over the lake and hopefully ent levels. I decided this was a good the river feeding into it that could opportunity for a little hot air baltake me to my loon daredevil next destination. I decided this was moment to demonstrate the a good opportunity The land be“Jayaram piloting tween the lake I skills.” for a little hot air was over and the next lake looked balloon daredevil To be honest, it a bit treacherous, wasn’t much of a moment to demonhowever. It was daredevil atcovered in clouds strate the “Jayaram tempt. There was and what looked plenty of clearpiloting skills.” ance on all sides. to be significant skybox clutter But it was fun. too. I’ll just have to take my time It’s not everyday that you see a and go slow, I thought. balloon passing by your livingroom window at a couple of I decided up above the clouds hundred meters, afterall. would be safer than through them where I was more likely to run into Having successfully put the Above: Dahlia flies through an opening between two high rise apartment towers and their suspended pedestrian walkways in Cisco. Oppo- ban lines or full parcels without round balloon through the square site page: Low-lying clouds force her to fly higher to avoid being to low down where security sensors might eject her from passing by. time for an escape. Above the clouds, hole, I had a clear shot at the lake But I had other things on my I had followed. It took a sharp embankment was hidden under- at least I had a better view and a ahead of me. It was just a matter mind at the moment, such as: turn back towards the lake I had neath my feet as I passed over, better chance of passing the clutter. of dropping down through the where’s the Sutherland Dam? On flown west across earlier and… leaving me to think it was just a clouds in Belleville for a clear Friday nights it is supposed to be “there it is! How could I have river that flowed into the lake. A control tower looking space nee- view around me once I got there. the host site of meetings about missed that!” I scolded myself. Immediately south of it in Wake- dle caught my eye, so I headed in its land and economy issues. CerWhen I had crossed the road ley, Asian-style rental homes be- direction, wondering if it might end I let my balloon descend through tainly it must still be around! earlier, I had flown right over longing to Free Tibet covered an up being an airport. It wasn’t, but at the clouds as I approached the it without realizing. expansive hillside with a waterfall least it guided me closer to the sec- shoreline. Within seconds, I was I decided to launch my balloon that overlooked the lake. ond lake I was moving toward. in trouble. I got knocked out of and retrace my steps. I lifted off The road was the top of the dam, the balloon at Lothlorean Park in and slowly rose over a bridge and from the angle I approached I decided I would continue south A few parcels away from the space Belleville. Fortunately, I had time high above the deep canyon river it, the long vertical concrete along the western banks of this needle were two super-tall high rise to pull my rip cord and land safely The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

43


in the parcel right beside where I slowly to set the balloon down was ejected. Even more fortunate, across the road from the infohub. I could unpack a new balloon and take off from it as well. The site was moderately busy with about eight people outdoors and a So I got to work launching myself regular stream of people coming anew into the sky, and wouldn’t and going from its landing zone. you know it, I drifted right back Up the hill at The Shelter, a crowd into the very same parcel that had danced inside. Also at the shelter just ejected me. D’Oh! I hate when was a weekly calendar showing that happens! the line-up of free classes offered to residents. I noticed a large sign I decided to search for a launch- in the infohud that announced able location a little closer to the The Shelter had free balloon rides banks of the lake, where I would that went to 20 sims around the have less chance of getting blocked. Lost Lakes. I thought this was a Belleville Shore in Belleville did great way to sight-see without just the trick. I lifted off and was having to pilot my own ballon, so on my way over the lake finally. I wanted to take a ride. I sighed a deep breath of relief. From there, could see the western Out on a back deck, single-seats banks of the lake rising up, and in suspended from a small balloon the distance much further away, would take passengers up and out the leading edge of the easternmost over the lake. Unfortunately, no mountains of the Snowlands. tour guide narrative accompanied the flight, but the views were nice THE LOST LAKES REGION as the balloon worked its way along I crept along in the balloon, folthe outer perimeter of the lake. lowing the short little river that fed into the lake I was above, until Unfortunately for me, I only made I reached the shore just south of it to my eighth sim before a rough Isabel where the Isabel Infohub sim crossing between Celebes and was located. I moved very slowly Sulu dumped me out of my baltoward it, certain that at any mo- loon and into the lake below. I ment I would run into ban lines, swam over to an island in the full parcels or no permission fly middle of the lake and watched as zones. But to my surprise, I made my tour balloon continued driftit without incident, and drifted ing away with out me. 44

Above: Geodesic domes and spheres for sale in Fourmile were the first ones Dahlia had seen in SL. Opposite page, top: The Shelter, next to the Isabel Infohub in Isabel, offered free tours around over 20 sims in the Lost Lakes region, using boats or personal-sized hot air balloons. Opposite page, bottom: A map on the departure deck at The Shelter shows what sims the tours will cover…if your vehicle doesn’t dump you out before finishing.

With my camera locked on to it, I watched to see if it would rubberband back or keep going. It flew and flew and flew…southeast across the full continent of Sansara, past the South Islandia region, out over the named and then unnamed portions of the off-grid sea until it finally stopped, presumably stuck in the corner of the SL

universe where you could only see the blue of sky above and the black below, too far up to see any ground colour. I sucked my teeth with my lips to make a disgusted sound. And they call it The Shelter, I thought, mockingly.

back to Isabel to pick up where I left off. I was back up in the air quickly and headed toward the nearby Teen Grid Transfer Station island, located in the middle of the Lost Lakes region lake near where I had fallen.

I decided it was time to get back into my own balloon, so I went

Teen Grid is where SL’s youngest residents come to celebrate their The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


transition to the main grid, so I was curious to know if I would be able to cross into Teen Grid air space, or if I was considered “too old”—especially after learning I couldn’t cross into Orientation Island’s air space during my first week of the adventure. When I got to the island, it was completely empty. No celebrations today, it seems, I thought. I wondered how many teen transfer celebrations actually took place here anyway. I mean, really. When you come over to the main grid from the teen grid, how many people do you already know who will throw you a party? I carefully eased the balloon up to the edge of the sim like you would test the temperature of the pool water before jumping in. There were no warnings and my balloon didn’t suddenly disappear in midair, so I guessed I was cleared by flight control to enter this area. I wondered why here and not at Orientation Island, however. But boring is as boring does, so since this island was a ghost town, I flew north. There was a smell hanging in the air, and it didn’t belong to any “teen spirit.” Instead, a savory aroma more enticing was billowing out of the smokestack The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

of a small trailer across the bay. It was almost as if the sweet smelling smoke reaching out to me from across the water were long tentacles wrapping their arms around my balloon and pulling it in. My mouth was already watering thee sims away.

would taste. But I hadn’t come all this way to turn back now, that was for sure. I ordered and took a tentative first bite. It was delicious!

