Empty monasteries, severed telecommunications and a sullen, beaten silence that seems to envelop the whole country.
It doesn't just feel like a defeat for the Burmese people; it feels like the end of an era that began at the other end of Southeast Asia two decades ago with the non-violent overthrow of the Marcos regime in the Philippines by "people power."
For a while, non-violent revolutions seemed almost unstoppable: Bangladesh, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia all followed the Filipino example, overthrowing military rule and moving to open democratic systems after decades of oppression.
And then the contagion spread to Europe.
The Berlin Wall came down in late 1989, the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe melted away with scarcely a shot fired, and by 1991 the Soviet Union itself had gone into liquidation.
The trend continued right into the 21st century, with undemocratic regimes being forced to yield power by unarmed protestors from Serbia to Georgia to Nepal.
But there were always exceptions, and exceptions are always instructive. The greatest of these has been Burma.
Entranced by the seeming ease with which their neighbours were dumping their dictators, and emboldened by the transfer of power from General Ne Win (who had been in power for a quarter-century) to a junta of lesser generals, Burmese civilians ventured into the streets to demand democracy way back in 1988.
The army slaughtered 3,000 of them in the streets of Rangoon, whisking the bodies away to be burned, and the protestors went very quiet.
It was this victory for repression in Burma that gave the Chinese Communist regime the confidence to do the same thing in Tiananmen Square the following year, and it worked there, too. The regime is still firmly in power 18 years later.
Non-violent protest is a powerful tactic, but no tactic works against a regime that is willing to commit a massacre and can persuade its troops to carry out its orders.
The emotion that non-violence works on is shame. Most people feel that murdering large numbers of their fellow citizens on the streets in broad daylight is a shameful act, and even if the privileged people at the top of a regime can smother that emotion, their soldiers - who have to do the actual killing - may not be able to.
If you cannot be sure your soldiers will obey that order, then it is wise not to give it, since you present them with a dilemma that can only be resolved by turning their weapons against the regime.
So non-violent revolution often succeeds - but not if the army is sufficiently isolated from the public.
Before the Chinese regime ordered the attack on Tiananmen, it withdrew the entire Beijing garrison (which it believed had been contaminated by close contact with the public), and replaced it with divisions brought in from the deep interior of the country.
The Burmese army is profoundly isolated from the civilian public. Its officers have become a separate, self-recruiting caste that enjoys great privileges, and its soldiers are country boys - not one in a hundred is from Rangoon or Mandalay.
The regime has even moved the capital from Rangoon to the preposterous, newly built jungle "city" of Naypyidaw, whose only business is government.
So when the protestors came out into the streets again recently, led this time by monks whose prestige made many believe the army would not dare touch them, the regime simply started killing again.
People got the message very quickly: nobody who defies the regime is safe. Not even monks.
The Burmese are now pinning their hopes on foreign intervention, but that is never going to happen.
But sooner or later, the extreme corruption of the army's senior officers will destroy its discipline.
In the meantime, more years of tyranny are probably in store for Burma, where only Aung San Suu Kyi, the heroic symbol of Burmese democracy who lives under semi-permanent house arrest, bears witness.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 firstname.lastname@example.org