CULTUREOPINION

Obama’s Aloha Legacy

Our 44th President, Barack Obama, will historically be known as one of the most impactful American presidents in history. His life is nothing short of adventurous. Of all places to be born and raised, the beautiful island of Oahu sounds absolutely wonderful.

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu on the island of Oahu to parents Stanley Ann Dunham (referred to as “Ann”) and Barack Hussein Obama Sr. The two were students at the University of Hawaii Manoa when the former president was conceived. He lived on the island until he was six years old, and would return to Hawaii four years later to live with his grandparents.

Obama’s upbringing was very humble. Returning from living with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia, he lived with his grandparents in their two bedroom apartment in the working class Makiki area of Honolulu. Makiki consisted of people who mainly worked in restaurants, or were clerks in stores. The neighborhood was very common with establishments such as a hair salon, a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop, and a karaoke bar. To get a government job was the goal for most people living there. While their was a degree of diversity in the neighborhood, the demographics were mainly of Asian descent, specifically Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino.

Growing up, Obama was an avid swimmer and he loved the ocean. He used to swim with his grandfather under the Olomana mountains. He also found great joy in bodysurfing and snorkeling, two activities he still engages in when he goes back to Oahu.

Barack Obama and the Pacific OceanBarack Obama and the Pacific Ocean
Barack Obama and the Pacific Ocean

Obama attended the prestigious private school Punahou. Here, he enjoyed activities like playing and listening to music and writing poetry. He worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in high school.

As an adult, Obama and his family would later vacation in Hawaii every year for the holidays. Here are some of the spots they enjoyed during their time spent there:

LODGING
Between 2008 and 2011, the former First Family would spend time in Hawaii at their vacation home in Kailua Bay called Paradise Points Estate. It was considered their home away from home. The luxurious Paradise Points Estate is located on the beach with an oceanfront view and gorgeous scenery around the lagoon. According to CBS News, the Obama vacation home rents out for about $4,500 per night.

From 2011 through 2016, the former First Family then stayed at the 7,000 square foot Hale Reena Estate of Oahu Luxury Homes. The estate consists of a spa, koi pond, pool and steam room. The estate is in the Castle Point Kailuana area of Kailua. It rents for $3,500 per night.

DINING
Obama’s favorite restaurants include Buzz’s Lanikai, where the cuisine is mainly meat, consisting of burgers, shrimp and steak. Another one is Alan Wong’s restaurant. President Obama and the First Family have consistently eaten here since 2008. The unique and scrumptious dishes include lobster lasagna, a delicious coconut dish, and the former President’s favorite: soy braised short ribs topped with ginger shrimp.

Obama Enjoying Shave Ice
Obama Enjoying Shave Ice

ACTIVITIES
Activities Obama has enjoyed doing while on his Hawaiian vacations include golfing at the Olomana Golf Links, which is a municipal golf course near Kailua Bay. Another fun activity he liked hiking at the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, and going to the Koko Marina Center (located in Hawaii Kai) to eat at Paradise Deli and enjoy shaved ice at Kokonuts. A most important stop for him is a visit to the gravesite of his grandfather at the National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific.

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