I flew United, from SFO to Tokyo/Narita, then from Tokyo/Narita to TPE (Taiwan). I think the travel time in total was around 13 hours each way. United isn't really my preferred airline, but I wanted to match my parent's arrival times, so they could rent a car during their 6 hour layover at SFO and come see my apartment. United also isn't the cheapest to fly from SFO/SJC to TPE. :( I think there's cheaper, direct flights. Oh well, maybe if I ever visit on my own...
Arriving at TPE, I ended up using the open WiFi + Skype to call my dad and figure out where they were. Mostly unnecessary, as he showed up practically as soon as the call went through. Oh well. Yay free WiFi at airports.
We were driven to my grandparents house, on my mom's side. It was, eh, 9-10ish PM by the time we arrived. They've gotten older, notably my grandfather. Either he shrunk, or I got taller. Possibly both. He's still pretty mentally sharp though - throughout the week, we had short conversations in english, chinese, and japanese. o.O My grandmother's affected my Alzheimers; she still remembers me, but she doesn't speak much anymore and seems to have trouble stringing words together. ::sighs::
The grandparents will be moving to a new house soon, with internet and A/C, so I've been promised. "Next time I got back", I've been told, although I don't know when I'd go back again. Meh. Taiwan's close, but not close enough to just hop on over....
Visited Gao Xiong / 高雄 - southern city, very close to a harbor, where my dad's relatives live. Was going to go pay my respects to my grandfather on my dad's side, but according to the lunar calendar, it was the seventh month, when a lot of spirits and ghosts are out, so going to the graveyard would have been a bad idea. Ended up just going to the family shrine.
My cousin there also took me around on his scooter/small motorcycle (they're everywhere in Taiwan) and we hit up a night market where we got food and I picked up a flashlight holder for my bike for about 40 NTD (and got a spare just in case this one breaks or my bike gets stolen again~). Food in Taiwan is so cheap and awesome. Makes me want to go there to retire - I could just sit around, stare creepily at the cute schoolgirls, and eat cheap food. Mmmm. Food.
Also got lost in 台北 / Taipei on my own for a while - the MRT (subway-like system) does a pretty good job of getting one from point A to point B. Also, the High Speed Rail (HSR) system's awesome too - before, it took about 4-5 hours to get from 新竹 / Hsing Tsu. Now it only takes 1.5-2 hours. And getting from Taipei to Hsing Tsu is easier too - no more annoying bus - now there's a free bus from my grandparents house at Dong Men Market to the Hsing Tsu HSR station.
Let's see... of the cousin I have, on my mother's side, one is going back to college (nursing school? - chong wen), one is now a substitute teacher (xiao mi), and one is in college studying... I don't remember what. (Eric?) He's also playing Restaurant City on Facebook. Kinda scary, the reach of Facebook and Facebook games. Also met my "dry mother" and her family - her son's in undergrad, studying CS. Also met friends / neighbors of hers that live in Cali - Fremont, I think it was - the Ju family - husband works at Ambarella. My "dry mother"'s apartments (yes, plural. We saw the ones near turtle island.) are awesome. They have tables that can be raised and lowered into the floor and they all have nice large windows.
Cousins on my dad's side... I only met one - the one that took me around Gao Xiong on his scooter. He's currently working as a IT / network admin consultant, soon to shift towards cellular network administration, I think.