Jakarta

Obama's former house in
Jakarta up for sale

BEWARE OF DOG: An Indonesian "Beware of Dog" sign sits in front of the two home compound of which the house where Obama lived in Indonesia, right, is part Tuesday in Jakarta. (AP/Ed Wray)
BEWARE OF DOG: An Indonesian "Beware of Dog" sign sits in front of the two home compound of which the house where Obama lived in Indonesia, right, is part Tuesday in Jakarta. (AP/Ed Wray)
The small colonial-style house Barack Obama lived in as a child has received a steady stream of visitors ahead of the U.S. presidential election, from potential buyers and journalists, to a businessman who wants to turn it into the "Sweet Home Obama Bar."

Tata Aboe Bakar, the 78-year-old owner, is in little mood to sell, noting that the property, sequestered between a large mosque and park in an upscale neighborhood of the Indonesian capital, has been in the family since 1939.

Much, he said, would depend on the price.

The two-bedroom pavilion Obama lived in - initially built as a guesthouse - would be sold with the main, sprawling residence next door and the 12,900 sq. foot (1,200 sq. meter) plot of land. Together, they have an estimated market value of $3 million dollars. And that does not take into account the potential Obama-factor if the Democratic presidential candidate wins on Nov. 4.

Aboe Bakar says one broker claimed a U.S. Embassy official was ready to pay five times its worth if that happened, though Tristram Perry, the embassy's public diplomacy officer, said he was not aware of any such offer.

Obama moved to Jakarta with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather in 1967, spending the first two years in another humble home, where chickens and ducks used to cackle in the backyard and two baby crocodiles slithered around in a fenced-off pond.

They relocated to the small red-tile roofed pavilion with art deco windows on Taman Amir Hamzah Street in 1970 when Obama was 9 years old and stayed there for the next two years.

BARACK'S BARRACK: Syahhrial Rozali, the current resident of the house where U.S. Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama lived as a child, walks in front of the home Tuesday Oct. 28, 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Anticipation that Barack Obama may soon be the next U.S. presiden
BARACK'S BARRACK: Syahhrial Rozali, the current resident of the house where U.S. Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama lived as a child, walks in front of the home Tuesday in Jakarta. (AP/Ed Wray)
Aboe Bakar has few stories to tell about Obama as a child, except the time his poodle ran away, never to be seen again.

"Oh, he cried for two days," the former Navy admiral said, wearily taking a drag from his third cigarette as he showed off a long list of visitors who have knocked on his door in recent weeks.

He also flashed a photograph of the young family sitting on a wooden bench in the front yard that, like much else, remains in place nearly four decades later.

Among those who have expressed interest in the house have been Bart Bartele, a Dutchman who owns several popular pubs in Jakarta.

He says he offered to rent the smaller pavilion to open the "Sweet Home Obama Bar" - a cafe that would feature an "Obama-blend coffee," a mix of beans from Kenya and Java. He would also serve "stroopwafels," a caramel-type treat brought to Indonesia during the centuries-long occupation of the Dutch.

"The idea is to have snacks, simple food and maybe some merchandise," Bartele said, adding that he was not certain, with all the recent interest, if Aboe Bakar would go for it. "We'll see. It's mostly just for fun anyway."

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