I took my sausage out for a walk around the island. Back at the low lighthouse was some information about the yacht club and a couple On a small islet just off the Grant of small boats tied to the dock. sim shore was Free Adriatic Yacht Through the grove of trees behind Club, a low single story lightthe trailer was a larger silver house building with a wooden trailer being used as a home, and dock that wrapped partially on the shore near it was another around the beachfront. A small dock with a sailboat and a canoe yellow trailer with it’s roof pipe that you could use for free. billowed smoke sat nearby at the base of a small grove of tall trees. I turned around and noticed There was just enough room for someone getting into my balloon me to land the balloon on the back at the hippo trailer. “Hey! ground without running into Can I give you a ride? I called out, anything, so I set it down, right in wadding up the paper wrapping the middle of all the action. my sausage came in as I trotted back over to the balloon. Imbiss die Fettecke said a sign above the window of the trailer, The person was Rikki Reichmann, which was in fact, a small grilling owner of the property. She was on and serving stand that sold grilled her way to a theme dance up in hippopotamus bratwurst. I could- the sky overhead. I told her I’d be n’t actually read the sign to know happy to take her, so we climbed what it meant, but there were pic- in and lifted off for the skies. tures on the back wall and the logos on the trailer that definitely We talked as we flew up. Rikki displayed hippos. was not only the owner of the yacht club and hippo stand, but Now, I love my sausage, but I had she also had a private airstrip across never eaten a hippo bratwurst the water from the yacht islet that before, so I wasn’t sure how it she offered for my use. 45


In addition to that, up in the air where we were going, she owned a mall that included her fashion shop, Bitch Wear, a dance club, and Bitch Fight Arena, a club that catered to female diva wrestling and catfights. “We had over 65,000 visits to our SIM last year,” she said with pride. “And we have almost 800 members, all female.” I was impressed. I suspected either people loved her fashions, or they loved wrestling, or…ok, maybe both. As we passed by Rikki’s office, I noticed some posters on the wall of her diva wrestling. In the ring she was known as Ravishing Rikki—Princess of the Ring. “We have over 140 holds/moves in some of our rings.” she informed me, with a certain sense of pride. “Wow, that many?” I gasped. I was curious to see it, so I asked if I could come back sometime to take pictures of a match or demonstration for the book. She suggested why not do the demonstration with me. “I just love sexy pro style wrestling and am an expert in the headscissors submission hold.” Now I was worried.

on the edge of the basket, in case some, especially where landing she suddenly became inspired and pads were if I ever wanted to park busted a move on me. my balloon there. She was one of the nicest people I’d met, which She had all those things to man- surprised me because, afterall, she age and keep track of, and even a was a wrestler, and I imagined all I’ll have to get back to you on that, dance event about to start too, but wrestlers being more, well, aggresI thought, while my grip tightened she took time to show me around sive. Fortunately for me, I was 46

wrong. Wrong, that is, until I the direction of eastern Sansara, found myself on the receiving end to see what surprises it had for me. of a headscissors submission hold. WEEK 4: NORTH BY NORTHEAST

I let Rikki get to her dance. We said our goodbyes, then I flew down closer to the ground and headed east across Lost Lake in

I decided to head in the direction of the Swinside sim Shelter near the easternmost coast of Sansara. But as I was coming to land from The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


placed a smaller ground-level one. I complimented him on how nice his airport looked. We talked a while about his facilities, automated passenger services, aircraft sales during a depressed economy, the risks of sky clutter related to graphic rendering time and other flying topics. I enjoyed receiving his experienced insight on things. He was smart and clever as a fox, and it showed—literally!

Opposite page: The savory smell of something delicious on a grill across the bay in Grant attracted Dahlia’s attention, making it a “must see” destination to find out what was billowing out of the smoke stack of a small trailer at the Free Adriatic Yacht Club. Above: Dahlia discovers the source of her mouth-watering temptation: grilled hippo bratwurst. She couldn’t read the signs, but the signs from her belly said “EAT!” Left: The owner of Tradewinds Yacht Club asked for a lift to a dance being held in a skybox above the Tradewinds Yacht Club. The skybox also had her fashion shop, Bitch Wear, as well as arenas for diva wrestling and catfighting.

the lake, I saw a large, interesting tower that looked like the control tower of an airport, so I drifted closer to inspect it. It turned out to be Aztral’s Airport in Hibdon.

the ground and had quite a number of airplanes and helicopters for sale parked on both sides of the runway. The complex also had hangers, a map that delivered airport information, a large public This large, single runway airport check-in terminal, and pedestrian floated not far above buildings on walkways on a sub-level that ran The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

the full length under the airport. Fortunately, there were two open landing pads for balloons, so I eased down onto one and hopped out to inspect the facilities. Inside the lobby I met the owner, Aztral Aeon, as he reviewed recent construction on this facility which re-

I hoped some of Antral’s cleverness would rub off on me, because I needed to get back into the balloon and navigate the skies. I would set a course for northeastern Sansara, and my first order of business would be to fly toward The Shelter in Swinside, on the eastern coast of the continent.

ing. It had a small room with a congregational arrangement of pews and a speaker’s podium just like in a church. On the wall a sign said: Become an Ordained Minister Instantly for Free at The First Church of Atheism. Wow, seems very easy, I thought. I wondered how you could become a minister without any training, so I grabbed a notecard that explained the history of the church, what they believed and information about becoming a minister.

The notecard said ordainment was available to people worldwide, legally recognized in the USA and many other countries, lasted your lifetime, came with an ordainment certificate and identification card, that members had the I launched the balloon off the ele- option to be listed in their records, vated flight deck at Aztral’s Air- and allowed you the right to port and noted a familiar looking perform every task that a clergy building nearby, so I headed member can perform such as northeast for a short distance to weddings, commitment cereget a closer look. Between the air- monies and funerals. port and the building, however, a sign in Dowden caught my eye. I wonder if they have any scripts to follow for those events? I could cutFirst Church of Atheism it said. I and-paste my pre-written emote like to visit places of worship, and text just like pole dancers do in since it was on my way, I dropped the clubs, only without having to down to see the small building annoyingly fill up local chat with under the sign. I landed the bal- highly imaginative text that said loon and walked into the buildI was doing something with my 47


hands when I clearly wasn’t. I decided to think on it more and come back later if it suited me. But for now, I still needed to check out that building nearby. It kind of reminded me of the Chrysler building in New York City, only not as nice. I lifted the balloon into the air and could immediately see it, only a few parcels away. It had a short runway in front of it but no airplanes or facility buildings.

variety of SL maps. None of what I saw that they made were free, and in fact, were quite expensive. I decided to keep moving, and hopped back into the balloon. I pulled out my map to look for The Shelter in Swinside. I found Swinside, but no indication of an Infohud or Home Teleport location point. I wondered if it was still there.

Before I could take off, a person from one of my groups called to I was able to land outside and go introduce herself, then Rikki inside the building. Sure enough, Reichmann invited me to come it was the same building, although see the Saturday diva wrestling the furniture had changed some- matches that were about to start what since I was last there only at the Bitch Fight Arena. Just two weeks earlier. Before, you when I get out, they pull me back had to climb the steps all the way in, I thought to myself, quoting to the top floor to click on a kiosk an old film I once saw in the cinthat delivered a rezable map for ema. I brought my new-found you. Now, the big map itself was group friend along with me to get on the main floor and delivered our first look at the scene. the same map to those who wanted it, along with the same There was indeed a wrestling information I had received at the match ring with two contestants Kazenojin Executive Airport in in it going at each other in a series Gray during my first week. of impressive and painful looking moves. What’s more, there was From the SL Airport Map Info quite a crowd watching in the Center I flew east where another stands surrounding the ring on map place caught my eye. A three sides and a platform level large, rotating vertical sign with with the ring floor on the fourth. big letters said: LOST? FREE MAPS. It belonged to Mappa Multitasking between officiating Novas, a company that made a the ring action and answering my 48

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Far left: The newly constructed Antral’s Airport floats above ground along the eastern banks of Lost Lake in Hibdon. Left: In Dowden, Dahlia discovers The First Church of Atheism and wonders if any training or pre-written event scripts come with the free instant ordination of ministers. Above: The SL Map Headquarters building is just a sim away from Antral’s Airport in Hibdon. At the headquarters, you can get a free, regularly updated world map that shows the locations of registered airports and airstrips on every SL continent.

