Nusa Dua (Bali) : First, US President Barack Obama, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao followed by Cambodia’s Hun Senâ€¦ Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a hectic morning Friday as he held bilateral talks with the three leaders in venues minutes away from each but several miles away from his hotel.
While the Asean and East Asia summits are being held in Nusa Dua, several leaders, including Obama and Wen are also staying in this picturesque part of the Indonesian island. The Indian media delegation is also staying in one of the many resorts in the area. However, Manmohan Singh is staying at the Hotel Ayana Resort in Jimbaran, about a 30 minute drive away.
So, the morning started with him meeting Obama at the Grand Hyatt hotel, where the US president is staying for the summit. He then moved to the Hotel Laguna in the vicinity for talks with Wen and then to the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre to meet the Cambodian prime minister.
With so many heads of state and VIPs in Bali for the parallel summits, authorities must have had a tough time accommodating them all. But then in this idyllic tourist destination, hotels are not really in short supply.
Obama back in Indonesia
US President Barack Obama finds himself back in the country he spent his childhood years in. The first African American president of the US spent the years between 1967 and 1971 in Indonesia capital Jakarta with his mother and Indonesia stepfather.
The son of a black Kenyan father and a white American mother, it was in Indonesia when he was nine years old that the significance of his being a different colour hit him
His mother had left the young Barry in a library when he started leafing through the collection of Life magazines and came across the photograph of a man with a ghostly blue pallor. But he wasn’t sick.
“The man had received a chemical treatment, the article explained, to lighten his complexion… There were thousands of people like him, black men and women back in America who’d undergone the same treatment in response to advertisements that promised happiness as a white person.
“I felt my face and neck get hot… I had a desperate urge to jump out of my seat, to show them what I had learned, to demand some explanation or assurance,” Obama writes in his autobiography “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Life and Inheritance”.
When he came to Jakarta last year, he had said: “Obviously, much has been made of the fact that this marks my return to where I lived as a young boy,” he said. “I will tell you, though, that I barely recognised it as I was driving down the streets. The only thing that was there when I first moved to Jakarta was Serena (a shopping mall); now it’s one of the shorter buildings on the road.”
Sea , sun and sand
You can smell it, feel it but can’t “sea” it. For journalists covering Prime Minister ManmohanSingh’s visit, the famed beaches and sun and spray of Bali were a classic case of so tantalisingly near and yet so frustratingly far.
As they moved from one picturesque resort to another, many just waited for those elusive free hours when they could walk on the beach. But Manmohan Singh is a tough man and leaves Saturday evening itself for Singapore.The long walk on the beach against the setting sun may have to wait.
Security, US style
Sniffer dog, hold rooms – for journalists, not luggage – and terse instructions to not stray from the single line queue. Security was tough for those going inside to witness the first few minutes of the Manmohan Singh-Barack Obama meeting.
The meeting was held at the Grand Hyatt hotel where Obama is staying.
The Chinese security seemed surprisingly more relaxed and other than the long wait, there wasn’t too much of a drill to follow.