Monday, August 21, 2017

Furry Tiki Island

By Bixyl Shuftan

I was asked by a couple friends to check out "Furry Tiki Island," a sim made like a Pacific resort island. Getting there at the landmark I was handed, I was in a welcome area made like an open-air wood structure with a few tribal carvings, and a sign greeting me "Aloha" in front of me. The music stream played Hawaiian tunes. Behind me was a pool area with floats, and a thatched roof hangout people could relax in. Next to me was a map showing the various locations on the island. Seven were named, The Mall, Waterfall, Pirate Sanctuary, Shark Bites and Bar, Sex Beach, Main Beach, Club Erotica, and Club Bounce. Besides the welcome area, there was an above-water villiage in the northeast that was unnamed.

Going around clockwise, I saw the mall only had a few stores in it, all small thatched roof to match the decor of the location. But perhaps this was from the place being relatively new. The Pirate Sanctuary was an old wooden frigate on the rocks that had been converted into a hangout with couches and chairs to sit in and drinks to sample. Going to the "Sex Beach," there was a guy and a girl there, but they weren't being intimate but just playing around on the sand in a "clean" way, save that the guy was nude, "I'm not usually naked, she forced me to." "You listened, that's worse." Almost as if on cue, the music stream started playing "Friendly Pressure." Talking to them, they told me only recently had this particular part of the island been made a place where intimacy was allowed. Besides the beach towels, there were surfboard racks and what looked like a small bar.

Club Erotic was just a simple place, an octagonal wooden floor weathered a bit by the tropical air with a DJ booth in the back and a canopy overhead. The unnamed village had more detail, with a central seating area for meeting up and relaxing, a 7Seas fishing spot, and a canoe for anyone who wanted to sail around. Nearby were a couple of caught trophy fish one could pose next to for a screenshot. The Shark Bites and Bar had a number of fruits and sweet foods one could sample, or just admire and imagine tasting them. The place had a set of shark jaws over the entrance, and a trophy with the tail end of a shark.

On my way to the Waterfall, over a stick bridge, I saw a few butterflies flying around. The place was detailed and picturesque, once everything rezzed, a smaller waterfall near the larger one flowing down from a presumably dead volcano. Some steps to the left led to a cave behind the waterfall with a pillow for a couple. The Main Beach was more detailed than the Sex Beach, with waves lapping at the shore, a bar, a grill, a hot tub, tubes in the water one could float on, and of course the beach towels.

Just west of the Main Beach, and east of the entrance, was Club Bounce, which was where the most people were on the island. Getting there, I saw several people, including Vatra (Shadowulf Umia), a black anthro lion with a crown whom later put it down and slipped on a grass tribal outfit. When I asked him what gave him the idea to make the place, he answered, "Always wanted a tiki bar of my own as I love those type of places. Over time, the love for tiki expanded and so did this place. (It) started as a small parcel just for friends, then expanding to a larger parcel over time. Now I see this place as something different, (a) different theme than most furry sims and hangouts, but with opportunities available." I asked him what opportunities, and Vatra answered, "we encourage and help those new to djing, security, management roles and so on. We also promote new merchants and help them get their foot in on selling their stuff. So both new and experienced can enjoy Second Life and the opportunity they have. We are also very active and all staff are approachable as they have been selected personally by me for their friendly nature."

Of the helping DJs and merchants, Vatra told me the place does "by promoting for the stores and will also be offering discounts along the way to encourage buyers/ (It's) not set up yet, but I am hoping to set up a DJ school here too. ... (The) DJ school will help you by suggesting DJ software and how to bring it to stream through SL. (We) will also teach you key skills on DJing. ... We teach DJs, then they are offered to work here as their stepping stone to professional SL DJing. ... We have a few DJs interested in working here." When someone else asked who would teach them, Vatra explained it would be the managers.

Vatra also stated the place was also offering housing, and would soon have more stores at the mall, including furry avatar makers (with more coming each weekend." He went on to say, "We also have a lot of playable board games and so on for those wanting to enjoy those on their own or as a group like Greedy greedy, Battleships, Cards against Humanity and pool."

