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Obamas' vacation all pau

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:42 a.m. HST, Jan 4, 2011

President Barack Obama and his family left last night for Washington, D.C., after a low-key Hawaii vacation that included beach time, golf, shave ice, gym workouts, a Christmas church service and dinner at Alan Wong's restaurant.

Before their departure yesterday, they visited the Honolulu Zoo and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where Obama's grandfather is buried, and had dinner at Lucy's Grill 'n Bar in Kailua.

The first family and dog Bo flew out on Air Force One from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at about 9:47 p.m.

On hand at the president's departure were Gen. Gary North, commander of Pacific Air Forces, and Col. Sam Barrett, commander of the 15th Wing.

The Obamas spent the final day of their holiday in typical fashion.

According to the White House press pool report, Obama left his Kailua rental just after 8 a.m. for a workout at the Semper Fit Gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. First lady Michelle Obama was not with him as she has been in the past.

En route, the motorcade passed a pair of protesters holding signs that said, "End Occupation of Afghanistan" and "Free Palestine." Also along the way a sign was staked into the ground that said, "Aloha Obama Ohana."

Obama returned to his Kailua compound just before 10 a.m., then left again shortly before noon for Pyramid Rock Beach, also on the base. The beach remained open to base residents, except for a portion that was closed off for the first family, according to the press pool.

The Obamas cut their beach time short when clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.

The afternoon brought a second visit to Island Snow for shave ice.

Inside, Obama flashed a $100 bill and shook hands with the locals.

With him were Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia and about a dozen others, including White House chef Sam Kass, Chicago friend Marty Nesbitt and his wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard.

"Has everyone ordered?" Obama asked at one point, clearly in charge.

Obama ordered a half cherry, half Melona cone, head supervisor Cheyne Vincent confirmed later by phone.

Outside, although the parking lot was taped off, crowds gathered all around — in front of Bob's Pizzeria on one side and San Lorenzo Bikinis and Clothing on the other. Obama walked over to a corner of the small shopping center to greet an eager group.

"They were practically standing on top of each other, perhaps aided by benches, with their cameras out and smiles on," reported Carol Lee of Politico.

Obama took off his sunglasses and shook hands, and got cheers and applause as he walked back to join his friends and family. A while later he also greeted the small crowd outside Bob's Pizzeria.

Just before sunset, Obama and his daughters visited the grave of his grandfather Stanley Dunham at a quiet and otherwise empty Punchbowl cemetery. Later they went to the zoo.

The president arrived in Honolulu on Dec. 22, four days after his wife, daughters and Bo.


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