A GRAND DAY OUT.
Not so long ago, I was doing a random parachute jump in SL. The idea is that you fly really high (I use a jetpack so I can fly higher than unaided flight allows) and then you open the parachute and drift east, or north, or any direction you like until you land. Last time I did this, I happened to land by a ski-jump. Several residents were using the jump and it looked like great fun, so I thought I would take my best friend and sister Jamie Marlin and we would try it together.
Instead of just teleporting there, though, I hit upon the idea of travelling to our destination via airship. So, having rezzed said airship at Steiger, I invited Jamie and our friends Pyotr Vantongerloo and Phedre Daissin to take their seats. At this point, the first problem manifested itself. Jamie complained ‘the world frozen!’ and ‘poof!’ she was gone. Almost immediately after, so was Pyotr. Was the sim going down? Phedre and I waited with baited breath, but we remained inworld and after a few minutes Jamie and Pyotr came back online. The trip could begin!
I searched for our location in World Map, steered the airship until it was heading in the right direction, and we set of at a stately pace. Now, it might seem as if it is an endless summer in SL, because there is a hell of a lot of blue skies, lush green grass and palm-fringed beaches here. I guess that is what happens when you live in a world designed to cater for people’s fantasies. Most people’s idea of ‘paradise’ is a tropical island, after all (although I suspect the real thing has too many stingies and bities for it to be a pleasent place to spend much time). But, in some places it is forever winter, the kind of winter you see in Christmas cards. Not long after our journey began, the ground below us transformed from lush green to pristine white, and the flat hills of home rose up to jagged mountain peaks.
It was round about this point that we faced the most perilous aspect of this kind of travelling: The dreaded ‘Sim Cross’. When you cross from one sim to a next, you are never quite sure everything will be OK. As we crossed, there was a slight ‘blip’ but that is perfectly normal. All passangers were present and correct. It had all gone OK. Then, I noticed a yellow dot some distance away from us. It was Jamie. But Jamie was still sat in her seat. Was this an hallucination? Alas, in crossing the sim Jamie had been teleported to nowhere and so the ship had to park up and wait for her to relog.
Once Jamie returned, we were about to continue on the journey when Phedre asked if her friend could join us. And so Kamala Hesse teleported in. Once she took her seat, we continued on our way.
One of the fun things about this kind of travelling, is stumbling across interesting builds. This makes it worth flying the airship low enough to see ground-level stuff. The danger, though, lies in high-rise builds looming out of nowhere and getting the airship stuck on them. Or, worse still, striking those red ‘private area, no entry’ barriers, because if you do that you are catapulted from the airship. You can fly high and avoid obstacles, but then you do not see much apart from blue sky, clouds, and the odd unfinished build.
Talking of interesting stuff, we came across a tower of pictures.
I wish I had gotten a landmark of this. I wonder how long it takes to walk from bottom to top? BTW, we parked here not just because we wanted to admire the tower of pictures, but because of another hazardous aspect of this kind of travel. When you TP someone to join, there is a danger that they will rez into thin air, and promptly fall. Of course, it does no harm, but the bewildered resident does sometimes wonder ‘hey what happened? Where are my friends?’. Such a fate befell Rosie Blackrain, who was invited by Kamala. “OMG! They killed Rosie! Those BASTARDS!”, joked Pyotr as the poor girl materialized in thin air before falling to the ground. Once she had managed to fly up to the ship (“yayy I made it”). We continued.
We had gotten into the habit of sounding off each time we crossed a sim. Each person would say ‘still here!’ or something like that, and if someone did not answer I would stop the ship and we would wait for them to return. But this was only viable so long as I was not the one who suffered some kind of sim crossing accident, because only I can operate my airship. At one point upon crossing a sim, I suddenly found myself sat alone in empty air. No airship, no friends, nothing but myself and empty sky. Fortunately, after a few moments I was suddenly back on my airship. Another potential problem came to mind. When I journeyed to the ski resort by sky diving, I was travelling at a fast pace. But the stately pace at which my airship was travelling might have meant this trip could take ages. How far did we have left to go? I had no idea, but decided to open the throttle and get up to high speed.
Not long after, I got the sign that the destination was getting nearer. When you within 1000 or so metres of your destination, a red column appears on the horizon. We steered towards the red column. At this point, we had our final accident. Pyotr had been perched rather precariously on the edge of the airship, and he promptly fell off. So I took this nice picture while waiting for him to return:
After Pyotr returned safely to his seat, it took only a few more minutes before we arrived at our destination. Settling the airship down on the ground, my passangers and I hopped off. I began to look around. Where was the ski-jump? I did not know which direction it would be in. As I was wandering off in what looked like the right direction, someone shouted ‘Welcome, Visitors!’. This ‘someone’ turned out to be Jack Belvedere, who was ‘standing around being completely unproductive’ and promptly flew over to guide us to the ski-jump. Jack turned out to be a member of the Living Dead, but his zombified nature did not stop him from being very friendly and helpful. With his guidance, we found the ski-jump (it was in the complete opposite direction to which I gone looking for it).
Well, my first attempt at ski-jumping was not exactly a textbook example. With all the areodynamics of a brick, I tumbled off the edge of the jump and ended up a snowball of flying limbs and ski accessories, earning the less-than impressive score of 0.0.
Jamie, though, was a natural at this. Looking every inch the professional skiier, she launched into the air and scored 109.60.
In fact, Jamie was so good it did not take long for her average score to succeed my very best effort of 152 metres.
Well, if you want to know how Pyotr, Phedre, Kamala, Jamie and I got on, aparrently you can view our ski-jump stats at http://stats.globalonlinehockey.com/coop/skiJump.aspx.
I really enjoyed our trip, fraught with hazards though it was. This is what SL is all about: Communication through shared experiences, making new friends, and enjoying the entertainment other residents took the time and care to create.