Smuggling Violin Strings, Hi-Tech Stuff And More To Armenia


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.


7 thoughts on “Smuggling Violin Strings, Hi-Tech Stuff And More To Armenia

  1. Pingback: The things you would do for a friend « Armopundit

  2. By the way – I forgot to mention, that the smuggling thing is bidirectional.

    I’ve had to carry the following items to Armenian friends abroad:
    1. Armenian brandy (congnac)
    2. Copies of diplomas, certificates, documents
    3. Cigarettes (they’re cheaper in Armenia)
    4. Armenian flags (large ones)
    5. Sweets, dried fruits
    6. Basturma, lavash
    7. Items of clothing
    8. Books
    9. Medication (some of the are cheeper in Armenia)

  3. Importing specialty products like high quality violin strings is normal. It happens all the time. For example, when I travel, I bring back Chicago style popcorn or East Coast pizza back home.

    It’s all part of the tourism industry. That’s why there are Duty free shops in every international airport.

  4. Shipping anywhere through ebay is tricky and not dependable. I know several people whose orders never arrived or packages contained partial shipment or damaged products. The problem was never remedied and these people were never reimbursed.

  5. Shipping though ebay is fine.. just make sure of the seller it must have a good rating score as well as many actual ratings. Those be likely to be a better bet than someone who has few responses or high negatives.

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