Tourism to trace your roots

 Bopiliao St in Taipei.

Why am I suddenly proud of to visit an old street in Taipei?

A few years ago I visited Taipei’s recently restored Bo Pi Liao (剝皮寮) Street, some 300 years old and one of the city’s oldest streets where imported lumber from China was stripped of its bark for use in construction and boat making. It's a great little area with boutique shops, museums and more, but unlike any other visit to a historical site, it was the first chance I could visit the flat my grandparents lived in when they got married in the 30’s. Being quite sentimental, you can imagine how I felt tracing their steps and seeing how they lived. I'm also grateful that historical restoration means their flat won't be going anywhere in the future.

But what’s even cooler is that Bo Pi Liao, little known even within Taipei, was used as a site for Kurt Perschke’s Red Ball Project.  For some, the 250 pound inflated ball sandwiched between 2 buildings was a fun and interactive conversation piece engaging the public and making people think about our use of space. But for me, seeing this Red Ball made me feel even more proud of a past I didn’t know, but was beginning to explore.