Obama Steps Out in Hawaii for Shave Ice Treat

KAILUA, Hawaii - President Barack Obama made the first public appearance of his vacation Monday, stopping by one of his favorite local shops for a Hawaiian snow cone known as "shave ice."

The president, dressed casually in a black polo shirt, khaki shorts and flip-flops, ordered a flavor combination of melon, lemon-lime and cherry at Island Snow, a store Obama has frequented during past trips to Hawaii. The president chatted with excited workers and asked them about their holidays as he placed about a dozen more orders for his family and friends.

The president stood outside under cloudy, threatening skies to enjoy his shave ice with daughters Malia and Sasha, and several of the family friends from Hawaii and Chicago who have joined Obama here.

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 since the president arrived here. 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.