When Pierre Gourou published his voluminous regional geography on Asia in 1953, he referred in one sentence to the inhabitants of 'Manangbhot' as a rather atypical but significant example of a Himalayan community engaged in embryonal forms of international trade (Gourou 1953:408). Apparently he had read Tilman's contribution to the Geographical Journal of 1951, where the author allows us a glimpse of what he calls 'an unusual kind of Himalayan community' (Tilman 1951:265). The latter observation is of less importance than the fact that a gifted geographer like Gourou gave it a place, however restricted, in an interesting, synoptic study of Asia. For it shows that a perceptive mind like Gourou's was able to select a seemingly trivial piece of information, the subject matter of which was to become a major feature of Nepal's economic landscape within thirty years time.