|from the comic Safe Baby Pregnancy Tips|
That's me in the "wrong" picture above. No, just kidding!
I do, however, take the train almost every day here in Seoul, and I ride the Line 2, which is notoriously crowded. Horrible, even. Foreigners and Koreans alike complain bitterly about this line, particularly if your commute takes you through through Gangnam, Gyeodae, and Sadang.
Now when I was living in DC, I used to actually think the subway there got crowded. Oh, how I look back at my pre-Asian-megacity transit days, and I shake my head in wonder at my naivete. "Crowded" in DC might mean someone touching you for part of the ride. Maybe two people. And as they bump you and move past you, they apologize! They might even smile at you.
In contrast, "crowded" in Seoul involves touching at least seven people, your chin being crushed into the shoulder of the dude in front of you, and being unable to answer the vibrating phone in your purse because your arms are pinned to your sides. And when the doors open, people actually spill out, like luggage tumbling out of an over-packed van.
Of course, there is reserved seating in each car for the pregnant, elderly, and disabled. But, frankly, when there are 40 people wedged into the 2 square meters between the door and those seats, it would be like the proverbial camel squeezing through the eye of a needle to make it there. If I'm able to get through the door without being body-slammed, I consider myself lucky.
Luckily, my boss acknowledges the problems of Line 2 for pregnant women (and anyone not in robust, physical shape) and allows me to come just after the rush (9:30 to 6:30, instead of 9:00 to 6:00), so it's not too bad.
Occasionally, when people spy my belly, they'll even stand and give up their seat for me, though not as often as one might hope. Interestingly, it's almost always older women, and almost never young men. Maybe because they've been there, done that.