~$ Attending Chaos Congress, a highlight to close off the year.

Posted on Dec. 31st, 2023. | Est. reading time: 10 minutes


I've really started enjoying going to various Chaos/Chaos-adjacent events, something which - for me - started in 2022 with MayContainHackers (styled "MCH", a story you can read here), then continued last summer when I went to C3Camp (read that story here).

As such, when the opportunity presented itself for me to head out to 37c3 (or the 37th Chaos Communication Congress), between Christmas and New Year, I didn't hesitate.

Now, when I was doing the planning for the trip, I was still living in Geneva, and hadn't yet moved to Zürich.

So due to this quite suboptimal planning, all the tickets I had booked were going via Geneva, which meant I was travelling on the 26th of December and on the 31st, to and from Hamburg by no means on the shortest path possible.

Additionally, given my uncomfortable jout with COVID at Camp, I had resolved to be as careful as possible for the duration of the event, which was held indoors.

Upon making it to Hamburg and checking into my hotel, I went and met up with Alana, with whom I drank a few beers whilst we waited for a few of our friends (Bonzi and Jules) to show up.

After bidding them adieu, I headed back to the hotel, extremely excited for the first day of 37c3.


Day 1

The day kicked off with me linking up again with the crew and heading in to the Congress Center, where a line had formed.

I often describe lines at conference's - when I describe them - as a hellish experience (see any of my posts about DEFCON), but this one was actually quite organized and quick. There were even masks and COVID tests freely available, so I grabbed a few for the next few days.

A short sidebar, but even though hackers are portrayed as really smart people, the amount of people not caring about infectiousness was quite high (around 85%).

I also visited a few of the spaces and the villages, before tempting myself into becoming a ChaosPost delivery person, which basically entails the delivery - by any means possible - of event postcards to attendees.

This job isn't a typical Chaos Angel job (official volunteers), but is nonetheless fun and rewarding!

One of these deliveries brought me to where the folks from the Shark Corner (the official Glauca Digital Discord), where I met Alyx and Erin (the latter of which I had some Chaos Post for).

We got to chatting and ended up hanging out for most of 37c3.

Day 2

I met back up with Alyx and Erin, and to our troupe was added Ashlyn and Isa.

Day 2 also was the day to acquire event merch, and whilst I was in line I got a Telegram message from one of my old university classmates (no, not from when I was at University of Geneva, but rather before that, back when I went to EPFL), who through some fun coincidence was also present at 37c3. Needless to say, time had passed, changes had occured, and things had happened to both of us, that we needed a few minutes to reacclimate.

Beyond that, the merch line had a very fun "end of the line" sign, which was quite funny!

A sign titled "END OF QUEUE", with the description "THIS IS THE END OF THE MERCH QUEUE"The "END OF QUEUE" sign.

Later that day, I hung out at c3soft, where April gave my Blåhaj a makeover session (the very first one of 37c3, allegedly).

I then sent some postcards to friends and strangers alike via ChaosPost, including one to Quinn as fae had posted the following to fedi:

I then spent some time hanging out at Entropolis whilst still "on the job" delivering Chaos Post, including one of the more run-around deliveries which involved finding someone's blog, then finding their email address and writing an email to ensure delivery.

A chaospost delivery emailThe email I sent.

Before moving on, a queer meetup was planned, where I arrived early and had the dubious honor of acting like a beacon for the meetup.

Maya, with a shark plushie on her headMaya, being silly

That evening, I had planned to head to a party on the Chaos Trawler, but the time escaped me, and that trawler had sailed.

However, I heard on the grapevine that there was a secret bathroom rave to happen, also known as the Maskenbal.

It lasted for several hours, and we ended up leaving right after Nik's set, which was an absolute banger.

The original MP3
(FLAC available here, courtesy of Nik)

Day 3

The third day was split between a late start, some more Chaos Post deliveries, and hanging out at Haecksen after an invite to drink tea was posted by Deanna.

I completed a few angel shifts, primarily focused on watching doors, all to grind for an Angel Shirt, before hanging out at Milliways (or more accurately Freeside), where I met up with May (whoms't I'd hung out with at SteelCon and BSides London)

Due to an (un)fortunate series of shenanigans, Alyx and myself ended up organizing a bit of a "joke assembly", namely a "Meowing Session" (it's exactly what it sounds like). This was a good accompaniment to other (not-so-official) assemblies such as the "serve the owl, save your streak" pre-midnight assembly:

Day 4

The last day was a bit less loaded, with us making it in time for the aforementioned assembly.

I then did a shift, and helped out with teardown at the NOC, which involved folding a lot of Ethernet cables under the supervision of the cable queen, RQ.

Once that was done, the remaining group of new friends headed off for some food and reminisced whilst sitting in front of of the remaining carcass of the Congress Center.

All that was left was to get back home, and to continue testing to make sure I hadn't caught COVID. I also somehow left Hamburg with one more sharks than I had arrived with, which was interesting an interesting development.