Traveling at the speed of ether, in Second Life or SL
NEW YORK (AP) -- The tour was a whirlwind: dancing at a beachside disco in Spain surrounded by scantily clad women, grabbing a seat at a lively pub in Dublin, flying in a small aircraft above a lush, tropical forest. Time elapsed? Less than two hours. With no tickets required, no money spent and no need to leave your seat, touring in the virtual world of "Second Life" holds a certain appeal for travelers willing to delve deep into the Internet to find their escape.
Visitors need only download a free program, then log in. With the help of elaborate 3-D locales designed and built by the world's residents, tourists can watch their online embodiments - known as their avatars - lounge at the beach, dine at a romantic restaurant, or go out dancing at a crowded nightclub.
Like in the real world, it's easy to get lost. Longtime inhabitants of "Second Life" are creating automated tours, opening virtual travel agencies and even publishing travel guidebooks modeled after those seen in the hands of confused tourists.
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