As he exited the women's gymnastics team finals Wednesday, Baker said, "We went to the Olympics in Greece and it's a little bit more hostile here because you see the volunteers ... sort of marching down the street. On every corner, you see a soldier holding a big automatic gun."
"When we were in Athens, we were much more at ease, compared to here," Baker continued.
Baker's friend Raleigh Young agreed. "They are kind of like on edge a little bit."
Nearby, Yi Guicun, from northeast China, exited the Olympic Green after attending women's synchronized diving at the Water Cube, saying that buying tickets was "very difficult, extremely difficult."
He is right. Tickets for events in Beijing sold out in four hectic phases of ticket sales.
With a rare ticket in hand, Yi took an overnight train to reach Beijing, sitting up in a seat for the duration of the trip.
"My dream is to participate in the Olympics," Yi told ABC News.
As Yi was sharing his experiences on the sun-baked sidewalk, 15 ticketless fans gathered around to hear about his experience just inside the Green.
When ABC News surveyed the small crowd, only one had a ticket to an event -- and it was to be held in Tianjin, 45 minutes outside Beijing by train.
Another person in the group said, "I don't need to try. I know I can't get in. I don't have tickets."
Wrapped in an American flag, American Rachel Hoops couldn't help but notice the crowds of Chinese on the sidewalk, each hoping to catch a glimpse of their Olympics.
"We've been lucky enough to see some of the events, but I think it's not the same for other people," Hoops said.
"It's been kind of sad," she said. "We've talked to a lot of Beijing people here, and they are really sad and they feel like they have gotten nothing from the Olympics."
Hoops, who often travels to Beijing to visit her family, said, "A lot of things have just been causing problems [in Beijing]. Construction all these years ... and, finally, it's arrived and they are just getting very little payoff."
Brennan, the Olympics expert, wonders if perhaps the lonely Olympic Green is a manifestation of Chinese society.
"Not everyone reacts the same way [Westerners] do," Brennan said. "Maybe we are seeing [Chinese society] play out in many different ways, and this is China, which is to say it might be a little bit more rigid, more buttoned-down, certainly more buttoned-down than Australia."
But one local fan, who had been trying to catch a glimpse of the Water Cube, disagreed adamantly.
"We Chinese people like to gather together. We are friendly. We like to be together, and not shut ourselves in a room to watch [the Olympics]."