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questions—as well as an Perhaps it was just a way to vent that wasn’t too ad- me to do the same, so after cheer- east. Swinside was only about two unknown number of vanced. She asked if ing a contestant on for giving a sims away, so I expected it to be a some inner real life frustrations in a others I’m sure she must I’d be interested to wedgie to her opponent, I bid my short hop over. However, I ran have also been jugsafe way with a friend, then feel better help her out some- thanks to Rikki and others and into two different full parcels that gling— Rikki told me time. Since she was a headed back for my balloon. evaporated my balloon right out afterward. I could roll with that. friend I’d known a she had about 30 people from under my feet and caused in the area earlier in the long time, I agreed, Okay…The Shelter! I reminded me to go looking for new places day, and it looked to be about 20 from another group walked in, so just to help her out, but I warned myself. If I could only get there! I to re-launch again. now, many shouting out, cheering I called out to her. I had no idea that she’d have to teach me from hadn’t been making very good for their favourite. she was interested in this kind of the very first step since I’d never forward progress, so it was time But surprisingly, crashing and entertainment, so I asked if she done it before. She happily agreed. to press forward again. re-launching—although time I was surprised to see what a large wrestled too. consuming—wasn’t my biggest gathering it generated, but after a Having successfully found a spar- I picked up where I left off in problem. What was more surpriswhile I could see why: these peo- She said she hadn’t diva wrestled, ring partner, she excused herself Louise, at the Mappa Novas retail ing and challenging was actually ple were entertaining! Not only but had fun catfighting a long and headed out. It was time for shop, lifting off and flying north- finding The Shelter. The in-world did they wrestle, but they emoted time ago. She showed me a couwell too. And between the wrestlers ple of pictures from her last big narrating their match and the fight where they wore costumes crowd cheering them on, it was and even used pyrotechnics. It quite a spectacle. looked like a big show! She said it was a lot of fun and was totally not I was greeted from time-to-time about winning or losing. by people around me who I asked if they wrestled and they all said She said she enjoyed trash-talking they just came to watch a friend with her co-wrestler friend and it or had wrestled in the past and was understood that all the mean now only came to see friends things they said to one another wrestle these days. Everyone was were strictly fun role play and not polite, friendly and enthusiastic to be taken seriously. Perhaps it about this wrestling thing. I could was just a way to vent some inner see I stood corrected: my earlier real life frustrations in a safe way perception of ladies wrestling was with a friend, then feel better afreally all wrong. Oh, and guess terward. I could roll with that. what? The friend I brought with me ended up joining the group. Because she hadn’t done it in so long and was out of practice, she Then I noticed a familiar face in came this day hoping to meet Above: Dahlia returned to the Bitch Fight Ring in Grant to get her first look at a Diva Wrestling match and hear the clanging of the ring bell. the crowd. A long-time friend someone interested in sparring 50

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search and the wiki had no mention of the Swinside Shelter. But the common map presently used for displays in SL showed there is a Shelter inforhub in Swinside. Contradicting that, however, was when you open your large map to Swinside and turn on your button to show Infohubs, a marker doesn’t appear for it. There were other areas that showed congregations of residents, however. One was definitely the Warmouth Infohub and another was due east of it and south of Swinside. I don’t know why, but I decided perhaps the infohub wasn’t actually at Swinside after all. Perhaps it was where all those people were gathered south of me. It was only about three or four sims south, so I thought why not go investigate, which is exactly what I did. When I got to where the map showed it was busy, the location turned out to be a large building that housed the Music Factory. I landed next to it on the Cheddar Flat Grass in Seneca so I could take a peek inside. I could already tell it was busy with a good sized crowd of people dancing and listening to music. But before I could even climb out of my basket, I was bombarded The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

someone I was not familiar with. It was a small hot air balloon. Before I could send my thanks, my instant message chimed. It was Vick Forcella, who was in a castle near where I was standing. She had spotted me and noticed I was on a hot air balloon adventure, so she sent me a balloon to try out.

sight of it, only a parcel or two away. The Shelter was a large, plain, illuminated white box with no signs indicating what it was.

Inside, it was virtually empty, short of a couple of sitting areas and a shelf with some freebie packages on it. I could see why nobody came anymore; it was pretty much a useI thanked her and asked if she was less husk, offering no information. a local resident or familiar with the area, because I was lost and Vick had to excuse herself, so I looking for the Swinside Shelter. thanked her for rescuing me from She was kind enough to come out my search, and for the gift balloon. to escort me over to the shelter. She left and I went to find a space Above left: The Shelter in Swinside was elusive, but with the help of a kind local resident, where I could launch her balloon it’s unmarked building was finally located. I told her to that The Shelter did- for a trial flight. with someone sending me a LM could find nothing…nothing, n’t appear on my big map when for the Music Factory and then a that is, except a couple of parcels selecting infohubs. She underOnce unpacked, I got in and tingift moments later. I refused both that kicked me out and stole my stood why. She said it had been kered, trying to figure out how to on the principal of being spammed balloon because they were full or used less and less over the past operate it. After a few minutes, I simply because I was in the general didn’t have me on their access list. year and that few people ever learned how to maneuver it and vicinity of the building before This was becoming a real hunt went there now. Perhaps somesee out, but it was a touchy buganyone even knew if I was inter- with no guarantees of an answer one had down-graded its status ger. It responded to keyboard tapested to go to it or not. Because of in sight. and removed it as an infohub in ping better than keeping a finger that, I decided to stay in my basket the search and planned to phase it down on a key. The latter would and just take back off. At least I Having lost my balloon, I started out, but had yet to update maps send you in a tail spin or zooming was absolutely sure that this was walking, searching for a new site for public consumption. off in one direction or another. I not The Shelter I was looking for. to re-launch at. While looking, I almost felt like a cowgirl breaking also stopped to look around for It turns out I was already very in a new horse. It was an okay I decided to take another crack at any signs on buildings. Still noth- near; I was standing within eyeballoon, but I missed my own. finding it back in Swinside. When ing. I wondered where I got there, I was still presented it could be. I was really I began to look for a I could see why nobody came anywith the same dilemma: no mark- stumped. place to set it down so I ings for it on the big map. I flew more; it was pretty much a useless could switch, and as I low, looking for any signs that Next thing I knew, I did, Lie Rang called to husk, offering no information. might reveal where it was, but I received a gift from tell me her laptop, having 51


serious troubles, was being looked at by a service person. She said to pray for her, and just as she said it, I spotted the Chapel Stile Wedding Church right in front of me. I took that as sign that I should stop there.

back in my own balloon again, even though I’d only flown maybe one sim without it. I guess I’d become spoilt by familiarity. A few sims north in Caldbeck, Wall Street’s bull and bear sat in front of the Ancapistan Capital

cial nirvana. Chapel Stile’s roof pointed up too, but more likely for spiritual nirvana—although sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. A few parcels east of the ACE in Seatallan is a large open air retail

Passing to the north of the Commercial Area, I made my way into the North Islandia region. Curiously, the southern half of North Islandia is green and the north have is covered with snow. A paved road divides the two like an equator.

If you look on your big map, you’ll see that Chapel Stile’s property is in the shape of a little heart, and over the front entrance walkway is a little heart-shaped arch made of roses. I landed on the first one and walked through the second, then sat for a moment inside on a pew, thinking of Lie’s laptop. It had been having troubles for some months and seemed to be slowly winding up it’s life, one illness after another. On the wall nearby the podium, I noticed a button with a bell picture on it. I had heard that when you hear a bell sound, it means that an angel had just received it’s wings, so I pressed the button and the chapel’s bell sounded overhead. Ring for Rang, I thought. I Above: In Caldbeck, Wall Street’s bull and bear sit in front of the Ancapistan Capital Exchange where you can trade real stocks using Payhoped the angel that received its Pal. It’s roof points up toward financial nirvana. Opposite page: The wedding church of Chapel Stile offers wedding ceremonies…and a bell. It’s roof points up toward spiritual nirvana. wings was the one that might save Lie’s laptop. Exchange where you can trade area called the Commercial Area I passed a Walt Disney looking real stocks using PayPal. Like which sells a wide variety of inex- castle in Pine Coast and at the Back outside, I had to walk a few many hopeful institutions, it’s pensive fashions and more. It has southern half of the eastern end parcels away to re-launch my bal- roof pointed skyward like a big no roof or floor, just incredibly saw an incredibly large white loon at Dream Magic Mall in arrow. Perhaps for stock trading tall walls made up of the posters building in Doesburg belonging Kemp Howe. It felt good to be it’s roof pointed up toward finan- of the products for sale. to the Flesh Inc Group. There, 52

