The family stayed instead in Matraman-Dalam, on a short block of single-story, detached houses, a stone’s throw from a traditional Indonesian neighborhood of narrow, winding streets. Though he lived in that neighborhood for only two years, Mr. Obama left a lasting impression because of his outgoing and sometimes rowdy personality. "Barry was so naughty that my father even scolded him one time," said Sonni Gondokusumo, 49, a former neighbor and classmate.
Mr. Obama’s family rented the guest house inside a compound belonging to a prominent physician. There, according to the neighborhood’s longtime residents, the young Obama, who had already experienced differences in class and religion in his short stay in Indonesia, was exposed to another aspect of Jakarta’s diversity. His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said. The nanny later joined a group of transvestites called Fantastic Dolls, who, like the many transvestites who remain fixtures of Jakarta’s streetscape, entertained people by dancing and playing volleyball.