Hidaya describes the author's journey from an irreligious materialistic life to one full of meaning and closeness to God. He leaves his home-country and former life, trusting in God and His promise. He tries to get rid of all materialistic things and walks thousands of kilometers without money, passport and baggage, and finally finds his true identity on a little dugout in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The book describes the attempt to follow, without compromise, one's own intuitions and the inner guide. The author compares his intuitions and outer situations with waves. These waves one has to recognize and 'to ride' if they should bring one to new shores because the rational analysis of a situation and its logical conclusion never suffice to adjust oneself to the constant flow of life and God's will. Surfing becomes him a symbol, and the author starts it also on the material plane to better understand its laws. This brings him to an island south-west of Sumatra where are some of the highest waves in the world. There he gets an English translation of the Koran and the waves get a name: Hidaya.
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I flew to Madagascar with my mountain bike, travelling little paths where no car or motorbike can go, up from the harbour of Tamatave direction to the north. Each jungle river I had to cross with a dugout which surprised locals provided. It was a journey back in time.
I went by boat to an island called Saint Marie. This island was once a base for pirates attacking ships on their way to India. And there I got some kind of 'illumination'!
The telescope-arm of a giant construction crane lifted parts of the 40m high shelves to the men who in lofty heights mounted the iron bars.
I connected the thick hoses to the compressor, turned it on and began hammering. Every 70cm two holes had to be drilled. Concrete and dust splashed around. A hell of a noise echoed through the building.
Shortly after the Pont d'Avignon a small van stopped even though I did not hitchhike. In the rusty rattletrap sat a Gypsy and a monster of a dog, and on the dashboard a little plastic statue of the Virgin Mary were spreading her arms invitingly.
That brought less money than begging, but I sat on a little square next to the cathedral, the Plaza de la Virgen, where hundreds of white doves were flying around.
Davide brought me later to the caves, a walk of half an hour from the center of Granada. Steep hills, this time of the year still green with flowers, were covered with cave entrances.
I moved then into a small canyon where there was only one habitable cave. Much debris was lying in front of it, but it formed a pretty kidney-shaped space and its walls were still intact, that is, the sandstone was coated with a mixture of cement and lime. Two weeks I needed to build a patio and to repair the floor. Furniture and tableware I got from the dump.
One would have never thought to be only a half hour away from the center of a big city. At dawn, the birds began with a concert, a small pine forest stretched from the cave up the canyon, the hills were covered with bushes, cacti and agaves, and one could still see outlines of the oldest caves.
The center of Cadiz had the picturesque atmosphere of an old port city.
I bypassed Chechaouen and found abundant small paths that took me to the south. When I came to larger settlements, I hid under my hood and walked leisurely, as if I were an old man. Only at the more remote farms I was not walking incognito, hoping to get invited once again.
Here in Oran one recognized the state of emergency. Riot police in dark green uniforms with bullet-proof vests, helmets and shields, and powerful barricade-breakers that looked like snow plows, cordoned off some streets.
I went through endless forests and walked the whole day without reaching an end.
Then, after almost exactly three months on foot, I finally reached Santiago de Compostela, just right for the celebration with which the apostle was honored each year. A gigantic firework scorched the mighty cathedral and blazing fire streams rushed down from it into the depths.
The cave had three rooms and a fireplace, a terrace and a panoramic view on the Generalife and the Palace of the Alhambra. In the coming weeks I was busy whitewashing the cave, clearing away rubbish, repairing the floor with cement, organizing carpets and furniture from the dump and building a sunroof of wood and reed for the terrace.
A small room became an Arabian bedroom with Persian carpet, cushions and a small table. The room with the fireplace got equipped with a sofa, and the third room with a guest bed. On the terrace, I built a fire place and a small kitchen with a large seating area and armchairs.
I had only a vague description of where the tepee village was located, but when I randomly explored the first valley close to Orgiva and followed a small stream uphill, the path led me through a shady eucalyptus grove and suddenly an almost five meters high tepee stood in front of me.
The old house was situated a bit out of the settlement, and consisted of one room only with a fireplace in one corner. In front of the house there were a fig tree, which at this time had tasty fruits, a few pomegranate trees and an overgrown terrace with delicious grapes.
The whole area was also covered with orange, lemon and almond trees. So I would not easily starve here! Behind a small eucalyptus forest was the river Guadelfeo, my icy bath.
The ravine had a barren, primeval-looking vegetation. Palmleaf-canopied huts were scattered, the sea tossed its waves on white sandstone rocks, and there was a small pebbled beach.
I took my surfboard and went from the small village, which was called simply Playa, to the beach Playa Del Inglés, sat down in the sand and studied the waves.
I built a roughly 1.50 m high platform in front of the cave, collected some sticks and palm fronds and designed a roof. Then I covered the ground with abandoned beach mats: ready was the surf hermitage!
The colour of the water was turquoise here and changed into azure further away from the beach, a sharp contrast to the reddish soil of Lanzarote and the Isla de Lobos , which one deemed very close in the clear air. In the hinterland there were large sand dunes and wasteland devoid of vegetation, cut through by power lines and dotted with few houses and ruins.
The bus broke down just before the valley of Valle Gran Rey. Instead of waiting for a replacement bus like the other passengers, I went off on foot, because I was too nervous to sit around doing nothing and waiting. Deep below at the coast one could see white foam edges, which meant high waves.
The boat took me to Tomok on Samosir Island in the middle of the lake.
The atmosphere was mysterious and almost as if not from this world. A certain magic had covered everything and one was stunned when seeing the giant, thirty-foot waves. One had felt like in a dream, the surfers chasing through the huge wave pipes like in a trance.
From Padang it went to Bukittinggi and then to the lake Maninjau, which offered a wonderful panorama and was a major attraction for foreign tourists on West Sumatra.
Artfully laid rice terraces, whose green dazzled the eye, coconut palms, bamboo groves and jungle thickets, rushing rivers and small irrigation canals, bamboo huts and villages with beautiful mosques, all united into a small Garden of Eden.