BEIJING, China (KHNL) -- When Athens, Greece earned the bid to host the 2004 summer games over China, Beijing vowed to come back with a vengeance. The plan was to wow the International Olympic Committee the next time around.
It did, and now the people of this rapidly changing city are eager to show it off, as I recently learned "On the Road to Beijing."
Dream big and spend big. It may not have been the spoken goal of the Beijing Olympic Committee, but it is without doubt the ultimate result.
In a city that prides itself on it's ancient traditions, architects and organizers took a huge leap into the future in anticipation of these summer games.
When the games get under way on 8-8 zero, eight athletes will be competing for gold in 31 different venues. But center stage will be right here, at the new national stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest.
Built at a cost of nearly a half billion dollars, the 100,000 seat stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as dozens of athletic events throughout the two weeks of competition.
"The capacity of the birds next is about 100,000 people and it's said to be the world's largest environmental stadium," said Beijing resident Michellen Chen.
Another crown jewel of this 29th Olympiad is the glittering national aquatics center, named "H20-3."
A gift donated to the city of Beijing by Chinese associations in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and beyond.
A beaming symbol of unity and national pride.
In all more than $2 billion will be spend of the Olympic venues. A drop in the bucket when compared to the more than $40 billion being spent on roads, subways and buildings in preparation of the games.
But while most of it is spectacular, not everyone is thrilled about the changing face of Beijing.
"From my professional instincts, of course I am very excited, but I am not that excited about skyscraper everywhere," said architect Yeng Peng. "I don't think that's a very beautiful scene in some ways."