Obama ends 10-day Hawaiian vacation - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama ends 10-day Hawaiian vacation

By Leland Kim - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) -  Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama bid aloha to Hawaii, after spending ten days here with his family.  It was a low-key vacation for Obama, who for the most part, chose to stay out of the spotlight.  But the spotlight and the crowds followed him no matter where he went on the island.

He was like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Wherever he went, his fans and supporters followed.  During his vacation, Obama reconnected with the people and places that helped shaped him and his values.

This windward, Oahu, neighborhood says farewell to President-elect Barack Obama.  He and his family called Kailua home for ten days.

"It's kind of like random," said Calico Jan, who is visiting from San Diego, California.  "Like we're just coming to Hawaii to hang out with our family and it's kind of crazy he's down our street."

"Honestly we were very, very surprised," added Hondo Jan, Calico's sister.  "When I told my friends, they were like, ‘No way.' None of them believed me until I showed them a picture."

And many supporters also snapped their own memories.  Julie Mora waited outside the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base gym where Obama worked out every morning.  Not only did she meet him, she got to see him hold her baby.

"I had no clue he was going to do that and especially when he kissed her," said Mora. "We were thinking of not washing her head for a while."

He even drew crowds ordering lunch last weekend.

"Actually can you melt the cheese on that?" Obama asked a waitress at a takeout restaurant. "Can you make like tuna melt? With cheddar cheese?  That would be perfect."

And the perfect end to a hearty lunch?  Shave ice, of course.

"You want three?" Obama asked one of his daughters.  "Three? You sure? You can eat all that?"

In the midst of the hoopla, Obama found a quiet moment during the week to honor his late maternal grandmother Madelyn Dunham.  And a quiet and dark evening found him last Friday during the island-wide blackout.

As the president-elect and his family head back to the mainland, his Kailua neighbors hope he got the rest he needed.

"I think it'll be a ten days that hopefully will energize him for what he faces, which is going to be a really, really hard year," said Scott Miscovich, who has lived in Kailua since 1999.

And for those who got a glimpse of Obama, they have a story to tell.

"If doesn't matter if you voted for him or didn't vote for him, the fact of the matter is he's famous and he's going to be the president," said Hondo Jan.  "So it's really interesting and really fun."

Obama and his family flew out Thursday afternoon on a non-stop flight to Chicago.  His inauguration is on January 20.

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