they sold a wide assortment of gowns, jewelry and even tiaras any deserving princess would love to have. Crossing over “the equator,” I flew into the snowy sims and to the farthest east allowed before reaching ban lines that surrounded the very last parcel in Nordica. The neighbouring property I stopped over was Artic Fire, owned by TundraFire Nightfire. There, she was more accommodating, so I landed on an elevated wooden platform surrounded by wooly mammoths, polar bears and a row of armored Vikings dashing toward a fight. A transport was offered high into the sky where a multi-level building housed an old time frontier fort made to resemble Fort Alaska. Each floor offered some item from Alaska to appreciate, such as pictures of the Aurora Borealis, nature pictures, a permafrost tunnel and even a large section of the Alaskan Pipeline. I returned back to the frozen ground to stand next to my balloon and look toward the western horizon. Finally, I was ready to make my turn west to go back west along Sansara’s northern shores to complete my loop The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


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around the continent. But before I could do that, I had the Hidden Lakes Region, the Nuba Region and the Volcano Island Sims to pass through. Not to mention, between me and those stood Linden Village. Now that’s going to be an interesting stretch, I thought.

could touch to rez a helicopter, jet ski, sailboat or space ship for test rides or inspecting. Another post offered a free parachute and a teleporter would take you to a skydiving platform 4000 meters up. Now that’s a long freefall!

For the moment, I was comfortIt was cold up here in North Isable just to sit on a nearby park landia and I was ready to get going, bench that overlooked a bot ice so I crawled back into the balloon skating around an inlet of frozen and lit it up. A few minutes later water. It was so peaceful and reI was back across “the equator” laxing. That is, it was until someand into green lands and even into thing abruptly dropped on me Caribbean named sims, where in from the sky. Bermuda I found Lucky Designs, a company that invented the orig- I looked down at the front of my inal Lucky Chair, Mobvend, Mid- flight jacket to see what hit me. It night Mania, Lucky Fortunes and was pigeon poop! Ewww! Then, other retail promotion items. next thing I knew, the guilty party landed right next to me on the Passing into Montserrat, I admired back of the park bench where I the grand Mig’s Theatre building was sitting, as if to come see how where live events, exhibitions, art, well he hit his target. “You nasty parties, and shows are offered to bird! Look what you did to me!” anybody of any size, shape or per- I shouted. I was so pissed…or suasion. It was quiet for now, pooped…or both. however, so I kept moving, across Well, I didn’t have to get pooped the channel of water that sepaon twice before I knew it was rates North Islandia from the time to get moving again. I dunkgreater mainland. washed my jacket in the waters A concrete landing area jutting along the shore and hung it out to out from the land caught my eye dry from the balloon’s basket, then at Tino’s in Langdale, so I set lifted off to continue my westward down the balloon next to it to trek toward more public grounds check it out. On small posts you nearby—and away from birds. 54

Above: Tino’s in Langdale offered a rezzable helicopter, spaceship, sail boat and a free parachute to take up to its 4000 meter skydiving platform. Dahlia liked sitting out on a park bench to watch a bot ice skate. Opposite page: Tino’s in Langdale also has dive-bombing pigeons, as Dahlia soon discovered. While watching a bot ice skate on a frozen inlet, a bird pooped on the front of her jacket. Here, the offending bird had the audacity to land near Dahlia to see if his payload hit the mark. Right: Lucky Designs, creators of the original Lucky Chair, Mobvend, Midnight Mania, Lucky Fortunes and more has a shop in Bermuda. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


I drifted southwest only a couple of sims before I noticed I was inn Derwent, where Knowledge Park, known in short as “K-Park,” uses “Magic Windows” and “Magic Doors” as access portals to take residents to “Knowledge Places”— or “K-Places” for short.

to see what K-Park was all about. I went through one portal to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There, they had dozens of spacerelated vehicles used by NASA, as well as a planetarium and other interesting, educational exhibits, like the Mars Mountain Area where you can ride the Mars I landed across the road from K- Airbag down a mountain or ride Park at Rhyme’s Garden where the Mars Exploration Rover and they sell flowers, pots and artthe Sojourner from the Mars work, then jogged across the road Pathfinder Mission. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

Returning back to the K-Park, I got back in my balloon to continue west. I noticed a striking wooden Japanese-styled bridge in Hawkshead, just west of K-Park. Moving closer I saw it was the Japanese Tutorial Bridge in Linden Village, a lovely area where you get tutored to learn in Japanese how to perform many of the basic SL functions. I grabbed the landmark and sent it to one of my friends who is learning Japanese.

Continuing past the bridge and building reminded me of what I following a road, I arrived at the imagined the Parthenon looking Waterhead Welcome Area in like before it tumbled down. It Waterhead. It was also referred to sat high up on the top of a hill as Hidden Lakes Telehub on signs and served as the Main Landing too, so I wasn’t certain which was Point to where Linden Lab Emmore correct than the other. It ployees Live and Meet in Second was moderately Life. It is also busy, with about where the Wall of “You nasty bird! ten residents, History is that ofmore or less at Look what you did fers a wide assorttimes, coming ment of informato me!” I shouted. and going. tion for people to read and receive I was so pissed…or I landed on the landmarks or inback docks so I pooped…or both. ternet addresses. could get out and look around. Nearby, the PooThere were a few signs, a couple ley Stage straddles across both of game tables on the game prom- Pooley and Borrowdale. Public enade, and a touch sign that meetings and presentations hapopened web browsers to read fre- pen here, and although it wasn’t quently asked questions (FAQs), being officially used at the time I but not much else. It occurred to flew over, there was a gathering me that so much more informa- of people hanging out, as is often tion could and should be offered— the case here. and more consistently too—from hub to hub than currently was. On this day, two residents were To me, the Lindens really weren’t having a battle with hand weapons making the most of these locations and by throwing huge black tumas infohubs for providing more bling blocks and fireballs in every comprehensive information to a direction. It was quite a battle! diverse group of residents. Nobody was safe from the scattershot. Even as I lifted off and Out back where I parked the bal- flew away, fireballs were still being loon on the dock, I could see the flung as high up and as far away Linden Village and Office up on as the tall bell tower that stands the hill. It’s greek columned near the stage. 55


Knowledge Park, aka “K-Park” offers information, landmarks and teleports to a variety of interesting educational locations in SL, such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Planetarium.

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The Japanese Tutorial Bridge in Hawkshead provides basic SL learning skills to residents in Japanese language.

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As the sun rose the following morning, the Cathedral of the Southern Cross looked much better from the nearby bookstore where Dahlia took refuge the night before.

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Pooley Stage offers a public place for meetings and presentations. On the day Dahlia arrived, it looked like a fireworks display was in progress.

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After barely escaping the firebombs at Pooley Stage, I floated over water to nearby Orientation Island. Because I was not able to enter the airspace of Orientation Island 2 during my second week of flying, I approached the sim border very carefully, wondering if I would get knocked out of my basket or not. Fortunately, I was able to cross into today’s airspace and took a look around from overhead. I The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

wondered, was this the place where I first started my Second Life? It looked somewhat familiar, but I wasn’t certain. You know, everything about that first day was like a dream and a little bit blur in my memory now. I was just so focused on controlling my walking and seeing that exploring the broader view beyond my keyboard and immediate tutorial signs barely noticed. At the time, I was just in a hurry to get on with my Second Life!

