Kitsch ‘Made in China’ copies of The Little Mermaid and tin soldiers. Oh, and those plastic helmets with Viking horns. Oh, and anything to do with Hans Christian Andersen. This is the year of the bicentenary of his birth so you’ll do well to avoid the Hans Christian Andersen wine/ cookies/dolls/badly-translated books of his fairytales/etc.
Stroget, the long pedestrianised shopping street, has some good places on it, but - rather like London's Oxford Street - has acquired too much tourist tat. The smaller streets running parallel and at angles either side are much more interesting. There are some very good antique shops in the city - concentrated around Bredegade (beyond Kongens Nytorv).
At Mitad del Mundo, or middle of the world, you can have the all-important photo taken of yourself with one foot in the Southern hemisphere and one foot in the Northern hemisphere. You can also buy a little something for the relatives back home: a genuine panama hat, for instance, or perhaps a stuffed llama.
It's erm... either a back massager or a vibrator. Nothing really epitomises kitsch and the whole cult of kawaii (cute) better than the bubble-headed cat Hello Kitty. What could be a more appropriate souvenir of subverting this wholesome image? Just pray you don't get stopped at customs!
Kabukicho in Shinjuku and Shibuya have many ...ahem... shops for adult entertainment which are almost all staffed by sweet old ladies or young students making a yen or two. Hello Kitty products are easy enough to spot.
Every major city has one: Chinatown in London and New York; Le Quartier Chinois in Paris; Berlin is actually building one. So it may surprise you to learn that even cities in China have Chinatowns too.
In Shanghai it’s the Yu Yuan area, a sealed-off district where development is not quite as rampant as elsewhere and the atmosphere of old China still pervades. At its centre is the famed Yu Yuan teahouse and classical gardens, plus the temple of the city god. Yu Yuan is pretty commercial these days – most of the area’s business is in selling tourist tat, but it’s still the place to go for Chinese arts and crafts.
A bit tricky to get to by Metro. Your best bet is a taxi.
Any T-shirt, tea towel, apron, flag or mug emblazoned with the silhouetted image of the bull from the Osborne sherry adverts, superimposed on the Spanish flag. Tourists think it looks cool and “Spanish” – but the jingoistic image is satirised in areas of the country where there is strong regional feeling.
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