January 26, 2009, - 1:49 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Forget spending thousands to follow the footsteps of Moses or Jesus. Why do that when you can spend your fortune following the real “savior” and visiting the Baskin-Robbins shop at which he once worked?
Not an exaggeration. “Barack was here” isn’t the name of a crazy Kramer-like bus tour. It’s what I call the newest, possibly most stupid form of Obama product sales–“Obama was here” tourism.
Three miles and a world away from the bikinis and high-rises of Waikiki, Mitch Berger slows his minibus to a crawl in the residential neighborhood of Kaimuki, a onetime ostrich farm for Hawaiian royalty. Pointing toward a nondescript blue duplex, he announces that President Obama’s Kenyan father had lived in a house at the same location while attending the nearby University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1960.
“He was 25, and (Obama’s mother, fellow student Stanley Ann Dunham) had just turned 18,” says Berger, a Honolulu guide who includes the neighborhood on his new Obama-themed tours. “It wouldn’t be too far off to think that the 44th president was conceived right here.”
Customer Ben Nworie, a Nigeria-born college professor and pastor living in Los Angeles, stops taking notes for his congregation back home and delivers a one-word reaction: “Wow.” . . .
From the $8 million retreat he rented on Kailua Beach over the Christmas holidays to the bone-crunching shore break where he perfected his body-surfing techniques as a teenager, Obama’s current and former island haunts are part of a presidential sightseeing trail that stretches from Indonesia to Africa. . . .
Yes, you can buy a laminated “Obama’s Oahu” driving map and plot a walking tour of Makiki, the president’s middle-class, unassuming boyhood neighborhood, on the local website Obamasneighborhood.com. .
Remember when they tried to auction off Britney Spear’s shaved off hair and extensions for $1 million? I bet I could get that much with a piece of Obama’s used chewing gum.