Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek

Rangoon's Mix of Colonial and Modern

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    Following the release of political prisoners, relaxed censorship and other legal reforms, and the lifting of sanctions, Myanmar is shaping up as Asia's next hot investment market. As foreign speculators and developers flock to Yangon (formerly Rangoon), photographer Christopher Wise captured life in the city's business open markets and ex-pat bars. If nothing else, Yangon today is proof that money abhors a vacuum.

    Sitting at the center of Yangon (Rangoon), the Sule Pagoda is said to have been built in the time of the first Buddha (about 2,500 years ago).

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Burma's colonial past is everywhere crumbling, being demolished, or eyed for tourist-friendly restoration.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    There are no European or North American fast-food chains in Myanmar as yet, but at least one Yangon doughnut shop has a familiar color scheme.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    British expat Tony Picon, pictured in front of the former office of Bombay Printing Company in Yangon's "Little India," has sold dozens of copies (at $350 a pop) of a report on real estate he put together for U.S. and European companies looking to get the green light to invest in Myanmar.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    A slice of Soho in the heart of Yangon, the 50th Street Bar is as good a place as any to gauge the excitement level of European investors.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    One building that will not be saved by foreign investors.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Need a sign for your business? They're still cut and painted by hand on Yangon's Pansodan Street.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    The modern shopping mall at Pyay Road and Kyun Daw Street, Junction Square Center, is a study in contrast in Yangon.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    The former office of the Immigration and Manpower Department (next to Rangoon City Hall) gets a face-lift. Note the bamboo scaffolds.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Lei Lei Myint, a former political prisoner who has her own guide business, Myanmar Pearl Travel & Tours, stands before another British relic, the former Pegu Club.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    A sign for one of only two state-owned banks on Yangon's Merchant Street. Myanmar's currency is the kyat.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    A bicycle and trishaw repair shop on Anawrahta Road.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    The former Office of the Secretariat complex, a legacy of British rule and where, in 1947, Aung San, "father of modern Burma," and literal father of Nobelist Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Boston-based architect and developer Richard Friedman and his partner Patrick "House of Blues" Lyons wonder if the Secretariat complex has potential as a 500-room resort hotel.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Sign of the times on Anawrahta Road. Myanmar's ruling junta may have kept the country in the international doghouse for decades, but the Burmese have long invited visitors.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Two Buddhist nuns get caught in a June shower. The monsoon season runs May to September.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    All the news that's fit to pedal.

    Photograph by Christopher Wise for Bloomberg Businessweek