Obamas on family holiday in Indonesia

UBUD • Mr Barack Obama kicked off a 10-day family holiday in Indonesia that will include Bali and Jakarta, the city where he spent part of his childhood, officials said yesterday.

The casually dressed former American president arrived in the resort island of Bali with his wife Michelle and their two daughters, a local military commander said.

"They arrived late last night and went straight to the hotel in Ubud," military commander I Gede Widiyana told Agence France-Presse.

Mr Obama woke up early and did some exercise in the lush green riverside resort, he said, but it was not known how the family would spend their time in the quiet and artsy Ubud area.

Next week, the family is slated to depart for Yogyakarta, where they are expected to visit ancient Borobudur temples. They will spend two days there before flying to Jakarta.

Mr Obama spent four years until 1970 as a boy in the then sleepy capital of Indonesia after his divorced mother married an Indonesian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZCihFEGqEk

Many Indonesians feel a strong bond with him because of his exposure to Indonesia and its culture, even making him a 2m-high bronze statue that was placed in his former school.

The statue of "Little Barry" - as Mr Obama was known to his Indonesian school friends - depicts him as a young boy dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, with a butterfly perched on his hand.

Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said Mr Obama's holiday in Indonesia came after several invitations from President Joko Widodo. While in the capital, he will meet Mr Joko on Friday and give a speech at an Indonesian diaspora convention the next day.

The Indonesian media reported that soldiers have been deployed to ensure the Obamas are safe.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 25, 2017, with the headline 'Obamas on family holiday in Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe