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Obama says visiting Jakarta a little disorienting


Jakarta: US President Barack Obama Tuesday said returning to Indonesia was a “little disorienting” as the city had changed completely since he lived there as a child in the 1960s.

Obama said the tallest building in Jakarta during his childhood was now among the shorter ones now, but that the “sights and sounds are familiar”.

“When I first came here in 1967, people were on becaks (rickshaws), if there weren’t on becaks they were on bemos (motorized rickshaws),” Obama said at a news conference after talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“I feel great affection for the people here,” he said. “My sister is half-Indonesian and my mother worked here for a long time.”

Obama joked that he did not get to see the traffic congestion Jakarta is notorious for because the streets were blocked to allow his motorcade to pass unhindered.

“My understanding is Jakarta traffic is pretty tough,” he said.

Obama lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971 after his mother married an Indonesian.