Over at the neighbouring island was Help Island Public, a welltraveled location where many people could often be found talking, sharing information, trying out items in the public sandbox, getting freebies and landmarks to interesting places.

fered a flight, but after I was ready to resume. They thought the balloon was cool and we chatted a while. They seemed cool too.

Next thing I knew, they were pulling out weapons and shooting up the place like Dirty Harry. I thought they were going to hijack I flew in low and set my balloon me, but instead, they set out targets down in an open area of the sand- and blew them up with overpowbox, just as two residents were al- ering force. Parts of cars, cows ready piling into the balloon and people were flying all over the basket. I greeted them, and ofplace after being blown to bits by

Opposite page: What first appeared to be a fireworks display at Pooley Stage, actually turned out to be two residents having a battle using firebombs and enormous black tumbling boxes. Above left: Residents Etnies Deed and Aurea Arun put on an impressive show of firepower by shooting up targets at the Help Island Public sandbox. Above right: Everyone stands around watching the fight between a resident and a german shepard dog at Help Island Public. It soon became evident that public places were some of the roughest neighbourhoods in SL to visit, so come packin’ heat! 61


Right next door to Help Island Public is Help Island Public 2, a virtual mirror image of Help Island Public. On this day, HIP2 was deserted, even though HIP was busy.

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Help Island Public is a well-traveled, often busy place full of residents meeting to talk, share information, get freebies and landmarks, or unpack in the sandbox.

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some of the biggest guns, bazookas and laser tits I’ve ever seen in my short second life. These girls were so entertaining, however, that I couldn’t stop watching. I even had to call in my friend Alina to witness the carnage, just so I could prove it was really happening.

municating with the people they serve. Even concierge-level users complain about poor Linden response. I think I understood how the Hidden Lakes Region got its name now. Hmm…I think I may have the theme for my next book. WEEK 5: BEYOND THE LINDENS

I hated to leave, but it was time for me to move on, so I fired up the burner and flew north to the sims of Linden Village Annex. Here, I passed by the offices of a few Lindens I knew of or had met, and many others who I had never even heard of, none of whom, however, deserve mention if they can’t even reply a simple email to me (I was batting 0 out of 4 Lindens so far).

Making a mental note to self, I flew a sim south back to Pooley, where I set my balloon down on a platform belonging to Char Linden. The platform overlooked the water facing Help Island Public to its west and was pretty barren and desolate, but out on it stood the lone figure of resident Eric Christensen.

water toward the Knowledge Port (K-Port) building. But I had technical problems, so we had to go back to resume our flight from Char’s platform. I asked had ever seen any Lindens. He said he hadn’t, which surprised me since he used Char Linden’s platform as his usual place to hang out.

So I asked if he’d like to go see where some of the Linden offices were north of us. He agreed. The closest one was the big blue chair I had passed earlier. It was actually within eye-shot of Char’s office. I asked if he’d ever seen it from where he usually hangs out. His profile indicated that he hung He said he hadn’t. out right where we were, so I inI flew the sim-wide loop in and troduced myself and asked him back out of it, then turned southI’m thinking, like: wow! It’s right what was it about this place in east over another Linden office there! So I flew him over until we Pooley that made him like to marked by a gigantic blue office stood on the chair ourselves. I spend his time there. He said it chair in Grasmere. As I came pointed out that we could see the was a good location to unpack in- totem pole at Char’s platform area. closer, I noticed a bulletin set out ventory and to meet interesting on the seat: “Sorry, No Office He was surprised. Hour Today.” This was becoming people. He complimented me on a theme with the Lindens. Just the my balloon, so maybe that made “Did you know that Orientation other week, there was a giant cube me interesting too. Island is right next to us?” I asked. over Amber Linden’s office table “You can see it right over there, I said that I was taking off for my between us and Pooley.” He looksaying essentially the same thing. adventure and asked if he’d like ed. He never realized it before. Just where were these people, these to ride along and see some of the Lindens? I want to believe differ- places nearby. He thought that How about Help Island Public? ently, but the more I hear, it seems would be pretty cool, so in we It’s just on the other side of Orithey are notoriously poor at com- hopped and flew south over the entation Island. You can see the 64

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Left: Blue Linden’s office is a giant blue office chair in Grasmere. Above left: His office was offices, not only during my balloon adventure, but also in preceding months. Above right: closed however, as I had noticed during my travels seemed to often be the case with Linden Amber Linden’s office had it’s own notice for not having office hours for two weeks.

green light beam shooting up in the air from it over there. It’s a great place to meet interesting people, always busy.” He never knew. “I guess I haven’t been around much,” he said.

I don’t know if lazy was the word for it, but I knew I’d get bored pretty darn fast staying on that little square platform since 2005! So I lifted us up in the balloon and flew us over Linden Village. I pointed something out to him I looked at his profile again. I was and asked if he could see it. After shocked. He had been a resident a moment, he said his computer since 2005. “You’ve been around was running a little slow. I asked longer than most,” I said. “Yeah, I what he set his viewing distance used to explore a long time ago, and quality at. “Ninety-six” he but the last couple of years I guess said. I almost choked. Mine was I got lazy.” at over 900 meters.

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“No wonder you can’t see! You need to add about 900 more to it, then drop your quality down to Mid so it will balance out and not overload your graphic card too much.” Ninety-six; good grief. No wonder he’d never seen anything! I wondered if since 2005.

Stage to him, which is right next door to Char’s platform. “Okay, I’m getting my bearings now,” he said. I sighed with relief, hoping it was true.

I told him about the Wall of Knowledge at the Linden Office Main Landing point right next I flew him up to the northerndoor and passed him a LM so he most aspect of Linden Village and could check it out sometime. It back down again, then took him was as much time as we could to the Waterhead Welcome Cen- spend exploring for the day. So ter. There, I pointed out Pooley we said our goodbyes and I flew 65


back to the K-Port Transportation like “www.slhotairballons.com.” Center, in Maryport. I could find out if they have already created it, and if they had, K-Port was really a pretty cool offer a bid to buy it from them. idea that just needed more and better of what it already had. What Of course, I could just go and it had was a variety of windows register one for myself, but if it that delivered landmarks or direct was already created or owned by teleports to makers of vehicles or them, then I’d have to do some related sights. The vehicles they business negotiating. Apparently, set out as displays and offered to they’ve speculated on the many copy freely looked like they were potential names people may want, made out of children’s building then registered them for themblocks, or the lowest level of selves first, in hopes that others building skills from the very be- will pay for them later. ginnings of SL. A few sims further west, I spotted While I thought it was important a mini Statue of Liberty out in the to show early stages of building water in Liberty Falls, Carnforth. skill, I would have liked to see It had been created a long time more advanced displays also ofago by resident Liberty Tesla, and fered as examples for people to although a little crude in appearappreciate and aspire to as well. ance, it was certainly better than I Hey Lindens, give the people hope could do. It was a good likeness, that SL offers better than the lowest so I sent my compliments to Liblevel of quality! erty on her fine work. A few blocks down the road from K-Port was a company called SL Domains Shop in Cartmel. The company specialized in acquiring and selling website domains that begin with “SL.” They have a few on display in their showroom and perhaps a list of others available. So, say I wanted to create a website domain named something 66

A few sims further south, I crossed into Helvellyn, a East River Community where the Free Town of Helvellyn was located. It billed itself as “a charming community Right: Dahlia takes Eric Christensen to the Knowledge Port in Maryport. Far right: Liberty Tesla’s Statue of Liberty at Liberty Falls in Carnforth was immediately recognizable from a good distance. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


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Above: Dahlia flew low along the water surface in Sedig, toward an enormous sphere in the sky. Opposite page: Also in Sedig, a wooden galleon schooner rested, strapped to a hot air balloon. It surely enjoyed the best of both transportation alternatives.

with a distinct Southern European flavor. As indicated on its welcoming notecard: “We are a nautical community and a safe harbor for your mainland cruises. We offer art galleries, a cafe, live events, rentals.”

met her at the neighbourhood cafe. She said that they were always seeking out DJs, artists, writers and entertainers to generate events worthy of attending, to bring with them increased foot traffic and awareness of the community.

could go to the corner market to buy my loaf of bread, see a familiar face at the tea shop, go lay out at the beach to watch the tourists, or lean on the fence post while talking with my neighbour about our lives.

