In Indonesia, Obama reflects on Jakarta’s changes

Padang on the four years he spent here as a child, visiting US President Barack Obama said that Jakarta has changed so much.

“I barely recognize the city … Sarinah used to be the tallest building and now it is one of the shorter buildings on the road,” Obama said at a press conference at the State Palace on Tuesday.

Obama said he was grateful to be back in his childhood hometown with US first lady Michelle Obama and that he planned to return to Indonesia with his two daughters to visit the country’s cultural sites.

Visiting the city as the US president was disorienting, Obama said.

“The landscape has changed completely since I was here in 1967. I remember people on ‘becak’ - bicycle rickshaw things - or ‘bemos’, which were sort of like mobile taxis…Now, as president, I can’t see the traffic. The streets are blocked,” he said, followed by laughter from a crowd of officials and reporters.

Obama thanked the Indonesian people for a warm welcome.

“I feel great affection for people here,” he said. (gzl[tjp])


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