Rushville Republican

Columns

May 6, 2014

Going to the mat to learn about Madagascar

So I’m thinking that maybe I haven’t told you yet about my trip to Madagascar, have I?

Well, not to Madagascar proper. I “visited” via an exhibit at the aquarium in Tampa, Florida. This was part of a quick trip with my wife and No. 4 and 5 sons, to hang out with my wife’s parents for a couple days.

We checked out the aquarium on a cool, rainy day when we really would’ve rather been at the beach. Me especially, since I’d worked hard to get into bikini shape, dating all the way back to the day before the trip, when I’d done nearly 14 push-ups.

The Tampa aquarium’s Madagascar exhibit is pretty cool, featuring interesting wildlife such as hissing cockroaches and ring-tailed lemurs, and best of all, not one reference anywhere to those animated “Madagascar” films. (I’ll never forget the 13-hour drive we once took to vacation in Maine, and the horrendous mistake we made in buying “Madagascar” for the kids to watch on our mini-van’s DVD player. If you’ve seen the film then you’re familiar with the song that permeates the soundtrack – the one that repeats “I like to move it move it,” 17,000 times. The kids loved this song, and sang it sang it at the top of their lungs during the intervals when they weren’t watching and re-watching the move. By the time we got to Maine, I was heartily sick of that song that song.)

The aquarium welcomes you into the Madagascar exhibit with a mural of wildlife images, featuring the phrase “Tsihy be lambanana ny ambanilantra.” I am of course, quite fluent in Madagascarish, but this turns to be the Malagasy language, which I don’t know quite as well. This led to the tragic error of me saying – out loud so my kids could hear it! – that maybe “Tsihy be lambanana ny ambanilantra” meant “I like to move it move it.” Which they both decided to sing every chance they got for the rest of our time in Tampa.

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