Police officers guard a check point at an entrance to the new Olympic Park in Sochi. Russia has spent about $51 billion to deliver the Winter Olympics in Sochi. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
It's 5:30 a.m. here in Sochi, and there are simply not enough hours in the day. I can tell because outside my hotel window throughout the night, I hear constant drilling and jack-hammering.
The show is days from going on, and construction has a bit of catching up to do. Sure there are thousands of palm trees, but landscaping looks last-minute, with a muddy runoff around Olympic Park...quite a contrast to the pristine Mountain region we saw yesterday.
The highway system and rails were impressive -- proof of what Russian President Vladimir Putin's $8 billion bought. And stores in the mountain villages are putting the finishing touches on for massive crowds of shoppers. We saw a lot of high-end Russian stores but also plenty of familiar names: North Face, Columbia, even Marriott.
It was enough to make you feel a bit like back home, more than 5,000 miles away.