Normal service has been resumed

Updated: August 28, 2004, 9:02 AM ET
By Brian Church | Special to ESPN Insider
ATHENS, Greece – She's back. And how we've all missed her.

The old Athens, banished to the sidelines for the Olympics, is steadily returning.

Yesterday, in a fit of nationalist hysteria, Greek fans booed and held up the men's 200-meter final in protest at the absence of local hero and drug test-avoider Costas Kenteris.

Today, we had our first almost post-Olympics protest, with central Athens streets sealed off and policemen huddled together to stop marchers heading for the U.S. embassy a mile or so away. They were protesting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Athens this weekend.

In various incidents around the route of the march, we had a bit of tear gas, smashed windows and some police clubbing, but nothing serious. At 8:10 p.m. we marched past the clock saying 25 minutes to 1. Hey, there's the one-legged panhandler. Hello, stray dog. I feel so happy. Normal service has been resumed.