The black lion concluded, "We welcome everyone within Second Life's legal age and so on. We encourage those interested in being a part of the Island as staff to drop us a application.  There are many areas for loved ones to embrace around the island, but hope everyone enjoys their time and share with us their best moments."

Others nearby were also happy with the island, one saying, "it's a nice place to hang out, relax, meet new people, explore new wonders."

Havoc (29/35/27)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Africa Live Revisited

By Bixyl Shuftan

It was four years ago in 2013 when I first wrote about Africa Live in the Estings sim. Today, the sim and community are still around, although there have been a few changes over the years. I was recently invited back to see what's changed and what hasn't.

I was welcomed back by Hobbi (Joanne Kimono), "Glad to see you again after all these years. ... I want to show you the breadth and depth of Africa Live so your readers will feel welcome to all of this place." She pointed to some wood buildings with thatch roofs over the water, "As you see across the water is blue shacks that is ecology area. ... This is TerreDarmoise African Nature Refuge. Beside us is the open water ... making a very place to tour SL on a boat." One could boat around on the water, or take the "Aero-Putter" flyer, a basket with a couple balloons and motors, which was still around from last time. There was plenty of nature scenery around, that of a river area, with some prim animals around, such as elephants and hippos.

Hobbi would introduce me to CarryLee, whom I'd met here before, "CarryLee made my dress and her group FAFA  has offered as a group gift," going on to say her designs have improved over time. Hobbi mentioned another store owned by  Analeee Balut, "Analee Balut  made my boots." CarryLee herself told me the place has had, "many changes, but the idea is still the same. It's only the looks that has changed a bit. Oh, and we have the stores." Her FAFA was just one of a number of shops there. CarryLee told me later on, "We try to get only shops that offer African fashion, but thats not easy."

We happened to be around at the time of dawn, Hobbi telling me, "Look! The sunrise is beautiful! ... The sun here on water is a great advantage here on a water based village." Besides the regular boats to get around, "you can sail under, all the stilts you can pass trough," Hobbi told me there was also a speedboat rezzer, "there are also wind surf sails rezzers." CarryLee commented, "and the duckee bumper very fun (giggle)."

Next to the shops, there was also an open area club and dance floor, owned by Bafana Beaumont. Hobbi told me the club's normal events are, "Saturday, sometimes Monday and then the weekly reggae event Thursdays. Recently there was a Sunsplash Reggae event and ongoing reggae and dance."

Near the old entrance high above the sim, which could be accesed through the teleporter and  had a permanent sunrise over a savana, there was a gallery area with pictures of Africans and other peoples, "very beautiful photos in my opinion," CarryLee thought. Next to it was what CarryLee called "the little jazz bar," which had a couple of drums people could play. Some events, such as poetry readings, take place there. The teleporter could also take people to a couple other places high above the sim. One was a small library area, with various paintings. Some looked like they were done in traditional African style, but there was one that reminded me of a American WW2 "Rosie the Rivetter" picture.

I asked if a number of Africa Live were still French speakers. CarryLee told me, "There are still many French coming here. But we do our best to keep English as main language." Bafana was among those whose first language was French. Another was Frederic Herberle, "Frederic has poetry here ... All cultural events are welcome, art, music, poetry."

Another question of mine was if any of the visitors here had misconceptions about Africa. CarryLee answered, "I meet a few here, but it's rare ... ask about the wetlands, since many do see Africa only as dry savana. ... The main idea is to bring people away from the negative impressions they get from the media. ... they show us the bad news yes, and that's ok and understandable. But it does make an impression." Hobbi felt, "Perhaps because Africa is a large continent of people that is an issue.  People for example in Nigeria are not having crisises too much. There are places where people live well and others where crisis does prevail at this time."

CarryLee stated, "My point was, we want to bring people the beauty of Africa. There is so much! What I want SL readers to know is this is a safe and welcome open arms place to travel and have fun."

I was told currently the number in the Africa Live group was close to 2000, and this year the community turns ten years old.

For those interested in meeting up with people in other parts of the world, especially Africa, Africa Life is an interesting place to visit.

Estings, (220, 130, 143) (don't forget to take the transporter down)

Bixyl Shuftan