There’s scarcely a town in Portugal that doesn’t have a Loja Chinês, a Chinese-run emporium selling everything under the sun. In many ways, they fulfil the same function as a “pound” or “dollar” shop, selling basic household items really cheaply – if you need two-dozen toilet rolls, a set of tupperware, fifty wine glasses or a washing-up bowl, this is where you come. But they are also good for dirt-cheap toys and electronics – all made in the Far East, guaranteed to break after a couple of hours – and for all those things you never knew you needed, like a Portuguese flag, a Star Wars light sabre or an alarm clock shaped like a man on a toilet.


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