A Little Corner of Nepal in Second Life

(The photographs here are from a pair of different visits to the region, just in case you’re wondering why I’m looking so different.  The pictures are linked; click through for the full size.)

Yak & Yeti has a reputation as a store where you can get wonderful Indian-style clothes — saris and similar — for an excellent price:  free.  Y&Y’s owner, Annapurna Onomatopoeia, chooses to let her creations go to anybody who stops by to visit the store, which is up on a mountainside in Hidden Beach Island region.

But here’s a tip:  don’t just immure yourself in the store.  Step out the door and turn right, go past the prayer flag, and follow the trekking footpath around the mountainside.  A warning, though:  if you hate falling into the drink, take care.  The path is as precipitous in spots as any goat track in the real Nepal.

Stop for a moment when you get halfway across the bridge, and take a look below.  Whoever terraformed this section did a wonderful job; you have a rushing mountain stream beneath your feet; and, as you’re facing forward, on your left in the gorge you’ll see what looks like another bridge farther down.  It’s not — it’s a water mill that drives three large prayer wheels continuously.

Each revolution of a wheel sends up a prayer by tradition, so the wheels are continuously “praying.”

You have your choice of continuing around the mountain or descending to the valley behind you; keep on going to your right.  As you cross another hair-raising footbridge — did I mention you’d better have a head for heights? — you’ll find something painted on the side of the mountain.  Touching it informs you that it’s the Om Mane Padme Hum, the mantra best known by most westerners, if nothing else by comedy sketch.

Look carefully as you go, and not just to make sure you’re setting your feet in the right places.  There are poseballs scattered about, just like in any good “tourist” sim, but the physical ball is small and relatively unobtrusive, so you don’t have those honkin’ big patches of weird colors all around.  Instead of being as big as a soccer ball, it’s more like a grapefruit.  Any road, you can do many of the things you’d expect in a Nepalese region, like take a moment to meditate on the Eternal Verities and the beauty of the digital sea centimeters away from where you sit (in straight-line; it’s a little farther down. : )

Cross a plank bridge after you rise from your meditations, and then go left when you’re given the choice.  As you continue down, you’ll find a lovely little shrine.  You should at least pause and greet the peace of the area….

Oh, yes; back behind you, you’ll find a sign in both English and Nepalese warning you about altitude sickness, and what you should do in case you succumb to it.

From this place, you can return to the store by a steep footpath, continue to the valley (where there’s a small club — do you like yak-butter tea?), another shrine, and a sort of tourist kiosk for the real Nepal.  Worth a look in.  As another option, you can slip down another hair-raising climb to the deep part of a gorge separating two areas of the region.  You see, the Little Nepal area is only about half of the region.  It looks like the other half is being developed into a sort of Bavarian/German/Swiss thing, but it’s incomplete as of this writing.  You might want to fly over the barrier wall — there’s no walking access yet that I’ve found — and investigate.

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