Owner/developer Indigo Mertel backed that sentiment up when I

I liked little self-contained communities like these. I felt like I

For better or worse, however, this actually rarely seems to happen in

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

these SL village communities. I half out into the ocean; and a think at home, perhaps, we prefer landmark link to Explorers Info our privacy more often than not. Centre which I took and found it provided a whole host of landI took the water nearby water taxi marks, especially geared toward through the canal of the village transportation, for exploring all center to the southern side of the over the SL world. town where the Coast Guard had its office in Muirhead. Its boats Taking the teleport to Explorer’s were there and its planes next to Info Centre took me off track, it at the East River Municipal however, because it took me all Airport. There was space for the the way back to where the Isabel general public too. I made use of Infohub and The Shelter was. So it by parking my balloon in a rez I flew back to Hugsy Skyport zone while I walked around the where my balloon awaited me and community. took off from there to continue my westward trek. Once back in the air, I continued my way southwest, eventually Only a few minutes later, the spying the Konoha Airfield in coastline turned northeasterly. Montezuma. A welcoming note- Again, I felt I was going in a dicard from owner Dick Hunchke rection, opposite of what I wanted. said that the airfield was “born As I passed near Kuula, Narcissus out of a love of flying in Second Mint flew into my basket and Life, and a desire to bring that ex- made himself comfortable withperience to anyone who wished to out even a word. Happy to have try it without having to make the some company, I welcomed him investment of a plane and a place and as we flew, we talked about to land it.” balloons and other vehicles for exploring and of course some places Continuing west, I spotted the we recommended to each other. Hugsy Penguin Skyport in Suisun. At 230 meters in the air, this When we came upon a balloon airport offered a base jumping shop in Kamba, I set my balloon antenna; a skydiving pod that down for a look around. Narciscould transport up to eight jumpers sus thanked me for the ride and 4000 meters up; an avatar cannon landmarks and went off to check that could blast you a sim and a them out while I was grounded. 69


Above left: At Harbinger's Haven ~ Builder's Sandbox, Dahlia was feeling a little mischievious and landed on the head of a resident who was clearly lost in thought somewhere else. Above right: A Hubble space telescope levi-

Getting hungry, I got back in and flew up to Riverwalk Tenjin Point Island, Tenjin where I spotted a nice Chinese take-out restaurant. While finishing up my meal, my friend Erin Riler called and joined me, so together we continued the northeasterly trek until we arrived at Harbinger’s Haven ~ Builder’s Sandbox Teleport & Texture Point. I spotted a lone figure standing 70

tated in Embu with its gaze fixed toward the heavens. Opposite page: Still in Embu, just west of the Hubble, resident Marlene Simon was seen arranging an equestrian course of jumping gates for her horse.

movie or two where I had seen some similar transportation like that before. Within sight of that, in Embu, a Hubble space telescope floated nearby with its gaze fixed perpetually toward the heavens.

loved horses, as did a number of Like many places, this stretch of my friends, so I wanted to share the trip was a mix of commercial my discovery with them, if my and residential properties; nothsuspicion was correct. But when I ing in particular stood out except went to check the woman’s proa huge silver sphere on the horifile, she suggested she was not a zon. Before I could reach it, howvery sociable person, so I contemever, an old wooden schooner Back on ground, and just past the plated a moment if I should disEventually, I made it far north, sailing ship in Sedig caught my Hubble, I saw a woman setting turb her to ask about the fences or where the shore finally turned out what looked to be equestrian not. Finally, I decided to try for and dropped back in a southwest- eye. It was strapped to a big hot air balloon and reminded me of a jumping fences. My friend Alina the sake of my friends and called erly fashion, much to my relief.

motionlessly in the middle of the vacant lot. Feeling a little mischievious, I decided to have a little fun and landed on his head. He was completely unaware until I began laughing aloud.

WEEK 6: FROM LAVA TO OIL

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

71


out to ask her if I was correct, hoping she wouldn’t mind.

kind of way; it seemed so inviting ing for two years now, she said. and relaxing. I asked if she came from a cold country, if that’s how she became As it turned out, my eagle eyes Inside was equally cozy. She had such an expert at all the patterns hadn’t decived me. Marlene Simon a collection of casual styles that and styles. She said she was from was setting up a riding course next mixed well together. Many pieces Denmark, so yes, she was plenty to her home and said I was more of small artworks decorated the familiar with the cold. than welcome to use it anytime. walls, and on the second floor she I asked if I could come make a had a small studio where she “Oh, you’re a Dane?” I chirped. landmark and if so, not to be worked designing her sweaters. “My partner is from there too; I afraid, because I would be coming In her right hand, I noticed she will introduce you sometime so I from the sky. She waved me in, carried a small glass bottle with can watch you speaking in your and I floated down language,” I offered, as I onto the patch of grass passed her a landmark Amazingly, she typed faster with her where she stood arto our shop at Crossing ranging more jumps. one hand than I did with my two— Currents Island. Lie Rang had only met one and I thought I typed pretty fast! I made my landmark or two other Danes bewhile we talked of fore she said, so I had Whatever she has in that bottle, horses, balloons and hoped she’d be pleased her sweaters that she I thought, I want some of that. with my discovery. made and sold at a shop across the river from where some fluid in it. I was curious and At the very least, what I discovwe were. She invited me to take a hadn’t even considered to ask, but ered was that Marlene was anylook, but first invited me to visit she must have caught me looking thing but unsociable. I found her her home. because she offered that she had a to be quite warm, inviting and a stroke some years earlier and that pleasure to talk with. A day or We climbed a ladder up a steep she could only use her right hand two later, I considered playing cliff to her house. It was a nice to type. Amazingly, she typed match-maker and introduce her stucco style like you might see in faster with her one hand than I to someone I met during my sailsome a tuscan countryside, or per- did with my two—and I thought ing adventure. They might just get haps a cowboy western film. In I typed pretty fast! Whatever she along famously, I thought. front of it was a stable with three has in that bottle, I thought, I want horses and a garden alongside some of that. From Marlene’s in Embu, I flew which I loved. Down a side slope west to where I tried out a freely to another river was a beautiful Next, we went over to see her shop. rezzable space ship at VGA assortment of wild flowers. The It was all sweaters—and quite an Compatible Accessories, Spin, grounds were cozy in a natural assortment. She had been design- Olopue. It was a little tricky to 72

Above: The Kuula NCI was one of the more extensively informative and helpful infohubs Dahlia found in Sansara. Far right: In Baku, the W-HAT retail village offered an innocent, beginner’s

operate and sensitive to the touch on the controls, but an okay vehicle overall. I might have enjoyed it more if a particular blue lizard avatar hadn’t hopped in to join me without asking or speaking a word. What is it with these kind

of people who just pile in without asking first? From there, I flew south, past the towering volcano in Ukanipo and the Mahulu Infohub near its base. Further around to its other side, The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


ration. It was a nice multi-level building used to perform music and entertain guests. It’s biggest feature from the sky was its unique piano topped roof.

