|Greeting a fan, cherry & lemon-lime shave ice in hand|
Honolulu, HI - President Barack Obama ended what was perhaps his toughest year in office on a sweet note, making his annual vacation visit to Island Snow in Kailua late on Tuesday afternoon, New Year's Eve, for shave ice, the Hawaiian version of a snow cone.
The Eater in Chief has stopped by Island Snow during every Christmas vacation since taking office and the store is decorated with photos of his past visits. The President ordered his usual: A cherry and lemon-lime shave ice in a paper cup.
Joined by First Daughters Malia and Sasha and about a dozen members of his extended family and friends, the President arrived for his last edible excursion of the year at 3:17 PM after spending two hours snorkeling at a nature preserve.
|No toppings for the President|
An excited crowd of about three dozen rapidly gathered to greet the President. Wearing dark sunglasses and clad in a navy striped short-sleeved shirt and jeans, the President got applause and cheers as he went over to chat with the crowd, who were behind a a thin red-and-white rope line tucked in front of a hedge in front of nearby Bob’s Pizzeria.
|Shaking hands with well-wishers|
“Oh my goodness,” one woman screamed.
"What’s up buddy," the President said to small boys on the far end of the line.
"Mr. President you’re fantastic!" a woman shouted.
"Hey sweetie, how are you?" the President said to another child.
He engaged in a conversation with another man about the cherry flavor, but their exchange was inaudible beyond the word "cherry." The press pool tried to inject politics into the moment, and shouted a question about the progress of the President's health care law and the latest enrollment numbers.
"Though we were well within earshot, the President did not acknowledge the questions," the pooler on duty noted.
|The President gives the "shaka" sign|
The President and First Family spent New Year's Eve celebrating privately, a White House official said: "The President plans to stay at home tonight and ring in the new year with family and friends."
First Lady Michelle Obama did not accompany her husband and daughters to Island Snow, though she did join them for the two hours of snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, which was closed to the public during the visit.
|Chatting with kids before jumping into the motorcade|
The President and Mrs. Obama dined at Nobu Waikiki on Dec. 27, and at Alan Wong's on Dec. 30th. Golf, beachtime, hiking, and morning workout out at the gym at the local Marine Base have filled the President's days since arriving on island on Dec. 20th.
The President has no public or official events scheduled for the duration of his vacation. He is scheduled to return to Washington, DC, on Jan. 5, 2014.
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