Next Stop, the 2014 Olympics

Sochi, the newly crowned host of the 2014 Winter Olympics and situated on the Black Sea coast of Russia, wasn't always gold medal–worthy. In fact, when photographer Joshua Paul visited the just opened Krasnaya Polyana ski resort outside of town in 2004, the place was in shambles and his greeting party consisted of the primate at right. "He was a Russian version of an organ-grinder's monkey, dressed in instructors' gear," Paul says. "And to take a picture of him cost me fifty rubles." But since then the sleepy mountain re­­treat has risen to the levels of the great Eu­­ro­pean resorts. Top-quality hotels have sprung up, direct two-and-a-half-hour flights from Moscow are plentiful, and a true infrastructure has been put in place in preparation for the Games, which are sure to bring boom-time dollars into the area. It all promises to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.