|Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon...at its widest point, is 165 kilometres across and 2029 square kilometres in total area with 8 million people and 4.5 million motorcycles (and the same issues crossing the street as in Hanoi). This morning with our guide, we headed to the tunnels of Cu Chi....used by the Viet Cong during the American War.... where we saw an example of how the tunnel system worked. The tunnel system stretched from the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon to the border of Cambodia.....in the Cu Chi area alone there were more than 250 kilometres of tunnels......parts of the system were several stories deep and included trap doors, living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres, kitchens.....making possible communication and coordination between the Viet Cong troops, isolated by South Vietnamese and American forces and allowing the VC to mount surprise attacks wherever the tunnels went and then to disappear again without a trace. We were offered the opportunity to walk thru (read hunch down) a 30 metre stretch of the tunnel system and we headed down into the ground with a local from the area but as we approached the tunnel in the dark I could see that it would be barely big enough for us fit our bodies through and I knew that both Barb and I would have difficulty in the enclosed space and we changed our minds...the last thing we needed was to have trouble breathing and a sense of panic in the narrow tunnels...we returned to Ho Chi Minh City where we had lunch at L'Etoile Restaurant; a selection of wonderful French dishes....after lunch we visited the "Tran Binh" Market and the 300 year old Lady Ting Hao Temple in Chinatown before returning to our hotel. When we got back, the hotel surprised me with a birthday cake....obviously making note of the day from our passports when we checked in.....it was heavenly. We were going to go for a walk in the area around our hotel in the early evening but a storm broke out... an incredible lightning and thunder storm that dumped buckets of water on the city (at least in the area where we were staying)....the streets filled with water to overflowing causing vehicles to stall.....we watched as individuals pushed their motorcycles up the street and then all of a sudden there was flash of lightning with an immediate clap of thunder.....the bolt seemed to strike the ground just outside our hotel.....we decided we should probably stay in for the rest of the night....