Obamas Emerge From Vacation Seclusion For Action-Packed Day Before Departing Hawaii (PHOTOS)
share this story
The big news out of Hawaii since the Obamas arrived is that there really hasn't been any. So it would seem they packed it all in on their last day--with excursions to the beach, for shave ice, to the President's grandfather's grave, the Honolulu Zoo, and a two-hour dinner at Lucy's Grill--before departing Monday night. Scroll down for photos and pool reports.
The pool report, Shave Ice:
Shave ice outing: POTUS flashes a $100 bill and shakes hands with locals:
President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and about a dozen others - including White House chef Sam Kass and the Nesbitts - got shave ice at Island Snow. It's POTUS, Sasha and Malia's second visit this trip.
Everyone was already inside the shop when pool entered at 2:23 pm.
POTUS, wearing a white polo shirt, black shorts, flip flops and a White Sox baseball cap, was twirling his sunglasses in his left hand as he pointed up to the menu while talking to Sam Kass (perhaps Kass was a first-timer.)
FLOTUS wore large, dark sunglasses, purple and white pants, a black bathing suit and a turquoise shrug around her shoulders. She stayed up near the counter as POTUS and others walked around the small ordering area.
Everyone ordered their own ice, but POTUS oversaw the operation. He even put his sunglasses on to do so, calling out things like "Has everyone ordered?" and "Large with no ice cream...?"
Malia, who had on a gray T-shirt, black Nike shorts and flip flops, ordered rainbow. Sasha, who wore a teal tank-top, shorts and flip flops, ordered one that was green and red. Your pooler could hear almost nothing that was being said.
The first family and friends were the only ones in the shop. There were about 20 people in their group, including several casually-dressed USSS agents.
POTUS paid for the order. He went to hand a $100 bill to clerk, who backed away as if he didn't know what to do about the president trying to hand him money. POTUS did not acknowledge the pool, which was ushered outside after a few minutes.
The parking lot in front of Island Snow was blocked off with yellow caution tape. Crowds had gathered behind it in all directions - in front of Bob's Pizzeria on one side and San Lorenzo Bikinis and Clothing on the other.
At 2:31 pm, the kids began to trickle out of the shop with their shave ices in hand.
FLOTUS exited at 2:32 pm, followed by POTUS, sunglasses still on. Pool does not know what POTUS ordered, but it was colorful. Pool observed from a distance as everyone at their shave ice standing around or sitting on benches outside the shop.
After a minute, POTUS went over to a corner of the small shopping center to greet a bunch of people who had somehow managed to form what looked like a pyramid - they were practically standing on top of each other, perhaps aided by benches, with their cameras out and smiles on. POTUS took his sunglasses off to shake their hands, an unscripted move that prompted USSS to head over to the area. He got lots of cheers and applause as he walked back a few feet to join his family and friends, who didn't seem fazed.
Pool was moved to the pool van as POTUS stood up eating his shave ice, talking to Sasha.
At 2:43 pm, pool observed POTUS from the bus walking over to a crowd outside Bob's Pizzeria, which had a sign outside that said, "Obama family welcome home! We have really good pizza." POTUS, without his shave ice and sunglasses back on, shook hands with the dozen or so excited people.
At 2:46 pm the motorcade was rolling from Island Snow. POTUS arrived back at his vacation compound at 2:52 pm. A couple of protestors were just outside the neighborhood, this time with signs that said, "Justice for Hawaii."
Pool is holding at the pool house.
Later, visiting Obama's grandfather's grave:
President Obama is visiting his grandfather's grave at Punchbowl Cemetery.
He is with his daughters, Sasha and Malia. The official name of the cemetery on the stone pillars flanking the entry is National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Pool is holding at a distance and has not seen POTUS. We do not expect to either.
The cemetery is quiet and empty. The sun is beginning to set over Honolulu.
Later at the zoo:
Pool spray at Honolulu Zoo:
President Obama, several adults and a large gaggle of kids, including his daughters, rounded a corner past the elephants - two of them to be precise - coming into view of the pool at 5:38 pm.
They strolled up to the monkeys, a pair of White-Handed Gibbons and some Ruffed Lemurs.
Malia Obama led the pack, holding the hand of her cousin Suhaila, the eldest daughter of POTUS's sister Maya Ng-Soetoro, who was also there, pushing a stroller, alongside her husband.
POTUS, who was dressed island casual in brown slacks and a loose white shirt, walked with Sasha Obama.
"See the little monkey over there?" he said to the kids, pointing to the White-Handed Gibbons.
The Obama group of more than a dozen was joined by a zookeeper, who was showing them around. Pool did not see anyone else in the zoo, which appeared to be closed.
"Ready to go home yet, Mr. President?" Jeff Mason of Reuters shouted.
POTUS did not answer.
"Ready to go home?" Mason tried again.
"No!" one of the kids yelled.
POTUS didn't reply but turned to wave at the pool, nearly tripping over young Xavier Nesbitt.
The group continued on after a couple minutes.
Pool was escorted out of the zoo and is holding in the van.
After a two-hour dinner, POTUS left Lucy's Grill 'n Bar (that's the proper spelling of the restaurant) at 9 pm.
Cheers went up from clusters of onlookers, standing behind yellow caution tape, who'd gathered in hopes of seeing him.
Pool held in the bus as POTUS left.
Later, at the airport:
President Obama, running about 45 minutes behind scheduled 8:45 pm departure from Hawaii, arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at 9:24 pm.
Traffic was way backed up as the motorcade breezed along the highway.
It began to rain midway through the drive.
POTUS, who had apparently tucked in his loose white shirt since the zoo, was greeted on the tarmac by several military officials and is joined on the plane by a few members of Congress (list is below). He and FLOTUS, who wore a white top and a full pink skirt, shook hands and chatted with the military officers.
Sasha and Malia Obama, who missed their first day back to school after the holiday break today, greeted them too, dutifully, but then apparently got permission from their parents to break free and ran up the stairs, boarding AF1 at 9:29 pm.
POTUS and FLOTUS walked up the stairs a minute later, her first, turning to wave at the cameras before ducking inside at 9:30 pm.
First dog Bo is already on board and pool is told he's already been sniffing around the press cabin.
Michelle, Sasha and Malia flew over on Saturday, December 18th while the president wrapped up business in Washington. Bo did a quick detour in quarantine at the airport. And other than a few public outings, many of which weren't photographed--to the Marine Corps Base on Christmas Day, church, shave ice for the president and his daughters, snorkeling and a whole lot of golf--the first family has been laying low on their private rental grounds.