dents, and other items. Volunteers were even there to help answer questions, including WolfBaginski Bearsfoot who helped me during my pre-adventure map hunt. I spotted him on this stop-over too. While I was there, I overheard some people asking about where they could find interesting places to go, so I struck up a conversation with them and offered some landmarks, as well as a ride in my balloon anytime they wanted while I was aloft. Ara Enzo took me up ambiance of construction style with a variety of retail shops. A high tower rising from the on my offer, so we climbed into center of the grounds was used for parachute jumping. the balloon and set off to the south the New Citizens Incorporated set out token “Hot Spots” and toward an airport I had visited in (NCI), awaited me in Kuula. “how to adjust your avatar” signs. December, Baku Airport. NCI Kuula was one of the best This infohub included a variety appointed infohubs I had seen. of landmarks, notecards, freebie When we arrived in Baku, I noIt actually offered a significant items, maps, a photo backdrop ticed that the airstrip had been reamount of information, unlike station, a calendar listing the moved and paved over to house other so-called infohubs that only schedule of free classes for resithe Gruppman Technologies CorThe Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

Nearby, a small island in the middle of a lake in Harvey with a lighthouse on it offered us a place to set the balloon down and take a break. We landed near a couple, a lady helping out a fairly new guy who had a variety of questions. Ara and I offered a few of our own porate office. I was surprised, as I too, but the newbie seemed to be thought it the airport had just been more fascinated with pulling anibuilt only a few months ago. mated toys out of his inventory to entertain us all with than really Across the road from it was the concentrate on learning anything, W-HAT shopping plaza, a small so I moved on more productive group of buildings encircled by a pursuits. road that offered a variety of retail items. Ara pointed out that he From there, I flew over the Conwas happy to see it was still there, cious Volcano in Marunogere—a because it brought back pleasant dormant volcano filled to the brim memories of when he visited in with water—then past Ambaat his early days in SL. He also liked Community Infohub which was the charming quality that it didn’t housed in a castle high on a hill. feature slick building skills, but looked more like it was intended Another sim or two away, the to show a style more suited to a northern shore of Sansara beginner builder’s skill level. awaited me in Purple, where a sim-wide channel could be used After a thorough looking over, to fly or boat through to the conwe flew west and north, passing tinent of Heterocera. an interesting building in Akea that used elements of a deconI dropped the balloon down onto structed grand piano as its inspi- a stone platform that served as the 73


terminal for the Kitto Flora passenger trolley by land and a ferry boat by sea. A vertical signpost on the pier just steps away from a lighthouse showed where the ferry was at in its journey between the two continents. I watched as the pointer on the map continued to come closer to where I waa on the map. Sure enough, when the ferry came within sight, I could see that the boat and the map pointer were in sync with each other. When the boat pulled into dock, it let down its gate and out walked Johnny Mikado, a freshly scrubbed newbie who immediately helped himself to my balloon basket, as if it was the next vehicle set out for passengers to make their way to the next stop. “Hey, don’t steal my balloon,” I chided him, as if he could. He apologized, not realizing it wasn’t for public use. He told me how he caught the ferry from the ANWR offshore oil rig platform, then found himself here, uncertain of where he was. Opposite page: The sim of Purple on the northern coast of Sansara serves as the terminal station for the inland bound Kitto Flora rail line trolley, as well as the outward bound ferry boat north across the shipping channel to the second mainland continent of Heterocera. At the beginning of Dahlia’s balloon adventure, Purple was populated by a couple parcels of The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

land with a music club, parking lot sized dock to fish from and a car race course. Above: A vertical sign on the dock at Purple displayed the progress of the ferry boat as it shuttled back and forth between the continents of Sansara and Heterocera. At the mid-point between the two continents, an offshore oil rig served as a stopping point.

I let him know that if he was interested, we were at a trolley station and that the trolley was about to arrive at any minute. Sure enough, 75


76

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


along came the trolley before I could even finish saying it. We climbed in and it took off toward The Vehicle Laboratory and Learning Center in Slate, retail shopping stores and McLean’s Horse shop in Olive and the Sci-Fi Museum and Cinema in Indigo. These were all places I had passed while in my balloon on the fourth day of my balloon adventure. We made it to the western terminal station, then took the trolley all the way back to Purple where my balloon was still waiting for me at the docks. Johnny seemed to be very interested in rail vehicles, so I offered to fly him over to Heterocera where he could see all the trains at the Rail Mall. He enthusiastically agreed, so we loaded up and took off in the balloon. I turned to take one last look at Sansara with fondness as we departed, thinking about some of the wonderful places I had the pleasure of seeing on my journey. Opposite page: After landing in Purple, Dahlia met resident Johnny Mikado as he disembarked from the ferry shuttle coming from the ANWR offshore oil platform. Left: The Kitto Flora trolley shuttled Dahlia and Johnny Mikado between Purple and Olive, past land areas Dahlia first passed during her first week of ballooning. The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

77


Sansara will always be Second Life’s first continent and I suspect many of its key points of interest will remain unchanged for a long time. However, as I have seen all over Second Life, the landscape is constantly evolving and renewing itself, so I fully expect that eventually everything will change in time. Knowing this makes it all the more important that the Lindens act as stewards of their own company’s heritage by setting aside a place that can act as a repository of historical information in-world. The wiki is a great resource and tool for such an endeavour. But it is only a text-based one that doesn’t utilize images or objects and not one residents can use in-world. Better yet would be a sim where a museum, library, info kiosks and displays can all be located in one convenient place where future generations can visit to see how SL things began and developed over. But of course, the details of a suggestion like that might never reach a Linden if they are too busy, indifferent or lazy to have the courtesy to bother answering a simple email—even if it is just to say that they’re not interested in the idea.

This page: Dahlia and Johnny Mikado leave the mainland continent of Sansara to head north toward the ANWR offshore oil rig platform that is located midway between the two mainland continents. Opposite page: When reaching ANWR, the coast of the Heterocera mainland continent can be seen.

Next stop: Heterocera. ‚ 78

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

79


MAPS: THE PLAN Right: A look at the general pre-flight route plan shows the intention to fly near to and around some key points of interest.

80

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


MAPS: THE RESULT Left: The actual flight path as completed followed the general planned flight route and modified to take in additional points of interest in as they were encountered.

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

81


Timeline At A Glance: Charting Dahlia’s Prog JANUARY one √D SANSARA

MARCH

HETEROCERA / JEOGEOT

JEOGEOT / SATORI

CONTINENT START DATE

NOTABLE PLACES (ORDER SEEN)

CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, SANSARA

ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, JEOGEOT

1 January 2010

The Ivory Tower of Primitives Governor Linden’s Mansion The Particle Lab/Learning Center The Vehicle Lab/Learning Center Kazenojin Executive Airport DarkWood Cathedral Bay City Airport Orientation Island Vehicle Park Abbotts Aerodrome Giant SL Handprint Icon Helen Keller Monument YadNi’s Junkyard Kanin Mountain Skiing & Sledding Anton Airstrip Zeppelin Service Zermatt Ice Skating Lake Chalet Linden Cloudmont High Country Smithers Bluff Rainbow Cherished: Romantic River Shops Teslin Meadow Preserve Tour Pegasus Zeppelin St Michel ~ the Jule Verne Museum Shelter Island Balloon Tour Bitch Fight Arena Aztral’s Airport The First Church of Atheism Knowledge Park Linden Village & Offices Help Island Public Orientation Island Knowledge Port Explorers Info Centre Mahulu Volcano New Citizens Incorporated, Kuula Gruppman Technologies Corporate ANWR Offshore Oil Rig Platform

11 February 2010

18 March 2010

CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE

11 February 2010 (42 Days) FLYING DAYS MISSED

None FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS

66 WEEK 1 SIM COVERAGE

Natoma to Shermerville (N. Central to NW Sansara) WEEK 2 SIM COVERAGE

Shermerville to Mondrian (NW to SE Sansara) WEEK 3 SIM COVERAGE

Mondrian to Hibdon (SE to E. Central Sansara) WEEK 4 SIM COVERAGE

Hibdon to Pooley (E. Central to NE. Central Sansara) WEEK 5 SIM COVERAGE

Pooley to Lozi (NE. Central Sansara) WEEK 6 SIM COVERAGE

Lozi to Calleta, Heterocera (NE. Central Sansara to S. Heterocera) GUEST PASSENGERS

