Part Two of our holiday was a two-day excursion to Las Vegas, where Ash and I both have some family. My cousin took us out into the desert to Red Rock Canyon, just outside the city. It was a side of Las Vegas I did not know existed. (The "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" commercials do not cover this for some odd reason.)
Having just watched the Desert segment of BBC's Planet Earth, I knew that a keen eye can observe a surprising diversity of plants and little critters among the parched sand and rock of most of the world's deserts. I was not disappointed. In addition to the bright rock that gives the canyon its name, we saw bushes, flowers, cacti, grasses, crickets, lizards, and webs of some sort that I refused to approach because they may have contained spiders.
We stopped for a picnic lunch at midday and enjoyed the stunning views on all sides.
We did make the obligatory visit to the Las Vegas strip as well. We saw the fountain show in front of the Bellaggio Hotel, which was admittedly very impressive. (Ash asked me whether I would like to have the job of making the fountains perform to music. Yes, I think I would. How does one get into fountain choreography?) Then we cruised through the lobby of the hotel for a look at their indoor flower garden and the bazillion dollar ceiling of Chihuly glass sculptures.