Hawaii rang in the New Year last night with a flurry of fireworks exploding all over the island creating thick clouds of smoke everywhere. If you’ve never experienced New Year’s Eve in Hawaii, then you will probably think I am exaggerating. If you have been here for New Year’s Eve, you will think I am understating the experience. It is like a war zone. No kidding.
Practically everyone on the island is outside setting off fireworks or watching their neighbors have all the fun. You cannot drive a car down any street without having to stop and swerve around all of the people setting off fireworks right in the middle of the street. At midnight, the sound is deafening, the smoke is billowing, and the excitement is high. Illegal aerials fill the sky and the New Year is officially welcomed.
The Obamas spent the evening at their Kailua rental house celebrating the New Year with friends. Shortly after midnight, the skies opened up and the rain poured down. The pessimists will say this is a foreboding sign for Obama in the New Year. The optimists will say that the rains came forth, cleared the air in preparation for a fresh start for Obama in the New Year. I tend to be more of an optimist, at least as far as Obama goes.
He leaves today after a twelve-day vacation. Highlights of his vacation have been his almost daily workouts at the Semper Fit gym on base, several rounds of golf, a trip to Sea Life Park, a trip to the zoo, a North Shore visit, basketball at Punahou, dinner out, and relaxing time at home with family and friends. Most important, of course, was the memorial service for his grandmother.
I’ve updated my ArmchairHawaii.com website to include a page that highlights his 2008 Christmas vacation in Hawaii. You’ll find a detailed summary of his itinerary, a google map that shows the places he visited, and lots of photos. To see it, go to ArmchairHawaii.com and click on the “Obama Christmas Vacation in Hawaii” link in the middle of the page or click on the the “Obama in Hawaii” link on the left to see all of the Obama-related pages.
Happy New Year, or as we like to say in Hawaii: Hau’oli makahiki hou!