Alina Graf, Lie Rang, Nya Silverfall, Natalia Silverfall, 1 Shermerville passenger, Ms SecretSpy, DawidDawid Dawid, Cyanidekissesxx Draconia, BackHome Soon, Erin Riler, Tatsuhiko Zuka, Rikki Reichmann, Eric Christensen, Narcissus Mint, Ara Enzo, Johnny Mikado 82

FEBRUARY

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, HETEROCERA

1 February 2010

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, SATORI

19 March 2010 ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, HETEROCERA

22 February 2010

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, JEOGEOT

23 February 2010

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


ress On The Calendar, Continent-By-Continent APRIL

MAY

JUNE

SATORI / BLAKE SEA ISLAND COMMUNITIES

NAUTILUS / CORSICA

CORSICA

ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, SATORI

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, NAUTILUS

ESTIMATED CONTINENT TRAVEL CONTINUATION, CORSICA

15 April 2010

1 May 2010

Throughout June, 2010

ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, NAUTILUS

22 May 2010 ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, BLAKE SEA / IC

16 April 2010 ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, BLAKE SEA / IC

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, CORSICA

30 April 2010

23 May 2010

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

CORSICA / GAETA V

GAETA V / GAETA I / ZINDRA

ZINDRA

ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, CORSICA

ESTIMATED CONTINENT END DATE, GAETA V

ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, ZINDRA

17 July 2010

15 August 2010

2 September 2010

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, GAETA V

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, GAETA I

18 July 2010

16 August 2010 ESTIMATED CONTINENT COMPLETION DATE, GAETA I

18 August 2010

ESTIMATED CONTINENT START DATE, ZINDRA

19 August 2010

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara

83


Dahlia’s Top 10 Favourite Big People, Places,

BOARDROOM

NATOMO

DARKWOOD

Naked Newbie’s Naughty Part

Kicking Off The Adventure

Candle Wishes

A four-day old was spotted trying to figure out how to adjust his newly acquired “male attachment” parts. I think he broke them.

Taking off from Natomo on the first day was full of excitement of things to come, and I was happy friends Alina and Lie were there.

The cathedral in Darkwood offered free dedication candles you could light and leave out with your name and thought posted.

84

HELP ISLAND PUBLIC

RHOUDIN

Girls With Guns

Soaring In Open Skies

They shot up cars with laser tits, cows with guns and pseudo-Lindens with bazookas. Total carnage; parts were flying everywhere!

Rhoudin provided one of the very few regions where there was absolutely no sky clutter to worry about. It was beautiful! The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


Things Or Moments While Traveling In Sansara

GRAY

GRANT

Maps That WORK

Ready To Rumble?

Kazenojin Executive Airport used a large map that delivered a lot of helpful information. I was excited to find a place with all!

The savory smell of hippo sausages cooking on the grill led me to discover Bitch Fight Arena. Now, how ironic is that?

MONDRIAN

KANIN

ZERMATT

Because I’m Free, Free Fallin’

Ski Run Reveals Airstrip

Couple’s Skate

Due to a mis-step trying to load board the giant Pegasus zeppelin, I had an unplanned skydive from 254 meters. What a rush!

Having first flown over it in the cover of clouds, i missed it, but while skiing down the mountain, I noticed Anton Airstrip.

It was fun to watch a couple ice skating on the frozen lake in Zermatt.

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85


AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LINDEN FAMILY (DELIVERED TO JACK LINDEN JANUARY 10, 2010 & STILL AWAITING ANY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT)

Dear Jack, Happy new year to you. I have two items of interest I would like to share with you, to see if you or any other Linden family member may have any interest in them. > First, the results of my 5-continent sailing adventure. > Second, the beginning of a new adventure to fly by hot air balloon to/around/through each of Second Life’s 9 continents, flying in order from the oldest to the newest continents to explore many of the interesting sights and people seen along the way. THE SAILING JOURNEY We met briefly at a Blake Sea town hall meeting in August 2009. I had asked for your thoughts from a Linden Lab viewpoint toward exploring the possibility of working toward ensuring an open waterway around each of Second Life continents and you had favorable comments toward the idea. I have since completed a sailing trip around the five continents that are linked together by a common waterway and published a book covering that adventure at: http://issuu.com/dahliasweet/docs/thegreatsailingadventurebook Excerpts from the book also appear in four concurrent issues of ICON magazine, from October 2009 until January 2010. Near the last page of the book, I included a letter written to the Linden family at large so those who I met along the way may read a little about the result of my endeavor to initiate some form of dialog about working toward an open waterway. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it too, and to let other Linden members know of it as well. During my trip, I asked residents if they were interested in having an open waterway around each continent and their response was overwhelmingly in support of it. I passed the results in the form of a petition to Blondin and Keira Linden back in October. I have since sent follow-up messages to Blondin once each month thereafter, without receiving any reply from either he or Keira, so I’m of the impression that they are not interested to pursue any dialog on the topic.

none at all, as I’m sure you can understand. Perhaps if Blondin and Keira are not the appropriate Lindens to engage in this topic, as I was told they were—and as Blondin himself directed me—you might be able to steer me in the appropriate direction toward who would be best to receive such information and what I should expect in return by way of response. THE BALLOON JOURNEY With the sailing adventure completed, I have moved forward with a new adventure: to fly by hot air balloon throughout the entire nine continents of Second Life. While the sailing adventure took seven weeks to circumnavigate five continents, I expect the hot air balloon journey to take at least three months—this is with flying at least a couple hours on average each day. The journey is already underway, having begun January 1, 2010. You can track my progress on my blog at: http://dahliasweet.blogspot.com and in potential future issues of ICON magazine, which are available both in-world as well as on www.issuu.com. HISTORICAL MARKER FOR SL’s OLDEST SIM As part of the balloon expedition, I was wondering if perhaps the opportunity existed to have a public design contest to create a historical marker in Natoma to indicate it as one of the first and oldest sims in all of Second Life. I thought perhaps it could be incorporated into the festivities surrounding the annual Second Life birthday events. As SL gets older, people may have increased interest to know of its roots, and as of yet all historical information is scattered around, rather than being centrally located. We could bring them all together in a venue surrounding such a memorial marker. I have ideas for this and would be interested to discuss them with you if you or others in the Linden family have interest. I’m wondering if any of the Lindens may be interested to know of the balloon endeavour, or to spread news of it in any particular fashion, such as in Blue Linden’s travel blog or via other notices. The journey will continue regardless of publicity; I was just interested in sharing a good thing with you and others, should there be any interest in it. Thanks for reading and best to you in 2010.

I'm writing you because you had expressed an interest, and I would be happy to receive any thoughts you may have in reply—for, against or disinterested—any comment would be appreciated more than receiving

86

Dahlia Jayaram 10 January 2010

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dahlia Jayaram began her Second Life in October, 2008. Part of her first few months were spent searching for the most beautiful and natural islands in SL. That endeavour led her to Crossing Currents Island, which she now shares with her partner, Lie Rang, developing and promoting island lifestyle products for MnM Designs. After sailing around five of Second Life’s continents in late 2009, Dahlia wanted to have a travel adventure that would include all nine continents. Thus, the Great Balloon Adventure was born and launched January 1, 2010. Travel from the oldest continent of Sansara through the youngest continent of Zindra would result in a book for each of the nine continents, published at http://issuu.com/dahliasweet.

Viewing the world from a higher altitude isn’t always as safe as you may think. Sometimes by mistake you end up landing in someone’s dirty toilet.


What will be your adventure?

The Great Balloon Adventure ~ Sansara  

This book is the first in a series covering Dahlia Jayaram's hot air balloon adventure as she explores each of Second Life's nine virtual co...

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