Vicarious Vacation (Cont’d.)

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In yesterday’s installment, we were introduced to a seaweed-and-spam delicacy known as musubi, which I’m sure we have all since tried to recreate at home. Today, we find the President-elect attempting to work it off (if indeed he ate it, of which we have no confirmation, and which we sincerely hope he didn’t) at a Marine Corps base gym cutely called “Semper Fit.” Meanwhile, the press pool and Miss Lillie take no chances on local cuisine, and head for McDonald’s:

Pool report #1

Kailua, Hawaii

Dec. 23, 2008

Barack Obama left his vacation home at 7:19 a.m. and the motorcade traveled to the Semper Fit Center on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, arriving 7:29 a.m. The president-elect had already entered the building by the time the pool rushed out of the van to try to catch a glimpse.

After the pool made its morning stop at the base McDonald’s, our handler, Miss Lillie, was given an assortment of Navy paraphernalia that she was asked to give to her boss. The collection included a hat, book and two jerseys.

Miss Lillie also staffed a request made by an enlisted man who stopped by to say that he and his buddies wanted to play a game of basketball with the president-elect, if Obama’s vacation schedule allowed.

At 9:05 a.m., Obama left the center and greeted several dozen soldiers and their families standing in the parking lot. He was wearing a black hat, grey T-shirt and black sweat pants. He and Michelle Obama, who was wearing sunglasses, shook hands with the group for about three minutes. The pool was held too far away to hear any of the conversations. As Obama left the group, he yelled out one of his standard, “See you guys.”

The motorcade left the fitness center at 9:08 a.m. and arrived back at the vacation home at 9:17 a.m. We are now holding nearby and have not been given any guidance on the schedule for the rest of the day.

John McCormick

Chicago Tribune

UPDATE: Additional detail on the gifts follows:

Pool report #2

Kailua, Hawaii

Dec. 23, 2008

We have a temporary lid until at least 12:30 p.m. and have been told to expect a long afternoon on the bus after that. Here are a couple additional details on the Navy gifts that were given to Obama at the base this morning:

The book was “The Golden Thirteen,” which is about the first African-American naval officers.

The hat was marked “U.S.S. Lake Erie.”

And it was a Navy basketball jersey and warm-up.