Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Traveling back to Steelhead Shanghai

If you’re over 18 and looking for an unusual SL site to visit, take a trip to Steelhead Shanghai, an 1890’s Chinatown community located along the Pacific Northwest coast. The notecard describes Steelhead Shanghai as a community “built up by the oriental railroad workers of the old country. The town is darker than the rest of its beautiful neighboring cities, an ever present fog rolls under the streets over the water, junk boats litter the bay as a few merchants with heavily loaded small boats push their way through the water. Some boats are packed with fresh fruit to sell, others have more... nefarious dealings.”

I started my journey at Luminous Designs Gardens, located at Steelhead Shanghai (71, 70, 27). The garden is near a rushing creek, and wind chimes add to the ambiance. Luminous Designs, which can be reached from the gardens by either steep steps or a teleporter, offers interesting clothes and accessories for ladies and gents.

If shopping isn’t on your list of tourist activities, stay on the garden level and walk around the harbor area. Steelhead Shanghai is a mix of a working class Asian, Steampunk fun, and adult amusements. Zoning didn’t exist in the 1890s, which allows for a colorful, eclectic mix of buildings and enterprises on this site.

Near the gardens is the tranquil and sophisticated Tokaido Art Gallery, located at Steelhead Shanghai (42, 75, 29) Currently it is featuring "Bridge from Afar: Images of Old Tokyo and Kyoto", which are images and photographs by Steadman Kondor. In the front of the gallery, you can enjoy a cup of green tea as you listen to the narration. Kondor has also created original art depicting traditional and modern Japan that you can view. In the back room you can relax and watch Japanese dance performances.

From the Gallery, walk back toward the gardens and descend the bridge into Oriental Steampunk to tour the Steelhead Cannery. Hold your nose -- the table of salmon filets smells a bit, but they will taste yummy. Go into the cannery to see the steam driven conveyor belt and stacks of canned salmon. Outside the cannery you can pick up a free cold one, courtesy of Sylva's Animation Factory, to help wash down the fishy odor.

This area is clearly a working man's neighborhood. The streets are narrow and everything looks more than a little sinister. Follow the wooden planks behind the Cannery, and you'll come to a hog pen. Continue around the corner to find more workers housing and machinery. If you’re mechanically inclined, you can work a grinder in one carpenter’s shop. Barges are tied up here, and for $125L you can buy a flatbed barge of your own. But the area isn’t all work. You and your friends can play a game of Mahjong at Steelhead Shanghai (51, 221, 23).

Nearby is Shamian Alley & Shanghai Boardwalk, Steelhead Shanghai (50, 187, 23). This store sells beds, animations, and a most interesting device, Dr. Quicksand's Electro- Massage machine. This shop has adult content, so tourist beware. But for the curious adventurer, Dr. Quicksand’s device is very, shall we say, stimulating. Further down the Alley is the Shanghai Trading Company, where you can find oriental furniture, rugs, and wall hangings.

A large shrine sits in the harbor, reachable by bridges that link the different areas. There are notecards and information about Steelhead Shanghai here. The Shrine can be rented for special events, too. Contact Krystine Qinan for more information. Be sure to ring the Prosperity Bell for good luck!

The Shanghai Free Market is a site for the citizens of Steelhead to sell their wares, located at Shanghai free Market, Steelhead Shanghai (198, 75, 27). Open stalls are set out in rows, and a stage area is off to the side for local musicians to perform. The market looks like a dangerous place to be after dark, and I was glad I visited during the day.

Watch your step around the harbor area of Shanghai. Boards are rotted and the area appears to be a bit on the wild and dangerous side. I nearly turned back when I turned a corner and walked into a beautifully maintained Zen garden. A sweet cat named Beatrice seemed content and happy here. Rows of nicely maintained rooms surround the gardens and a koi pond.

Down on the harbor, I found a 7Seas fishing spot, located at Steelhead Shanghai (196, 132, 21). I wouldn’t want to eat any fish that came from this part of the harbor, but I caught a rare white jellyfish that I’ll keep as a souvenir. Not that I will need a reminder. Steelhead Shanghai is such an unusual concept, and so perfectly implemented, that I will never forget my visit.

Grey Lupindo


  1. Thanks for taking the time to explore Shanghai. You found things I didn't even know were there, and I live in Steelhead!

  2. As one who lived there until I left SL, I have nothing but praise for the area - a great place to live & play!