Which means that life can go back to normal for the Chinese people, this time with a greater sense of global acceptance and purpose. The many Beijingers who volunteered in some way for the Olympics can now get on with the business of life without constant slogans and reminders to prepare and preen for the sake of proving to the world that China is as powerful and sophisticated as any country in the world. The curtain has come down, to use an overused metaphor, and everyone is catching their breath.
Many of the security volunteers are still out on the street wearing their red and white shirts, preparing to serve another group of guests, here for the Paralympics. For the most part, though, Beijingers are back in their day-to-day uniforms. Beijing's old folk, not particularly affected by the Games, are out, as usual, fanning themselves and talking amongst themselves in the streets. There are certainly far fewer bewildered and lost foreigners out on the streets. The sense of urgency is gone.