The second week of the 2008 Summer Games began with a markedly more cheerful tone, in no small part due to large doses of pure sunshine and relaxed security -- with officials seemingly less worried about attacks and political protests.
From the Olympic green to the center of Beijing, smiling volunteers and avid sports fans have trickled out into the glum, tightly controlled capital we saw during the opening ceremonies on Aug. 8. Though tourist numbers are still far below what the city and businesses hoped, Olympic tourists, journalists, athletes and family members -- easy to spot because most wear their large lanyards everywhere -- have crept into most corners of the city.
My favorite Beijing Olympic moment came late Saturday night after leaving a tennis match: Across the street from the athlete's housing stands a Chinese residential quarter blocked off from the Olympic venues by a five-foot tall white road barricade. The locals, ever pragmatic, saw the barricade as an opportunity and had turned into a makeshift net across which they played badminton and shuttlecock under the nearly full moon.