|‘Welcome Obama’ graffiti on the roadside opposite my Yangon hotel|
© Andy Brown/Burma 2012
Hotel prices in Yangon have rocketed this year with the influx of companies and development agencies, so I was staying at the ridiculously overpriced Excel Treasure Hotel, or ‘cel easure Hotl’ as the faulty neon sign had it. For over $100 US dollars a night, I got a room next to an eight lane highway that was so noisy you couldn’t even watch TV. The hotel was shabby and run down, although you could arguably blame sanctions rather than the management. Half the lights in my room were dead, the shower didn’t work and the iron burned my shirt. For my own sanity I had to ignore the cockroach that scurried down the bathroom drain when I went in. On the other hand, the staff were friendly and there were a few charming old world touches, like bellmen in the lifts, which I had only previously seen in 1950s Hollywood movies.