Tsiki & Ran

Interview: Vassilis Bonios | Photo: Stavros Niflis

If you have one euro for promotion,
put 50 cents for promoting the island as a destination

When did you first come to the island? How did you end up in Paros?
Actually, we first came to the island in November 1999. We planned to visit many islands and we started in Paros. After three days, we decided we liked it here. So we bought the land, it took us a long time to build and eventually we opened in October 2004.

How did you come up with the idea of Tao’s? What is Tao’s philosophy?
Tao Te Chin is a book written by Lao Tse.
Taoism is a philosophy, it’s not a religion.
There is no practice in Taoism, no rules, just a kind of understanding that we should be more modest and that we are part of something bigger. There are taoistic people on this island that have never heard the name of Lao Tse. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, says that you cannot dip in the same river twice. Everything changes, you have only this moment. The past is dead already, the future hasn’t happened yet.
Anyway Tao’s is just a name and we try to give it a content. More specifically we try to give an experience of body and mind.

Tsiki, what is your philosophy? What has life taught you?
Well, I am still learning. And I think lately I realise what I always knew. We are looking for something that we already have. Knowing who you are, being happy with what you have. I think that for me it was always clear that I am the one responsible for my well-being and my mood. This has nothing to do with the facts, it’s only about me.

Ran, what has life taught you? What’s your philosophy?
Everybody tells you what is bad in life and what is good. Like there is an alternative. This is life and you have to live it. Your only obligation is to find in yourself your true talent and give it out.

How do you spend your winters in Paros?
I read many books and plan next season. We have to work a lot in advance. But we are taoistic, we can wait.

Do you travel abroad? What’s your favourite destination?
Before I came to Paros, I used to travel a lot. But since I came here I lost the will to travel. Once a year I travel to Israel for family reasons.

What is happiness?
Happiness is that inner feeling that you do the right thing. Happiness is not a cocktail with umbrellas.

How do you get along with the local society of Paros?
Very well, actually. We made this place open from the beginning and we chose not to make a hotel here, our restaurant offers Asian cuisine, so we didn’t get into competition. The people who come to Tao’s are often people who haven’t been to the island before and I like to think that we do something for the island. Our children go to school here, they have friends. I feel safe here. I like the people of Paros, they don’t cheat.

What would make Paros a more attractive destination?
When people think of Paros, they think of the archaeological riches and water sports. I want people to think also of wellness and well being and green energy and organic food and yoga and self development and music and art. Paros is perfect. There is water, we are having the new airport. The potential is enormous. The set is here, we are the directors; we can do what we like.

What’s missing from the basic infrastructure of Paros?
Fast and stable internet. Bicycle and walking routes around the island.

Do you worry about what’s happening in Greece today?
Not so much. I am optimistic. What is happening now can be a great opportunity, because for the first time in modern history it is so clear that we can only depend on ourselves.

What is your advice to the Greeks?
How can you give advice to the Greeks? It’s impossible! (laughs). Trust your true Greek identity. Don’t try to be somebody else.
I want to add this. In this crisis we are all in the same boat. It’s not your hotel against mine, it’s not my restaurant against yours. If you have one euro for promotion, put 50 cents for promoting the island as a destination.

Summer 2013