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Obama takes it easy on holiday

President Barack Obama has made the first public appearance of his holiday, stopping by one of his favourite local shops for a Hawaiian snow cone known as "shave ice".

The President, dressed casually in a black polo shirt, khaki shorts and flip-flops, ordered a flavour combination of melon, lemon-lime and cherry at Island Snow, a shop Mr Obama has frequented during past trips to Hawaii.

The President chatted with excited workers and asked them about their holidays as he placed about a dozen more orders for his family and friends.

The President stood outside under cloudy, threatening skies to enjoy his shave ice with daughters Malia and Sasha, and several of the family friends from Hawaii and Chicago who have joined Mr Obama here.

The afternoon outing was the first time the President has been spotted outside his rented oceanfront home or the nearby Marine base since he arrived there late on Wednesday.

After a frenzied legislative session that forced the President to delay the start of his trip, aides say rest and relaxation is at the top of Mr Obama's agenda during his almost two-week holiday.

The President spent much of the cloudy, drizzly Hawaiian day indoors at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, bowling with his daughters and playing basketball with friends.

The base has become a sanctuary for the President on his Hawaiian vacations. The President plays golf on the base course, the first couple uses its gym for morning workouts and the first family often visits a secluded beach there.

But the Obamas have not had much in the way of beach weather since the President arrived. Clouds hung over the island of Oahu, and more rain is forecast throughout the week.

The Obamas are expected to stay in Hawaii until January 2.

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