March 2005, number one daughter Jodie began working in India for two months (gutted that she missed her annual trip to the Cheltenham festival with Trudi and papa though.)

Knowing her papa wouldn't be interested in visiting her while she was in Asia apart from one country, Jodie invited the old man to meet her in Vietnam at the end of her Indian tour of duty. Thus, nearly fourty years after he first attempted to make the journey, the old man's adventure to Vietnam began.

As usual, booking online was easy and the choice of hotels great, but the choice of flights very limited. With Jodie's childhood friend Sascha joining him for the trip, they flew into Tan Son Nhut International airport, Ho Chi Minh City Sunday May 15th. When they joined the long immigration queues, Jodie was at the head of the queue having flown in from Kuala Lumpur.

These pages tell the story of their short adventures as they discovered what Vietnam is like in the 21st century as the country attempts to enter the real world.

I asked one of our young guides what his opinion was on the war and how he felt about Americans. His reply was interesting and so typical of these friendly people. "Let's not look back, let's deal with today and prepare for the future."

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Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City.

Celebrating 30 years since the victory of the American War. Yes, very strange. We in the west call it the Vietnam War. Obviously, the Vietnamese call it the American War.

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We booked into our hotel the Windsor Plaza, which is in district 5 and fifteen minutes from downtown Ho Chi Minh City. This was the view from the 21st floor with the bridge we were later to cross on our way to the Mekong Delta.

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And it doesn't take long to look like your typical tourist types. Lost... map out.

Actually it's not too difficult to get around. Just don't spend too long out in the hot sun. Sounds logical, but it did catch us out once when we went to the market - which is not air conditioned - and spent a couple of hours shopping.

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Uncle Ho in front of the Peoples Committee Rooms.

I've always found the best way of discovering a city for the first time is to take a guided tour. They know it best and you can always fill the blanks in later and go back and spend more time with the places you enjoyed. It's definitely not advisable to hire a car and drive yourself around.

More Palace photos

The traffic, mainly Japanese and Chinese motor bikes, is manic. The one thing that I won't miss is the constant sound of their horns - even at 0500 and twenty one floors up I could hear it.

The Reunification Palace was our first visit. It was built as the residence for the last South Vietnamese president.

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Our guide took the party line and told us that we couldn't take photos of the US Embassy (consulate as it is now.) I did request that he drive us by it, but he didn't. Don't know if that was him just forgetting (although I did ask twice) or if it was deliberate.

Well, never say never. I just wanted a photo of the United States flag flying over the consulate and here it is.

Mekong photos

The Mekong Delta trip with our two guides.

Opera House photos

A night at the opera.

Vung Tau beach

And so for a day at the beach and the hydrofoil journey to Vüng Tàu and the lovely beach.

More photos And for the ultimate tourist attraction - the Cu Chi Tunnel.
War Museum

The War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City.

Do not be surprised about how much propaganda there is within the museum. Go with an open mind, as I did, but remembe that you are only seeing what one side want you to see.

They don't show the conditions the American prisoners were kept in captivity in Hanoi.

Beware of the beggar that hangs around the place.