Finally, Obama Is a Man About Town
By Philip Rucker
HONOLULU -- For the 11th day of his Hawaii vacation, President-elect Barack Obama was unusually active today, playing pick-up basketball at his alma mater, visiting the Honolulu Zoo with his daughters and stopping by his late grandmother's apartment.
Obama skipped his usual workout at a local Marine Corps base gym, opting instead for an hour on the basketball court at Punahou School, the Honolulu private school where he attended fifth through 12th grades. Obama played ball with his former classmates Greg Orme and Mike Ramos, as well as Martin Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker, two close friends from Chicago who are accompanying him on vacation.
A pool of journalists was not allowed to observe the game, but Obama emerged from the Punahou gym looking freshly showered and wearing an off-white T-shirt, khaki shorts and brown sandals. It seems everywhere Obama goes on his native Oahu island he draws a crowd, and today was no different. About 200 students, parents and faculty gathered on the campus to meet Obama, and the president-elect spent several minutes posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Obama then took his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and the families of several Chicago friends to the Honolulu Zoo in the tourist-heavy Waikiki Beach area. Reporters traveling with the Obamas did not see which exhibits the family visited, but the Honolulu Zoo boasts two new sun bears that arrived in November -- a mating pair of a male, named Blackie, and a female, Juwetta. The zoo also features a Sumatran tiger, Chrissie, that gave birth to three male cubs in September, the first litter of tigers at the seaside zoo in more than a quarter-century.
Later in the day, Obama stopped at the downtown Honolulu apartment building where his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, lived for decades. Dunham helped raise Obama in the 12-story high-rise, and she lived there until she died of cancer at 86 on the eve of the presidential election. Last week, Obama and his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, attended a private memorial service for their grandmother.
December 30, 2008; 9:27 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama
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