Armenians ask for amazing things from friends travelling abroad. I purchased Pirastero violin strings today from London’s famous Foote’s music store, which eventually cost £ 87.85. The strings are for a friend, whose son is a professional violin player. He says decent strings are impossible to find in Armenia.
Earlier this week, coming back from the U.S. I handed out a Barnes&Noble ebook reader called the Nook to another friend. And I even brought a stack of Winston cigarettes from Austria. Digging deeper I remember all kinds of books and high-tech staff, and even medication which I had to look for and smuggle to Armenia during my earlier trips abroad because one can’t get those things in Armenia or because they are ridiculously expensive to buy in Yerevan.
Something tells me this is bound to continue and that it is not just me buying strange things abroad for friends. Armenians travelling abroad are simply doomed to this type of small scale smuggling, that’s what being a small landlocked nation does to us.
Do I sound like I’m complaining? Well, I shouldn’t be. On the contrary, this is a great opportunity to be helpful to friends and come back with pride and say, ‘Hey, I was in London and its not just a lousy T-shirt I got!’
In fact, I’m starting to like this type of shopping for friends, as long as its not too heavy, not too expensive and not too criminal.