National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2002
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National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2002

In Honor of ColumbusColombia is an ethnic mosaic, reflected in its culture, folklore, arts and crafts. The different roots and traditions of the Indians, Spanish and Africans have produced interesting fusions, particularly in crafts, sculpture and music. Pre-Columbian art consists primarily of stone sculpture, pottery and goldwork. Indian basketware, weaving and pottery date back to pre-Columbian times but now fuse modern techniques with traditional designs. Colombian music incorporates both the
African rhythms of the Caribbean, Cuban salsa and heavily Spanish-influenced Andean music.

Colombia's literary giant is Gabriel García Márquez, whose works mix myths, dreams and reality in a style critics have dubbed 'magic realism'. García Márquez insists his work is documentary, which says a lot about the nature, rhythm and perception of life in Colombia. The best of Colombia's exciting new writers is Moreno Durán, who has been burdened with the reputation of being one of the best Latin American novelist to emerge since the regional upsurge in literary talent in the 1950s. 

Costa Rica
The Rich Coast: Rain Forest — Costa Rica is unique and deserves praise for having dedicated approximately one-quarter of its land to protected park land that will not be developed, except in the context of ecotourism."

The long history of the rainforest has enabled countless butterflies, moths, ants, termites, wasps, bees, and other tropical insects to evolve in astounding profusion. There are many thousands of ant species alone. Corcovado National Park alone has at least 220 species of breeding butterflies, plus others that simply pass through. And there are so many species of beetles and grasshoppers that no one knows the true numbers. Many, many thousands of insect species still await identification.

The most brilliantly painted insects are the butterflies and moths, some quite tiny and obscure, others true giants of the insect kingdom, dazzlingly crowned in gold and jewel-like colors. In Guanacaste, hundreds of species of bees, moth larvae, and tiger beetles make an appearance in the early dry season. When the first rains come, lightbulbs are often deluged with adult moths, beetles, and other insects newly emerged from their pupae. That's the time, too, that many species of butterfly migrate from the deciduous lowland forests to highland sites.

Many insect species are too small to see. The hummingbird flower mite, for example, barely half a millimeter long, is so small it can hitch rides from flower to flower inside the nostrils of hummingbirds. Other insects you may detect by their sound. Male wood crickets, for example, produce a very loud noise by rubbing together the overlapping edges of their wing cases. There are many exotic-looking species that you can immediately recognize. Guanacaste stick insects are easily spotted at night on low shrubs. The three-inch rhinoceros beetle has an unmistakable long, upward-curving horn on its head. And the number of spiders ornamented with showy colors is remarkable. Some even double themselves up at the base of leafstalks, so as to resemble flowerbuds, and thus deceive the insects on which they prey. Source

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