First Family Arrives in Kailua
KAILUA, HAWAII - First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent the night in Kailua, Oahu, on Saturday.
President Barack Obama has not yet arrived for the family's 17-day holiday vacation in a beachfront home.
Friends of the Obamas are expected to arrive Sunday, December 18 and Monday, December 19, and stay nearby in several homes along the exclusive Kailuana Place.
This is the fourth year in a row that the first family has spent the holidays in Kailua.
The Obama rental is just down the street from the so called "Winter White House" where they have stayed in the past.
Like other homes in the area, it is sandwiched between the canal and ocean and is gated on the canal side but its front yard extends to the ocean.
Unlike many of the homes on Kailuana Place, the house is secluded and set back from the ocean so it is not visible from the beach and can only be seen by air or the ocean.
U.S. Secret Service, Navy Seals and the Coast Guard are stationed throughout Kailuana Place and the attached Kailuana Loop and guarding the waterfront on both sides.
Kailua on the most populated island of Oahu is a beach side community where residents' enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The beach, which stretches for three uninterrupted miles of pristine white sand, was rated in 1998 by coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, also known as "Dr Beach", as the best beach in the country.
Its natural beauty - white sands, turquoise ocean, fiery orange sunrises, vast population of endangered green sea turtles and occasional visit from an endangered Hawaiian monk seal - are cherished and fiercely protected by residents.
Although much of the beach is often nearly deserted, its main beach park is a popular spot for kayakers and stand up paddlers (on calm days), kite surfers and wind surfers (on breezy days) and surfers (particularly in the winter when the surf is up).
Kailua town has a number of small shops, such as Lanikai Bath and Body, where the president's family purchased the doggie spa treatment known as “Poi Dog” Mango-scented shampoo for their dog Bo. There also is the popular shave ice store, Island Snow, where the Obama daughters and their friends enjoy various flavors of snow cones.
Kailua businesses, centralized largely in the town, include popular resort dress and craft shops, health spas, art galleries and surf stores. There are no so called "big box stores", but there is a Target and Whole Foods under construction.
The Obama's are expected to stay through the New Year. While they pay for their own beach front rental, taxpayers pick up the rest of the bill, which is more than $4 million.
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