Tag Archives: Hawaii

Speaking of South Kitsap: On Vacation with Obama

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and I spent the past week vacationing on Oahu, visiting family and soaking in the Aloha spirit.

No, our paths did not cross, but they easily could have. It’s not that big an island – you can drive from one side to another in an hour or less – and Obama, with his family, immersed himself in island activities, rubbing elbows with the locals (Secret Service agents in tow).

While I sponged off my sister, who lives above Pearl Harbor, Obama and his entourage settled into a vacation rental in Kailua.

On Saturday, while I hiked the Aiea Ridge Trail and lounged by my sister’s pool, Obama jogged on the beach and attended a rally at Ke’ehi Beach Lagoon Park.

Obama jogs

He later played golf at Olomano Golf Links and Country Club in Waimanalo, where his unannounced appearance created a delighted stir among fellow golfers.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “The senator went around to shake hands, smiling, flashing a shaka every once in a while and greeting golfers with the occasional ‘Howzit’ while they snapped photos with digital cameras and cell phones.”

On Tuesday,  I body surfed at Waimanalo Beach and took in the Nuuanu Pali overlook. Obama played basketball with his buddies at Punahou School, his alma mater. He later bought his gang/entourage burgers and fries at the Kua ‘Aina Sandwich Shop (spending $116 and leaving a $40 tip, it was noted) then had a picnic at Ala Moana Beach Park. The fare was (presumably) a little more upscale at a $2,300-per-person fund-raiser that night at the Kahala Hotel and Resort (the second and last official appearance of his trip to Hawaii).

On Wednesday, while I went snorkeling on the North Shore, Obama took in the Pali Overlook and ate shave ice with his daughters. He later visited the grave of his grandfather, Stanley Dunham, a World War II veteran, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater.

On Thursday, while I did some more hiking and more lounging, Obama went body surfing at Sandy Beach (recommended for “locals only”).

Obama Bodysurfing

He later threw petals from a lei into the ocean on the east coast, where his mother’s ashes were scattered following her death in 1995 from ovarian cancer.

Yes, it was a busy week for Obama and me. But while the press took no notice of my presence on the island, they followed Obama’s every move, checking out what he ate and what he wore, hanging on his every casual word (he was reported to have said of the shave ice that he bought keiki or child-size because, “It is right before dinner. I don’t want to get in trouble.”)

Comparisons to Paris and Britney aside, Obama is certified buzz material.

The question then – surely raised before and sure to be raised again – is whether Obama’s celebrity-like status could be considered a distraction or liability.