At around six hours flying time from London, Baku is not quite a weekend destination but, add a couple of days, and it becomes very attractive indeed. There's a spanking new airport, looking like a giant crystal goldfish bowl, and on the way into town the buildings lining the wide boulevards are all lit up.
What's most heartening about the public response is that the UK seems to agree. That's good for Tom. It's good for us. And it's good for the world - especially when discussion of the Olympics and LGBT identity is currently dominated by Russian lawmakers' repeated insistence ahead of next year's Winter Olympics at Sochi that the mere acknowledgement of being gay is an act of political propaganda. I'm not, by and large, a patriotic sort. But the huge outpouring of support that has greeted Daley's simple statement has made me proud to be British today. That's partly because it shows how firmly recognition of and respect for LGBT people's basic humanity and dignity has taken root in mainstream society.
Last week I visited the Domiz refugee camp for the third time in six months and saw many children at school and play. Once again, I was struck by their cheeriness and resilience. I wanted to find some of the children I met in June but the camp has mushroomed since then from 50,000 to 75,000 so it would have been difficult.
Russian football is not without its problems - far from it. Racism still rains down from the terraces on a regular basis, recently being aimed at Manchester City's Yaya Touré, who promptly and with plenty of just cause called for the 2018 competition, which is to be hosted by the country, to be boycotted.
The real-politik of the region is that Israel has never posed a threat to Islam or Arab nationalism. It's the possible spread of democracy from Israel that Arab leaders have long feared. Shiite Iran, on the other hand, sees itself as leader of the mainly Sunni Islamic world and wants to take that honour away from the Saudis. Israel now seems a much lesser of two evils to the Saudi Royal Family...one that could help them curb Iran's ambitions.