The Olympics came, bringing color, joy, sound, culture. People arrived with drums, face paint, flags, chants. For two and a half weeks, they helped transform the city into a place befitting the center of the world, giving us something to smile about and take pictures of (or with) every step of the way.
And now it's gone, all gone. Only a few reminders of the big party are left, regular tourists who have stayed to watch the city's post-Olympic depression manifest itself in the empty streets, the folded-up volunteer kiosks, the subway tunnels where once again the only faces are those of the Chinese. The clamor has been turned down. Life returned to normal. I can't bear to even turn on the TV because all I'd see are reruns -- reminders of what was.