I had a spectacular visit to Amdo, and Sangye was central to all the successes of the trip.
1. His attitude is extremely positive. Nothing was a problem for him. Many times, even after a very long day, there was just "one more thing" that we needed help with, and he handled it with great energy.
2. He translated very skillfully for us, whether we were asking simple things, spiritual questions, making jokes, or wondering about personal stories — he helped us feel connected and effective with everyone, both Tibetan and Chinese.
3. Sangye made us feel like his friends, like he was enjoying the experiences as much as we were. There was no off-putting attitude of him being annoyed or bored being with us.
4. I felt safe, physically and financially. In crowd situations like the Shaman Festival, or in shopping situations like in Labrong, he watched out for us, and took care of our well-being.
5. His English is very good, and his knowledge of the history, geography and culture of the areas we visited was fantastic. I learned a great deal, and had all my questions answered fully.
6. He ordered wonderful, delicious, lavish meals for us, night after night!!!!
7. I suspect Sangye also made sure that the staff on the trail part of our trip took care of us well — finding good spots for tents, hot water, not smoking around us, etc.
Sangye was outstanding and made our journey very, very good, in all ways.
Practical improvements? Maybe...
some different food choices for lunches on the trail,
not such lengthy riding days on the trail,
end the riding part of the trip at an earlier point (off the mountain), and therefore not have to cover so many miles everyday,
supply toilet paper, as well as drinking water (things Americans take for granted),
make it clear from the beginning that our gear would be in jeeps rather than having to be packed on horses,
better beds in Chinese hotels (don't know how to make this happen!),
Horse wranglers were wonderful. As were the cook and his assistant.
And Mr. Yang our driver was also #1, excellent — safe, respectful, good attitude, funny, tuned into us even with no shared language!!!!