Sunday, December 21, 2008

Aloha and Welcome to the First Family-Elect

The Obamas are here for their brief vacation. Well, not here, exactly. They’re on Oahu, happily ensconced in the community of Kailua on the opposite side of that island from Honolulu. The place where they’re staying is about a quarter mile from the house we sold when I quit working and we moved to Maui. (Our house, I feel compelled to add, was nothing like the place where Barack, Michelle and the two girls are staying.)

Kailua is a very laid back little town where the main attraction is the beach … a 3-mile-long crescent that is remarkably uncrowded most of the time. The house where the Obamas are staying is located about in the center of this photograph, perhaps 80-100 feet back from the beach.

As a note of possible interest, there is no such thing as a private beach here. By law, all beaches in Hawaii are public with private property extending only as far as the high-water mark.

During the 25 years we lived in Kailua, I would wait until about the middle of February, walk down to the beach on a warm, sunny morning, wade out to my waist in the ocean, take out my cell phone and call my brother in Illinois and ask him if he was tired of winter yet. I think, in some perverse way, he actually enjoyed that.

2 comments:

Kevin Love said...

It is the same in Canada. Crown land extends to the high-water mark. Except possibly in Quebec, which still has a lot of property laws left over from ancien regime France that were protected by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

JIM LOOMIS said...

Interesting! Thirty or forty years back, there were many stretches of beach here that were private in effect because ordinary folk couldn't find ways to get across private property to access the beaches. That prompted the various county governments to create public rights-of-way to the beaches at a minimum of one every quarter mile. Today, most people with beachfront property allow people living close by to walk down their property lines to the beaches. They figure it's better than the alternative, which is to have the county come in, condemn five feet from them and five feet from their neighbor and have a 10-foot public right-of-way there.