Edit: Also, as silly and pointless as it was, i'm mildly peeved that they did a certain transformation sequence for the character that they did rather than Fang =P
At some point you will finally get the chance to explore the inside of a house. There's a serious break in FF tradition (and JRPG tradition in general) in that there's nothing to steal in there! You can wander around and look at various objects, and when you're done you'll be able to activate a swirly purple thing to trigger an event in the house, after which things will get... a little hectic. The same swirly purple thing will still be there, right next to where you start out, and triggering it will start the _next_ sequence of events. But don't press it yet though! All of the sudden treasure chests have magically appeared in the house! One of which has a 3000 gil accessory inside it! (Which i at least consider kind of significant, given how tight money is in this game...) How did these chests magically appear? Where did they come from? I don't know. Perhaps the unexpected visitors brought them as presents?
You _do_ at one point get to a town. You can talk to people (or rather you can sidle up to them and listen in on their conversations, no direct communication allowed) some of which is marginally interesting (the majority of which being total tripe of course.) There's no shops where you can buy anything aside from the save points of course, although there is a stand that sells cute little plushies of Summons (that you can't buy. =) It's kind of fascinating that the Datalogs make a big deal about how this is the only town in all of Cocoon where there are actually physical stores where people buy things, rather than ordering things online (aka save points.) People apparently go there as tourists just to get a real live shopping experience. Then you get there and from all you can see the only example of this is a single vending stand that you can't actually buy things from. There seems to be exactly one treasure chest you can find during the town part of the chapter (and it isn't even very good) and one reward you get for playing the one mini-game present. It's a mini-game that you are forced to play, and you seem to get the same reward regardless of how well or poorly you perform at it. It almost seems like the designers were preemptively thumbing their noses at anyone complaining about the lack of towns. "But we do have a town! You can find items there! And play a mini-game!"
Oh yeah, and a addendum about last night. I "just happened" to be wearing one of my Final Fantasy concert t-shirts (turns out i've got two, i'd forgotten =) when we went out to dinner last night, and the waiter who seated us recognized it. We had a very brief conversation about where we were in FF13 and which previous FF games we'd played :)
Edit: Is it just me, or do they only/always play the jazz music when Sazh is leading the party? If so that seems a little... questionable.