Like Australia itself, the Australian-themed Big Pond gateway community is vast, comprising 16 sims with names such as Ponderama, Pondune, Pondessa, and Pondune. Big Pond is far to large to cover in this article, which will be restricted to the area for new Second Life members.
When you first land at the orientation area, you are given the choice of going to the training area or to Ponderama. If you’re new to Second Life, start by going to the training area. Be sure to join the Pond Orientation Group first; you are given the option when you first land in the orientation area. The training area is open only to members of this group.
Once in the training area, there are signs telling you basics of functioning in Second Life, and you are given free vehicles, including a horse. After you have acquired some basic Second Life skills in the training area, you can return to the starting point and go to Ponderama. You’ll see a small airplane waiting for you. Sit on it and it will take you on a tour, both flying through the air and underwater, finally landing at Pondling’s Camp. The first picture on the right shows the Community Hut in Pondling’s Camp.
At Pondling’s Camp, you can set your Home to there, giving you a home base in Second Life, where you can meet other new members, and from which you can explore the rest of Big Pond and Second Life. To teleport to the Big Pond orientation area, go to slurl.com/secondlife/Pondessa/126/165/31.
Dnncing in the Blarney Stone
Dublin in SL is a gateway community for newcomers, but is also a place that many Second Life old timers will love. Like Big Pond, is too much here to cover in these few paragraphs. You can learn a lot more by going to its website www.dublinsl.com. In Dublin in SL’s three sims you’ll find Dublin famous pubs, such as the Blarney Stone, pictured here on the right, a pool hall, a soccer stadium, regular music performances, and a literary pub crawl.
In the landing area, newcomers will find tutorial Second Life signs and a line of about a dozen free avatars that you can choose from if you want an easy way of changing your appearance. There are classes about Second Life on Tuesdays and Thursdays; for more information, login to Second Life and send an IM to Elwe Eldrich or Ginger Marseille. There is also a guided flying tour of Dublin, though the instructions may be complex for people new to Second Life.
You can teleport to Dublin in SL’s orientation area by clicking slurl.com/secondlife/Dublin/234/146/25.
The Bosphorus Brige
The Bosphorus is a waterway separating Europe from Turkey. In Second Life, it’s a gateway community, Virtual Bosphorus. The orientation area is for Turkish speakers only, but this should not deter English speakers from visiting. The rest of Second Life’s Bosphorus has signs that are mostly in English.
When you leave the orientation area, you are on the Bosphorus Bridge, which is an extension of the orientation area. Most English speakers will find it more productive to fly from the bridge to the left, where you will find a Turkish bath (complete with free tradional bath clothing and pose balls for both male-female and same sex massage!), a large shopping area, venues for music performances, and two museums. The Ataturk Museum contains extensive information about Turkey’s revered early twentieth century leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The Ottoman Museum contains historical artifacts of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey’s seven century long empire. The museum contains no information about the items in it, limiting its usefulness.
There are some technical glitches to be aware of. If you left click the teleport signs, you are teleported without warning and if you right click, the word "Teleport" never appears in the pie chart. You have to click "Sit Here" to teleport. If you try to teleport from the Turkish Bath to the Ottoman Museum, you’ll end up in a retail store instead.
You can learn more by joining Second Life’s Virtual Bosphorus Group, and you can teleport there at slurl.com/secondlife/Bosphorus/25/243/36.