|President Barack Obama laughs with employee Renee Ebia, of Kailua, Hawaii., as he eats his Shave Ice at Island Snow at Kailua Beach Center while on vacation with the first family in Kailua, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)|
Obama steps out in Hawaii for shave ice treat
KAILUA, Hawaii—After four days away from the usual scrutiny, President Barack Obama looks relaxed.
He ventured briefly into the public eye Monday to indulge in one of his favorite local treats, a Hawaiian snow cone known as shave ice.
Dressed casually in a black polo shirt, khaki shorts and flip-flops, Obama ordered a melon, lemon-lime and cherry shave ice at Island Snow, a store he has frequented during past trips to Hawaii.
He offered a ringing endorsement for his flavor combination, proclaiming it "really good."
Obama chatted with excited workers and asked them about their holidays as he placed about a dozen more orders for daughters Malia and Sasha as well as several family friends from Hawaii and Chicago who have joined Obama here. Obama's party stood outside enjoying their treats under cloudy skies.
Monday afternoon's outing was the first time the president has been spotted outside his rented oceanfront home or the nearby Marine base since he arrived here late Wednesday. After a frenzied legislative session that forced the president to delay the start of his trip, aides say rest and relaxation is at the top of Obama's agenda during his almost two-week vacation.
The president spent much of the cloudy, drizzly Hawaiian day indoors at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, bowling with his daughters and playing basketball with friends.
The base has become a sanctuary for the president on his Hawaiian vacations. The president golfs on the base course, the first couple uses its gym for morning workouts and the first family often visits a secluded beach here.
But Obamas haven't had much in the way of beach weather. Clouds hung over the island of Oahu on Monday, and more rain is forecast throughout the week.
The Obamas are expected to stay in Hawaii through Jan. 2.